My sons dad buys him whatever he wants and now he is acting up: Advice?

So question for other mommas dealing with a child in a split home… My son’s dad and I have been separated since he was two. He’s now 8. Dad has remarried, and so have I. My son is with me 90% of the time. He goes to his dad’s every other weekend. He’s the only child over there, and here we have five kiddos. Needless to say, money is tight, and we don’t get to get the kids whatever they want whenever they want. At his dad’s, they pretty well get him whatever his heart desires. It can be super frustrating for me. My son is also having difficulty understanding why we can’t do the things they can do. In turn, he acts out a lot here. Also, I have been getting phone calls from his school about him, not minding. When he went without seeing his dad for a few weeks, he acts out or when he comes home from being at his dad’s. His dad called him last night since he hasn’t seen him in a few weeks. Normally his dad doesn’t call while it’s not his time. Now today his teacher called me to tell me he hasn’t been doing his work today until sent to the office. What have other mommas or parents done to help their kiddo in this situation? I have thought about counseling. I want to help my son but not sure what I can do here at home to help the situation.


Dad and you need to be on the same page. I would first have a conversation with your ex and then maybe all four of the parents have a conversation together. Even if that means going to a mediator. You all have to agree to have the same rules in each household. His behavior at school needs to have consequences in both households. As far as the financial aspects you can’t control what other people do with their money. As long as he is providing you financially for the child you share together nothing more can be said. All you can do is ask your ex to tone down the gifts or maybe have your child earn them. Counseling is never a bad thing to look into. Maybe it’s even something your child and all of his parents can do together.


Maybe talk to the dad about it? If it’s affecting your child in a negative way, the spoiling needs to stop.

Sounds like dad buys his stuff cause he feels guilty about not spending time with him so he buys his stuff instead. So tough parenting like grounding no tv no phone no electronics no hanging with friends etc then look into counseling

I simply explain things to my children how there are things that essential or things we must have and things they want. I made sure they knew the difference and also told them that I would try to get them what I could. As long as you are straight forward with your child and do it in a way he can understand he’ll at least understand why things are different in your household. You aren’t going to be able to change what happens in your exs household if he’s anything like my ex so also on your end you’ll need to discipline your child for the unsuitable behavior

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Honestly… I think that it’s okay that dad buys him stuff or they do fun stuff together. Obviously if he’s the only child there they spend more one on one time with him. My suggestion is maybe you could have a once a month mommy and son date together and talk about why things are different at your house and why you might set different rules at your house than at dads. Also it gives you a chance to really talk about the issues at school and find the root of the problem. I think connecting and communicating with your child is probably the best solution over getting upset. I don’t think it’s really fair to blame dad or say it’s because he gets whatever he wants at dads house. I have only one child and I’ll be honest with you it’s pretty easy going here she doesn’t like what I made for supper I’ll make something else for her we’re at the store and she wants something, I usually get it. It’s just different when there’s only one child.


I think it’s so important to get to the bottom of what’s causing the misbehavior more than the punishment. It’s really hard on children to be apart from someone they love. It’s wasn’t their decision or choice to have to go back and forth between two parents. I think the above suggestions of dad and mom communicating and coming up with a plan is super beneficial. However counseling may still be necessary. There might be some underlying hurt that needs to be carefully approached. I got divorced with my boys were 5,4 and 6 months old so I do know about some of these issues. My ex didn’t buy lots of material things but he didn’t have rules or any expectations of my boys. They always came back less agreeable and harder to deal with. My heart goes out to you.

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You and his Dad need to have a long talk! He has to be willing to understand the circumstances your under and the issues he causing. He has to know it’s effecting his education and the respect your son has for you. It be best to let Dad lay down some ground rules on this situation. Yalls son has to learn that no mater where or who he is with respect is a must or he gets nothing from either you nor his Dad! Since his Dad has the means to spoil him then he needs to set some strict ground rules about his behavior! You husband needs to reinforce that respect for you is a must! That any disrespect towards you or school will be punishable!

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Definitely talk to dad. If he’s going to act up when he comes home then perhaps he should stay home for a while. Are you certain Dad’s not putting him up to this in a bid to get custody? Some parents play dirty pool… just a thought

My neighbor went through something “similar”. Her ex and her decided to have their son move in with him. She kinda had to “throw in the towel” and let him “try out” the 90%.

I have no personal experience, but it sounded like she was happy about her choice…

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Just keep showing your son your love and concern and let him know that you want to know what is bothering him and causing him to act out and that he can talk to you about it openly without any fear of punishment or loss of your love…we learned how to do that without being negative about the natural father with the help of the child therapist we had … wish he was still working, he was great. That was 30 years ago and he has been retired for about 15 years.

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First of all dad needs to have rules, and stability. You cant buy love and kids are the fastest to see through the charade. How much time does dad actually spend with his son one on one time? Just because he is over there that often does not mean he spends time with his dad… how does dads wife treat him when no one is around? By acting out your son is reacting to something negative happening at his dads. Have you taken him by yourself and had a chat and let him know he is always safe to say what ever he is feeling. Because if you ask a kid why he did something or did not do… you will get universal “I dont know”, instead approach it with his does he feel when at his dads, happy, sad, mad, angry, alone,… kids are pretty resilient but if something is bothering them, or worried, or being ignored , it any negative treatment, that is what he reacts to. Also by dad buying him whatever doesn’t set boundaries, and kids need boundries, and as they age, they push those boundaries, and as a parent you want them to, but only so much, that is how they mature also… maybe he is missing one on one time with you also… it doesn’t take much to make a child feel and know they are loved, but often parents spread themselves to thin. So stress also affects kids in negative ways, parents too!! So take some time to spend with him and let him talk, sometimes they dong know what’s wrong but they know that it bothers them. Just some suggestions from a mim of three grown men, and 3 1/2 grown grandkids. . Trial and error, but listen to what he says, there is a reason behind it.

Yes definitely talk to Dad. Especially since he’s acting out at school.

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Talk with the dad. Coparent, be on same page first and foremost, with parenting style and discipline!!! Not on the internet


Need to get a grip on him now and have a strict punishment. That needs to get in check

Start by talking to the dad.


Your son does not need counseling - his father does. You must discuss all of this with him and demand he STOP giving the boy everything he wants!

I understand everyone’s recommendation to talk to the dad and work it out. Let me just say that is not always possible. My ex did everything he could so the kids would act up after being with him and most of their bad behavior was because they loved us both but their dad always made nasty comments about me and my new husband and the child we had together. My second husband was great to all of our kids, he was “daddy” to them all in every way. My ex had a good job but was an alcoholic who would get drunk and talk bad about us and that we couldn’t give them as much as he could. When they would come home we tried our best to ignore their behavior reminding them of our house rules calmly but firmly reminding them that we do what we can financially. They never went hungry, had a decent roof over their heads, and got everything they needed but not everything they wanted because we had children and their dad doesn’t have anyone but himself. He promised them everything they wanted and never went through on his promises nor did he care about them medically or educationally. Anything he did he did to make our kids feel like we were bad parents. He would not speak to us about what was going on and would not work with us for the kids sake. And he never paid any child support either…which would have made us able to do more for them financially. Sometimes and more often than not, the kids pay for one or the other parent’s inconsideration of the child. They will realize what is happening and the why as they get older. Mine did…it wasn’t easy and yes, the kids ended up having therapy to realize that their natural father was not being a real parent but using the kids to get back at me, their mother. They look to my second husband (40 years together now) as their Dad as he is the one who was a real father. There are always 2 sides to every story and yes, this young man does love his father but the “competition” for “things” may be causing his behavior and who knows what the dad is telling him or saying to others in front of him…that was the underlying trouble in our family. Therapy helped.

I myself came from split parents. As a child, you don’t understand the financial aspect of what each parent brings home vs what can be afforded. A child see’s things they want, but it must be taught by the parent to value what you have. My dad always wanted to be the “fun” parent. My mom would always tell me, “You can look at the toys, but I don’t have that kind of money today” and in the long run it made me more understanding of how money works.

I feel maybe a talk about coparenting with dad would help. Explain that it’s okay to buy things, but it’s also okay to not buy certain things. Teach the child to value what they have.

I don’t believe kids behavior is because one parent can buy the child more than the other. If he’s acting out I believe it’s for attention … maybe with 5 kids he isn’t getting what he needs … maybe try a one on one day … something he enjoys


It’s not your son that needs the counseling…it’s you and the daddy-o and y’all need it to build a better co-parenting relationship.


Maybe he needs more time with dad. He probably just misses him.

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When parents are divorced or no longer together , it’s so important to come to an agreement and be on the same page when it comes to parenting. My kids dad and I don’t always get along, but we have always made sure we’re on the same page when it comes to our kids. We talk at least once a day to update each other on anything with the kids, or to just tell each other things that they’ve done. We make sure that they have the same rules at both houses and we also let each other know any gifts that we’re getting for them, and we don’t do it if there’s some kind of issue. We decided what kind of parenting we wanted to do with our kids when we were still together and agreed to stick to it when we got divorced, otherwise it’s just a constant headache.

Good luck! It only gets worse. And if your child continues to get what he wants, the dad will more than likely manipulate them. I know because I’ve been there (currently still dealing with it) my daughter (13) chose to go live with him due to being treated like the only child when she has 5 other siblings here with me and my husband. It’s sad :frowning:

Seems to me that he is acting up when his interactions with dad stops. That doesn’t necessarily make it the dads fault, spoiled over at his house or not. Yea you need to come to an agreement on how you want him handled over at the Father’s house because your coparenting but children often act up when they aren’t getting what they want, and if he acts up every time immediately after dad is gone again seems to me he wants his dad and doesn’t know how to say it or maybe even realize his own feelings. I saw a comment about keeping him from his father, I believe this would be incredibly counter productive. In fact your son may feel he wants to spend more time with his father and that isn’t wrong. Its his father.


Never give up on your child! Being a good parent means making mistakes…

My heart goes out to you! Start with prayer. Gods Word says the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Don’t give up! You might consider talking to your pastor.

Sounds like he needs some more time with dad…

Sounds like your son needs more time with his dad. Every other weekend in my opinion isn’t enough. My kids see their dad every weekend. It sounds like he’s acting out.

Also have you sat down and had a conversation with him about it? It doesn’t help if you sit their and attack because that doesn’t solve anything. Maybe come up with a game plan. For example, if he does chores to earn special prizes.

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Sounds like you need to give him more attention or see if dad can switch to every weekend, he is trying to be a good father with the only time he has with his child, you need to reconsider your emotions and stance.

Same here…are you guys civil? Just straight up communicate