Monday, September 23, 2013

Grumpy Kid and the DN

I am going to rename my children (for the sake of this blog, at least). They are now, from youngest to oldest: Miss Artist, Lego Warrior, and Grumpy Kid.

So, here is Grumpy Kid.

Grumpy Kid is not amused

Grumpy Kid gets mad when it is time to turn off his game on the xbox or tablet. Grumpy Kid gets mad at dessert limitations, when it's time to brush teeth instead of having one more mug of tea, when it's time to do that written report for school after procrastinating for two weeks.

Grumpy kid is also wicked smart, great at math, pretty good at debate, and an avid reader (of mostly comic books right now.)

Look! Grumpy Kid not being grumpy!

Grumpy Kid overthinks things, and can set his mind on an answer before trying to find things out. And, sometimes, he says things without thinking them through.

Example: Yesterday, driving the kids to their dad's house. Grumpy and I are talking about a disagreement that we had, the good and the bad parts of the day. Grumpy tells me that (paraphrasing here), "I'm sorry, Mom, but Dad says that you only give us treats to bribe us into liking you better, and I agree with him."

(my first internal response: I want to stab my ex)
(second response: want to defend, defend)
(third response: oh, that stings...)

But what I say is, "Honey, it's not a competition. Neither parent is better than the other. You don't have to choose."

(And then, after dropping the kids off, I cried. And cursed my ex. And cried some more. It took a little while to get over it, to get past the me-hurting feelings and on to the 'think from the kids' perspective' mode.)

I understand where he is coming from, at least I think I do. This kid idolizes his dad, and he wants to believe everything his dad says. He wants for his dad's opinions to be his own. (whether or not they are good opinions).

And I don't want to get in the way of that - except, perhaps, where his dad is being a douchenugget.

So, what is the 'Right' thing to do here? Should I be battling with my ex through our eldest child?

I don't know. I'm still trying to figure this out. And I'm waiting, earnestly, for the moment when my ex decides to grow the hell up.


  1. That is very heartbreaking. And so toxic! WTF is he thinking when he says these things? They do as much damage to the kids as they do when they hit their final destination (you).

    It makes me try to remember back to when we were the kids in the situation and how toxic our parents were to each other. I remember one being particularly nasty about making negative comments about the other as well as the rest of their family. The thing is, I remember the connotations with those comments (even if I don't remember them specifically) and usually it didn't side me against the other parent. Instead, I found myself defending that other parent (and their extended family) whether it was verbally or just in my head.

    In the end, I think all of the negativity dropped that parent in my subconscious just a bit, and still affects my thinking toward them to this day.

    The other parent, who remained as neutral with the comments as possible, has maintained my respect in that aspect.

    I do wish that I had spoken up and asked the aggressive parent to stop the negative comments or at least keep them out of our earshot since it did no good to anyone. But how were we supposed to stand up to our own parent and talk them down? Most kids don't have that level of certainty at that age.

    I think your reply to Grumpy was very decent. It should promote thought and contemplation rather than trying to pit him back against the other parent, which wouldn't work anyway.

    Having a tiny sense of how you must have felt when hearing those comments makes me want to cry as well. However, I think you would rather know what's going on in Grumpy's head. That he has voiced it to you I think shows he is questioning it somewhat. He may have said it to get at you during your disagreement, but he is doing it possibly more to gauge your reaction.

  2. Thank you.

    I think of our parents as well, and how I felt and reacted when hearing one complain about the other. And it still affects me, too, in how I think about that parent.

    I try to answer my kids neutrally. I don't want to be 'that parent' that bad talks about the other parent. I want my kids to come to their own conclusions, to be given the opportunity to make their own observations.

    And I so appreciate that GK is talking to me. His Dad often tells him, "Don't tell Mom', or, 'It's a Secret'. I tell him that there should be NO secrets, that he should be able to tell me *anything*, and that I will tell him anything, he need only ask. I hope this will keep the communication flowing.