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Isn't spoiling fun?

Hastings's picture

SS9 was with us for Christmas this year and it went surprisingly well. He seemed to actually like his gifts. And, to my shock, he told DH he wanted to get a gift specifically for me from him. I was touched that he was so thoughtful.

A few days after Christmas, he went back to BM's for her week. She and her parents usually spend TONS of money on him for holidays -- not to mention the random stuff he gets throughout the year from them. We don't play that game.

I should mention that SS's birthday is less than two weeks after Christmas.

He came back a couple of days ago on his birthday with a new iPad. DH pulled me aside. "You'd think Christmas and birthday would be enough, wouldn't you? Well, that iPad wasn't a birthday or Christmas gift."

It was "just because." And this is on a week when he's already been bombarded with Christmas and birthday gifts from her and her family.

Keep in mind, he had a fully functional, perfectly good iPad already.

DH was livid, but there's nothing we can do. She can do or spend whatever she wants on SS. Her money, her house, etc. DH has tried to talk to her about it before, but she either A) agrees, then goes back to buying copious amounts of crap for him when he asks or Dirol starts crying and gets emotional.

He did take a stand on one thing. She started buying him gifts (we're talking $50 a pop) every week he got good behavior reports from school. DH refused to play along because good behavior should be expected, not cause for a generous weekly reward like that. But he said it was her money, let her deal with it and the consequences. I warned DH that it may start to impact us. It did. SS started asking to go to his mom's a day early and crying when the answer was no. Or started crying if he found out the schedule had been shifted slightly to accommodate a trip or something. DH talked to BM. No problems since. Apparently BM told SS that if he talked about the reward at our house, she'd stop doing it. As far as we can tell, it's still going on, though.

Ugh. As I said, we don't play the game. We don't do the one-upping. SS gets gifts at Christmas and birthday and we'll bring him something small when we go on a trip. Otherwise, he doesn't get extra stuff. I know DH is afraid that at some point, SS may start preferring being at his BM's house since she buys him so much stuff and pretty much lets him get away with murder. Hoping we don't get to that point.


ESMOD's picture

You can't control what happens at his mother's house.  Yeah.. it sounds like he gets a lot of stuff there.. your DH needs to understand that he can't control that a bit.. and disengage himself from that fight.

Hastings's picture

Oh, he knows and he's disengaged. He's talked to her about it before, but now knows it goes nowhere. Just vents the frustration with it to me. We know there's really nothing we can do about it. Now, if it causes trouble at our house, then he may have to bring it up again (like he had to do with the reward thing). But, again, even in that case we can't control what she does.

tog redux's picture

You will get to the point where SS9 prefers being at his mother's, what kid wouldn't prefer the home where he has no rules and gets lots of gifts for nothing?  But that doesn't mean DH should stop being a parent. He needs at least one real parent, even if at some point, he chooses to stay with BM all the time. 

Hastings's picture

Agreed. And, so far, DH hasn't given in on any of that. Despite what happens at BM's, he has to help out at our house and he doesn't get extra stuff. He's figured that out and no longer asks for stuff because he knows the answer will be no. It's probably easier for SS to just drop it, though, because he knows all he has to do is ask his mom when he goes back to her.

A couple of years ago, we were buying a nutcracker for SS. It's something DH's parents did with him every year and he thought it would be fun to do it with SS, too. Well, SS wanted one of the big ones. DH said no, and again showed him the ones he could choose from. SS got upset, but DH stood his ground and told him he could choose one we said was OK or we could just go home. SS chose one of the smaller ones. Next time he comes over after being at his mom's, guess what he brings with him? The big nutcracker. This was three years ago and he'd already figured out the game.

Thank goodness DH and I are on the same page with all of that. And DH is determined to do what he can to enforce rules and structure.

Now, if DH ever starts slipping or loses sight of that, he and I will have problems...

tog redux's picture

We were in a similar situation with SS19 - BM gave him whatever he wanted and let him do whatever he wanted; DH was a real parent.  He stopped coming over at 15 and didn't speak to DH for over 3 years.  He's back now, but he's a hot mess - barely graduated from high school, doing nothing except playing video games. BM is still willing to give him whatever he wants.  But at least DH can say he never stopped being a parent. 

Hastings's picture

Yeah, I do think that could happen some day. No worries at the moment. SS has always preferred DH to BM (seems to prefer men overall, actually) even though DH is the stricter parent. That's probably at the root of a lot of BM's behavior. It's always bothered her that SS gravitates to his dad so this is her way of trying to win him over more.