So, here’s the deal. I made the difficult decision to leave my ex because he’s a narcissist, especially towards my kids. Unfortunately, he doesn’t see it that way.
Fast forward a few years, and my oldest child turned 12. That’s when my ex decided to buy them a phone, which created tension between them and me. You see, they’re 12 and have ADD, and all they want to do is watch videos all day. I’ve set three rules regarding phone usage: 1. Practice phone safety (no restricted videos, limit screen time to 1 hour on weekdays and 2 hours on weekends, and inform a parent about any dangerous activity or messages from strangers), 2. Be kind and respectful to family members (since getting the phone, they’ve become aggressive and started cussing at their siblings, and when that happens repeatedly, they lose their phone), 3. Prioritize homework (they don’t have much, but they usually have about 30-40 minutes of reading and math).
When these rules are broken, I take away the phone. However, I still inform them about important calls or messages. They can earn the phone back by following the rules.
Now, for some context, all four of our kids clean to earn screen time. I don’t insist on them cleaning their entire rooms, but if they want screen time, they need to clean one item in their room for one minute. So, for example, if they put away 45 clothes or toys, they get 45 minutes of screen time. If my oldest takes extra time, I ask them to clean for the amount of time they exceeded. It’s all about keeping things tidy in their own space, not the whole house.
Recently, my oldest child found my not-so-great hiding spot and took the phone without permission. They also took extra time at my house. I took the phone away and asked them to clean it accordingly. Their dad picked them up shortly after, and ever since they’ve been back, they’ve been yelling and displaying aggressive behavior toward me. It’s like a textbook example of their dad’s behavior. They’re telling me that their dad, who went back to school to study psychology this year, claims I’m being abusive and narcissistic. According to him, he’s an “expert.” All because I have rules, boundaries, and consequences, like taking away the phone.
Things escalated this week when he started sending me long, aggressive texts about how I treat our child. He even suggested that our child might want to live with him full-time because of me. All because I took the phone away on Thursday and when they demanded it back to call their dad, I told them they could use my phone after they finished the cleaning they owed me.
Let me tell you, dealing with all this is incredibly complex. But I’m so tired of this man and the things he does to my kids. He often leaves them alone for long periods, and when he is around, he spends his time playing video games. Whenever they return to my house, I check their screen usage and find they’ve been averaging 4-6 hours per day at his place! And yet, he has the audacity to claim that I’m the one abusing them and using coercion by setting limits and taking the phone. He has managed to convince our child that my whole family is lying to and abusing them. It just breaks my heart.
Sorry for the long vent, but I needed to get it off my chest.