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E-book is proving very helpful...

Dear Mark,

I just want to say your ebook is proving very helpful. I am almost 57 (A___) and have an adolescent son my height (14 in May) and another son 13 in August (who's shoulder height). I am a single mother - I agreed to 50/50 childcare on the divorce application 2 years ago, but have been dumped with 90 - 95% childcare, because my ex-husband took off to a place a 2-and -a-half-hour drive away, and sees the sons he wanted, only in holidays and a weekend a month whenever he dictates. When he left our home, and had bought a new place with a new partner BEFORE our divorce application was even lodged, I had the relief that my 'eldest dependent son' had left home. Yes, I was bullied and intimidated into doing everything - earning all the money, paying all the bills, doing the main bulk (deliberate redundancy there) of childcare (getting children to school en route to my job) and housework. And burning out. I see from your book I was the over-indulgent wife. Yes, indeed (due to intimidation, and his lack of educational skills, I think.)

And my ex-husband, March 2 is now in my elder son. I have no family in this city, all 5 uncles are in different countries, both grand-dads are dead, the father is a long way away, there are no male first cousins, so all in all I lack on-the-spot male role models for my sons, other than their school teachers. I tried to get them into scouting, but my ex-husband who actually was an Assistant Scout Leader, and scout-leadered other people's sons, just took off 3 months after our separation and ignored that request / necessity. There was a scout club hardly one kilometre from where his first flat was...OK, it sucks. I feel sad for my sons on this one, but without a car, can't do anything about it.

I bought your book last Friday, and we started a new era of parenting. I think I'm the HERO and the lost child - the one that hid in poplar trees, away from her father's almighty painful excessive use of the cane. I write peaceful music, and publish CDs and sheet music. That strong side of me has continued unabated throughout this pattern, I now see from your wise book, of being bullied and intimidated.

Today I refused to write my son a note to his history teacher asking for an extension. He's had 3 days to do it. My heart has become poker-faced, knowing I have to develop my sons' educational paths (which I accepted, and knew my marriage would disappear in order to achieve it) but now I'm aware I have to face up to the social / behavioural training for them as well to be acceptable to society. I know my elder son is pulling away from me - yes, I'm fired as the manager - and this is utterly necessary, but from now on, rather than my reacting to the bad manners (e.g. throwing an envelope on the floor at my feet - for school photos) and insisting on good manners, I have to PROACTIVELY set the limits and my expectations. And do the cheating - of positive verbal affirmation when things done well - which I have always done to a large extent, just like to the pets.

I will be reading up on Parent Traps at lunchtime. You can see I'm basically 2 generations older than my sons, with no family support anywhere around - the 2 grandmas are in a different country. It's good to have your invitation to on the odd occasion say how useful your material is. I used to be a high school teacher, and knew theoretically about Tough Love - even recommended it to the parents of out-of-control kids who ended up as suspensions on the school I was at. Now, I'm learning about the social necessity for this (gentler) form of Tough Love myself. Vital. There's a Big Brother Big Sister network I've found - my sons don't want anything to do with it, but as Mum, I've decided I do! So, that will be underway today. Google is very helpful.



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