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6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

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5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

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Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for Corrupting Our Son

Comments for Corrupting Our Son

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos  Copyrightę 2000. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

  B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2000

S1

Deb,

I think there are only two possible solutions here:

1) Your son should never see his father again and go through extensive therapy (not likely)! 2) You should send your son to live with his father permanently

I agree with number 2 because I know it must be difficult because he's your son, but remember he has already been "conditioned" to be like his father. And I know about the "setting boundaries" scene - it really doesn't work with abusive people. It doesn't matter what the circumstances are, they'll trample on you anyway. Set him free, I guarantee you he'll be back and you'll be the hero!!

Best of luck

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2000

S1

Dear Deb, I fully identify with your situation. I have three sons, all of whom reside with their dad. When I chose to leave nearly three years ago, my worst fears did come true. My ex's verbal abuse escalated and the kids were caught in it. We had been married 17 years. Plain and simple, I was afraid of him and what he might have done, so I let him stay in the house and I moved out (1 mile away). The kids chose to stay with their dad, a man that would strut around the house proclaiming what a "god" he was. He then proceeded to tell them that since I didn't live with them any more, they didn't have to listen to me and now they didn't have to do anything they didn't want to. On one instance, my oldest was giving me a hard time about signing my mother's birthday card and was refusing to acknowledge my pleadings to just sign it and make Grandma happy. My ex had told them my whole family was mentally ill. (Untrue , of course). My frustration at his attitude got the better of me and I slapped him on the arm (not good , I know). I was never big on that, but I was at my end. When my son pushed me across the room in response, my ex basically told him that I deserved it and told me to leave, which I did. Their father was always right-I had always been wrong or "crazy". He had ALWAYS discounted my thoughts, feelings, and opinions and made sure they knew that he was the only one that was right. While we have joint custody, my oldest is now 18. My other two are 15 & 11. I see my youngest daily, and my 15 yr. old 3-4 times a week. The two younger ones have said they are proud of me and what I have accomplished so far. My oldest is doing his own thing and just being a young adult. All in all, I do think that my sons are basically afraid of their dad. As recently as this past summer, the kids recalled how their dad was angry because their rooms were a mess. He is obsessively a neatnik. He went into their rooms and literally tore them apart, including throwing the mattresses off the beds. Then he got a bag of cat litter and threw it in the bathtub (bathroom was messy , too) and told them to clean it up. His girlfriend (now his wife) was there at the time-she did not intervene. Another time, my 15 yr. old mouthed off to him. He pushed him down to the ground, pried his mouth open and poured dishwashing soap in his mouth. When my ex told my son "If you don't like it, go live with your mother" it was if that was some kind of punishment. So they not only fear him physically, they fear him emotionally as well. They don't dare tell him they might want to live with me. They saw what he did to me when I left. I can very much relate to the grief in your heart about the fear you have about your son becoming like their dad. I have those same fears. There will be events such as the ones I mentioned above that, will make your son think and as he gets older will sort it out. They really are smart. Be strong in your position-he will come to respect it. In time, he will come to you as you will be the "safe parent". My boys know I am here for them 24hrs. a day, and slowly are realizing that when I left their abusive father, I didn't leave them. They were always free to come with me and still are. While their dad remarried a few weeks ago-yes, to that same woman I mentioned above, he does not speak to me or acknowledge my presence. He runs in the house when I come to pick up the kids. I have told him this behavior disturbs them, but it doesn't seem to matter to him. He also maintains the position of disagreeing with me about children issues. His position is one of "since we aren't married, we cannot agree on anything." Believe me, this is very difficult. All I can do is hold my ground. The only way my ex communicates with me is through e-mail and the kids know this. They "sneak" phone calls to me because they are afraid that dad will get angry. My ex's verbal and emotional abuse was addressed in joint counseling as well as his substance abuse problems. He continues to deny everything-what he had said to me, the things he threw at me-says my perception was all wrong. When I told him that I would hope he did not do this to his current girlfriend (now wife)-his response was that she had brothers-she can take it! How very sad for her. I guess her brothers must have thrown screwdrivers, glasses, picture frames, and kitchen tables at her, as well as telling her to eat shit and die, she has mental problems, and that she is a scumbag, among other things. So as far as I can see, he will not be changing. The most I can hope for is that I do (change), for me as well as my children. When they come to me and tell me these things-we talk about them. They know I will not ridicule them or tell them their feelings or perceptions are stupid. I am trying to teach them self-respect and how to respect the feelings of others (very hard, since their dad is not capable of this). It is also hard to keep egos down to earth, especially when dad is a "god". If I had had a daughter, I am sure I would have done things differently-she definitely would have come with me, as I learned many years ago that my ex doesn't particularly care for women in the first place. As many have told me, the boys will figure it out and come to you and realize you did what you had to do. The hard part is that you want it to be right now. Continue to be the strong role model you have become. It is difficult-but I just keep telling myself a phrase I learned in grade school-"God helps those who help themselves." You just have to keep going and it will fall into place. My counselor told me that even though I had known I should have been out many years before I actually made it-it simply was not my time. My time came when I left him for good, same as you. I am stronger now-and it feels so much better! If you are true to yourself and to your children, they will see how important and special it really is and respect you more. Sorry this is so long, but you are not alone. Showing your children you don't put up with abuse is a GOOD thing. Your strength will shine through! God Bless, Signed, Still getting through it

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2000

S1

Wow, this sounds like my situation, except I'm the daughter!! My father is a verbal abuser and my parents split up 4 years ago, but they have joint custody of my 14 year-old brother. My brother is becoming very abusive- if asked to do ANYTHING besides play his games on the computer, he uses manipulation, abusive anger, blaming, all sorts of things to control my mother, so he can just do whatever he wants. It makes me sick to my stomach. He knows how to push her guilt buttons. He has some respect for his father- he at least listens to him, something he never does with my mom. An interesting side note- my abusive boyfriend was adopted, but clearly, learning abusive behavior isn't a biological thing! My boyfriends father is very abusive and it's clearly where my boyfriend learned his abusive tactics. -SatokoGirl

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2000

S1

Please listen to Dr.Irene...dropping the guilt is a huge step but one that will really make you feel lots better once you get the hang of it. It does take practice. We women seem to HAVE to take the responsibility and see it as our lot in life to "fix" people. Well...you didn't break your "ex".. he was broken when you found him.

Just ensure that your daughter has a chance to learn how NOT to pick broken people.

Good Luck!!!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2000

S1

This story almost made me cry and I don't cry because my 10 year old son is headed in the same way. I left my husband for a year once after I was at my lowest and my son finally said to me "let's go live at grandma's house. I love dad but I don't like him at all". So I heard this and up and left because my children are all I have. That was 3 years ago and only this year my son has begun to rebel. He yells at everything especially his younger sibling. (I have 5 kids) When once we stuck together because I never kept quiet about the abuse. I always let it be known to him that his father's behavior was abusive and unacceptable. I never allowed my husband to abuse them and when he would try I would jump in and intercept. I thought this would protect him/them but now I see right before my eyes, my son talking to me with the exact phrases my husband does. Belittling, disrespectful, critical...it is just making me crazy. On the one hand I don't think I should punish him for it because I feel he has been taught to release his anger this way and on the other hand I do not want him to turn out like his father so that he will abuse his wife in children in years to come. I know exactly how you feel. I have been saying to my son straight out.. "You do not like the way your father is. You know how he hurts everyone he loves. When you talk like that you are acting just like him. Do you want people to feel about you as they do about daddy? Do you want the closest ones around you like me and your brothers and sisters to not want to hang around with you because you treat us mean?" Once I say this he thinks about it and is very sorry. He says I am sorry mom and he kisses me and he is very sincere. He is really a loving child and he does not want to react this way. You can just tell he is remorseful. But not too long after that he gets mad or frustrated and boom...same thing. I am researching this like crazy because it bothers me more that he does it than my husband. My husband I can leave but my son...he is my flesh and blood and my obligation to God to bring up properly. I often feel like I have failed by letting him live in this environment. I am so sorry that I am rambling on but this is something that hits my heart about as low as it can get. I hope things get better for you and if I come up with any tricks of the trade to help this situation in my research I will certainly post it to you.

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 29, 2000

S1

A coworker of mine had the same problem. She sent her son to live with his dad. For 3 years he lived off and on with his dad...the other times where spent living on a college campus and with a girlfriend. Her son now lives on his own with friends. He couldn't stand his father's controlling way....and is just now beginning to see and understand what his dad is all about. Her son admits he would never come to see the light had he not gone to live with dad. I agree with Dr. Irene, send your son to live with his dad. It will be a priceless education for him.

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 30, 2000

S1

I grew up in a household where my father (helped by his mother) verbally abused my mother, my stepbrother, and me. My mother had married my father when my brother was eight, and he left home when he graduated from high school, but those 10 years were enough. Like Dr. I says, even though there was no blood relationship, he is his father's son. (By the way, he hasn't seen my dad in about 35 years.)

My brother verbally abused my sister in law in the early years of their marriage. She recently told me that in her family no one talked like that and that finally she told my brother not to talk like that to her, and he stopped. However, I saw him doing the same things to his children that were done to us, and guess what--in a recent conversation with my sister in law she told me that their recently married daughter was having problems with her husband "saying ugly things to her." And so it goes...

I believe Dr. I is right when she says your son identifies with his father. When I began to really see what was going on with my parents, I felt I had to "be like" one of them. Hard choice--SOB like my father, or doormat like my mother. I didn't want to be mean to other people, and worried about "catching" it from my dad. It really didn't occur to me as a teen that I could be myself--particularly since any "self" I had had been squashed from infancy on. It wasn't so much "selling out my integrity" as not knowing I HAD integrity. Your husband has no borders, so he's completely engulfed your son.

As a mother, I can understand how you must want to "save" your son from his father and himself, but this is something you can't control or change. The only thing you can change is yourself and be a positive role model for your daughter. Don't be a doormat for your son; stand up to him. He won't respect you until and unless you do, and unless he respects you, he'll never see that your way is better than his father's. I loved my mom, but really didn't respect her for years. Now that I realize I'm in the same place she was--verbally abused, dazed, and confused--I can see things clearer.

Best wishes, Nell

B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 30, 2000

S1

DO NOT under ANY circumstances allow your son to get away with controlling/abusive behavior. This advice is from years of experience with an abusive younger brother in my family. I am now 50 yrs, he is 48. Our parents are deceased.

My brother has been diagnosed with a mental illness, a personality disorder that went undiagnosed for fifteen years. He has served two sentences in low-level psychiatric prisons. He does have paranoid delusions. However, both times he was a "model" inmate, so I know he can control his behavior when he has to.

He has put my family and many other people through hell for years. He has ALL of the abusive behaviors described on this site. My parents supported him, now I have him, but not for long. In fact, the last time he went to prison was because I called the police. He had a handgun, was violent, and using drugs. He is afraid of me now, but still tries to control, pushing as far as he can.

When I was a child my father would fly into rages. He never hit anyone, but the screaming scared us. He never called my mother bad names, but was still controlling. For example, she wasn't allowed to drive until I was a teenager. When he went into rages she would keep quiet. Soon the rage ended and everyone's behavior was like nothing had happened. My mother made excuses for my father, saying he had suffered through WWII, that he didn't really mean it, and that everyone in his family had a bad temper (true).

However, my mother controlled all of the money. He handed over his check every week to her, and he NEVER made any important decision without her permission.

My brother and I both developed the same bad temper. At the age of 21 yrs I left home and noticed that when I was away from my father, my temper improved.

My parents made excuses for my brother for years, but he made their lives and old age hell. DON'T MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE!

By the way, this site puts a lot of focus on partners, that's good. But, I wish we could hear more from family members like you; siblings, parents, other relatives. My brother was very abusive with women he dated. Also, his friends (who have all disappeared). My guess is that the abusers are just as controlling with immediate family. Parents, siblings, need help because we are also confused victims who go through denial, anger, etc.

 B1: Submit
Date: Thursday, March 30, 2000

S1

I've been waiting to hear about this topic all year. I called the police Friday night because my sixteen year old son physically threw me out of his room into a wall. He's now living with his dad and refuses to see a therapist. Everything you said is happening to me. I feel like I'm still living with his father. I love my son so much and it hurts to see him turn into his father. He refuses therapy and his father supports this. His father says the problem is not the kid, but me. Do you point out to the child that he is modeling his father's behavior or not mention it? I have an appointment with a therapist on Sat. to deal with this. I would love some advise from Dr. I. about mentioning the pattern to my son. Thanks. R

  B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 31, 2000

S1

There is probably a lot of resentment towards you from your son because of your marriage ending also. In my experience I know that the Dads often tend to talk to the children and somehow convince them that it is your fault. Talk to your son and ask him why he thinks you divorced. I think at his age he can handle the truth. Clear up any untruths your ex has put in his head.

  B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 01, 2000

S1

April 1, 00

I must say, all this information on verbal abuse has made me realize just how sick my soon to be ex-husband is. We have been married 3 years and have had one child, and I had one child from previous relationship. My son from previous relationship thinks my husband is his father because his real dad never came into the picture, so they are pretty tight in that way.

For the last 2 years of our marriage things have been getting bad with my husband and his verbal abuse with me. The sad thing is that he always seems to talk to me and threaten me when the two children are right there to hear it. I have finally made my decision to leave a couple weeks ago, when I got home from work and my husband threw a fit because I wore shorts to work and also because I had bought a magazine and he went through it just to see what articles I was reading and started questioning me about the articles he didn't approve of. That was when I had decided this has been a long time coming and I have to get out now.

When I left he would not let me have our son, but I did get my son. And on top of everything else, I found out that I am pregnant. What a surprise. The trouble I have been having is with my son, who has always been a "daddy's boy", and the treatment he is giving me. He is only 4 years old and he is taking this hard. He refuses to see my husband, and says that he makes mommy cry so he doesn't want to go there anymore. I have tried to explain to him that daddy still loves him, but he refuses to listen. I know it is early enough to stop this treatment I get from my son, but I am not quite sure how to go about it. I don't want him to think he is trapped in the middle and his parents don't love him. Through his eyes, I feel, that he sees his dad as not wanting anything to do with him and if I start in on him, I am afraid, he will think that mommy doesn't love him neither. Maybe I am being to soft with this matter, and I know if I don't do anything soon, it will only get worse. So I need your advice as to how I should try to teach him that threatening, hitting, kicking, and talking back to me is wrong.

 

 

Thanks, Stacy

 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 01, 2000

S1

March 31, 2000

I never thought that I would be writing into a column, or sharing my feeling with complete strangers, however, it is only through this state of desperation that I feel compelled to do this.

My husband and I have been married for almost 9 years. During this entire period our relationship has been rocky. I have moved out with our 2 children on two separate occasions, only to eventually be conned into returning because "things had changed". My husband has an explosive, uncontrollable temper, and very much uses it to control our household. There were a few incidents of physical abuse in the early years of our marriage, that has since dissipated, however, the emotional abuse remains.

My problem is that I now feel that I am ready to leave, yet am ambiguous as to how I feel about my husband. Some days, I think that finally, its over, he has changed, and I hope for the possibility of a happy family. Then I see the signs of his true self leak through and I am strong again about leaving. Is there any advise that you could give me to help me come to a decision once and for all? I am very insecure and fear being a single parent. This was not the life I would have chosen for myself, however, I can't see another 9 years with this man the way things are. Please help me.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 02, 2000

S1

I am your son's future girlfriend/wife. Not really, but the way I read this sounds like the way my 35 y/o boyfriend grew up, only his parents never divorced, just tolerate each other and still play the grown up children of the marriage and now grandchildren against each other. His first marriage failed due to verbal abuse and now this relationship with me failed because of the same. He acts like a teenager who wants what he wants, when he wants and will hold a grudge if anyone tries to stop him. He runs to mommy, in your son's case to daddy, for validation of his bad behavior. Do what you have to do to stop this behavior NOW because I forsee your son never having a true loving, meaningful relationship with anyone and the sad thing is, he won't know why or how to change it before it's too late! Best of luck to you Mom!

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, April 03, 2000

S1

I am in a similar situation, and my son is also 15 years old. I cannot find any information anywhere to get him some help. Usually the focus is on me and my parenting, and at times I get blamed for my son being the same way as his father. Is there any kind of counseling I can get for my son? I am at my wits end I do not know what to do, this is tearing my family apart.Is there such a thing as teen abusers? When I ask that question I get this look like its all my fault and take back control because my son all the control and why am I not doing anything about it.

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, April 04, 2000

S1

Dear Deb, I am writing in response to your letter about your abusive relationship with your husband. I am a 19 year old male who can certainly relate to what your son is going through. I have lived in a verbally abusive home my entire life. I know that I have a major self esteem problem that can definitely be related to this. The thing that saddens me the most, is to see my father the way he is. Even though I know he has hurt myself, my brother, and especially my mother, he is in severe depression and a lot of physical pain. For countless years, he has had severe back problems, when his pain is extreme (on certain days) he may scream or blow up without moments notice. He might give an excuse, such as "See what happens when your in a lot of pain?" I guess he just doesn't understand that verbal abuse is a cycle. He grew up in a very strife-ridden family, very dysfunctional with bad communication skills. This is how he probably perceives life should be. I guess you can't really blame him, because it is all that he knows. I can see what is wrong with my family, thanks to my mother. She was the one who grew up in a more supportive caring environment. Whenever my father has a violent recurring emotional outburst, she always reminds me that this not the proper way to act. But even though that I know that this is true, I still find myself wanting to control and just completely vent my anger at people who have nothing to do with my problem. I have realized this, and know that it is not right. However, I just don't know what to do about my future, and my family's. The problem with my father, is that he won't listen to advice, and can't even sit down to talk and communicate in it's most proper respect. I guess that I'm ending this on a very sour note, but I just don't have anything really positive to say. I guess we could use a miracle, I very much would appreciate any response that you could give with your experience in this field t yours truly, steve

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 09, 2000

S1

Your kids do need both of you??? The guy is a sick, twisted, psycho and you tell her this? Fortunately, I recognized before my son was born, that my ex was a sociopath and the psychologist I was seeing, confirmed my action, that it is better to get my son away before that psycho damaged him. It's a pity this woman hung in so long and that her children are damaged. It is not too late to save her son and would recommend that she do everything in her power to do so. My son will never have any contact with my ex, and in essence, I have saved his life. Saved him from a lifetime of abuse and torment. It's a load of crap that children need both biological parents. If one or both are bad, it is better to get the kid the hell away from one or both. Love is the most important component in raising a child. Family law is designed to protect the parent, not the child. If a parent cannot treat a child with love, respect and honor, than they have no place in this world raising children and should lose every right to do so. Example: Look at that 6 year old boy who shot his classmate. Look at his home environment. Due to the actions of irresponsible parents, two good and loving parents are paying the consequences. Take them away from bad parents and never give them back. The right is lost.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 09, 2000

S1

I can relate to above story, been married for almost 50 yrs. have 2 children, son, 44 yrs. daughter, 30 yrs. was 17 when married, he was 21 . for first 10 yrs. o.k, then verbal abuse started, I had put him up on a pedestal, and kept quiet. I finallly had enough and said I didn't want anymore putdown & being called stupid all the time. ect, it was o.k for a while now, it's been starting again , here and there, plus using the f word which, he knows that I don't like, now I'm starting to use it under my breath, I think he heard me a couple of times, but I made excuses. our son , 44 , has been also damaged by his emotional abuse, since he was a toddler, . the daughter, gets her way most of the time, there is more to this story, it would be too long to tell everything, I would like to either e-mail you sometime, or express my feelings thru this site , if it is o.k. w/ look forward for your ans. thank you, this is one good way to help me air this out, sincerely, a Californian.

 B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 15, 2000

S1

Dear Deb,

Your story speaks to me. I too have an older son (nine) and a daughter (seven). I see my son beginning to mimic my husband's abusive behavior. In fact, seeing this has been the catalyst for me to take action. I know the sooner that I stand up to my husband, the sooner my son will get the message that I am the powerful one, and not the victim, in the relationship.

Anyway, I want to say to you that I too believe that you have a better chance of influencing your son by letting him go to his Dad. Your son is attracted to power (not your husband really). I think that by living with your husband he will come to realize that his Dad isn't strong, just controlling. Dominance isn't power, and that truth will out. Your son is still young. It may take time, but if you can hang in there and wait for your son to bring his (bound to happen) disillusionment with his father to you, you will be more able to positively influence him. I wish you love and faith and joy.

Jessie

 

B1: Submit
Date: Saturday, April 15, 2000

S1

I am in the same situation with my 13 and 11 year old sons. They act just like him to me and to others. They are becoming just as nasty as him to me. I keep talking to them, that this is not the way to talk to other people. It is starting to sink in. Sometimes, they do catch themselves acting like him. I tell them, I don't swear or scream at you, don't do it to me. It will be a long road, but I keep saying it over and over again. It will sink in eventually, I hope.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, July 12, 2002

S1

I was dating a woman that has a similar experience. She has an 6 and an 11 year old children. The thing that i have heard them say to their mother is unexcusable and what i have heard back is worse. In the end i turned her into child protective services due to the out of control nature of her kids. I found out after it was over that her sister tried to help the ex get his daughter back. The reason was that she would go out and leave the 2 kids home alone. A case of someone being a parent that should not be, or in need of a new set of parenting skills. The first time we went out her 11 year old son shoved her after she would not go to the car and get his book. She did nothing. Some where he learned this behavior. Due to my issues and codependency i had to get out of the relation. I am scared that it will blow up on her in a few years once the children are older.

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, July 25, 2003

S1

I just read this and thought I was reading my own life story. Although the abuse of my past marriage was not nearly as obvious it was just as harmful to me and that is why I got out. My “not soon enough to be” ex used emotional abandonment as his tool to control me. I finally gained the strength to leave and took my two children, daughter 8 and son 12, with me. My ex still maintains his game of control by delaying the divorce as well. We were scheduled for our first court date on May 20th (8 months after my filing) and he managed to delay it with the decision to fight for custody. I have plans to move this summer to another town 25 miles away and this has caused some fears in my children, as it would any child. Both of my children get along very well in new situations and I am sure will quickly make friends in their new schools. The custody battle required an evaluation. The results just returned and the kids are to be with me. My son is so torn and wants to live with his father so he won’t have to leave his current school. I understand his issue but have a future in this new area that will prove positive for us all. The report stated many reasons why the children should to be with me, there father’s obvious emotional issues, not separating the children, his disconnection with his daughter, and that he is a typical “fun time” father. I have and always will allow him to see his children as often as he desires and would never stand in the way of their relationship, but feel strongly that the emotional development they still need, can be best provided by me. My son is very angry right now and disappointed in the evaluation results but I know with support and love he will adjust very well. His father is in the back ground, even after the results, filling him with false hope that he will fight and win and our son will get to live with him, promising a life of fun, sports and all there shared interests. It breaks my heart that he won’t help our son adjust to his new life and even more tends to disregard his daughter in all these plans and promises. I guess I just want someone to tell me it will all be all right and that our son will adjust in time. He is a very good child and loves us both very much. The evaluation made mention that our son may be driven to take care of his father because he is alone and I have moved on and will be ok. Our son is and always has been a care giver helping out the underdog and leaving know one out. I do not want him to give up his life and childhood to become his father’s caretaker. I would love the hear others opinions on this issue and maybe even some advice on how to help my son through his disappointment. Thank you, Stacy