Mark, I have recently found and joined your OPS. I have a 15 yo son that came to live with me when he was 12. His mother is best described as an overindulgent parent. He was also exposed to her habit of distorting the truth to suit her needs. He learned and has told me that no matter whether wrong or right she always gets what she wants. She will go months without calling him. My son will not open up to anyone. He seems to have the traits of a "scapegoat and a lost child". He has approximately 15 of the 20 traits from your Indulgent parent quiz. I am more in line with an authoritarian parent. Needless to say i have made a multitude of mistakes as a parent. I am also a 13-year police officer with a 50/50 mix between patrol and specialized units.
That said the current problem is that my wife (his step mom) and my son have a very contentious and volatile relationship. Saturday while I was asleep my wife got onto my son about something and he announced that he was leaving. She grabbed his bag and told him that he was not taking the items that he had packed. He shoved her and either kicked her in the leg or stepped on her leg.
My wife woke me telling me that he was leaving and that I needed to get a hold of him and that he had pushed her. My immediate response was to try to calm everyone and get the story of what had happened. Instead it was a lot of "I hate her, all she does is ...".and "I'm tired of his crap all he does is cause problems...."
Things got calmed down and I was able to get some of the frustrations lined out. I spent the day trying to come up with a discipline for him later that evening my wife suggested grounding him to his room w/out tv, ipod, cell, etc..
Now she is upset and resents me because she feels that I did not stand up for her by either pushing/attacking him or whipping him. The more she thinks about it and talks to relatives and friends, the more frustrated she gets. I feel that the physical discipline would give him the "reward" that he seeks. I have no problem with corporal punishment, however he seems to genuinely appreciate it. My wife has commented numerous times over the years that she doesn't understand how he acts perfectly normal, even happy after getting a whipping. But now she is upset that I didn’t mete out some type of corporal punishment to him even after the fact, yesterday or today. I feel almost helpless, nothing I have tried has worked and I can't convince my wife that we are doing the right thing now. I know there is a small window to get him turned around and I am afraid of losing another chance.
Click here for my response...