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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 29, 2006, 5:25 pm CST

You hit the nail right on the head!

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.

I would have marked the emotion more as GRATEFUL, but they don't have that choice! 


Thanks for putting it so succintly.   


Looks like they are pushing for another round of  "mediation" (aka: manipulation designed to get their way).  I've declined, and now they are using the threat of a "Special Master Parent" if I won't show up in mediation or therapy.   


I will agree to show up, again,  for a limited number of sessions.  In the past, they show up, look cooperative, agree to behave better in order to get additional  weeks in the summer or something like that and when they have achieved their goal, they revert right back to the old behaviors.  Change in behavior in order to improve communication, help our son not feel "caught in the middle" was their side of the compromise to achieve additional weeks, etc. 


I have also been checking the option of a Master Parent out with his psychologist and it may be a good choice for us.  The Master Parent will hear both sides of issues, possibly speak with our son and then decide what is the best choice for him.  The psychologist said that perhaps with enough of their behaviors witnessed by the Master Parent and decisions that are in line with what I think should be done, that perhaps my ex-husband might get an education about what's best for our son.  It may be the only way to contermand the stepmom's 'hold' on him regarding the parenting of our son. 


Anyone ever used a Master Parent? 


Thanks for the input, again. 

It's not how I envisioned raising a child would be, but if in the long run he benefits from may be the only choice. 

January 29, 2006, 7:20 pm CST

Very confused!

I don't even know if this is the right place to put this but here is my problem.  I have a son who is 11 and he lives with his mother.  Recently my son was at a friends house and he and his friend were caught looking at pornography on the computer.  The friends father caught them and the father alerted my sons mother.  I went to talk with my son and we had a long talk about the dangers and bad affects the porn could have on him and just on his outlook on women.  We talked for awhile and I really felt that we had a good conversation.  But that isn't really were my problem lies.  You see I felt that as his father I would have a better understanding of what it is to be a young boy and so I felt he might be more comfortable in talking with me about things that were going on in his head.  I told him that he should also be comfortable in talking with his mother but that if there were things that he felt embarrassed about he was more than able to come to me.  Unfortunately, his mother felt I was out of line and that I should have not told him these things because it will teach him to only come to me with his problems.  Not once did I say he should only come to me with his problems or questions.  I just felt that in this situation I remembered what it was like to be a small boy and I wanted him to know that any feeling he had he could come to me because I had been there before.  His mother made me feel very bad for what I did and now I feel like I was being a terrible parent.  I really don't know what to think?
January 30, 2006, 11:25 am CST

I Could Be in Your Place

Quote From: libertyann

I am a remarried mother of 3, with two stepchildren who live with my husband and I.  My oldest child is in college, and independent now.  The four boys are 8, 14, and each of us has a 15 year old from our previous marriage.  My 14 year old is autistic.  The marriage is great.  The kids get along well- especially the oldest two.  Sometimes when I listen to the activity in our home I am filled with gratitude for the family we have created.   

The only fly in the ointment is the ex's.  They seem to spend all of their parenting time trashing my husband and I.  It's no surprise, really, but it's escalating.  the older two boys spend a lot of time regurgitating the horrible things our ex's say about us.  A lot of it is revisionist-telling stories the way they want them to be.  My husbands son tells stories about how his mother never really left them, didn't actually have an affair with her current husband, lost everything in the divorce and is now suffereing. He complains that I said his mother is not a good parent.  If cornered he will admit I never actually said this, but he can tell I think it.  And I do- he's no dummy.  She pays no child support, but pickes up some of the boys clothing and daycare expenses.  We can't rely on that, however, so sometimes we buy clothes, and we will stop sending the youngest boy to daycare next month.  He likes to play there after school, but I'm home, so it's not worth the trouble of having her threaten not to pay tuition every month.    My son goes on about how I ruined his fathers life and left him holding the bag for the damage, and now he's begun talking about how I don't really love my new husband, I'm just using him for support.  I no longer work outside the home, and the ex's seem to have huge issues with this.  So the boys complain that I stay home all day and do nothing and then make them do all the work when they come home.  I make them pick up after themselves and clean their rooms.  Occasionally I ask them to carry stuff upstairs for me.  This past week I taught them how to do their own laundry- they were complaining about the level of service I was providing.  I make a nice from scratch meal every night and clean for 6 people.   The laundry alone is amazing- I have two washer dryer sets in my laundry room.   

Here's the deal- the mother left her husband children for another man.  She doesn't exersize her mid week parenting time unless we insist, and she tends not to pick them up for her holidays.  She manages to squeeze in a lot of trash in about three days a month.    My ex was a hard drinking abusive man who wasn't very involved with his children when they lived with him.  He sees them regularly, but won't pay for their medical expenses as per the divorce decree.  He sued for custody when I remarried and moved across state lines and lost.  

These were people we did not want to spend our lives with.  We do not want to burden our children with the details-past or present.    We do not want to engage in name calling.  We want to set a good example and go forward.  It's getting harder to pull off, and I am in favor of sitting down with all of the kids and discussing the ugly open issues they are bringing home. I want to tell them to knock it off.  My husband doesn't want to.  He thinks it will pass and someday they will understand.  I fee that the poison is just too much for children to deal with and I want to stop it.  It's certainly affecting the way I feel about the kids.  I find myself avoiding them, and being less affectionate than I'd like to be.  At least toward the big ones- the younger two are not really involved much in this situation, they just get to watch!   


I'd be interested to know what some of you would do in our place.   

I have been divorced for ten years, with two kids who live with me (17 and 20 years old).  Things were not good in the beginning between my ex and myself, but they are much better now.  No matter how much I wanted to, I never asked my kids what their dad was up to, if he was still drinking, etc.  I did not want to put them in the position of feeling that they were spying on him for me.  Nor did I ever speak badly about their father in front of them - no matter how bad a parent can be (and he was not a bad parent), they are still the only parents these kids know, and kids will defend them to the end.  I am fortunate that I can talk to my ex - we share parenting problems, go to school conferences and sports events together.  We made a decision when we got divorced that even if we are not married, we will always be a family unit, and will have to deal with each other in the normal course of our children's lives.  Atypical?  Maybe, but it works for us. No matter what the relationship is between us, we work together to provide the best parenting for our kids.  My advice - no matter how bad things get, don't put your kids in the middle!  Even if it means taking the higher ground when the other parent won't - don't stoop to that level!
January 30, 2006, 11:54 am CST

My Ex=No parenting

I have two boys, ages 13 and 11.  My ex-husband is never around for them-in fact, he has only seen them twice since the new year began and that is by happenstance.  The only time he spent with them before the new year was picking my son up from school and dropping him off which takes all of 10 minutes a day.  So that 50 minutes a week with one son and less that 15 minutes a week with the other (the other one he just says hello to when he dropping off the one he picks up).  Three times out of a week, he calls and says he cannot pick up my son, so I either have to make arrangements for someone else to pick him up at the last minute or he has to stay in afterschool until someone can get him.  I got tired of that so I arranged for one of his friends mother to drop him off for me everyday.  Football season ended in the first week in November and he remarried in July '05 so therefore, his "visitation" has pretty much dwindled to nothing.  I don't know what to say to him to make him realize that his kids need him.  I have been talking to him about it for years, all to no avail. 
January 30, 2006, 11:59 am CST


I am the stepmother to a little 2  year old boy. While me and his mother do get along most of the time, we have very different parenting styles. She lets him get away with everything and he does no wrong. He gets what he wants when he wants it. Me and my husband have tried to talk to her about it. She lies to our face and denies it all and makes herself seem like she does correct and disapline him. But we have people tell us different and we can tell by the way he acts she does not. I am frustrated with trying to teach him right from wrong and having to take our first two days with him. And turn him into our version of him. The screaming, throwing himself around and crying is driving me mad. I love him and I hate dreding him coming over because of this. I really don't want any of this wearing off on my son either. Any suggestions or ideas to make things easier. Besides talking to her, that gets us no where.
January 30, 2006, 2:05 pm CST

Not always a negative

My ex and I have not been together since I got pregnant.  My choice.  Anyhow, we did not get along for a few years.  There was a lot of anger, mostly on my part, but we just did not get along.   While I was dating my husband, he informed me that my son's father was not going anywhere, and we had to get over the past.  It was hard, really hard, but that is what we did.  I think that has made us better parents.  Our son is with his dad and stepmom half of every week and with my husband, sister and me the rest.  We all get along.  His wife and I are great friends, as are my ex and husband.  This is an odd situation, my ex'es parents even buy us brithday and Christmas presents and consider our daughter their granddaughter, but it can work.  I just wanted to post something because I am proud of our family and want other moms and dads to know that there is hope, and to realize that whatever feelings you have for your ex or whoever, think about the impact on your child or children.  Our son is a very happy person who thinks he's really lucky to have two moms and two dads.  Other kids are actually jealous of your family.  I am not wanting to sound holier than thou or anything like that, just wondering if there are other families like ours out there!  Thank you for reading... 

January 30, 2006, 2:15 pm CST


Quote From: peifgirl

I am the stepmother to a little 2  year old boy. While me and his mother do get along most of the time, we have very different parenting styles. She lets him get away with everything and he does no wrong. He gets what he wants when he wants it. Me and my husband have tried to talk to her about it. She lies to our face and denies it all and makes herself seem like she does correct and disapline him. But we have people tell us different and we can tell by the way he acts she does not. I am frustrated with trying to teach him right from wrong and having to take our first two days with him. And turn him into our version of him. The screaming, throwing himself around and crying is driving me mad. I love him and I hate dreding him coming over because of this. I really don't want any of this wearing off on my son either. Any suggestions or ideas to make things easier. Besides talking to her, that gets us no where.
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!
January 31, 2006, 5:17 am CST

Breaking my heart

My daughter who is no 12 got 2 sisters in 2 years.  One is my own who is now almost two and the other is her biological dad's daughter who is about 2 months younger than mine.  As if live for my oldest wasn't enough her biological dad isn't much of a dad.  She sees him every second weekend and I know I shouldn't complain but his fianche picks my daughter up becaus her "dad" is playing golf.  Then when he is home he is drinking.  He's not abusive but he cannot controll his drinking.  If it wasn't for his fiance , my girl would never have seen him.  He doesn't think that his "actions" affects her , but he is killing her spirit with his "no giving a damn" attitude towards live. She cries contantly about him not spending time with her and her feeling that she is not worth the time of day. To make her situation worst is that my husband (her stepdad) is really strick.  We come from different backgrounds and he doesn't believe in helping her with homework or being soft. I sometimes don't know how to treat the situation.  I thought of not letting her see her biological dad but I know she does love him and I think he does love her his own way....although I don't approve of his way of putting himself first.   

January 31, 2006, 10:29 am CST

how to get my husband to help

my name is sarah and i have three girls ages 7, 4, and 4 months and my major problem right now is my husband, he tends to just set back and relax when i am at home and let me handle it all. yes he works, actually he works two jobs, full time at a factory and part time doing taxes untill april, and i work as well. but on days that we are both home together, i always have dinner ready and homework started, as soon as he gets home he will feed the out side animals and that is it, when he comes in dinner is on the table he eats and to the recliner he goes, i then have to bathe all three girls, finish up homework , feed the baby, clean up after dinner, and get my oldest things ready for the next day at school, ect. and there are times when i have a crying baby in one arm, my oldest trying to work on school work and my four year old begging for something and he just sits there, when i ask for a little help he usually just ignores me and then i start to go into overload and usually blow my top, and then finally he starts to help and he is all pissed of about me interupting him, i hate to get upset in front of my girls i know that that is not good at all, i have tried to talk to him about it and he says all that i do is bitch, and that is our major argument 99% of the time it is over helping with the girls. now there are days that it is just him and the girls usually the weekends and there is no homework or most of the house work is done, he plays super dad, and it really makes me sick when his parents come up (they live out of state) he really puts on a show, and that really ticks me off. i uderstand that he works but so do i dosent that account for something, so what should i do , there are days that i wish he wasnt even around, however i love him dearly i just want to have a little more help. is that to much to ask 


January 31, 2006, 11:32 am CST


I have 2 children one is 7 and the other will be a year old next week.  My 7 year old goes back and forth between her dad and I.  She is with him one week and me one week.  I had her when I was young and when I seperated from her dad that I was never married too I gave him joint custody and that was the biggest mistake of my life.  I never made him pay child support and figured we could work it out between us with schedules and who pays for what.  About 4 years ago he took me back to court for full legal custody, he made up lie after lie in court about me and made himself out to be this super dad (which I know he is not).  He won so now he gets to make all legal decisions in her life.  He takes her to the doctor when she is sick and doesn't tell me, and the doctor has a note that he is the only one to bring her in so if she is sick on the week she is with me I have to get his permision to take her to the doctor (half the time I cant get a hold of him).  My daughter is with his parents for a lease half the week that she is with him.  When we went to court his claim was that I went out all the time and out of that he got customdy of my girl.  We now have to stick to exactly what the papers say and he doesnt budge at all (ex: last year my husband b-day was on her week that she was with her dad and he wouldnt let her come over for his b-day.  I have talked to many attorneys and paid alot of money for attorneys just to tell me that I have a tough case on my hands.  If it has to stay like this I at least want to get along and be flexable.  How do I handle this mess and how do I get my daughter back?  Is it good for a child to go back and forth week to week ? HELP
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