Advice from our family therapist
~When you are told that you or a guest cannot eat something: “We share in this house. Take it to your mom’s house if you don’t want to share.” (BM will sent over treats and tell DS that his dad and I are not allowed to eat them)
~When you are told to break up with your girlfriend: “I’ve noticed that you say that a lot after you visit with your mom. Is there anything that you want to tell me about your visit?” If he says: “No, I don’t!” You say, “Okay, it seems you say this after your visit with mom. I wonder if you come home next time if you will say it.” “Where did you hear that?” “That must be hard for you if you’re thinking that. I wonder if you would really like that. If we did break up what would that be like for you? What would it be like for me?” “it’s okay if you feel upset about something. But it’s not okay to come home and start trouble. Let’s go for a walk or do something together and get through it.” (You are normalizing it without saying what is going on.)
~Build up your child. “It might happen that mom might act mad at me or be mad at me. Don’t be surprised. You might hear her yelling at me or me yelling at her. Sometimes grownups treat each other that way. You might have noticed that I get upset and say things about your mom. I am going to work hard to not say bad things about your mom. I know it is hard for you to hear. You should be thinking about playing hockey and having fun. I am going to work on not doing that. It is not healthy for you to hear your mom and I offend each other. When you criticize the other parent: “Oops. I didn’t like how I handled that. I am going to start over and not criticize your mom.”
~Set rules around FaceTime: “It’s okay to FaceTime your mom, but there is a five-minute limit.” If he goes over: “Remember our deal?” (At least set limits. She’ll try to break that limit.) “It’s okay to FaceTime your mom but in your room with the door open and I will be cleaning the kitchen/cooking our lunch.” (You remove the audience and she may not do it as much.) Another idea about FaceTime: Court order for a 5-minute limit, certain amount of FaceTimes per day.