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Need advice...visitation, possible mental abuse, Aspergers...What should I do?

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DS is 15 and diagnosed with Aspergers. He's been in therapy about 4yrs and while he's been working on learning acceptable social behaviors, I've been working on understanding how his brain's wired. Some days I think I've figured it out but I can't figure out how he processes things emotionally-things that would really upset most people (or at least me) don't seem to faze him, unless he's internalizing everything which really freaks me out because that what I do a lot and I'm pretty sure that helped contribute to my depression.

His father and I divorced when he was 3 and he's lived with me but visits there frequently (Tues and Thurs afternoons and spends the night every other weekend). I've asked his father to go with him to therapy numerous times to try to understand DS but he always had an excuse to I quit asking. I see his treatment of DS as neglectful, possibly emotionally abusive but don't know if I'm overreacting because I'm his mom and his father isn't doing what I think he should or if his behavior could really be considered abusive. And I have no clue what to do.

He expects A/B from DS and while I think he's capable, I can understand why it didn't happen last semester. He had very difficult classes: Academic Earth Science, Honors Geometry, and Spanish. He passed everything with an 89, 84, and 77 respectively (Spanish went from a 68 to 77 in 5 weeks when I took him to a tutor). This year was the first year he was on swim team, something he LOVES! And his dad kept threatening that he wouldn't be allowed to swim if his grades weren't up. They have a mandatory grade requirement for participation but his dad's requirement was higher.

Tuesday was his last swim practice before Conference meet yesterday. If they're late or don't show, they can't swim in the next meet. DS was committed to the team. it's the first time he committed to ANYTHING other than video games! At 405 he texted and asked if I would tell his dad to take him to practice (his dad knew it was at 430 and told him the night before he would take/pick up since it was "his day"). I called, very angry, and told him he needed to take him right then! His dad was angry that DS told me they hadn't left yet and told him "don't tell you mom what happens here or it will make things worse for you" I perceive that as a threat and don't know what he plans to do to make things "worse".

DS was barely on time but I had already left the coach a vm so she would know what was going on and she told DS he was ok and would still swim. His dad didn't come to the meet, and didn't even ask how he did but did tell him he needed to apologize for "disrespecting" him by telling me he hadn't taken him to practice and w hen DS said he disrespected him too, he said "you're my son, I didn't disrespect you. I told you to do you homework until I was ready to take you". DS's stepsisters aren't required or expected to finish all homework before practice/games nor are they told to "wait until I'm ready to take you". Usually DS's father is coaching their sports, which began 4yrs ago he told me he couldn't help with DS with basketball because work was busy. And when DS told him he's coming here today instead of going there he said "no you're not. it's my day".

This wasn't' an isolated incident. His father always plays the "my day" card when DS has something else to do but has no problem giving up his day when he has something to do with/for his stepdaughters. Our custody agreement isn't even legal! It's filed with the divorce but not signed by a judge and he doesn't care that DS is 15 and developing his own mind so he should be given a chance to express what HE wants. He obviously treats DS differently and I think DS has to see that on some level. I'm just not sure what level or if Aspergers really is like a defense mechanism that shields him from the rejections that would really upset others. I know it's still his father and no matter how bad he treats him, DS will still love him. But, I'm honestly worried how his dad's behavior is affecting his mental health.

DS is supposed to go there this weekend and I really don't want him to. Since his dad was already mad that he was "disrespected" because DS asked me to tell his dad to take him to practice, he's probably going to be fuming when DS rides the bus here after school instead of there. This is the first time DS has chosen not to go to his dad's and I don't think it was an easy decision for him to make so I'm pretty sure he won't decide not to go this weekend, also. I don't think DS should be punished for anything because he did absolutely nothing wrong and I DO NOT think ANY child should be encouraged or specifically told to keep anything from anyone, especially their parent and be threatened that things would be "made worse" if they do tell.

I don't know what to do! My instinct tells me to call his dad and cuss him out but I know that wouldn't fix anything and would make things worse for DS since he "told me" what he's dad has said. But, I also want to CPS and file a report of emotional abuse because, to me, that's what his dad's doing. I'm just not sure if anyone else will see it like that. I feel if I say anything at all, DS will suffer the consequences of his dad's anger, but if I keep quiet things will never change. :(

by on Jan. 31, 2013 at 11:03 AM
Replies (41-41):
by on Feb. 5, 2013 at 2:07 PM

 I'm really trying! :) I did tell him that I wished he wouldn't go to his dad's once but soon realized I should've never said that. I think (hope) he knows that I support his decision to see his father, whatever that may be. Last night I told him he needed to talk to his dad before going back over there instead of just riding the bus there one afternoon and pretending nothing happened. His dad needs to hear how he feels. He may not agree with, or believe he should feel how he feels but that's his father's problem! The only thing I'm not budging on is not allowing him to go if he has things to do for school on a day he would normally go to his fathers. From this point forward, he CANNOT go there if fhe has any extra-curricular activities because I can't trust his dad to do what he needs to do and I told him it's not fair for me or his grandmother to be "on call" incase his dad drops the ball at the last minute and says he can't do what he's supposed to. I told him whenever he's ready to go back, that's ok with me as long as he wants to go and he's not going just because his dad says he has to go.

I really hope his dad is using this time to do some soul searching and realizes he's not as blameless as he's acting! I think they could have a great relationship because DS is extremely forgiving and could most likely completely put this behind him and move forward but even the most forgiving person can't forgive, much less forget, if the behavior continues. I guess time will tell...


Quoting dawncs:

 Trust me. I have been there. Done that, and I have the souvineer tshirt to show for it with my own father. My father has similiar qualities to your ex husband when it comes to step kids. I became alienated from him during my teenage years due to his second marriage. Things are somewhat better now between us during his fourth marriage. It might not happen between him and your son based on what has happened during the past four or five years. However, you should support your son with how he handles his relationship with his father because it is between the two of you. There is not much else I can suggest other than that right now that I can think of.


Quoting 828momof2:

 We're in North Carolina and there's no set age where a child's wants carry significant weight in court, at least none I can find. :( He can definitely tell the judge what he wants, which is to live here and visit his father but how much he wants to visit is unknown.

I agree it's a form of mental abuse and think DS's Aspergers makes it worse because he may not have perceived what his dad said as a threat but I sure did! Teens his age who don't have problems picking up on verbal and nonverbal communication would be able to see exactly what his dad's doing! But, DS doesn't get the subtle threats and emotional blackmail his dad's doing. :( Just this morning, after being quiet ALL weekend, his dad sent a text saying it "hurt him" that DS didn't call last weekend. What about all the times he hurt DS by chosing to do things with his stepsisters instead of him, punishing him for having a healthy, open relationship with me, and not respecting his need for some cooling off time?

Kids hurt their parents! I think it's in their genes. I know my parents didn't like everything I did/said but they never made me feel like crap because of it. But parents are NOT supposed to continously hurt their children, especially emotionally! His dad hasn't learned anything in the past week! It's no longer me telling him his behavior is messed up, his son has stood firm and shown him he doesn't deserve to be treated like he is and he is STILL doing it!

I'm almost positive if his dad came here to get DS and I called the cops to make him leave, they wouldn't require DS to leave with him if he didn't want to. But, if/when the time comes that DS does want to see his dad, I'm not sure what, if anything the cops would do to assist me in taking DS from his fathers house if he wanted to leave but his dad tried to keep him there. :(

The school knows what's been going on and he's talking to the counselor right now. I wish his dad would just swallow his pride or whatever he has and give DS the time he needs to deal with his bs even if it "hurts him". He's been hurting DS for about 4-5yrs.


Quoting toshainco15:

I am assuming that you live in Colorado. Colorado puts a lot of weight on what a child wants after the age of 12 with regards to visitation. It is a form of mental abuse and it is not okay to threaten to make your life worse, it is also a form on abuse to not be able to talk about what goes on at the other parents house. If their is nothing to hide why would you care. I would tell his father if he can not keep his obligations that he will not go to his house on those days, since their is no set orders in regard to visitation their is really nothing that he could do. He can take you to court and then the childs wishes will be taken into consideration. He can call the police and try and get them to have your child go with him but without a formal court order and signature the police have nothing to enforce.


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