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Topic : Co-Parenting

Number of Replies: 596
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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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January 31, 2006, 2:04 pm CST

Amen

Quote From: a_n_other

I read the original post as one of those situations where the step mother attempts to push the natural mother out of the picture because she wants to pretend her husband hasn't got a past.

     The situation you are describing is so familiar I could swear you are writing about our family, the only difference is that I am the step mom and I am in control. I can tell you this, the only reason why I am in control is because the mother wasn't. I believe that if a mother "lets" a stepmother take over and push her out of the picture then she needs to reevaluate the title of  "MOTHER" in which she calls herself. The children are 7 and 3 and I started dating their dad when the little one  was 3 and a half months old. I have been in control since the youngest was about 6 months old. The reason why dads let the step moms take over is because they don't have the motherly instinct that a female has. The mother did not have time to do things with the 7yr old, as in your case I went on the Field trips, I threw the birthday parties, I take the kids shopping, and I help make the snacks for the class.  The mother did have the children 50/50 as in your case but the school could tell a huge difference in the work quality and behavior when she was with her mother.  Reason being :  Her mother drilled her about what goes on with me and her dad, Her mother constantly tried to brain wash her into living with her, Her mother also fishes around with the 7 yr old to find out information about our family at our house.  We now have full custody of the girls and say when, where and how long they go to their mothers house. I, as a step mother of almost 4 years think that it is essential in a child's life to have a permanent home, all that swapping back and forth does nothing but confuse a child especially when the mother lets the children do what they want, when they want and the father and step mother have rules. 

  

 
January 31, 2006, 3:43 pm CST

Drug addicted co-parent

My ex-husband and i have been divorced for 10 years. We broke up because he had a cocaine addiction, alcoholism, and he was cheating. My kids were 3 and 5 at the time. They were distraught and abandoned as was i. We went through a long healing process together, which included having to deal with alot of hell from my ex. Him claiming he was clean and getting help. Not showing up at baseball games or visiting them at all. Going missing at times for months, and his family lying to my kids and telling them they did not know where he was. My kids at times thought he was dead. He stole from me. He even stole from my sons baseball coach.  He's been in and out of jail in the past. I only allowed my kids to see him if i knew he was clean. My kids hated that, but they really didn't understand what drug abuse was neither, so in a way, i overprotected them. I broke my back to make sure my kids were ok and safe. I quit jobs if they didn't allow me to be home as much as i wanted to with them. I LIVED for them.  He abandoned them, emotionally abused them. I always tried to stay close to my ex, so i knew what was going on in his life in order to protect my kids.  A couple of years later, my ex cleaned up his act and tried to be a good father. Basically becoming my co-partner parent, which i liked because it also gave me a break. I trusted he was doing good. Then my son turned 15 and sprang the big one on me that he wanted to live with his dad. It was a knife to my heart, but i understood also, but i was scared. and his dad lived 2 hours away. There was nothing i could do, so he moved. I waited a year, and i couldn't take it anymore, so me and my daughter moved close to them, about 10 minutes away. She was excited to be near both of them. My ex actually found the house and moved us, which was good. I see my ex and speak to him alot. The last time I saw him, he displays the drug abusing behaviours  he use to, and drinking heavily. I know he is using cocaine again. My gut and heart tell me. He is nasty, and verbally abusive , then he tells me he is selling pot for extra money. Then he has my daughter over for a weekend , and proceeds to get so drunk, and next thing i know, it is 10:30 on a friday night, she is still out, she is 13, driving around with a pregnant 18 year old girl, that is his girlfriends daughter, while he is out hammered somewhere. I told my kids, he is using drugs and i have to go to court about it. I also left him a message to my ex telling him what a bad father he is. He let them listen to the message, and even though he cursed me out in the most disgusting way that a drug addict would do, They refuse to believe me, they have turned on me and will not have anything to do with me now. They told me, even though he said such disgusting and horrible things to me, he didn't call me a bad mother. That's how twisted that house is. Although i am hurt to the worst extent, i have to admit, i am so mad at them also for turning on me  after all i have done. I have only done good, and he only did bad. Is it wrong for me to be mad at them. and what can i do?
 
January 31, 2006, 4:43 pm CST

Co-Parenting

Quote From: arbeeteez

I am the mother of three children, 17,15 & 12. While the youngest lives with me, the older two live with thier father. he allows them to smoke pot in the house (whether he is home or not). I'm afraid my youngest will want to join them and thier friends. Calling child protective services seems to be my only option, but I'm not sure that will help our relationship. When I told my ex I planned on drug testing my youngest when she came home, he told her to drink lots of water to flush her system out. Any suggestions 

          I DON'T BELIEVE YOU SHOULD CALL SOCIAL SERVICES. I PERSONALLY THINK IF YOU DO YOUR CHILDREN WILL REBEL EVEN MORE. I KNOW IT SOUNDS CRAZY BUT SIT DOWN AND HAVE A  'POT' TALK. HAVE YOU EVER SMOKED? DID YOU KNOW PEOPLE WHO DID? WHAT  HAVE YOU SEEN HAPPEN TO LONG TERM POTHEADS? TELL THEM!!!!!!!!! I SMOKED POT IN HIGH SCHOOL AND LUCKILY I WAS SMART ENOUGH NOT TO LET IT HENDER MY LIFE, UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE I KNEW. BE MOM AND SAY NOT IN MY HOUSE, NO RED EYES AROUND ME AND IF YOU SEE RED EYES OR SMELL POT SMOKE ON THEM, CONFRONT THEM AND TELL THEM YOU DON'T APPRECIATE THEM DOING THAT AROUND YOU. JUST MAKE SURE YOU KEEP THEM ON TRACK. SCHOOL,SPORTS(THAT DRUG TEST) , WORK, COLLEGE. THE MORE INVOLVED YOU ARE THE LESS TIME THEY HAVE TO SMOKE POT.AND TALK TO 'DAD' AND ASK IF HE WANTS HIS CHILDREN TO WALK IN HIS SHOES THROUGH LIFE, OR IF HE WANTS THEM TO HAVE BETTER. I KNOW I WANT MY CHILDREN TO HAVE A BETTER LIFE THAN I LED. MOST PARENTS DO.   GOOD-LUCK! 

 
January 31, 2006, 5:08 pm CST

Frustrated in Wisconsin

I am a single mother of one 5 year old son.  I was never married to his father.  We were only having a fling when I got pregnant.  When I told him he wanted me to have an abortion, which I didn't.  He was not in his life for the first year.  We tried making things work when my son was 1.  Big mistake.  We dated for a while when I lived apart, then we moved in with him.  I finally got to see the real person inside.  I tried making things work, but he was verbally, emotionally, and physically abusive towards me.  He wanted nothing to do with our son.  I only work 2 long 20 hour shifts a week so I was home a lot, he never had to worry about daycare.  But I on the other hand had to find someone to take care of my 2 year-old during my shifts.  He never helped pay for anything at all.  My son saw almost all the abuse.  I finally got away from him after 6 or so months.  Did I forgot to mention that he also is a male chauvanist pig?  Women are objects.  When I moved out and refused to let him set the child support guidlines himself(he only wanted to pay $100 a month cuz he had to buy mild for his child); we went to court.  He got joint custody, which only his parents want.  My son goes every other weekend and twice a week for 3 hours.  We went through a huge custody battle, which in the end nobody listened to me because his family has money and can put a nice little show. 

During the week it is at his parents, when his parents can't be with my son then his father takes him.  My son is terrified of his father and worries that he will come to hurt us.  Last year he had a very hard time in preschool, he was always worrying about me.  When he was 3-4 he wanted to kill his father.  Now when he comes home he talks to my mother about seeing his father and his new girlfriend have sex.  And she's not suppose to tell mommy.  (During the custody thing he also told the counselor he was seeing me, my family that he saw his father having sex with his then girlfriend too.)  He talks about seeing nipples and boys are suppose to pinch them, just stuff that a 5 year old shouldn't know about sex and boy/girl relationships.  It is disgusting.  I do not have a bf or not even the opposite sex comes to visit at the house when he is home.  My son has said that he has watched naked people on tv I'm not exactly sure but he describes the movies and it sounds like "Girls gone wild".  I'm not sure if this is the right place to go on, but I am at my wits end.  Come this summer the visitation is suppose to be 4 nights a week with him and only 3 with me.  And I'm suppose to be the primary person my son lives with.  I don't know what to do.  I have called CPS twice already, but they say they can't do anything cuz my son doesn't have a mark on him.  Isn't this abuse too?  Could somebody please help me?  It is getting out of control and nobody will listen to me at all.  HELP 

 
January 31, 2006, 5:53 pm CST

Co-Parenting

Quote From: becauseiss

I'm sorry to hear you are having problems with your stepson.  I guess first and foremost I should let you know that he is two.  The terrible two's I might add.  My daughter is 2 1/2 right now and a holy terror.  Some would think I let her run the house at will, but we don't.  Two year olds are hard to reason with, and your stepson is no different.  It is very hard on kids to move back and forth at that age because they really don't understand.  The biggest thing is to try to get through to her.  Try writing a letter.  I have found this to work sometimes, as no one is interrupting or yelling.  And no one feels put into a corner.  As a mom of a child who spends half of every week with his dad and stepmom, I wouldn't like her coming and telling me the way I do things is wrong.  This should really be between your husband and his ex.  Whether you get along or not, and my son's stepmom and I are great friends, it is really going to be between your husband and his ex.  Hope this made some sort of sense, and good luck!
Oh, I defenatly let him do most of the talkin to her. Me and her only really discuss dropping off and picking up schedules and the treatment of him if he is sick. My husband works 12-15hr days so I take care of him the most during the week, so she has warmed up to discussing his care (sick) with me. We do get along for the most part. We have invited her over for stuff and visversa.  I just get frustrated at the fact that he can be such a good little boy and after being with her for a day he is a terror again. Or is sick all the time with her, he comes to us sick most of the time and gets better by the time he leaves. Then turns around and gets sick again. I try to remember that he is not mine, just my stepson. But it gets hard seeing him mistreated. Its either lack of attention, and he acts up to get his moms attention or I don't know. I know he is two but my goodness. Oh and the driving around our town with him not buckled in his car seat is enough to kill me.  We would like to have full custody but only got joint. Nothing we know is either enough or have proof of. My husband is frustrated at talking to her because she never tries to talk "seriously" or she gets her mother involved and has her yell at my husband. Not that it is anywhere near her business. I don't even know what I am asking anymore I am just frustrated with her and her family(she brings her mother and sister into situation). I just don't know how to handle things this is all foriegn to me.
 
January 31, 2006, 11:33 pm CST

ouch...

Quote From: jheanmari

My ex-husband and i have been divorced for 10 years. We broke up because he had a cocaine addiction, alcoholism, and he was cheating. My kids were 3 and 5 at the time. They were distraught and abandoned as was i. We went through a long healing process together, which included having to deal with alot of hell from my ex. Him claiming he was clean and getting help. Not showing up at baseball games or visiting them at all. Going missing at times for months, and his family lying to my kids and telling them they did not know where he was. My kids at times thought he was dead. He stole from me. He even stole from my sons baseball coach.  He's been in and out of jail in the past. I only allowed my kids to see him if i knew he was clean. My kids hated that, but they really didn't understand what drug abuse was neither, so in a way, i overprotected them. I broke my back to make sure my kids were ok and safe. I quit jobs if they didn't allow me to be home as much as i wanted to with them. I LIVED for them.  He abandoned them, emotionally abused them. I always tried to stay close to my ex, so i knew what was going on in his life in order to protect my kids.  A couple of years later, my ex cleaned up his act and tried to be a good father. Basically becoming my co-partner parent, which i liked because it also gave me a break. I trusted he was doing good. Then my son turned 15 and sprang the big one on me that he wanted to live with his dad. It was a knife to my heart, but i understood also, but i was scared. and his dad lived 2 hours away. There was nothing i could do, so he moved. I waited a year, and i couldn't take it anymore, so me and my daughter moved close to them, about 10 minutes away. She was excited to be near both of them. My ex actually found the house and moved us, which was good. I see my ex and speak to him alot. The last time I saw him, he displays the drug abusing behaviours  he use to, and drinking heavily. I know he is using cocaine again. My gut and heart tell me. He is nasty, and verbally abusive , then he tells me he is selling pot for extra money. Then he has my daughter over for a weekend , and proceeds to get so drunk, and next thing i know, it is 10:30 on a friday night, she is still out, she is 13, driving around with a pregnant 18 year old girl, that is his girlfriends daughter, while he is out hammered somewhere. I told my kids, he is using drugs and i have to go to court about it. I also left him a message to my ex telling him what a bad father he is. He let them listen to the message, and even though he cursed me out in the most disgusting way that a drug addict would do, They refuse to believe me, they have turned on me and will not have anything to do with me now. They told me, even though he said such disgusting and horrible things to me, he didn't call me a bad mother. That's how twisted that house is. Although i am hurt to the worst extent, i have to admit, i am so mad at them also for turning on me  after all i have done. I have only done good, and he only did bad. Is it wrong for me to be mad at them. and what can i do?

I can understand you pain and your frustration. I am glad to see that you are following your instincts, and picking up on your ex's drug addicted behavior.  As a recovering drug addict and alcoholic myself, it seems as though this man has manipulated your children, and they are at a vulnerable age at that.  As far as your question, is it wrong for you to be mad at your children, I don't feel that it's wrong for people to have feelings about a particular situation.  My advice to you, would be to have little or limited conversation with your ex, if possible, because I can tell you, when you are dealing with someone that is active in their addiction, not only do they not hear what you say, or care, they will turn it around on you and manipulate the situation and justify their behavior, because that is what drug addicts and alcoholics do.  It's like adding fuel to the fire.  Deep down, he knows what a puke he is, he know what a terrible father he is and that he is not doing the right things by himself or by his children, and these kinds if things could be what continues to fuel the addictions at hand.  A person like him may very well need a 12 step program and a sponsor, but only he can decide that for himself.  As for yourself, I think you may benefit from some alanon meetings, as you would be suprised to see how many people deal with this same garbage day in and day out, and you will receive great advice as to how to deal with these people that drink alcoholicly and are active in addictions. As far as your children, I would set your feelings of anger aside, and come from a place of love, and make sure that your kids continuously know that you love them and that you are there for them, and set aside all the garbage that has happened so that you can have a relationship with your kids.  Even if they don't come around for awhile, keep your heart open to them and be available, because the chances are, if they are around the chaos of an alcoholic drug addict, they going to need you sooner than later in a big way.  

 
February 1, 2006, 12:31 pm CST

co-parenting

My ex and I share 1 child together. He is now 9. The first 2 years were frusterating because we both admitted we were young and angry at eachother, did the whole court thing, spent lots of money, and then we learned how to slowly communicate. It was way to expensive not to. Small Hello's at the door and how life, it was a start. Then the hardest thing was to invite eachother to events life birthdays etc etc and it grew from there. From 1999 - 2004 we worked on our communication and it was wonderful and almost stress free. We had what we called "ricky" meetings. WE got together at a pub or place to eat and talked about how we can help our child and problems we have been having. Early on it was myself, my husband and the dad. I got married when my son was 2 and we had our one girl in 1999.  Around 2003 the dad had a girlfriend for a while so we all decided to invite her to the meetings, because really this is the life that she was getting into. One thing I alway try to keep in mind and tell others is " It is not about me, It is not about the dad.... IT is about the child". Being the court appointmed sole guardian of our child since birth (cause he was not around) has given me alot of decisions to make.  In making the decisions I always ask myself am I saying yes or no because it is about Ricky or about me. I always had to remind myself that it is not about me. A few times my husband did not agree on my decisions because he told me I was too nice. My sons father and myself did not even follow the court agreement for years. On a quick other note, I think court agreements are great.... if you are not communicating very well. It is there to fall back on for the times you can not agree on a weekend or date or time. But don't use it to your advantage. Often the dad would call and ask for an adjustment in the schedule more time, drop off time, an other day etc etc..... If I did not have any plans/prior arrangments then really... there is no reason to say "no". Why? because it is not about me........ I agree that our son should see me just as much as I as long as school work is being done, activiites are being met... no for me but for Ricky. etc etc. Then in those years I had no fear of abuse, I had no reason to say no. In the last 17 months the dad did get married to the girlfriend. Prior to that we had outing together all four of us... myself and my husband went to there wedding as invited... to show our support that we include her. Then life fell aparent for my boy in the last 17 months. I honestly do not know how to get it back on track. The good communication. I could get into all the small stuff about stupid things but the big thing is 6 month after the wedding the dad cut out time with our son... no more week days.... got angry lots at him and ended up going to far to shove a pill down his throat a few months after that. His temper got the best of him then. We went through certain proceedures because of that and then a Judge said to me well you have a choice and I strongly suggest mediation for the parents, the other choice was to go to court next week and try to get access taken away because of the issue. I decided to listen to the Judge and go to mediation. I believe that all parents make small mistakes. He has been a good dad for years and a good friend to my husband and myself. He scared ricky alot and he had a scratch throat, but this is his dad. I don't ever want my son to say "you the reason dad is not around" I will try not to even be that reason. Mediation was okay. He went back to his dads house for a 8 weekends and then his dad told my son and myself that he is disengaging in access and not longer going to see him. Wow. By this time....I had no communication with the dad as by his request a few months prior I was no only fax and send letters (living in the same city). ???? So I resepcted his request and sent a letter to say this is not what anyone wants. 2 months after that I get a letter that is packed up, sold his house and moved to Ontario. We live in Alberta.  no he lived a 5 day drive away. It has been 5 months since that. There has been a few phone calls in the last few months. Once again I could say no phone calls but it is not about me. It is about Ricky so he still continues some communication with his dad. I will never make myself the reason that his dad is not around.  

To be honest... my son has had a hard time with this. many night spent talking. My 9 year old asks me I want to know the truth. I tried to give him what I could with out hurting him. My 9 year old even admitts I have been nice and tried to make things better. I told my 9 year old his dad still loves him where ever he is but his dad is not well. He is not making good decisions. He asks if he will be back, I tell him what I know.... I don't know. I tell my boy I don't want to give you hope that I can not promise. I tell him his dad is a good person it is just he is not making good decisions. 

My son has even said he wants it to be like it was before she came along (the girlfriend) I tell him me too, But we can not change what has already happend. Why do I choose to tell him things that could so call defend his father.... Because it is not about me. I could say he left becasue he does not love you....... but I don;t. I don;t call him any names at all...... I accually feel sorry for the guy....To miss out on so much. Yes my son talks to his dad every now and then..... My son will one day make his own thoughts up on his dad.  

I don't ever sommunicate with the dad because when he calls he ask for ricky right away.  

Will our relationship ever be good again? My doubts are high right now that they will not be. 

Should I just leave it?  

It is too bad that my son is in the middle and hurting so much. It pains me to see Ricky in this much pain.  I thank God that Ricky talks to me sometimes.  

I had Ricky in couselling for ADHD2 years ago (by request of the school and all parents)..... anger issues... the counselling was great.. the best thing I ever did. I asked ricky f he wanted couselling again to get things off his chest about his dad and any other issues. HE said no he just wants to talk to me. Do you think I should just leave it for now or go against my son and get him couseling? The main reason why I asked is I heard I am getting a letter in the mail from the dad to ask for 4 weeks in the summer. for me to send Ricky to ontario. An Adhd child out of his routine to a place that he does not know and people he has not seen for 8 months. I know it is not about me it is about ricky but the risk seems too high. Is his dad in a state of mind to make good decision, has he controlled his anger yet? how will ricky deal with this huge change. My first reaction is tell the dad to come here and visit with his son and 4 weeks is too long for this boy who has gone through alot emotionally.  

Holly man I should write a book.  

Remember " It is about the child not about you" 

Thanks   :0)  

 
February 1, 2006, 2:23 pm CST

Joint Custody/Pre-Schoolers

My god daughter's husband wants to leave the marriage (he has found someone else) and have joint custody of the two daughers ages 2 & 5.  He is a fireman and works 4 days on and 4 days off and wants the girls to reside with him on his days off although he still plans on putting them in day care during the week even on his days off.  My god daughter is a social worker and works full time 8:00 - 4:00.  She is the primary caregiver and feels that it is unfair to deprive her of her week ends with the girls as that is their quality fun time together.  She wants sole physical custody with generous access for their father.  The girls' grandmother and I are concerned about the effect of changing houses every 4 days on the girls as they are so young and the mother is the nurturing parent.  The father has, in the past year, been fairly absent even before he said he wanted out.  Our concern is how it will effect the girls to have this arrangement.  Has anyone had experience with this - do the courts even allow joint custody in cases where the children are this young?  We are in Canada.  The girls' mother has been dragging a very reluctant husband to marriage counselling twice a week and he is adamant that he wants out.
 
February 2, 2006, 10:18 am CST

Co-Parenting

Quote From: chevy10

My god daughter's husband wants to leave the marriage (he has found someone else) and have joint custody of the two daughers ages 2 & 5.  He is a fireman and works 4 days on and 4 days off and wants the girls to reside with him on his days off although he still plans on putting them in day care during the week even on his days off.  My god daughter is a social worker and works full time 8:00 - 4:00.  She is the primary caregiver and feels that it is unfair to deprive her of her week ends with the girls as that is their quality fun time together.  She wants sole physical custody with generous access for their father.  The girls' grandmother and I are concerned about the effect of changing houses every 4 days on the girls as they are so young and the mother is the nurturing parent.  The father has, in the past year, been fairly absent even before he said he wanted out.  Our concern is how it will effect the girls to have this arrangement.  Has anyone had experience with this - do the courts even allow joint custody in cases where the children are this young?  We are in Canada.  The girls' mother has been dragging a very reluctant husband to marriage counselling twice a week and he is adamant that he wants out.
I feel for your god daughter.  I have joint customdy with my ex and my duaghter goes one week with me and another week with him.  This is really hard on me, but she seems to love it.  She is 7 and we have been doing this since she was 4.  I hate having her gone for a week but I just have to think about her and her needs.  I have talked to several professionals about if this is really good idea for a kid, the answer I always seem to get is that it is different with every child and if we see behvorial problems then we would want to rethink the situation but at this time she is doing great.  It is the hardest thing for me the weeks she is gone, but when she is gone we talk pretty much every day.  The difference in my ex and your god daughters husband is that my ex has been there for her since she was born and has been a excellent father.  One thing that will have to happen if she decides to do this is there will have to be excellent communication or it will never work.
 
February 3, 2006, 8:07 am CST

Thanks

Quote From: jkorthanke

I feel for your god daughter.  I have joint customdy with my ex and my duaghter goes one week with me and another week with him.  This is really hard on me, but she seems to love it.  She is 7 and we have been doing this since she was 4.  I hate having her gone for a week but I just have to think about her and her needs.  I have talked to several professionals about if this is really good idea for a kid, the answer I always seem to get is that it is different with every child and if we see behvorial problems then we would want to rethink the situation but at this time she is doing great.  It is the hardest thing for me the weeks she is gone, but when she is gone we talk pretty much every day.  The difference in my ex and your god daughters husband is that my ex has been there for her since she was born and has been a excellent father.  One thing that will have to happen if she decides to do this is there will have to be excellent communication or it will never work.
Thanks for your advice and personal experience.  It is heartbreaking all around except for the father.  I have always liked him but what can you say about a guy who wants to leave his family because he is having more fun with the wife's good friend and who won't even hear of working on his marriage?  I can't have respect for him.  It seems everyone gets divorced and the kids get through it but it is a heartbreaking situation.  Thanks again.  I am glad it is working for you.
 
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