I’ve brought this up before but I’m not sure if there’s a better way to handle this.
SO’s little one is 5. He and his sister have been completing every other weekend visitation in our home for over a year now. There have been no problems or major changes in our home or living situation since my partner moved in.
A few months ago out of nowhere the little one starts showing some issues. The biggest one we’re still working on is any time he is told something he doesn’t like he starts in with “I’m scared” and then “I want mommy.” We KNOW it’s a manipulation attempt. I don’t know if we stay the course we’re on or if there’s a better way to handle it.
For example almost every single meal we have it starts. He lies that this is wrong or that. Kids lie at that age so I know this isn’t something wrong. We just handle it by telling him either he eats or he can go to bed early without his bedtime movie. So then he starts in with “I’m scared” or a few times it’s been “I’m sad.” If you ask him why he’s scare or sad it’s “I want my mommy.” Well mommies at work and he never wants mommy any other time until he’s not getting his way. We’ll be at the store and you tell him he can’t have a toy and it’s “I’m sad” and “I want my mommy.”
The other week on top of that it became very clear that BM is feeding into this weather she knows it or not. Somehow lying was brought up through watching TV or something like that and we used it as a moment to talk about it. You know “crying wolf”. We brought up how people stop believing people who constantly lie. Instantly the boy said something along the lines of “Mommy always believes I’m scared.” So that’s not helping.
I wouldn’t say she’s coaching him but I think it strokes her ego and helps prove her ideas that SO is the issue. Of course there’s no talking to her about this as she doesn’t every want to see a problem as something they both need to deal with. She refuses to acknowledge there is an issue, lies, and tries to blame him. “Well it only happens on your weekends” or “It only happens right before he’s going to see you.” But we’ve talked to people about different problems and that has always been a complete lie. Even if it is ONLY our weekends why is a 5 year old so upset about coming to his dad that he’s literary sitting in poop at school all day? Of course that’s off topic but that’s what I mean by she doesn’t want to acknowledge there could be an issue that’s not my partners fault.
So yeah I don’t know what to do. We know it’s a way of him trying to get what he wants. BM lets him do whatever he wishes so of course he’s sad and wants mommy but he’s not getting her. We can’t set up a time later for him to talk to her because she’s at work and throws a fit if SO contacts her because she’s “busy”. Of course if she wants to lay into him she suddenly has time to send 30 messages over an hour. She almost never calls when the kids are with us, I think she did maybe 5 times in the past year and almost all of those were the first week of summer break.
I guess I’m just worried because I can only see this getting worse. I’d say our rules are fair and standard. We really have major problems past them playing when they are supposed to be cleaning up, climbing the bed when it’s time to sleep, and not wanting to eat a decent dinner. My partner isn’t aggressive and there are no more spankings in our home. We can take away movies or video games, do an early bedtime, or time out if we need to discipline. We have a lot of fun but it’s not catering to them. We’re not afraid of saying no. But what about the future. I’m scared BM will continue to spoil the child to make him like her more. I’m afraid of this hurting my partners bond with his son. Maybe it will be nothing but I know I’m not the first to worry about this.