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Topic : Co-Parenting

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Created on : Thursday, June 30, 2005, 12:44:44 pm
Author : dataimport
Are you sharing a child with someone who doesn't live with you? Share your story and your strategies for effective parenting.

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April 11, 2008, 9:05 am CDT

Co-Parenting

Quote From: jaimie1974

You already know that you cant reason with your ex, so dont even try. Your daughter is old enough to know that if you dont respond to a text, it probably means you turned your phone off. However, if her text contained something that you HAD to respond to, in the future, call her cell instead of your exs land line. If your ex doesnt like it, TOO BAD. Again, like you said, he cant be reasoned with. The only thing that his irrational tantrums are creating is distance between himself and his child.
If your child truly doesnt feel welcome at her fathers house and she doesnt want to go there, I suggest that you go to your court house and file for full custody. You have very good reason to do this- your ex gets drunk while he has visitation/custody of your child and then he acts irrationally. I think that getting full custody is a reasonable, responsible thing to do on your part. I wish you well!
Make sure you're reason for talking or texting while she is with her father is sincere. Are you trying to interfere with her time with her father because you're insecure? She should be able to be away from you for a couple days without constant communication. Obviously he is attempting to maintain a relationship with her and you should not be interfering with that unless it's very important. She should get her "dad time" too.
 
April 14, 2008, 8:28 am CDT

Co-Parenting

Quote From: jaimie1974

The mediator is the best person to answer your question; what was his/her advice?

This must be very difficult for your husband (and you!) but encourage your husband to not get beat down by his ex wife. Continue calling and attempting to be in the childs life. This isnt about winning or losing, but the ex wife believes that it is. There might not be a way for your husband to win, but in the long run, he will come out smelling like a rose by not playing into the mothers tactics.

My sister went through a divorce 15 years ago. She has a son with her ex; her ex has bad mouthed her to the son, said very negative and disrespectful comments about her, and tried to withhold the shared custody arrangement. Through the years, there have been many tears shed by my sister; she could have told her son bad, negative things about his father- but she didnt. She knew that it would only hurt him. It has been very difficult! Her son is now 19, and over this past year, he has slowly opened up to my sister about the personal pain caused by his father. I wish I could say that she feels vindicated or good, but of course, there is no satisfaction. It is so sad. Your husbands ex-wifes actions are hurtful to your husband, but they will hurt the children even more in the long run.

Do your best to be positive and encouraging; there will be good days and bad days. Be a positive supporter when needed and dont give up! I wish you the best.

Thanks for the encouragement. That is really what keeps us going. Everything we read tells us the kids will finally see the whole story some day. That day seems very far away right now. There is so much hurt and anger - it's hard to keep a positive attitude, but we will hang on to that thought. They will see the truth at the end and know he is a good person who genuinely cares.
 
April 18, 2008, 7:49 am CDT

Should He Give Up His Rights?

I've posted my story up before, but unfortunately things have taken a turn for the worse.  Here's the situation.  My husband and I got married last month; we've been together a little over a year now.  When I first met him, his ex-girlfriend was three months pregnant with his child.  He had initially wanted the two of them to stay together despite the problems they'd had in their relationship, but she ended up leaving him.  Then when he met me, we both knew that things had happened for a reason and that we were meant to be together.  I was accepting of the situation with his ex and the child that was soon to be my stepson.  And fortunately his ex-girlfriend seemed to be pretty accepting of me and was okay with me being a part of the child's life.  But since the baby was born, she's been pretty controlling.  She won't allow my husband to have unsupervised visitation with his son...she ALWAYS has to be present.  She won't even drop the baby off at my husband's mother's house so that he can spend some one-on-one time with the child.  She also seems to want the visitations to be on her terms...when it's good for her.  And everytime we have to cancel a visitation because it wasn't a good time for us, she gets furious and begins accusing my husband of being a dead-beat dad.  She even posted a blog on the Internet about how my husband is a dead-beat father!  She claims we don't spend enough time with the child, and I admit that the past couple of months we haven't made as much effort to see him.  But the reason for that is because we feel there's no point because we never get a chance to bond with him.  She always there watching our every move, and further more she rights down everything we do and say and exactly how long we're there, and then she'll turn that information over to the office of child support enforcement.  How is a father and stepmother supposed to bond with a child during visitations like this?  My husband pays child support and deserves the right to have UNSUPERVISED visitations with his son.  We don't have the money to afford an attorney; we just recently were forced into filing chapter 7 bankruptcy.  We tried talking to the office of child support enforcment to receive some advice but they could care less if she's depriving my husband of his rights.  They told us they were only concerned with cases involving child support.

 

Finally we tried to compromise with her on the visitations so that we might could have some unsupervised visitations.  She asked us to meet her and dicuss the visitation situation with her.  So we did and all hades broke loose!  She refused to compromise and starting jumping all over my husband about being a sorry father.  And as his wife, I began to speak up and stand up for him, and then she got an attitude with me and told me that I had no part in this and that it was strictly between her and him.  Since that night, things between her and us have been hot-tempered!  She's now asking my husband to sign away his rights to the child.  And my husband and I are wondering if maybe it might be the best option for everyone.  She's depriving him of his paternal rights, and the system has failed us in protecting his rights as the father of this child.  We don't have the money to afford a private attorney, and no one else will help us!  Furthermore, it will always be a battle between her and us, even if we hired an attorney.  She's very immature and listens to everyone else instead of relying on her own judgement.  Her sister, mother, and 2 best friends are complete troublemakers and are totally against us.  They are constantly telling lies about us to this woman, and she believes every word of it.  So things are always going to be like this, and we feel it might be best to just sign away our rights than to have this child grow up in the middle of a battlefield!  That's not fair to him, and it's not fair to us either.  But some advice would be very much appreciated because this is a very big decision.  My husband wants my advice and wants us to make this decision together and to do the right thing.  But sometimes the right thing to do isn't always easy to figure out.  What do you think we should do?

 
April 18, 2008, 7:50 am CDT

Some stuff that I found helpful

Dealing With Idiots

Albert Einstein once said, "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." But it doesn't take a genius to realize we are all surrounded by idiots. Not only that, but we are all idiots at some point. Dealing with this common human condition is unavoidable, but some ways of dealing with it are better than others.

Step 1:
Realize you can not change them. They are who they are, just as you are who you are. If you feel you can teach them something, go for it, but understand they may just see the world differently than you.

Step 2:
Ignore their behavior if it is not harming you or anyone else. If the only thing wrong is you are annoyed, fix the entire problem by letting it go.

Step 3:
Be where idiots are not. When you encounter an idiot, make a mental note of where that person is likely to be in the future and try to be somewhere else. Do not put yourself in a position of being controlled by an idiot, such as having a boss for an idiot. Realize if you have a problem dealing with idiots, it is best to avoid them.

Step 4:
Improve your own self confidence to ensure yourself that you know what is right. This will help you to worry less about others and therefore help you deal with idiots.

Step 5:
See the humor in idiots behavior. Holding back anger and frustration is not good because it will build up. However, releasing it can be dangerous as well. Laughter is a great way to relieve tension safely. Laugh to yourself and enjoy the wild, crazy and diverse world we live in.

 

Tips for Co-Parenting with uncooperative Exes

1) Be available. Save your shopping, errands, and visits with friends for the times the kids are not with you. When they first arrive at your house, just sit down. My kids usually join me for a snack at the kitchen table for about an hour, during which they unload their stories, complaints, news updates, school projects, etc. Sometimes one of them will sit on my lap, or my daughter will play with my hair.

Be still, and make yourself available for them to physically and emotionally reconnect with you. Give them time to re-calibrate to the rhythm of your home before you expect them to jump into chores or homework.

Of course, in order to be truly available for your kids, you need to:

2) Take good care of yourself. Get regular exercise. Spend time with a good friend or therapist who can listen without judgment to all your feelings. Write in a journal. Work through your anger and pain. Eat well. Don’t sacrifice your health or sanity thinking it’s noble or necessary for the good of the kids.

Just like they say on the airplane regarding the oxygen masks, secure your own lifeline before helping your child. You don’t have much to offer if your own basic needs aren’t being met.

3) Do not judge the other parent within earshot of your children. This may sound impossible, but let me assure you, it can be done. Your ex lives forever inside your children’s DNA. If you speak condescendingly about their other parent in any way, your child feels insulted. We may see the distinction and separation, but our children do not. Keep your judgments to yourself until you can safely vent them with your supportive listener from tidbit number 2.

It is imperative that you accept that there is more than one way to do things. I have a ‘no comment’ policy on what happens at their other house. I don’t ask them why it’s that way, or why their dad said this or did that. I simply acknowledge their communication in a neutral way, and reflect back whatever feelings they might be having. ‘Hmmm, sounds like you might be feeling disappointed about that situation.’ This way the kids can stay in their own experience and move through it, without feeling like they need to defend the other parent from your attack.

And prepare ahead of time for when your kids get old enough to become curious about why you got divorced. You’ll need a neutral and nonjudgmental answer. Here’s one I read somewhere that I liked: Get out some pots and lids of various sizes. Show the kids how even when there’s nothing wrong with either the pot or the lid, not all of them fit together. “Mommy and Daddy just didn’t fit together anymore.”

4) Do not judge your children’s feelings. Just listen. One day my son came home extremely angry about something that had happened at his dad’s. I followed my ‘no comment’ policy, not making his feelings right or wrong, but simply reflecting them back to him. Within a few minutes, the storm had passed. He gave a deep sigh of relief, thanked me for listening, and went out to play basketball.

There was no resolution, no problem solving, and nothing had changed in the situation. He just needed the freedom to vent his frustration, and to feel love and acceptance while doing so.

Telling him not to feel that way, refusing to allow him to speak of his father in my home, making excuses for his father, or jumping on the blaming bandwagon with him would have inhibited the clearing of his emotional energy. Just listen.

5) Teach your child to solve his/her own problems. In that idyllic world of healthy co-parenting, you can hold a family meeting with all of you present to address any problems. For those of us in the adequate but not ideal world of parallel parenting, that’s not an option.

Instead, I’ve helped my kids to learn effective communication and problem solving strategies, and we practice them in our home.

I do not intervene in any problems they are having with their other family. After reflecting back their feelings, I encourage them to speak directly to their father. Often, they decide not to.

This is hard for me to watch, but I’ve learned to let them take full responsibility for their actions and choices regarding their father. My job is to keep my own lines of communication clear and available for them.

6) Buy doubles. It’s embarrassing how long it took me to figure this one out—we had far too much stress about boots or snow pants or dress clothes being at the wrong house at the wrong time.

I finally went to Savers and Goodwill and spent just a few dollars on extra clothing. Now on exchange days, the kids have a choice. They can wear the cheapie clothes, and not have to worry about remembering to bring them back, or they can wear their good clothes, and the prospect of wearing the goodwill ones when they return helps them remember to bring them back. Problem solved!

7) Don’t use your kids as messengers, or ask them to speak for you or their other parent. And don’t think you can fool them, either. They know when you are plying them for the scoop on the other parent, no matter how subtle you think you’re being. And they hate it.

Unless you suspect abuse or neglect, what happens at the other home is not your business, so don’t ask for details. Of course you can listen if the kids want to tell you something, but don’t pry.

Don’t wonder out loud what Dad was thinking when he took them to McDonald’s for both breakfast and lunch. Don’t ask if Mom’s boyfriend went to Water World last weekend, too. If you really want to know, ask your ex and leave your child out of it. Kids hate being asked to spy for you. They may feel that giving these answers is a kind of betrayal, or fear that they will be punished for something that was not under their control.

(a little sidenote here: don’t ask your kids to keep secrets from the other parent. This puts them in a terrible position. If there’s something you don’t want the other parent to know about your life, simply do not tell the children about it.)

Develop a direct channel of communication between the parents. We use email, and before that we used the back door option on voice mail to send each other messages without ringing the phone. Some parents send a communication notebook or folder back and forth in one of the kids’ backpacks.

Just last night my daughter told me her dad wanted to know if I would take her to sports practice that would fall on ‘my day.’ I could see the relief on her face when I said, “Honey, don’t worry about that. I’ll talk to your Dad about it and we’ll work it out.”

8) and the corollary: Don’t speak for the other parent. Sometimes my kids will ask my why Daddy won’t let them spend their allowance the way they want to, or why he thinks this way or that.

It took more will power for me not to speak for my ex at the beginning, when I still knew him well enough to have an idea about the reasons why he did things. Now, I honestly have no clue what he’s thinking, so it’s easy to refer them to him for the details.

It’s important that you give the other parent the opportunity and responsibility to speak for themselves with their children. Don’t run interference. Don’t defend or protect the other parent from the true consequences of their actions. Let them explain to your child why they were late, rather than covering for them. The sooner your child faces the reality of who their parent is, the sooner they can get about their business of forgiving them and making whatever adjustments need to be made.

9) Free your children to love both of you without reservation or fear. And any new partners, as well. Please, do whatever internal and emotional work you need to do so that you are not threatened by your child’s love for your ex or stepparent. This might the most important tidbit of them all.

Show your child how a candle can share its flame to ignite other fires without losing any of its own light. Love is infinite—it cannot be diminished by sharing it with others. Let your child know that it’s OK for her to love both mommy and daddy, regardless of how they feel about each other, and that you are confident that she has so much love inside her that it can never run dry.

10) Be a storehouse of happy family history. If it is true, your child will love hearing that she was conceived in love, or that Mommy and Daddy were so happy when he was born. Kids with co-parents usually get to see them engaging in peaceful and productive, sometimes even warm, interactions. My kids hardly ever see both of us in the same place at the same time, and even less frequently do they witness an actual interaction.

My daughter was only three when we divorced, and has no memory of her dad and I being happy together. So I gathered some pictures of good times that included various permutations of her family forest (it’s bigger than a tree) and I hung them in a big collage frame in her room. She beamed, and told me that her favorite was the one of me and her dad holding her when she was a baby.

And when she asks, I tell her stories about her birth, and how we loved her so much, and how we would take her on walks around the neighborhood together. Little, everyday kinds of stories, to fill in the blank places in her memory with joy.

That should be enough to give you a good start. Oh, wait, just one more:

On the hard days, when you’re tired or frazzled or overextended and you slip up, please forgive yourself and just start again. Be gentle with yourself ... you’re doing the best you can.

Dealing with Frustration

Step 1:
Lower your expectations. Most peoples' frustrations stem from their disappointment of things not working out the way they anticipated. If you are constantly being let down and are becoming frustrated because of it, evaluate how much pressure you put on yourself, on others and on situations in your life.

Step 2:
Accept life as it is. One thing is guaranteed in the game of life, you will be dealt a bad hand from time to time. Devote a small amount of time to thoughts of the difficult situation or period in your life, and focus on what you can do to change your current state of affairs. Your feelings of frustration will always take a back seat to creative emotional energy.

Step 3:
Take nothing personally. People develop frustration over being let down by someone, cut off in traffic, shouted at by a loved one or any one of other common things. Nothing any one says or does should be taken as a direct affront to you. People have their reasons for the way they act, and, though it may seem it at times, their behavior has nothing to do with you and everything to do with their emotional mind-set at the time you crossed their paths.

Step 4:
Take time to put the situation into perspective. If you begin to feel yourself becoming frustrated, go somewhere quiet and think about if the situation is worth being upset. Chances are when you contemplate whatever it is, you'll realize that in the grand scheme of life, it's just not that important

 
April 20, 2008, 2:05 pm CDT

Hormones, a bankcrupt ex and a supportive new wife

Quote From: eternal_love

I've posted my story up before, but unfortunately things have taken a turn for the worse.  Here's the situation.  My husband and I got married last month; we've been together a little over a year now.  When I first met him, his ex-girlfriend was three months pregnant with his child.  He had initially wanted the two of them to stay together despite the problems they'd had in their relationship, but she ended up leaving him.  Then when he met me, we both knew that things had happened for a reason and that we were meant to be together.  I was accepting of the situation with his ex and the child that was soon to be my stepson.  And fortunately his ex-girlfriend seemed to be pretty accepting of me and was okay with me being a part of the child's life.  But since the baby was born, she's been pretty controlling.  She won't allow my husband to have unsupervised visitation with his son...she ALWAYS has to be present.  She won't even drop the baby off at my husband's mother's house so that he can spend some one-on-one time with the child.  She also seems to want the visitations to be on her terms...when it's good for her.  And everytime we have to cancel a visitation because it wasn't a good time for us, she gets furious and begins accusing my husband of being a dead-beat dad.  She even posted a blog on the Internet about how my husband is a dead-beat father!  She claims we don't spend enough time with the child, and I admit that the past couple of months we haven't made as much effort to see him.  But the reason for that is because we feel there's no point because we never get a chance to bond with him.  She always there watching our every move, and further more she rights down everything we do and say and exactly how long we're there, and then she'll turn that information over to the office of child support enforcement.  How is a father and stepmother supposed to bond with a child during visitations like this?  My husband pays child support and deserves the right to have UNSUPERVISED visitations with his son.  We don't have the money to afford an attorney; we just recently were forced into filing chapter 7 bankruptcy.  We tried talking to the office of child support enforcment to receive some advice but they could care less if she's depriving my husband of his rights.  They told us they were only concerned with cases involving child support.

 

Finally we tried to compromise with her on the visitations so that we might could have some unsupervised visitations.  She asked us to meet her and dicuss the visitation situation with her.  So we did and all hades broke loose!  She refused to compromise and starting jumping all over my husband about being a sorry father.  And as his wife, I began to speak up and stand up for him, and then she got an attitude with me and told me that I had no part in this and that it was strictly between her and him.  Since that night, things between her and us have been hot-tempered!  She's now asking my husband to sign away his rights to the child.  And my husband and I are wondering if maybe it might be the best option for everyone.  She's depriving him of his paternal rights, and the system has failed us in protecting his rights as the father of this child.  We don't have the money to afford a private attorney, and no one else will help us!  Furthermore, it will always be a battle between her and us, even if we hired an attorney.  She's very immature and listens to everyone else instead of relying on her own judgement.  Her sister, mother, and 2 best friends are complete troublemakers and are totally against us.  They are constantly telling lies about us to this woman, and she believes every word of it.  So things are always going to be like this, and we feel it might be best to just sign away our rights than to have this child grow up in the middle of a battlefield!  That's not fair to him, and it's not fair to us either.  But some advice would be very much appreciated because this is a very big decision.  My husband wants my advice and wants us to make this decision together and to do the right thing.  But sometimes the right thing to do isn't always easy to figure out.  What do you think we should do?

You arrived on the scene when the ex was 3 months pregnant.  In the past year she has gone from having a supportive, though reluctant partner, to having to cope with a bankcrupt who expects her to reorganise her schedule at the drop of a hat to accommodate child visitation with an unknown new wife who it is clear will make sure she has large say in everything.   

 

Speaking personally it was two years after having each of my children that I was on an even keel again and until you have a child it is impossible to explain how you have to train yourself out of being over-protective when they are very small and with other people. 

 

I also think you are expecting a lot in terms of bonding with a 6 month old.  Again speaking personally very young babies are extremely selfish creatures who have to learn that responding to attention gets them great rewards.  

 

Your husband has a duty to make paying child support and turning up for visitation barring sudden emergencies the priority in his life.  It's about time he made some allowances for the difficulties involved in being alone during the later stages of pregnancy and starting motherhood as a single parent.   If he walks you have to question whether he's ready for marriage to anyone, even you.

 
April 20, 2008, 6:16 pm CDT

Co-Parenting

Quote From: a_n_other

You arrived on the scene when the ex was 3 months pregnant.  In the past year she has gone from having a supportive, though reluctant partner, to having to cope with a bankcrupt who expects her to reorganise her schedule at the drop of a hat to accommodate child visitation with an unknown new wife who it is clear will make sure she has large say in everything.   

 

Speaking personally it was two years after having each of my children that I was on an even keel again and until you have a child it is impossible to explain how you have to train yourself out of being over-protective when they are very small and with other people. 

 

I also think you are expecting a lot in terms of bonding with a 6 month old.  Again speaking personally very young babies are extremely selfish creatures who have to learn that responding to attention gets them great rewards.  

 

Your husband has a duty to make paying child support and turning up for visitation barring sudden emergencies the priority in his life.  It's about time he made some allowances for the difficulties involved in being alone during the later stages of pregnancy and starting motherhood as a single parent.   If he walks you have to question whether he's ready for marriage to anyone, even you.

Well first of all, she was the one who chose to leave the relationship.  He was never reluctant to be there for her.  He was very supportive until she walked out on him.

 

Secondly, we're not the ones asking her to reorganize her schedule for us...it's exactly the opposite!  She only wants visitations on her terms and when it's good for her.  That's why my husband and I tried to compromise with her on the times and set up certain times during the week that EVERYONE could agree on.  That way, no one would have to work around anyone else's schedules.  But she didn't want to compromise; she wanted it to be HER way!

 

Also, there may not be a lot of bonding at 6 months of age.  But as the father, my husband IS entitled to spend quality time with his son without his every move being watched like he is some criminal!

 

And the only time we ever backed out on visitations is when one of us got sick because we didn't want a small infant to catch the crud we had.  Every other time she called us to visit, we were there.  And we worked around her schedule in order to avoid conflict.  I think you're forgetting that she chose to be alone during the later stages of pregnancy and during the course of motherhood.  She made the decision to leave a very supportive man who intended be there for her despite the troubles they were having in their relationship.  She made this decision and therefore it is not in any way my husband's fault, and nor she he have to pay for it.  The child support he is paying this woman is to support that child he helped to create; he does not owe her a thing.  I can't believe how you are trying to make her a victim.  In the words of Dr Phil, "If you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences."  She chose to leave my husband who had every intention of being there for her, thus she chose to bear the difficulties of being alone during the course of her pregnancy.

 
April 21, 2008, 4:32 am CDT

You've missed the point

Quote From: eternal_love

Well first of all, she was the one who chose to leave the relationship.  He was never reluctant to be there for her.  He was very supportive until she walked out on him.

 

Secondly, we're not the ones asking her to reorganize her schedule for us...it's exactly the opposite!  She only wants visitations on her terms and when it's good for her.  That's why my husband and I tried to compromise with her on the times and set up certain times during the week that EVERYONE could agree on.  That way, no one would have to work around anyone else's schedules.  But she didn't want to compromise; she wanted it to be HER way!

 

Also, there may not be a lot of bonding at 6 months of age.  But as the father, my husband IS entitled to spend quality time with his son without his every move being watched like he is some criminal!

 

And the only time we ever backed out on visitations is when one of us got sick because we didn't want a small infant to catch the crud we had.  Every other time she called us to visit, we were there.  And we worked around her schedule in order to avoid conflict.  I think you're forgetting that she chose to be alone during the later stages of pregnancy and during the course of motherhood.  She made the decision to leave a very supportive man who intended be there for her despite the troubles they were having in their relationship.  She made this decision and therefore it is not in any way my husband's fault, and nor she he have to pay for it.  The child support he is paying this woman is to support that child he helped to create; he does not owe her a thing.  I can't believe how you are trying to make her a victim.  In the words of Dr Phil, "If you choose the behavior, you choose the consequences."  She chose to leave my husband who had every intention of being there for her, thus she chose to bear the difficulties of being alone during the course of her pregnancy.

She is too busy dealing with fluctuating hormones and a baby to sort out a regular visiting schedule and if she did it would be thrown out by a doctor's appointment or going shopping to get things she forgot earlier or oversleeping because the baby kept her up at night.   Yes some women manage to get the baby into a settled routine; others, like myself, couldn't manage it to save our lives.

 

She's not a victim.  She's just not got the time, the energy and the inclination to deal with the baby's father and you on anything but her terms at the moment.  If she had a planned pregnancy your husband's behaviour since she left him has got to raise questions.  They live together, decide to have a baby despite problems.  She leaves him and within a year he's married instead of co-habiting and has gone bankcrupt.    

 

As far as being watched like a criminal is concerned what does your husband know about babies and has he told her what his experience is?  Has he shown her that he can change a nappy?  Does he support the baby's head when he picks him up?  If the baby is now bottle fed could he sterilise and fill one?  Has he bothered to read whatever book she believes has got the answers or talked to her about her preferred methods of doing things?

 

Dr Phil that applies to you too.  You chose to marry a man who hadn't worked out the details of his on-going relationship with his ex and his child.  You chose to visit as stepmother rather than let your husband and his ex work out how they were going to co-parent on their own.  They have unfinished business and difficult negotiations to get through - if I were the ex I'd prefer those negotiations to be done without your third party, partisan presence. 

 
April 21, 2008, 9:34 pm CDT

misunderstanding all

Quote From: jaimie1974

You already know that you cant reason with your ex, so dont even try. Your daughter is old enough to know that if you dont respond to a text, it probably means you turned your phone off. However, if her text contained something that you HAD to respond to, in the future, call her cell instead of your exs land line. If your ex doesnt like it, TOO BAD. Again, like you said, he cant be reasoned with. The only thing that his irrational tantrums are creating is distance between himself and his child.
If your child truly doesnt feel welcome at her fathers house and she doesnt want to go there, I suggest that you go to your court house and file for full custody. You have very good reason to do this- your ex gets drunk while he has visitation/custody of your child and then he acts irrationally. I think that getting full custody is a reasonable, responsible thing to do on your part. I wish you well!

My phone couldn't text her back. I called her cell phone. Her dad heard the ring.

 

 
April 28, 2008, 12:11 pm CDT

angry mother

Where do I begin?

 

My husband and I were just married in Jan and have a strong relationship and are close but I am struggling and not sure how to handle this issue.

 

My husband and his ex-wife share custody of their two wonderful children who are ages twelve and seven; however, she has 60% physical and he has 40%- he has them during the summer and on certain weekends. There have been some things going on that I am unsure how to handle.

 

The kids came to us and said they love both their mom and dad, and want to spend equal time with both parents. Of course, we were delighted with this, but were cautious and asked his children to really think about it. We told them we would support whatever they wanted. Months later they feel the same way and are getting more aggressive about wanting to stay with us more during the week.

 

My husband tried to talk to the mom about this- she accused him of "brainwashing and manipulation". She refused to have any discussion regarding the subject, and warned him not to speak to the kids about it again - rattled off some statute and threatened him with court and jail time. 

 

The kids have continued to bring it up and ask why can't they live with us.... we have been and are nervous about talking to them about it at all, but it's nearly the first thing out of their mouth.

 

A few weeks ago when they came home for the weekend- both seemed upset, but the youngest (he's seven) was very upset and in tears, and after a while he told us why. He had learned from his mom, that his dad wasn't paying child support and his mom was going to lose their home. We were so upset to hear this- and although we don't feel like the children should have any thing to do with child support issues... we showed the kids check stubs and explained that paying child support was very important and his mom always got their child support and got it on time.  This was very difficult for my husband. But we wanted to assure them-  dad would never not send support. He asked why his mom would tell him that. My husband wasn't sure how to answer, so he just reassured him that he would never not pay and steered the conversation to 'funner' stuff.

 

Two weeks ago- this little boy comes in the kitchen while I'm making dinner and asked "if you really need help, do you think it's a good idea to talk to someone?" I said, "of course" then I went on to say he could always talk to his dad, mom, sister, me or his teacher! He said he wanted to talk to me because he could trust me. He seemed serious and so I sat down to listen. He went on to tell me that his "mom is always sad and cries a lot, and she yelled a lot but only when we make her mad, and that she cried because his dad wouldn't pay his child support (which is SO UNTRUE!). He said he didn't "know what to do but that he didn't think he could be with his dad anymore, because she told him that if he lived with his dad half the time, his dad would stop paying her money and she wouldn't be able to pay her bills and she then would lose her house" He then told me that he wasn't supposed to talk about living with his dad anymore or he would be grounded and she would know. It seems she asks them all the time what they do when they are here and what we all talk about. (FYI: She calls several times a day when they are with us).

 

I began to shake on the inside with fury that his mother would put such a burden on his small shoulders-(as well as his sister) to make him believe something he wanted... that his decision would have ANYTHING to do with her not being able to pay her bills, and losing her home!! How dare her lie to her son like that? And lie about his dad! The only answer I could muster is that he needed to understand that his mom and dad's financial situation had nothing to do with him or his sister, and then I found myself saying "if your mommy tells you that again tell her to talk to your daddy" and then I went to get his dad... because truthfully, I didn't want to be in the middle of it and preferred for him to 'handle it' 

 

The above is the worst of it to me, but there have been many 'lies' told. There have been things said to me in the past, that is just plain wrong, including "if you're mean to me, and don't give me what I want my mom said she'd put you in jail" (we have gotten past those types of things being said long ago- but it still bothers me). There have been many things she has done through hatred, including ruining my husbands good credit by not paying on a student loan that she never refinanced into her name only.  

 

This is starting to put a strain on our marriage and this is what I don't want-thankfully, we have been able to talk about it- I realize that he can only control what he can control- but it's difficult.  I am not sure what to do for or even say to these kids. How do we talk to them?  How much of the truth do they need to know? What is the best way to handle this situation with their mom? Confrontation and court seems to be out of the question- at least for now,  my husband I fear, is afraid of her. For she is in a power position and the courtroom is her "office".  We don't even know what to do.

 

By the way.... she calls my husband and SCREAMS so loud that you can hear her from across the room- and SO can the kids if they are with us! He told her he would hang up unless she is calm. That just makes her angrier.  

 

I know this is terribly long, but thank you for letting me vent.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
April 30, 2008, 11:21 am CDT

What strikes me

Quote From: momhoodtingles

Where do I begin?

 

My husband and I were just married in Jan and have a strong relationship and are close but I am struggling and not sure how to handle this issue.

 

My husband and his ex-wife share custody of their two wonderful children who are ages twelve and seven; however, she has 60% physical and he has 40%- he has them during the summer and on certain weekends. There have been some things going on that I am unsure how to handle.

 

The kids came to us and said they love both their mom and dad, and want to spend equal time with both parents. Of course, we were delighted with this, but were cautious and asked his children to really think about it. We told them we would support whatever they wanted. Months later they feel the same way and are getting more aggressive about wanting to stay with us more during the week.

 

My husband tried to talk to the mom about this- she accused him of "brainwashing and manipulation". She refused to have any discussion regarding the subject, and warned him not to speak to the kids about it again - rattled off some statute and threatened him with court and jail time. 

 

The kids have continued to bring it up and ask why can't they live with us.... we have been and are nervous about talking to them about it at all, but it's nearly the first thing out of their mouth.

 

A few weeks ago when they came home for the weekend- both seemed upset, but the youngest (he's seven) was very upset and in tears, and after a while he told us why. He had learned from his mom, that his dad wasn't paying child support and his mom was going to lose their home. We were so upset to hear this- and although we don't feel like the children should have any thing to do with child support issues... we showed the kids check stubs and explained that paying child support was very important and his mom always got their child support and got it on time.  This was very difficult for my husband. But we wanted to assure them-  dad would never not send support. He asked why his mom would tell him that. My husband wasn't sure how to answer, so he just reassured him that he would never not pay and steered the conversation to 'funner' stuff.

 

Two weeks ago- this little boy comes in the kitchen while I'm making dinner and asked "if you really need help, do you think it's a good idea to talk to someone?" I said, "of course" then I went on to say he could always talk to his dad, mom, sister, me or his teacher! He said he wanted to talk to me because he could trust me. He seemed serious and so I sat down to listen. He went on to tell me that his "mom is always sad and cries a lot, and she yelled a lot but only when we make her mad, and that she cried because his dad wouldn't pay his child support (which is SO UNTRUE!). He said he didn't "know what to do but that he didn't think he could be with his dad anymore, because she told him that if he lived with his dad half the time, his dad would stop paying her money and she wouldn't be able to pay her bills and she then would lose her house" He then told me that he wasn't supposed to talk about living with his dad anymore or he would be grounded and she would know. It seems she asks them all the time what they do when they are here and what we all talk about. (FYI: She calls several times a day when they are with us).

 

I began to shake on the inside with fury that his mother would put such a burden on his small shoulders-(as well as his sister) to make him believe something he wanted... that his decision would have ANYTHING to do with her not being able to pay her bills, and losing her home!! How dare her lie to her son like that? And lie about his dad! The only answer I could muster is that he needed to understand that his mom and dad's financial situation had nothing to do with him or his sister, and then I found myself saying "if your mommy tells you that again tell her to talk to your daddy" and then I went to get his dad... because truthfully, I didn't want to be in the middle of it and preferred for him to 'handle it' 

 

The above is the worst of it to me, but there have been many 'lies' told. There have been things said to me in the past, that is just plain wrong, including "if you're mean to me, and don't give me what I want my mom said she'd put you in jail" (we have gotten past those types of things being said long ago- but it still bothers me). There have been many things she has done through hatred, including ruining my husbands good credit by not paying on a student loan that she never refinanced into her name only.  

 

This is starting to put a strain on our marriage and this is what I don't want-thankfully, we have been able to talk about it- I realize that he can only control what he can control- but it's difficult.  I am not sure what to do for or even say to these kids. How do we talk to them?  How much of the truth do they need to know? What is the best way to handle this situation with their mom? Confrontation and court seems to be out of the question- at least for now,  my husband I fear, is afraid of her. For she is in a power position and the courtroom is her "office".  We don't even know what to do.

 

By the way.... she calls my husband and SCREAMS so loud that you can hear her from across the room- and SO can the kids if they are with us! He told her he would hang up unless she is calm. That just makes her angrier.  

 

I know this is terribly long, but thank you for letting me vent.  

 

 

 

 

 

The situation may be exactly as you describe or it may be a good deal milder.  Those children could say anything, or misinterpret something in either household and their word would be taken as gospel because the necessary business-like communication between your households isn't in place. 

 

Speaking as a shouter myself sometimes it is the only way to get a word in edgeways.  If you've attempted to have your say 5 or 6 times in calm voice and been cut off, patronised and dismissed by someone who is so full of their perceptions and preconceptions they can't listen to a few pertinent facts about how the situation has recently changed it lets you at least get the words out.  The I'll speak to you when you are calmer ploy never works on me either.  I see it as a ploy to avoid difficult topics which would be better aired particularly when its used by people who I know will never be willing to listen to me but expect me to drop everything at a moment's notice for their convienience.

 

You don't say what your circumstances are but if you haven't children of your own and your husband isn't spending some of his weekends sorting out shoes and clothing, paying subs for hobbies, buying presents for friend's and writing out cheques for school trips you may not realise how important 10% of the child support is in some households or how ridiculously low some child support payments are set.  .  The cumulative effect of losing that, coupled with the effect of the other parent NOT picking up an extra 10% of the unpredictable expenses could mean the loss of a house after some time.  

 

Could I suggest your husband and his ex-wife set up Yahoo email accounts they use only for corresponding with each other.  Then all they have to do is make a call saying there's an email waiting whenever there is something difficult to discuss.  It also occurs to me that if your husband gave up some of the summer in return for more weekends/ week time during the year the 60/40 split could be maintained but the children would have more regular contact with their father.

 

 
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