Over the last few days DH and I have been talking about changes we can make together to improve the atmosphere at home as well as DS10's behavior. We are going to make a behavior chart for DS10 in the format of calendar so he can actually watch his progress, not just check off daily markers. (There are only 3 behaviors that need to be worked on too..... 1. Be Polite to Mom ie. no backtalk or rude behavior, 2. Use Manners, 3. No hurting people/things.) Nothing difficult and very simple, bottom line core expectations.
I did have a moment of weakness yesterday when I told DS10 to take a shower and he said DH had told him to do homework first. Instead of just going with my gut & reinforce taking the shower, I went to check with DH first to see if he had told him to do that (my routine is shower first, homework after). DH looked at me funny and asked why I had to ask that? That doing that shows DS10 that I am not equal and what I say doesn't go but what DH says does. I knew he was right... I should have just gone with my gut because we both wanted the same thing, just in a different order. (At least DH wasn't an ass about it this time... I think he understood that me being off balance is throwing my game off too.) So I went back quickly,told DS10 to take his shower first, the do homework and there were no issues. The rest of the evening went great. I felt confident & focused and was able to stay that way all night. It felt good!
Ok, here's the catch. DH and I have both talked to my exH & explained what we want for changes in behavior from DS10. He says he's on the same page and agrees. Good, right? One of the things is DS10 acts like a very entitled (I know a lot of kids do). He rubs it in my face all the time that exH is able to buy him this, that and everything else while I am struggling to put food on the table. That exH takes him on trips (cruises, Disney, etc) and I am lucky if I get a free museum pass! Not only does he use it with/against his parents but he throws things in his brother's face all the time. We (DH & I) have told DS10 how "lucky" he is to have two homes with 4 loving parents whenever he is feeling down about having a split family. We try to make it a positive for him. But then he goes and rubs it in DS5's face. (I know he's a kid & it's a coping strategy to make himself feel better, but it's also braggadocious.) Even my exH has agreed that DS10 has a spoiled brat attitude which none of us like.
Since we're trying to make these changes, DH and I agreed that we don't think DS10 should be able to (ie. he feels it's his right or obligation) to have two of everything all the time. We try to help him feel like everyone else & like his brother DS5 (he complains about being treated differently). Fine, we can do this. I understand bothy my ex and I are going to have birthday celebrations and give holiday gifts and whatnot. But does that mean he is entitled to go trick-or-treating twice a year, every year? Knowing that his brother (and most other kids) don't get that opportunity? DH and I don't think he should. Under most circumstances (from what I know) if you're gonna go out it's either with mom or dad; there's not an option of doing it multiple times on different days. In this case, where I live in our town we do it on Halloween night. Where exH lives the town always do it the weekend before or after on a scheduled date. So DS10 goes twice, gets overfilled on candy (which also usually ends up back at my house cuz he lives here primarily) and he brags about it all. This has gone on for 5 years.
I asked exH last weekend if they did trick or treating and he said not. So on Halloween DH and I had no problem taking the boys out together. However, my exH called last night and told DS10 that they are having trick or treat this weekend and to bring up his costume. Greeeeaaattttt.... so do I argue with DH or argue with exH and DS10? I had already told DH that there was none last weekend and so we felt comfortable with our decision. Now I have exH who calls me & says he doesn't think that's fair to not allow him to do it twice since he's technically able to do so. Gee, thanks. That's not helping enforce what we're trying to do. And I can't say anything to DS10 in front of him cuz I don't want him to see all 3 (or 4) of us parents arguing about something as stupid as candy!! It would show we're all not agreeing when we say we are all on the same page. I don't want to argue with DH, especially since this is kinda out of my control. (Or is it?) I don't want to tell DS10 he can't go to his dad's house since that's not fair. I feel like I'm cowarding to exH again instead of standing my ground and saying I don't think he should do it. Why the hell am I so scared? It's almost like I'm afraid if I do that exH will use it against me to take DS10 from me. Am I being crazy? Why the heck can't I think straight for myself? I am dreading dropping DS10 off tonight because I know this costume/trick or treat issue will come up and I feel like I'll be caught in the middle. I can already see it now.... DH asking why I packed it and/or exH demanding why I didn't if I don't? aaaauuuurrrrrgggghhhhhh!!!!!! Help?