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Annoying and frustrating, but not my problem

Hastings's picture

Things have been better with DH lately. He's not letting so many things slide with SS12 and stays on top of him with schoolwork, etc.

But this weekend, stuff cropped up again. SS continues to violate the "no food or drink upstairs rule." I stay out of most things, but this one does affect me (I don't want to pay for an exterminator to deal with pests and I don't want dogs getting into things that could hurt them.) DH has explained, taken electronics, etc. Nothing. Most recently, DH told him we would be doing unannounced room checks. If he could go 3 months with no violations, no lying, no falling behind in school (in other words, demonstrate responsibility), we would talk about giving him more freedom. Seemed decent, giving him something to work toward.

Saturday morning, I found candy wrappers in his bed. I told DH and he confronted SS.

DH: Did you eat candy in your room and leave the wrappers in your bed?

SS: Yes.

DH: Why? You know the rule. Why do you keep doing this?

SS: blank face and "whatever" shrug.

The 3-month plan seems pretty pointless. SS genuinely doesn't care. Why should he want more freedom when he already does whatever he wants?

DH asked what I thought should happen now. I told him I'd start fining him. So much for every wrapped or can. Do much for every mess. So much for every towel or item of clothing he either doesn't bring down for washing or brings down clean to be rewashed.

Nothing will happen. DH is getting back into that zone where he's reluctant to do anything because he knows he's spoiled rotten at BM's and prefers her house. Also, DH's parents were super-strict do he tends to get triggered by discipline because he doesn't want to be his parents. There's a balance, but he struggles with it.

Frustrating. I know it's just candy. No big. But this kid genuinely believes he can do whatever he wants and there will be no consequences -- and DH is playing a part in that. The kid has no concept of consequences. At all. He's not mean-spirited. He's not badly behaved. But he's incredibly self-centered, never apologizes, has zero appreciation for anyone or anything. And he believes he can do/have whatever he wants.

This is a kid who got suspended from school for fighting and got to go out to get pizza and spent the days playing video games.

Drives me nuts, just because I know that's the fault of his parents. SS may turn out just fine. But I see a lot of ways this could go horribly wrong for him. And, so far, I've been dead accurate on every prediction about him.

Not my problem, exactly. I can't care more than the bios. I know that. But I hate watching it. And I hate feeling annoyance and resistance for this kid who lives with me 50% of the time.

DH keeps getting annoyed with stuff, but I just shrug and say "well, what are you going to do about it?" I know the answer: Nothing.

Saturday morning, DH took SS to his bowling league thing. DH told me BM was there (it was our week so she just showed up to watch some). The kids finished early and once it was over, SS walked up to BM and said "now what?" She shrugged and said "I don't know what you're doing, but I'm going home." So SS turned to DH and stared at him. DH said, "we're going home, too." SS sulked the whole way home and then banged around in the kitchen getting his lunch (sometimes we get something fun for Saturday lunch, but we'd eaten out the night before). Lovely. I'd blame it on him being 12, but he's been this way for the 7 years I've known him.

I swear, the way both DH and BM act -- like they live in fear of upsetting the Precious Prince. They created this. Still time to fix, but they won't do a damned thing.


Cover1W's picture

Had same issue here with OSDthen12. Her room was filthy. Rotten food, mouldering towels, trash, used tissues all over the place, spilled makeup ground into carpet, dirty dishes in her dresser, etc. I did several clean sweeps after DH did nothing, trashed bagged everything that was not in a normal place. Nothing...nothing!....I eventually told DH, after he told me to ease up, that ANY fixes or infestation would 100% be on him. I wouldn't help with a d*med thing and also would live with infestation in the house. She ended up fully PASed out within the next year. He was shocked at the mess when the room was finally cleaned.

Hastings's picture

Thank goodness SS's room isn't even nearly that bad!

For me, it's more the principle of the thing. The kid lies. He sneaks. He breaks rules that he doesn't like. And he's being taught that there's no reason he shouldn't do those things.

Cover1W's picture

That's how it started with OSD. A snack here and there....she never had any rules or responsibilities (like YSD). YSD keeps her room clean, but never helps much at all with kitchen cleanup and leaves her dishes for DH to do.

Hastings's picture

I feel like Cassandra -- warning everyone "hey! There are some potentially major problems developing here! Might want to start course-correcting."

Winterglow's picture

Go buy some black rice. It looks remarkably like mouse droppings. Sprinkle a little in a corner of SS's bedroom, a little behind his headboard, a little in is closet and a little in his bin/trash. Take your DH in there and show him what you found. Let him take it from there. Your DH surely won't let a mouse infestation happen? Or would he...?

Hastings's picture

Oh, he cares. He's even more of a neat freak than I am. The problem is, he's reluctant to actually do anything. He'll confront SS. He'll talk until he's blue (SS just zones out at this point). But when it comes to putting consequences in place or taking action, he wimps out.

Harry's picture

He doesn't care...something is wrong with SO....he doesn't know how to parent...  IDK. But the ball is in your court..

""""" This is a kid who got suspended from school for fighting and got to go out to get pizza and spent the days playing video games.""""".  Good parents don't do this.. They know this is a time they have to make a point .  He got suspended..So there has to be in real life...NO PIZZA. NO VIDEO games.  Something he cares about. Taken away until it's earned back.  Cell phone?  
We do this. We spend the time..even though we don't like doing it.. To parent/teach what life is really like. 

Hastings's picture

This is what drives me nuts. DH will occasionally step up. He lied repeatedly about something last year and DH took all electronics for the rest of the week. Same thing when he left a urine-soaked towel in his bedroom (no clue how it got that way) and lied, repeatedly, about the stench.

Bur he's not consistent. When he got suspended, I heard SS go outside and he was out there playing basketball. I notified DH, who shrugged and said it was no big deal. "What's he supposed to do? Sit in his room?"

YES! Either that or do homework or get busy on some manual labor!

Kloewent's picture

When I got suspended for smoking, my mom made me do the laundry, folding and put away for a week. Strip and remake all the beds, we had 5 kids so it was a ton of laundry. The actual day I was suspended I had to iron all day. It sucked!

Hastings's picture

He didn't put his clean clothes away and just dumped dirty ones on top. Despite telling DH he put them away. Predictable. DH is furious. Yeah, fine. What is he actually going to do about it? Nothing. He'll lecture SS for the 157th time, SS will just tune him out and nothing changes.

 I'm all for the kid just having to wear dirty clothes to teach him consequences but that won't happen -- and I doubt he'd care. The problem is, he lies. He breaks rules. He does what he wants. Why? Because he knows there will be zero consequences for it. The world exists to please him. Anything that doesn't make him happy should be ignored or removed.

Harry's picture

And actually does something..  Nothing will change...  yes parenting is hard. Parenting is not fun.. parenting takes time and effort..   The " Talk". Is not working..  there has to be punishment.  Something SS doesn't want to lose.. and once given it must be followed through.

Hastings's picture


We just talked about it -- along with the new discovery about the clothes (which DH is certain he told him to put away before he went to BM's). DH is going to work out a "fine" list and also is going to have a chart SS has to sign off on when he actually completes an assigned task.

Rags's picture

and kids who push boundaries and defy standards live a life of increasing abject misery.

You are right, he does not care because he gets to do what he wants regardless of the minimal consequences he experiences at daddy's house. What happens at BM's is irrelevant to what happens at daddy's place.

So, if defying no food in his room rules is his thing and candy wrappers are found in his room.... purge all candy from his life at daddys. Completely. No candyin the house, or even better. Candy locked up in view but he cannot get to it.  If he defies standards and enjoys his phone, video games, tablet, etc.... take it all. Period.  Keep heating up his misery until he catches a clue.

And.... he never misses a visitation. Take all control away from him.

If he fails to arrive per the COd visitation schedule, mommy gets the cops at her door with daddy there CO in hand. And... mommy gets dragged to court for a contempt motion to stand in front of a Judge.  Zero tolerance.

Standards of behavior and standards of performance with applied increasing abject misery for choosing to perform counter to the standards work as an effective behavior improvement tool.

For people who practice free range parenting and feral child childhoods, this may seem cruel and that it creates unhappy unsuccessful children.  Reality is the opposite. Kids with structure in their lives thrive and excel far more than feral unparented children do.

Standars. Use them, enforce them.  Effectively.  Find the SKid's currency, deny him what he values. When you find the right mix, he will perform to standard.

Good luck.