I'm new to this group so I'll share some background. I divorced my ex of 14ish years after learning not only was he cheating on me with a woman he found on Craigslist the last couple of months but he had also been having affairs behind my back the duration of our marriage, having slept with at least 11 other women (that he could remember.) How I never noticed this was ever going on I can only chalk it up to blind love and his really damn good acting skill. Anyway, we have 2 kids together: 15 y/o son and 8 y/o daughter. The last 3 years of our marriage he was barely a full time student and refused to work. When I kicked him out, he was finishing school and still had no job, so in no position to argue for custody of the kids (and in all honesty I think parenting would have cramped his new open social calendar.) I have full custody of both kids, he has 13 hours of visitation and is supposed to pay $500/month in custody.
The issue I am having the most difficulty with has been the manipulation & emotional abuse of my ex to my son. My son loves his father, despite knowing what he did (my son unfortunately knows too many of the details). He doesn't see the hurtful things his dad says, in an attempt to illicit guilty feelings to love him more, as being hurtful. This weekend I got fed up when I found out he had guilted my son over having homework with this: "You're 15 now, you're not a baby. You need to manage your time better if spending time with me is important."
This is my son's first year in HS and he has been struggling with the change. He is failing half of his classes. I've been trying to support him and help him to study and get tutoring. The LAST thing he needs is his father feeling upset over having to do homework on his Sunday-Funday he has planned with them. The man can berate me for not taking them out to do anything fun - (sorry, I work 40+ hours weekly on top of all the other responsibilities parenting entails and at the end of the day, I don't have a lot of disposable income to go take them to fun places. Maybe I would if he paid his child support?) - and say anything he wants to to me and I will deal with it, but I draw the line at him directing it to my kids. When this happened, Mama Bear came out and it wasn't pretty.
We got into a really nasty shouting match in my doorway and my son tried to intervene, siding with his dad, and putting me in the middle, literally. My ex usues opportunities like this to manipulate his emotional 15 y/o and will deliberately say and do things to get to me, as was the case this Sunday. My son flat out refused to do anything I told him and would not leave to the other room no matter what I said, asked, did, or threatened to take away.
I've grounded my son from just about all of his privileges. He's generally a good kid but he doesn't seem to understand I am his parent first, not his friend, and there are certain times that his defiant behavior is unacceptable. I know he will see his dad's true colors eventually after growing up some and I don't feel right bad-mouthing him to my kids because that IS wrong, however, in my house it's my rules and they are not up for discussion or debate, especially in situations that if not controlled, could not only be very stressful and hurtful, but have potential to be dangerous.
Any thoughts in reigning in teenage boys and handling sticky spots with their dad?