my goals: to be consistent, present & respected.... and STOP enabling DS10!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-1999
my goals: to be consistent, present & respected.... and STOP enabling DS10!
Sun, 09-30-2012 - 12:06pm

I need as much help and guidance as I can get.....

Ok, things are still pretty crappy at my house. I have come to accept that I am a HUGE part of the problem and need to fix it. I have made excuses and reasoned with my husband for 8 years. I've said "I'll try" or "I'll change" so many times it doesn't matter anymore. He doesn't believe me because I don't follow through. I don't blame him for being as frustrated with me as he is. The problem is, I just hope it's not too late.

I have enabled DS10 for too long and I don't know how to fix it. DS5 is starting to exhibit the same behaviors and disrespect me to my face. I have been in therapy and asked for help parenting. DS10 has mood disorder and many different services involved and I've begged them for help too. Even DS10's therapist I've begged for help in changing the dynamic of my relationship with him. And all I've gotten is nothing. So instead I spin my own wheels driving myself in circles all the while driving a wedge between me and DH. I WANT the same things and have the same goals as DH but have no idea how to get there. For whatever reason I don't stick with anything and always take the easy way out. I give up and throw in the towel. Now look where I am...

Things have been very tense the last 3 weeks. DH has been giving a "tough love" approach of distance to DS10 to let him know he is very unapproving of DS10's lack of respect for me. And that's what it all comes down to. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Not talking back or down to me. Not ignoring me. No sass or eye-rolling. DH has only one big expectation of these kids and that is they respect me as their mother and respect wormen in general. (You know mother's are the prime example of how a kid will treat other women later.) I have actually printed out worksheets and role playing exercises to go over with DS10 (and DS5 too) that teach respect. We're going to have a little "respect bootcamp" each night. I am that determined to change. I WANT to make things better.

Go figure.... we take a family ride this morning and as usual, I am so not tuned into what's going on in the car I don't realize DS5 is breaking a car rule & being loud. (In my ADHD defense-here I go excusing-it was raining realy loud on the roof of the car, DS5 was talking, DH was on the phone and I was checking my email. WAY too much going on in my head to pay attention.) DH couldn't believe that I couldn't even be present enough to realize that since he was on the phone, maybe I could step up to the plate a little bit and get the kid to quiet down. But instead I dropped the ball.... again. Nothing I said mattered. DH was bull$hit.

I then tried to make up for it so I turned off my phone and whenever DS5 raised his voice I told him to be quet. DH laughed at me asnd said "why would he listen to you? they never do. you never teach them to respect you. they don't fear you..." I felt AWFUL!! DH is right. Why now? What's different this time?

The more DS5 acted up the more I tried to regain control. DS5 literally & figuratively laughed in my face. I told him if he didn't stop mouthing off he'd go to bed 5 minutes early. Then another 5 minutes... and another. We got to 20 minutes and DS5 was only getting louder and sassier. I turned around in the car to give an "I mean business" look and DS5 laughed and sneered. I have officially been defeated. I have failed as the parent I want to be. And I have no idea how to regain control.

I don't know what to do. Right now DH took DS5 out for a ride to get away from me and left me & DS10 home together since "we" created this problem. It's been 8 years of trial and error, trial and error, failed attempt after failed attempt. All the while DH has no problem being present, consistent and getting respect. He asks either boy to do something and they jump right away.

I am so desperate... I have called a battered women's place to work on therapy to heal my past traumas and the past pain from being hit by DS10 when he was younger. I know I enable out of fear. So I need to get past that. I have also just called a DMH crisis line to beg for help. I don't want to live like this. I want control of my home...

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999

I do feel bad for you.  Are you still in therapy?  I think you need some backup to help you.  I also get the feeling that your DH doesn't actually respect you either, even though he SAYS that he wants your sons to respect you--they model the behavior that their father does.  If you were telling DS5 to quiet down and then in the car, in front of him, dad says "why would he listen to you?" doesn't he realize that reinforces DS5 in NOT listening to you?  And by the way, kids do NOT have to fear you to respect you.  I'm sure my kids (DD23 and DS 17) do not fear me at all--I am by some standards kind of lenient, don't overly punish, etc. but my kids respect me.  At some point if you have sons, they are probably going to be bigger than you are, as a woman, so you need to develop in them a sense of respect and obedience to what you say that is not dependent on fear.  (I'm 5'1".)  And you can't be one of those "wait til your father gets home" moms--I am also divorced so I couldn't reort to that.  I do think you have to be serious and if you threaten to punish on something, you have to follow through.  That's why I don't believe in extreme punishments.  Better to say you have to go to your room for an hour & do it than say you're grounded for the weekend and not be able to handle it & give in.  I also totally disagree w/ your DH's "distance" approach to punishment.  If he doesn't like something that your kids are doing, he can punish them by taking away a privilege, making them do an extra chore, etc. but they should always know that no matter how bad they are behaving, you (both) still love them.  I can see a parent needing a "time out" away from the kids if they feel they are going to lose their temper & say something wrong, but not to keep it up for days.  That actually seems childish to me.  I also assume that since you said you were checking email, dad was on the phone & driving at the same time--kind of dangerous, and it also means that he wasn't paying attention to his kids eitehr.  So both parents are in the car totally ignoring their kids--maybe DS 5 was being "loud" cause he just wanted someone to pay attention to him--bad attention is sometimes better than no attention.  So he keeps pushing your buttons.  How about trying to engage him in conversation or some kind of game?

It sounds like you could all use some family therapy here to work on these dynamics--it can't all be just your problem.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Welcome to the board! Musiclover gav you some great advice! I have to agree about DH, by making the comment about the kids not listening to you, he is only reinforcing what they are doing, if it was important that they respect you, he would have backed you up right away when DS5 wasn't listening to you. My DH doesn't always agree with my ways, and I have trouble with my litlte ones at times also listening and doing as I asked, and he may question or offer suggestions to me on how to make things better, but never in front of the kids, he will wait til later and do it privately. But when I am in the moment and they are not listening to me, he comes in and backs me up and makes sure they are listening and doing as I ask. As for punishments, at 5, I think delaying a punishment such as 5 minutes earlier to bed, is too far away punishment wise, it needs to be more instant for them to get the point across. But I think the other suggestion of engaging him in talk or activity in the car to keep him quiet would work better, it does sound like he was looking for attention. Hugs, I hope that things will get better, I think family therapy is the way to go, its not just your problem, its a family problem that needs to be worked on by all, you can only do so much on your own, regardless of your intentions.