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Pied Piper

Iamwoman's picture

This is going to be my last blog for a while, because I don’t want to be a blog hog. 

Topic: Skids who follow their dad around non-stop like shadows or leeches.

Many of you have complained about this. Now it’s starting to happen again at our home too. OSS and YSS have always had the rage-provoking problem of being up DH’s a$$ 24/7 during their EOW visits.

DH (in previous years) would tell them “go play” or something similar. They would scurry off, pouting and morosely “play” somewhere else in the yard, but eventually, like moths to a flame, would slowly circle their way back to being right up DH’s a$$ again. The cycle would repeat.

Then, DH stopped making them go outside to play. He had 6 months of peace where he could be outside, working on our cars and boat, without tripping over skids or dealing with their beady little eyes constantly on him, or their tape-recorder ears memorizing snippets of our convos to replay for HCBM later.

After 6 months of skids holing up in their room all weekend, DH and I decided to talk with OSS13 (who is also into cars) and ask him why he spends all weekend looking at cars on his phone when he has a car expert for a father from whom he can learn. We figured OSS13 was old enough and articulate enough (he speaks like an adult) to have “man to man” car-dude sessions with his dad.

Boy were we wrong. It quickly turned into OSS13 spending all day up his dad’s a$$ to the point where DH was literally tripping over him every time he turned around. OSS13 would maybe ask a total of 5 car questions in the course of 6 hours, but mostly just be in the way and doing the silent beady-eyed stare.

DH loves to hang out with me, but I’ve begun avoiding him during these times because it’s just crowded, awkward, and stifling to have constant eyes and ears on us. The skids have once again reverted back to acting like it’s mine and DH’s job to entertain them at all times.

YSS9 will follow either DH or me around, constantly asking “can I help?” You would think this is nice and sweet, but it’s actually not. When I say “constantly” it’s just about every other minute. “Can I help?” has turned into almost a tic with this kid. On Saturday, DH was switching the cars around in the driveway, and YSS9 came outside and practically tripped over himself as he rushed over to me and blurted out (again) “Can I help?”

I raised my voice a bit and said snidely, “Help with what YSS9??? Help drive the car? Be the driveway? What exactly IS it that you are asking to help with???” He just gave me a dopey smile and ran over to the car. When his dad got out, he said in the same chipper tone “Can I help?” DH just rolled his eyes, and said “YSS9 go play!”


DH is also annoyed by OSS13, but for some reason he can’t seem to fend him off the same way he deflects YSS9.


Have any of your DH’s successfully unpeeled a teen from themselves?


notarelative's picture

Can I help?

Yes, you can. Empty the dishwasher. Vacuum the living room. Rotate the laundry. Clean the litter box. Etc

Have a ready list of chores he can do in your head. When you hear Can I help pick one from your list. 

Iamwoman's picture

I’ve done this and he’ll go all the way down the list, AND ask for help (it’s really all about attention), and when he’s tired of helping he’ll then think he’s your best friend and follow you around asking “what are we doing now?”

Luckily, YSS9 is still easily deflected albeit annoying.


OSS13 is the tricky one. He gets pissy at the slightest of “insults.”

thinkthrice's picture

but at my house there is ALWAYS something to be done.   The "list" is ENDLESS!

Put them on a never ending research project!

Simpleton21's picture

Ugh, I completely relate to this blog!  I also love the description of the silent beady-eyed SD isn't usually silent though...I wish she was!  I was super annoyed with her this weekend.  We went swimming at my SO's SM's house.  My older son stayed home (his choice) so I figured it might be a bit more relaxing than usual (b/c she is constantly trying to compete with him for her daddeee's attention).  I was wrong.  She just hung all over SO in the pool pretty much the entire time (she's 11) and even after he told her multiple times to back off and give him space she continued.  He would try to swim over and spend some time with me and there she was right up his butt as he is trying to embrace me.  I would just swim away or concentrate on my younger son (who she would also try to get more attention than- he's 3).  I finally got so annoyed that I just got out of the pool.  SO got out also and came to join me.  As soon as he did there was SD sitting right next to him so then I got back in the pool.  Hard to have a nice relaxing pool day with someone so freaking desperate for attention/competition.  It was far from enjoyable for me!

thinkthrice's picture

Been there, done that.  So bad that YSS at the time stb 7 literally tried to FOLLOW CHEF INTO THE BATHROOM!

Iamwoman's picture

Yikes. It sounds like we all have the same issue but no good solution.

DH is willing to try a solution but he says he is also tired of being the bad guy in his kids eyes, because when he did flat out tell them to buzz off or lost his temper and yelled, instead of reflecting on their own annoying behavior and changing so as not to anger their father, the skids will sulk about and talk about how mean their dad is... it’s ridiculous really. 

My DH has done what yours does and tries to get away from his kids to spend time with me, but they follow him, so I just escape. Then DH follows me again, and the cycle repeats.

I really think our DH’s need to say something (that I haven’t thought of, hence the ask for help), or provide some sort of consequence for the leech behavior that will make skids no longer want to be his shadow but without just thinking he is “being mean” which simply results in them lurking about waiting for him to look “not mean” so they can leech again “safely” in their minds...

Iamwoman's picture

So, interestingly, I just read an article indicating that clinginess in teens can sometimes be an early warning sign for Borderline Personality Disorder or Schizophrenia.

*great* HCBM has both, so at least now I know... ugh.

Cooooookies's picture

Yep SS used to play the "I'm bored" card.  SoOoooOOoo I'd hand him the broom and tell him to sweep all the hard floors then mop afterwards.  Next time one of them utters "Can I help?" hand them a broom/mop/duster/toilet brush/etc and say go do xyz.  Every time they ask that question.  Soon enough, they'll learn not to ask.  Or, if your DH finds his balls, every time they are in his way, do the same.

However, we all know with disney dads it's never that easy.  They don't realize that the more they stay silent and do nothing out of whatever perceived fear they have, the worse they make things.