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Child show traits of ex

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Bluebird26 posted 5/10/2014 02:40 AM

What do you do when your child shows some of the ugly traits of your xws?

I realise genetics takes a role in this, but starting to see some of the ugly traits my ex has in our children. Selfishness is one of them. Expecting people to be their slaves is another. They don't want to help people or be kind either, they have even all the sudden stopped using manners without me having to remind them constantly. It worries me.

Think I am just exhausted but really worried about this (sick with the flu and Mother's day is a day I struggle with.

My youngest DS is starting to exhibit these horrible traits, how do you stop it.

In fact he told me it was 'my job to do his washing' this was just the end of a whole conversation about asking him to help more. I am just floored by this comment, I don't want my children to grow up like my ex.

nolight posted 5/10/2014 04:41 AM

I say this as gently as possible but please be careful of where this thought process may lead you. My mother saw traits of my father in me and whether she meant to or otherwise emotionally rejected me and made me feel ashamed of who I was when in reality it was just normal kid behaviour.

Your children will understandably act out as they come to terms with your divorce, this doesn't mean that they are taking on your ex's personality, they're just kids trying to make sense of an adult world.

Bluebird26 posted 5/10/2014 05:00 AM

No this is about them thinking this behaviour is acceptable when it's not.

monarchwings posted 5/10/2014 05:14 AM

First I am sorry you are sick and that mother's day is tough for you. It's difficult to feel strong when we are exhausted and sick.

I wouldnt automatically assume he will become his Dad for that comment alone. What I do think is that children test boundaries. They dont want to do something and try to push it back on us. My kids have said stuff like that. I try and keep a consistent message of we all live in this house and work together. I am teaching you to go out into the world to be a productive person. Be consistent and rasie them to cook and clean. Raising children is a tough job. Give them a chore list tied to screen time or whatever his thing is. Easier said than done.

What makes me is having to raise my voice to get them to respond. I just got on my daughter's (12) case at 6:00 am on Monday morning because her room wasnt cleaned from when I asked the night before. Ther was food everywhere. She doesnt get up until 7:00. So she lost her phone and had her mom mad at her. Well she was asked nicely and chose not to respond to nice. I still hate it and it makes me feel like shit.

Hang in there mom. I hope you feel better soon.

renee21 posted 5/10/2014 06:07 AM

That's a hard one. Sometimes its just a kid being a kid testing boundaries and its not crazy that it would remind you of a WS behaving badly because they act like selfish children.

On the other hand, it can be that they have picked up certain things from the WS. I am dealing with that myself with my 18 year old son. In a lot of ways he is his father's mini me. My son is incredibly selfish, he doesn't care 90% of the time if he hurts me or his siblings. Some of what my son does is acting out from the hurt he has from the things his dad has put him through and I believe some of it is genetic.

We do have to be careful not to look at them the same we do our ex. But it is okay to call them out on bad behavior and to let them know its not okay even if they see their wayward parent do it.

I feel your frustration, hang in there.

tesla posted 5/10/2014 07:11 AM

Kids can be selfish at times...they are egocentric. If he's a teenager or going through puberty...that shit can ramp up.

Maybe he is showing personality similarities to his dad. But the important thing is that he's NOT his dad. There are plenty of things you can do to help him develop an empathetic reaction.

Teslet has some dispositions that seem to mirror his dad...that I cannot control. What I can control is the environment when he is with me and (most of important of all) my reactions to those things I feel are similar to ex-shat. Just remember, a kid is made up of lots of different traits. Don't let the traits that remind you of his dad start coloring your perception of your son.

Jesss posted 5/10/2014 10:44 AM

I think the OP is just asking on ways to stop our children from acting like our exes. She's not saying she's going to start hating, or treating her child differently or think different of him, it is just scary to see these traits, that make our exes so terrible, in our children. So I think she's asking, after seeing a parent act this way, how can we make sure our children dont think that behaviours is Ok and don't turn out like them?

gonnabe2016 posted 5/10/2014 11:29 AM

****My youngest DS is starting to exhibit these horrible traits, how do you stop it.****

^^^Rock solid boundaries and consequences.

Secrets Kept posted 5/10/2014 11:38 AM

I have to chime in here cuz I SO understand.

First, the thinking everyone is their slave, not using manners, being selfish, etc.

That is all in your control. You come out being the "bad guy" & it is exhausting but you just have to stick to your guns & show them the way. (repeatedly) When they complain about a chore, give them another one & when they continue complaining, another, & so on.

Take the cords to Xboxs, TV's, etc. (this works wonders when you take away their "world" & be consistant with it)

Or you can use the guilt trip....."oh, OK, I see now what kind of a son you are. You would rather just sit on your tush & watch your Mom do everything even though I worked all day, cooked your dinner, etc." (only worked with my oldest son though) Or quit doing the washing for them & when they complain, just say, "I was tired too & it wasn't my laundry so why should I have bothered? You don't help me out much."

I used to have to open the front door from their returns on weekends with XWH & would immediately remind my second son that he was now home & I expected him to act appropriately as he was a hellion at his father's & dad let him get away with it. So I was constantly the mean one.

Where my concern is now that my second child is 23 years old is the genetic part of it all.

Genes truly do carry through on some weird stuff, people. For instance, my 12 year old daughter is just like her father (my 2nd H) in she hates chocolate, cake, has his same temperament, etc. (I mean who the hell hates chocolate??) But she is like him in those ways so much, it is scary.

My 23 year old is just like his father with mental things. (insecurity, always having to have a girl in his life, cannot admit he is wrong no matter if he was standing over a dead body with the smoking gun in his hand & covered in blood, it would still be "I didn't do it", and on & on & on & on.)

Those worry me & I still do the best I can by making sure he is taking his AD's & that type of thing. But all in all, he is a good young man & does admit he now sees what a brat he was & how wrong it was & apologizes. The BIG difference between myself & my XMIL is that I hold him accountable & do not pay his way, make him stand on his own 2 feet & basically learn how to be a man.

So take it easier on yourself. D/S is hard & I think kids act out or at least act differently when they are with each parent.

Stand your ground, keep at it & your ways, morals, values & all that good stuff will be imbedded in their minds later in life & they will see then.

Hugs to you though. It is so damn hard on top of dealing with all the other b.s. that goes with D/S & basically being a single parent. If only they could all just be the model, perfect children......Nah....maybe not!!!

[This message edited by Secrets Kept at 11:42 AM, May 10th (Saturday)]

persevere posted 5/10/2014 11:51 AM

My son is like his father in so many ways, good and bad, and we've been divorced since my 19 yr old DS was 2 yrs old. My way to address the areas of concern? Expectations and what gonnabe said:

Rock solid boundaries and consequences.
or at least my best effort in that direction.

Personality traits are certainly a factor in who we are, but so are habits and expectations that have been instilled in us over the years. Your XWH got some of those traits by how he was raised - you don't have to raise your children the same way.

Gemini71 posted 5/10/2014 13:13 PM

Ditto the Rock solid boundaries and consequences. Don't forget that environment and self determination also make up a large portion of who we are, not just genetics.

I don't know how old your kids are, but at some ages it is natural and healthy to push boundaries and test limits. It is so hard not to take it personally. And if you are going through a rough time (i.e. suddenly single parenting, emotionally devastated by infidelity, stressed by a pending divorce) kids can walk all over you. In some ways, I've had it easy. The kids and I moved in with my parents shortly after the Separation so I have two auxiliary parents to back me up. It's actually easier now that I don't have my 'fourth kid' constantly undermining me.

In an effort to make blending households easier, we listed out the house rules, expectations, and consequences. It was the best thing I ever did for my kids. We listed not just the kids' chores, but the adults' responsibilities as well. My DS8 loves having clear expectations, and my DD17 only rolls her eyes a little at her chores because she can see how much the rest of us do to 'help the family.' The kids got some input into which chores they preferred, which helped with the whining factor. It may or may not be your "job to do his washing." But it is definitely not your job to be your DS's slave. I should make a sign that says, "It is expected that everyone in the family helps out."

Good luck. I hope you find a system that will work for you.

Bluebird26 posted 5/10/2014 17:57 PM

I think the OP is just asking on ways to stop our children from acting like our exes. She's not saying she's going to start hating, or treating her child differently or think different of him, it is just scary to see these traits, that make our exes so terrible, in our children. So I think she's asking, after seeing a parent act this way, how can we make sure our children dont think that behaviours is Ok and don't turn out like them?

Thank you Jess. That is exactly it. I don't hate my kids, I am not going to start hating them either.

My kids have rock solid boundaries already, I am the 'mean' parent always have been because I run my house like a boot camp. The consequences at the ex is go home to your mother which frequently happens it's exhausting.

The exchange with my youngest DS was the end of a 3 hour stand off and he has lost everything from his room except his bed and clothes and has to earn each piece back. He also ran away, I had to go in the car to get him back home again and spewed such venom at me with the things he was saying.

The comment about the washing bugs me more because he thinks it's a woman's job more then expecting me to do it. I don't want my children to be chauvinistic pigs like their father. They are constantly reminded that these are skills they will need when they are adults.

It's exhausting this single parenting shit.

Kajem posted 5/11/2014 11:54 AM

You don't say how old your son is.

The hardest thing for me to figure out when my kids acted up:
1) Was this divorce pain related?
2) was this typical (teen)age behavior?
3) Was this parental alienation behavior?
4) Is this something bigger than I can handle right now?

I found asking myself those questions helped me ALOT in how I established my boundaries, and just how hard they were enforced.

Hope it helps.

ps most behaviors fell into the first 2 instances.

NaiveAgain posted 5/11/2014 21:47 PM

When they complain about a chore, give them another one & when they continue complaining, another, & so on.
That works well for me. Also, grounding, no internet, no phone, no friends.

Also, for selfishness and entitlement, volunteering does wonders. Every community has different volunteer situations and some are ongoing and some are a one-time thing.

After the wash comment, I would make sure you NEVER do his wash again (well, depends on kids started doing their own wash around the age of 11 or 12.) Also, if you think he is getting chauvinistic about the chores, make sure he does the dishes and cooks from time to time. If he is very young, he can help fold laundry and clean up after supper.

Running a household takes everyone to do their fair share. Make sure he is doing his, and he needs to learn how to sew, iron, cook, etc. Honestly, you don't want him getting married for the wrong reasons anyway.

PhantomLimb posted 5/12/2014 10:07 AM

Do you mind if I ask if he is getting these ideas about women from your X?

By that, I mean, could he be telling him these things? It already sounds like maybe he modeled them when you were together...

[This message edited by PhantomLimb at 10:08 AM, May 12th (Monday)]

solus sto posted 5/12/2014 11:43 AM

What I try to remember when I see glimpses of Trac-Fone in my kids' behavior is that, really, the reverse is true: he routinely demonstrates childish and adolescent behaviors. Which, in fact, are normal developmental behaviors that children and adolescents go through, work through, and grow and mature through.

The kids are doing that. To be certain, they need guidance and direction to do so.

Their father is not.

So I try to refrain from seeing his bad attributes in them. They're still works in progress. And even so, they are light years ahead of their father in maturity and love and goodness.

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