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Avatar universal

Upset with my husband

I don't know what to do.  We have a son that is a manipulating, whiner.  He whines about something (homework) and my husband does it for him.  He whines about getting in trouble for stealing and my husband says I am being to hard on him.  He throws a fit and I end up being the bad mom.  I always think if we ever get divorced it will be my sons fault.  You know all the tv shows where the parents tell the kids it isn't their fault.  In this case it would be.  My son knows he can play my husband and "Get me in trouble" so he does.  I am fed up and have no idea what to do.  Help?
13 Responses
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
Well, I have another way of looking at this.  A divorce would be your fault and that of your husbands for not communicating better, compromising and working as a team for the sake of your child.  This is a marital issue.  

Your plan should be to work better with your husband on the subject of raising your shared child.  You don't say how old your son is.  

Many many families have challenging children and the parents have to work to do what is best and right for their child.  If a child is reluctant to do homework . . .   one must investigate why first of all.  Some work is hard for a child and that causes a response in many kids (which is quite normal) of avoidance.  Some kids just don't like to do homework.  Pretty common issue.  Kids that whine usually continue to do so because it works.  You and the boys dad should discuss the importance of school and his doing well there.  Then come up with a plan to encourage him to do it.  Reward systems work nicely, hey . . .  I'll play ball with you in the backyard when you're done.  The popscicle is waiting for you when the math page is completed, etc.  Often it helps a kid to have a brief break after school and then a bit of physical activity (as it makes sitting easier and helps organize the nervous system) and then jump into it.  Depending on the child's age, many like a parent near by.  My kids do homework at the kitchen table and I'm in the room.  You can help without doing someone's homework for them.  If he is spending what seems to be excessive time doing homework, talk to his teacher.  Most teachers set guidelines for how long on average homework should take.  If it takes your son longer. . .  tell the teacher.  It may indicate he needs a little extra help.  

So, my point is--------  just demanding your way and your husband demanding his way gets you nowhere very often.  Better to have a 'can do' team attitude and work it out with your husband so that you get on the same page regarding important aspects to parenting your child.

Remember, this says more about your marriage than it does your child.  Your child is behaving and most would in a situation in which parents are working against one another.  He's not a bad kid.  Mom and dad just have to be a happy team and coparent.  
Avatar universal
I agree with specialmom on this.  The fault would lie on you and your husband for a lack of communication and a lack of follow through.  There should be guidelines that each of you follow in regards to a parenting model.  

If one parent constantly over rides the thoughts of the other parent, that is clear dysfunction.  You need to be together on this, and constantly bailing your child out is bit of a problem.  In some cases, it really is okay to let the kid fail (especially when it comes to homework), but that child needs to know that there are ramifications for every one of his actions.

This is something that only you and your husband can work out, and there are professionals that can assist the whole family with this transition.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your comments.
My son is 16.  My husband and I do talk about this and no matter what I say my husband says he is not doing my sons homework for him.
This leads to an argument because - example - my husband just typed a 5 page paper for my son because my son complained about it would take to long for him to type it and he wanted to go outside.
I said your homework, you type it.  My husband said - he's not a fast typer so it would take him a longer time than If I just do it.  Which lead to an argument and he still typed it for my son.
480448 tn?1426948538
It sounds like your husband IS doing things for him instead of making your son take responsibility for his own school work, behavior, etc.  Is there some reason your husband would feel overly protective of your son?  Has he had a tough time, been builled? Struggled in school?  ANYTHING that would cause your husband to feel the need to help him so much?  If so, your husband needs to deal with those feelings.  He needs to relaize that he is doing your son a disservice by doing everything for him.  HELPING him is fine....doing it for him is not.

At 16, there are going to be some power struggles as it is because your son is growing into a young man and trying to find where he fits in in this world.  With this stuff going on at home, he is not learning how to have a sense of responsibility, or how it feels to work and accomplsih something on his own.  You mentioned stealing, sounds like your son has already found himself on the wrong side of the law.  Sadly, behaviors like that will only increase if your husband does not demand that he start being accountable for things in his life.

Obviously, you and your husband have discussed this ad nauseum with no success.  I would strongly recommend asking your husband to join you in going to a family counselor.  The both of you would benefit from a third party professional's advice and guidance.  I have a sneaking suspicion you are going to say your husband is not agreeable.  In that case, I would suggest that YOU go by yourself and find ways you can help your son grow into a responsible young man DESPITE what your husband is doing.  A counselor could also act as a mediator during the discussions between your husband and yourself.

I wonder if you could discuss these issues with someone at your son's school too? You hate to sabotage the boy, but maybe a guidance counselor would have some ideas? Have you ever threatened to tell his teachers that HE did not complete the work himself? Have you ever threatened something like that to your husband?  That probably would not accomplish anything, but Id be curious to hear how both of them would react to that.  Most likely, they would make you the bad guy.  To be clear, I'm not suggesting that, just asking if you've ever gone that route.

Seek some outside help with this.  You want your son to grow into a well rounded young man with accountability to himself and others.  Sadly, he is getting mixed messages at home.  His dad bails him out of everything, and you are probably the villian for trying to get him to do the right thing.

Very best of luck to you and your family.
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
When you do talk to your husband, I would think about how you phrase things.  I'd talk to him in a non confrontational way.  I'm a big fan of the "love and logic" technique and there is a book by that name I recommend by Dr. Charles Fey and Jim Fey,m father and son psychologists.  Basically, it really helps a child become a responsible person.  His homework, he should type it is right OR he should pay dad via jobs he does for him or money.  That is real world.  And at 16, your husband has to start thinking about getting his son ready for the real world.

he does sound like he is trying to be protective of him.  It has me curious as to why.  Has anything gone wrong in his childhood?  
Avatar universal
I wonder if your husband is over compensating for something that went wrong in his own life, perhaps?  Maybe he feels like he wasn't always there for your son.... maybe he feels that his parents weren't there for him.  I imagine it could be anything.

I am not trying to minimize what you folks are going through, but sometimes some of the things that seem most fragile and too difficult to handle are simply over thought, or end up being a lack of hitting and hearing points.  

A good therapist could help you guys, and I would do all I couold to make sure at least that your son is getting some help.  (I believe i read that he's had a brush or two with the law?)  Getting on that now and correcting those behaviors is critical at this point.

Also, his acting out is probably a cry for help on some level.  Again, it could be anything.... often kids (adults too) aren't comfortable talking about certain issues.  It's understandable, but it's important to understand exactly what the issues are in order to address them.
13167 tn?1327194124
Is this your biological son?

I'm curious.  I do understand your frustrations,  but your posts sounds like you're either the boy's stepmother and his father is trying to ease some of the difficulty in his life,  or really your post sounds like reversed roles for mom and dad.  The way you speak is usually the way a dad would speak,  and your husband's voice is more like the mom's opinion,  in a two parent biological family.
Avatar universal
I will agree with Brice and Nursegirl.  

Perhaps your husband was parented in the same manner or his parents didn't give him that much help or weren't there for him and now he is being over the top about this.  Regardless of the reason he ISN'T doing the child any favors by doing his work for him as the child will never learn how to take care of these situations on his own if he has someone doing his work.

Have you talked to your son about why he doesn't like doing his own homework? He doesn't have any issues with learning...does he?  Or perhaps he feels the work is too difficult for him to complete.   Have you talked with his teachers about this?  

Life is full of responsibility and babying a child at this age is NOT the way to go.  Plus, his teachers are in reality grading your husband's work and I would consider this dishonest and a child shouldn't be taught that dishonesty is ok.  
Avatar universal
Let me reflect on this from a been there done that standpoint ...My ex-husband and I divorced when our son together was only 5.  For financial reasons, he had custody of him.  My ex-husband, from day 1, gave into any and everything my son asked of him.  Up until just one year ago, he was even cutting his steak for him at the dinner table.  Anything he ever asked for, he was given.  Money was never and object, he never had to do chores or EARN anytyhing that he had. He does not know the value of money or what it is like to work.

2 years ago, my ex remarried and had a second chiold.  My ex then all of a sudden decided that it was time for my son to grow up, overnight.  Well, that doesn't happen when you have babied and coddled him for years.  My son then began to rebel, running around with the wrong crowd, doing drugs, and 4 months before he was to graduate (an A/B student) he ran away from home and dropped out of high school.  He moved in with a felon who has a major drug addiction.   He is now almost 18, on his own, struggling every day.  He has had 3 jobs, all of which have lasted 1-2 days because he doesn't want to stop partying or have anyone tell him what to do. He has no car, no money and is on food stamps from the government.

You might ask, where was I during all of this?  My husband and I have nearly driven ourselves crazy trying to help him.  But we have made it clear we will not help someone who has no desire to help himself.  There are guidelines and rules set that he has to follow.  He informed that that those rules are bogus and I should just do whatever he asks of me.  I have made numerous attempts to bring him home with me.  He wants nothing to do with me or my family because we have rules and he knows that I would NEVER stand for or agree with ANY of the things that happened at his fathers home or what he is currently doing.

  Now, I am not saying that this is what is going to happen to your son.  But I am telling you that giving him whatever he wants, handling HIS responsibilties for him, bailing him out of problems or trouble that he gets himself into...you are doing a great disservice to him and delaying adulthood.  Take it from a mom who feels she lost her son.  You don't want to continue down this path.
Avatar universal
No matter what the background is (step-Mom, biological Mom), I see this as a very IMPORTANT problem.  This Boy is not being taught responsibility.  He's not being held accountable for His WrongDoings (stealing) and His  ShortComings (homework).  This is not a child, He's "almost" a man at 16 and no one is going to have control over Him then!!  (once He's 18!!)  If He continues in this way, at that point, no-one is going to cover for Him either (Dad).  If He hasn't paid consequences for stealing He could go to jail!!  Your best chance would be to convince Dad (and that doesn't look likely).  Has this ALWAYS been the case?  Has Dad ALWAYA "rescued" Him?  I know a Woman who has done this for Her Son - fought all His Battles, excused all His behaviors  (which have been MANY, and which have been EXTREME), paid His way in and out of EVERYTHING.  He's been married FOUR times - She has bailed Him out each and every time - costing Her a TON of money!!.  Today He lives with His Mom (in HER home!!).  She is 92 years old and He is 70.  NOTHING has changed in all these years!!  At age 92 there are no guarantees for a longer life - I don't know what He is going to do without His Mother.  He has NEVER been taught/shown Responsibility or Accountability!!  Your Son could be headed in this direction if His Father doesn't make some changes.  I hope it's not too late to change the Son's direction.

I wish You the utmost luck!!
1962649 tn?1332444851
you got a lot of good advice. i say read some parenting books and get into therapy. doing a kid's homework for him and letting him steal with no consequences means trouble for everyone...especially your son. he will end up in jail one with values like that!
Avatar universal
Thank you.  Its nice to hear that what I am feeling is legit.  I have started telling my son that when he graduates he is joining the military.  I told him to start looking into which one he wants and that this is not an option, its a DO IT.  He has no choice.  My husband has not said anything about once he graduates he can do whatever he wants and I hope he doesn't.  I think at this point military is the only thing that is going to help him.
Again thank you.
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
I really hope that he surprises you. :>)  Some kids that struggle turn out to be fantatic adults.  I hope he finds his way and I hope your husband and you do as well.  Peace
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