As if it is not bad enough that you have been betrayed and unappreciated by the person who is supposed to co parent the children with you, but inevitably, at one time or another, at least one of your children will act as disrespectful to you as their other parent has always been. We all want to love our children, more than life itself. We all want to be good role models and not stoop to the level of the other parent. No matter how good we try to be, there are going to be bad days. No one is perfect all the time and if you think you know someone who is, well, let me tell you, you have no idea the person they are underneath the persona they allow the public to see.
We scrimp, we save, we do without so that our children can have things. Kids of today get to have Mom’s house and Dad’s house. While some would say that is a good thing, I disagree. I think having Mom’s house and Dad’s house gives kids a way to play the parents against each other and leave them with confusion, shame and guilt about whose house is really “home”. Courts can decide percentages of time each parent gets with the kids, but that percentage is just a number on a paper. It is not real. It means nothing. It is rare for both parents to be giving of their love, time and energy equally. Truth be told, one parent is the “heavy”. That parent does all the heavy lifting and that parent knows their child and who the child is deep inside. It can be mommy or daddy, it depends on the family. Sometimes it is neither mommy nor daddy, but Grandpa, Grandma, an Auntie or Uncle. There are no rules as to who sacrifices the most for this child.
Unfortunately, with a child who is the product of a divorce, two household family, they do not have to learn conflict management or coping skills. Nope. If one parent is too hard on the child and expects them to be respectful and help out around the house (I know, the horror of it, right?), when they get old enough, little Tommy or Tammy can decide to go to the other house and punish one parent. If yours is a case where the other parent is still as vindictive a parent now that Tommy or Tammy are teenaged as they were when the child was 4 years old, the child will get sucked into being disrespectful, unappreciative and hostile to you as your ex. What a nasty situation.
When that child reveals themselves to be a mini version of your ex, how can you keep reminding yourself that this is your child and you are supposed to love them? We can forgive them for their behavior, because they are young and their front brain has not developed yet, but we don’t have to forget. Ever. If your child is going to betray you once, they will do so twice, most likely. Why open yourself up to more hurt?
If possible, talk to that child. Explain how they are making you feel. Don’t apologize for what you needed to do as a parent, if you were strict, but let them know that you are not willing to be disrespected or used. Allow them to go and make their mistakes in life, but tell them that you do not have to support them in things you think won’t be good for them in the end. Be ready, willing and able to be there for them when the front brain develops and they need you and realize they made bad choices. Remember that we experience personal growth by making it past our mistakes and seeing how important certain people are to us.
If they treat you badly now, for whatever reason, they will probably come back to you and later apologize.