Divorce: Do you cover up your ex’s faults?

For years my friend has been covering up her husband’s faults to the kids. The kids are still young – 12 and under — and she doesn’t want to poison them against their father. So she would make up excuses and try to act like he was a reliable man who cared about his family and everything was fine.

Well they are finally getting divorced and his faults continue to be the same and she cannot decide if she should continue to cover them up or let the kids see (or at the least the oldest see) what is really going on.

So for example, he bails at the last minute on his weekend time with the kids. He doesn’t want to take all the kids, only some of them. He’s late picking them up and isn’t mindful of their schedule. The family still doesn’t have the money they need and she is left trying to explain why things in the house don’t work or why they may need to move soon.

So should she say “Daddy had to work this weekend and that’s why he can’t see you” or “Daddy made plans with his friends and doesn’t care to see you?” Does she say “We don’t have enough money to fix the dishwasher” or “Daddy spent our money on something unnecessary so we don’t have enough to fix the dishwasher.”

She’s not sure why but the kids are under the impression that the husband chose to move out and leave the family. She can’t decide if that’s actually better than the truth that she kicked him out.

So what do you think? How do you balance not trying to badmouth your ex with the reality of the situation? How much should this mother say? How much should she continue to cover up and to which kids? Does she let her oldest the truth? Would this be worse to find out later in life or should they be left to figure it out on their own?

49 comments Add your comment

Beck

October 21st, 2013
4:37 am

Kids aren’t stupid; they have probably already noticed.

Dad sounds horrible, but mom is LYING to these children. At this point, they won’t know who they can rely on. Let Dad do the lying to the kids from now on and Mom needs to cut out the lying ALTOGETHER.

The kids will see the truth and if the father chooses to change his behavior down the road than more power to him. But what the mom is doing now is no better than the father. Lying destroys trust.

I think my boss is a man

October 21st, 2013
5:01 am

My wife has plenty of faults. I’m pretty sure she is having or had an affair. She’s over the top paranoid and continues to emasculate our son. Most recently, she made him use the woman’s rest room because of her paranoia regarding people she thinks are unsavory.

Yes, I am seriously considering divorce and the kids do know. They more or less hate her.

Mongoloid mom

October 21st, 2013
5:49 am

MY FALTS IS I HAVE AN EXTRY CHROMOZONE I HOPE MY HUBAND DONT DIVORCE ME

2.sides.not.here

October 21st, 2013
5:50 am

Do you know all of this as fact or have you considered that its possible your friend is trying to poison you against her ex husband with these stories, along with anyone else who will listen? Maybe she is the one crossing up the visitation plan to make him look bad to own kids? I certainly don’t know the full story and my guess is you don’t either….

catlady

October 21st, 2013
5:54 am

It is a fine line, but I do not think lying or putting it all out there helps the kids. My kids were 2, 7, and 11 when I divorced him. One of the best pieces of advice I got from the counselor,was not to lie to them. Just say, ” Dad isn’t coming this weekend.” Let HIM explain why. Make. C. C. C. , factual statements “we can’t get the dishwasher fixed now. It costs more money than we have” etc. as they grew up, they figured it out. I did the right thing by being,classy. (So much that at one point the baby proposed that dad ans Suzy move in with us so I could “take care,of them, too”). I was invited to their wedding, and I have always been an emergency contact at school for their son! But believe me, the bitten tongue was worth it.

My kids are now 37, 33, and 28. They have figured out much of the story without me opening my mouth. The rest of it I doubt I will ever tell them. (That is why it is important to get a good counselor!)

mom2alex&max

October 21st, 2013
6:08 am

I wouldn’t lie, but I wouldn’t get specific either. They will figure it out on their own. You can just say: Dad isn’t coming this weekend. When they ask why, you say: I am not sure, you’ll have to ask him.

dc

October 21st, 2013
7:17 am

come on 2.sides…. you know when a women says a man is doing bad things, it’s gospel. sacrosanct!

Women never do anything to contribute to the issues – its always that lazy husband. They don’t nitpick, they focus as much on strengthening the physical intimacy part of their relationship as they want him to focus on emotional intimacy. you know, as if physical and emotional are actually equally important.

….OK, just got back up off the floor from laughing and falling out of my chair. if only…….

A reader

October 21st, 2013
7:20 am

Kids need at least one stable and honest parent. As others have said, don’t lie to your kids. But then again, they do not need all the gory details, such as why you don’t have money for x, y, or z. My ex has not paid child support in over 4 years but my daughter does not know that. She only knows that we have to be frugal with our money.

FCM

October 21st, 2013
7:43 am

I specifically asked my 2 before I left this morning. They were emphatic that no she should not interfer. They were very clear that the 9 years I have spent not “sheltering” them (and yeah, one was 2 when we divorced) means they are secure in knowing which parent to count on. Had I betrayed their trust me they would have two parents they didn’t have faith in instead of one. (This is what they said; not my words).

Ex: My daughter mentioned to her Dad that Thanksgiving (and his week with them) was getting closer when he said he missed them. He said he meant to talk to her about that, he had a wedding and a memorial that week and no extra days to be off. It was unlikely the extended family would together for Thanksgving. He was thinking he would come up the weekend before Thanksgiving and see then. Then he said, well I wanted to call you guys because (your step mom) and I are going on a cruise for about 5 days. She got off the phone and said well we see where we fit in his world! He has time for the cruise, weddings, and memorials but no time for the kids he supposedly misses. Then she sighed and said “Dad is just Dad. It doesn’t surprise me he cancelled. He won’t ever change but I am. I am going to want to be with my friends over him.”

Your friend needs to realize that the father’s relationship with his children is HIS. It is not up to her to maintain it or do damage control. The children will only be more hurt when they realize she lied for the dad. She should not do anything. That includes voluteering her opinion of the father or what he is doing (not seeing them, etc) where the kids can hear it.

She should work with him on the logistics of visitation etc. The kids don’t need to handle all that. Like what time on Christmas Eve he is coming by etc. She needs to be there for the kids and find a way to deal with him so that when he is at their children’s wedding they can be in the same room.

(BTW we have discussed this in the past, and this has always been the answer of the divorced people).

FCM

October 21st, 2013
7:44 am

OH and what she should do is not tell them in advance that Daddy should be seeing them. If they do know and he cancels HE should tell them. Her answer should always be “I don’t know you’ll need to talk with Daddy about that.”

Mayhem

October 21st, 2013
7:45 am

Thankfully, I’ve NEVER had to deal with any of this. I’ve been happily married to the same man, the father of my kids, for over 30 years now.

Techmom

October 21st, 2013
7:57 am

I agree with the folks who say not to lie but you also don’t have to openly blame the ex. The kids get it, or they will eventually. By the time I was 10, I knew my bio-dad was a deadbeat who didn’t care; my mom didn’t have to say anything specific.

motherjanegoose

October 21st, 2013
8:13 am

I have no experience here but I do have a question:

Someone I know just died from cancer. She was divorced from the father of the children. Both parents have remarried. The children are adults. They never told them why they divorced. Is this customary? I am sure you do not want to empty a bag of dirty laundry but after a dozen years, would you give your adult children a clue? The children say they do not know. Have no idea.

@FCM…related: My husband can be a real toot about things. I can be picky about other things. I have had a firm discussion about how our children are now adults and if they come to our house for a visit, we need to let go of some things and make it pleasant. Not trying to coddle them but they do have a choice in where they spend their time. We pretty much stopped visiting our parents ( in our twenties) as his were alcoholics and non stop smokers and mine were “my way or the highway”. Since we paid our own $$$ to get to them ( both out of state) and stayed at a hotel while we were there, we decided it was not worth the hassle.

I want our children to enjoy visiting with us and not feel obligated or angry ( as we did).

cobbmom

October 21st, 2013
8:35 am

I left it up to my ex to explain why he didn’t follow through, of course he always blamed me. As my daughter got older she saw the truth for herself. She has not had contact with him in over 5 years, his choice but she makes no effort to contact him through family members. She clearly tells anyone who asks that her stepfather is her daddy and the other one is simply a biological donation. She sees his parents, who have disowned him, his current wife and their child. His father has even put in his will that he is not to be told of his father’s impending death and anyone that does or invites him to the funeral is disowned. If your friend’s husband is a deadbeat the older kids already know and the younger ones will figure it out soon.

Techmom

October 21st, 2013
8:39 am

@MJG, I don’t understand parents who keep huge secrets from their kids. My grandmother did that to her kids; two of them never found out who their fathers were! They were both grown (in their 40s) when she died and asked her for answers while she was on her deathbed and she still wouldn’t say. Doesn’t make any sense to me. They always held it against her for not being truthful and now even after her death, feel like they were robbed.

xxx

October 21st, 2013
8:44 am

Best bet is to mnid your own business.

FCM

October 21st, 2013
8:50 am

@ MJG sometimes it is better left in the past. I have the divorce decree that lists the legal reasons for the divorce and the details of dissolution. If my kids ever want to read it after they are both over 18 then I will let them. The decree is public record. The emotional reasons and the day to day, no. I don’t care to bring that back up.

Yes, I want my children to want me around (at least sometimes) when they get older. I totally get what you are saying.

Momcat

October 21st, 2013
9:00 am

My neighbor has been married 20 years and filed for divorce this summer. Husband had a prescription drug habit and acquired $90,000 debt. After termination from a series of jobs, she had enough. Court issued her temporary custody of kids. Teenager decided she didn’t want to live with mom and allowed dad to hit her. Photos were presented to judge documenting the abuse “from mom” and judge granted custody of teen to dad. So yes, kids should be told the truth. Too late for this family.

K's Mom

October 21st, 2013
9:03 am

As someone who is married to a divorced father, I would make certain that your friend is telling the truth. We have had visitation plans changed last minute, probably 75% of the time, which caused my husband to be unable to see his child and of course he was blamed. We have also had child support checks signature confirmed through certified mail and Fedex that never got there somehow. If the dad truly is a bad guy, then i agree that she needs to let the dad make the explanations.

I would also encourage anyone paying child support to have it set up through Child Support Services so that there is never a question as to whether or not it is paid. My husband has worked with this agency because of lies his ex has told and they have been fantastic. They have been so appreciative that a father will come in and work with them to do the right thing.

Separate but not Absent

October 21st, 2013
9:13 am

Yes, your friend should keep your mouth shut when it comes to bad mouthing the father of your children. To deliberately run the children’s father into the ground to either make sure they are on her side or to just make her just feel better is a particular cruel form of child abuse known as Parental Alienation. It creates a plethora of emotional and psychological problems called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). PAS is related to the children’s self esteem and self identity and very destructive. I invite you to check out the works of Dr. Douglas Darnall (www.parentalalienation.org) or Sara Hassman (www.palienation.org) for more on this horrible form of child abuse.
Hopefully he will be keeping quiet about her faults as well. You can be sure he has found some faults in her behavior even if she hasn’t. Her decision to leave has turned his life upside as well.
The Children need to hear the message from both parents that is perfectly fine and accepted even encouraged that they love the other parent. The children are already dealing with guilt, loyalty issues, depression and confusion. They need the nurturing of both parents at this moment. Don’t make them be the one that isolates the father.
Another thing to consider is eventually; when they are older they figure things out on their own. They will observe both parents in action their entire life. If she has said horrible things about the father and made a situation where the kids had to pick you or him they may just pick him.

DB

October 21st, 2013
9:27 am

That she is angry is a given — that her anger needs to spill over onto her children is not.

I can’t think of anything positive about allowing her frustration and anger over her husband and his (in)actions spill over into her interactions with her children. They are having adjustment problems of their own, they don’t need to be dealing with Mom’s anger, too. She just has to become adept at stating the obvious: “I don’t know why Daddy didn’t come to your soccer game, sweetie — you can ask him when you talk to him.” They should be encouraged to reach out to the absent parent as much as possible, until they finally reach a point where they choose for themselves. Kids aren’t stupid.

Sk8ing Momma

October 21st, 2013
10:11 am

The kids will become of age and recognize the truth on their own; HOWEVER, I would opt to tell them the truth now. Personally, I would resent my mother for “keeping me in the dark” as a child. The truth is sooooo much better than trying to hide from it in the name of “protecting” one’s feelings. Kids see through most of what parents try to hide.

Although I would definitely opt for telling the truth, I’d say it gently and in love, i.e. my purpose for not doing so would not be to bad mouth my ex. For example, the truth may go a little something like this: “All people are responsible for their own choices. People don’t always do what we think is reasonable or the “right” thing to do. Your father is the same. He makes his own choices….Regardless of his actions, he’s still your father and always will be. you must honor and respect him. Accept him for who he is. When you’re older, you can decide on the type of relationship you have with him.”

With regard to spending money on things other than necessities, I’d say something like, “We need dad’s financial contribution to our household for it operate smoothly. Unfortunately, he chose not to make a contribution to get blank __________ repaired. I do not know why he made that choice, but we have to accept it. I am doing the best that I can, and we’ll get it repaired when we have the funds. In the meantime, the good news is that we have shelter and each other.”

mom2alex&max

October 21st, 2013
10:26 am

Sk8ting: I am afraid all that will get misinterpreted, specially if it is, for some reason, repeated to the other parent.

I can’t say with 100% certainty what I would do or say, but my instinct would be to keep it short, sweet and to the point.

FCM

October 21st, 2013
10:30 am

Why would anyone think the “ex” in a divorced situation should pay to have the dishwasher repaired? Or the roof fixed or even the car? I have never asked my ex to help pay for those things. Even things the kids destroyed like the blinds or the door jamb (one kicked it when the other locked themselves in the kicker’s room). The parent living in the residence is responsible for those things.

Now things like Prom or a school trip or clubs that were not part of the Child Support Order because they were not known then. ABSOLUTELY let’s ask your Dad what if anything he can contribute before we make a final decision.

princessnik

October 21st, 2013
10:32 am

I don’t cover for my daughter’s father. She is 10 and when she asks questions as to why Daddy doesn’t keep his word or some other question. I simply say that is something you have to ask Daddy. She is not blind to him missing all her softball games or making one per season if that. I don’t harp on it and I don’t talk bad about him but I certainly don’t cover for him.

princessnik

October 21st, 2013
10:37 am

I will add to my previous post that My daughter’s father and I were never married which I don’t really think makes much of a differnce with the topic………..

CC

October 21st, 2013
11:03 am

I think making the Dad answer as to why he is canceling is the best way. The mother should not place blame on the Dad the kids will figure that out for themselves. In the long run they will remember that their mom did not do that and have a better relationship with her because of it.

Kellie

October 21st, 2013
11:17 am

I think you need to be honest but tactful if you can. Please for the love of everything, don’t yell and scream and curse in front of your kids. If you can’t be civil about it, leave it alone. Kids are smart, they will figure it out themselves.

Fred

October 21st, 2013
11:18 am

@Sk8ing Momma – That is classic passive aggressive speech. Your “saying it in love” is really painting him in a bad light setting him up for failure. You would be much better off not saying anything instead of saying that.

For what it is worth, I’ve seen many a custodial mom doing things with the money that weren’t in the best interest of the child(ren). I’ve also seen a lot of scheduling issues and unrealistic expectations set up by ex spouses that appear to be an effort to be conciliatory that in reality are designed to turn the kids away. I’m for what some of the early comments have said – He or she won’t be here and you will need to talk to them to find out why.

oliverpoisson

October 21st, 2013
12:14 pm

I’d try to avoid the gory details. For example, just say he is not taking you this weekend, and leave it to him to explain why. Remember, no matter how lame your ex-spouse is, your kids probably still see themselves as part you and part them. So, when you bad mouth him, it might make you feel better, but it can hurt your kids self-image and make them wonder what is wrong with them. As they get older, they will figure out who was there for them and who was not.

Plus, divorcing parents sometimes see each other in the worst possible light. To an unbiased party, he may not be that bad. Don’t drag the kids into it and try to make them pick sides. If he is as bad as you say, they will figure it out eventually. And if he is not as bad as you think, you have spared them the hurt of dragging them in.

Denise

October 21st, 2013
1:21 pm

As an adult that was a child of divorced parents let me tell you, do not try to come between a child and her other parent. It may backfire on you. Like most have said, let the child figure things out for herself and be there to support as needed. My mother did very well at not talking toooo badly about my father during their many in and outs but when she got over the line I told her not to talk about my father to me. Same as with my father. Don’t talk about my mother to me. When I was in college they were in a particularly bad space and I was sick of both of them so I told them I was sick of their back and foth BS and that if they didn’t get it together I would not come home. Didn’t have to because I lived in an apartment they did not pay for and was in school and they didn’t pay for that either. Then I called my daddy’s older sister and told her what happened and she called him and got him all the way in order. I haven’t had too much a problem out of them since about 1995. I’m very honest with them. I tell my mother that she was not a good wife and he was not a good husband. They were good parents to me and my brother and that is all I care about. The rest of it is between them and they need to keep it between them. Even today. Keep it between them.

Reaching back a few weeks….we discussed David Tutera and his husband divorcing and splitting up the kids. I was watching his show last week and they were actually divorcing before his daughter was born. I’m not sure if it was finalized before she got here but apparently the kids are not twins and have not been raised together so maybe they are not “separated” in the divorce as we assumed.

A reader

October 21st, 2013
1:36 pm

I wonder how many here are actually divorced or are a child of divorce. If you are not then that is kinda like a non-parent giving you parenting advice. You simply do not fully understand all the issue unless you have lived it.

FCM, I would never ask my ex to pay to have the dishwasher fixed. But the reality is that if he does not pay his child support on time then I may have to choose between buying food for my kids or fixing the dishwasher. That is a reality for many many divorced parents. Regardless, a parent should never tell their kids that they cannot do something because the other parent is irresponsible / deadbeat / idiot / fill-in-the-negative-adjective. That is simply not healthy for the child. You, as a parent, should not blame the other parent for something, even if they deserve it. That is not healthy for the child. You should also not lie to your child, but that does not mean you should be brutally “honest” and then bad mouth the other parent in the spirit of “honesty”. If your child does figure out the other parent is a jerk and comes to you about it, then listen to them and give them a shoulder to cry on. Hopefully you can help your child navigate thru the disappointment that comes when they see flaws in their parent.

Derwin0

October 21st, 2013
1:57 pm

A reader: I think FCM was assuming the ordered support was paid. If so, I agree, why should an ex pay for the dish washer, or any other household expense?

As it is, a dishwasher is not exactly a need. I hand washed dishes all the time growing up, my father still doesn’t have one. That’s what the sink is for, he would say.

FCM

October 21st, 2013
2:01 pm

@ A reader, I am in agreement with you. I don’t bash my children’s father in front of them. I just thougth I read someone saying to have them fix the dishwasher or something. I just couldn’t reason out why…it is the parents house.

We went 4 months without a dishwasher this year. Once I saved up enough we bought one. We are very thankful to have it.

Denise

October 21st, 2013
2:46 pm

I have a question. At what point, after the non-custodial parent keeps breaking promises to your kid about picking her up, do you say enough! and stop scheduling visits? I understand that you never want to keep kids from their other parent but at what point do you protect your kid from constant disappointment/pain/hurt inflicted upon them by their other parent? I had this discussion before in a therapy group and got varied responses so I’m interested in what you all have to say. Fortunately for me I never had this issue. Even when my parents couldn’t stand each other, they did the “handoff” with enough civility that we didn’t have to dodge any bullets and we saw our father all the time.

FCM

October 21st, 2013
3:18 pm

Denise, legally the non custodial can never tell the other parent enough. They can go back and ask the court to change the visitation agreement. The courts are very reluctant to cut off visitation but they may modify it.

If the other parent is absent enough/doesn’t pay support and it well document the custodial parent might be able to file abadonment. All the noncustodial has to do is show back up for it to be dropped.

If the custodial parent has reason to believe the child would be endangered (the noncustodial shows up intoxicated or is a drug user) they can refuse to allow the child out. They do run the risk of the noncustodial filing suit.

Sk8ing Momma

October 21st, 2013
3:29 pm

@Fred — Interesting feedback. I like to consider myself a realist/straight shooter, not passive aggressive. I like to call a spade a spade. I’m not at all one to bite my tongue…If I wanted to bash someone I would; but, it’s not my personality to intentionally bash/hurt.

With regard to custodial parents not spending money in the best interest of the children, there’s an easy solution: Non-custodial parent DIRECTLY purchase the goods or services that are needed for the benefit of the children and save the receipts. It works like a charm and is a great CYA approach for courts.

Becky

October 21st, 2013
3:33 pm

A reader..Funny you say that about having your ex pay to have the dish washer fixed..When my husband and his ex divorced, she was left with a house and car that were paid for, as well as all oustanding bills..They have one child that was nine at the time..In their divorce papers, she requested $1200.00 per month child support, a $25,000.00 life ins. policy on him (husband) and that he pay all of her outstanding bills for one year after their divorce, so that she could get back on her feet..Plus, that he do all home/car repairs also..

Needless to say, most of what she wanted,she didn’t actually get..That was 19 years ago that she wanted all of this..She bad mouthed me and my husband non stop in front of their child until he left home..Cost her big time, because she now has 2 grand kids and she has never seen them..

Gwinnett Mom

October 21st, 2013
6:28 pm

She bad mouthed me and my husband non stop in front of their child until he left home..Cost her big time, because she now has 2 grand kids and she has never seen them..

R U sayin God struck her blind 4 her actions?

Denise

October 21st, 2013
6:45 pm

FCM, I understand but it makes me sad that a mother or father has to watch his or her child wait for a parent that never shows up, time and time again, and have no recourse. I feel like there should be a way for a parent to protect his or her child from this type of pain. A friend’s son’s father used to make all sorts of promises to show up at games or to pick him up and had the little boy excited and packed and what not and never showed up. As a non-parent my thought was to tell that @%H!L$ that he couldn’t make plans to come get his son until he proved himself more trustworthy, like by showing up to his games as promised, so at least the child wouldn’t be packed with his suitcase at the door…for nothing. To me, even having to tell a child “ask your mother” or “ask your father” why he or she didn’t pick you up can be setting the kid up for heartbreak. Is there ever a good enough answer to a child? Or will a child only hear “I am not important enough”?

K's Mom

October 21st, 2013
7:58 pm

@Denise, that is because you are applying logic to the situation. The family courts do not use logic. I could write a book.

Denise

October 21st, 2013
9:11 pm

K’s mom, I have a coworker who went through a horrific divorce. I know I only saw/see his side of the story but I swear a rabid wolf would be a better mother than his ex-wife but the court disagreed. So yeah, I know…logic does not apply. It’s sad for all involved.

FCM

October 22nd, 2013
7:53 am

@Denise I think it depends on the child and what the custodial parent does to help them. I had this situation where my ex would call me 10 min before pick up to change his time. We had a 24 hour clause, where he had to give me notice of 24 hours to change the rules (7pm was pick up…so changing it to 9 with a 2 year old was just all kinds of wrong). I just never told the kids he was supposed to have them. Yes, they were hurt.

Many here may recall that I did Friday Night Pizza & movie for a long time. It was an out growth of his not exercising his visitation. No matter how broke we were (pizza on an english muffin) we had Pizza and the kids picked out movies (often ones we already owned…thanks to me working for Disney in college and buying them). IF Daddy showed up, great, they went with him. If not it was pizza and a movie night. They never knew the difference b/c pizza and movie was expected, not Dad. Dad was the “treat” (by his choice!). They were so glued to the idea they would tell him pizza and movie on the way home. Even my parents knew pizza and a movie if they had them on a Friday night. For our family it seemed to work…it put the focus on family no matter which part of the family had them. (Side note: yep he balked at the pizza and movie he didn’t want to do it).

Last night oldest one said “Mom you are the more strict parent yet we get more freedom with you too.” Ah but with great freedom comes great responsibilty thus the “strict”.

FCM

October 22nd, 2013
8:05 am

@ Denise, I am sure you have guessed, I speak from exerience on what you can or cannot do with regard to the other parent. I chose not to be a factor in why my adult children (when they get there) cannot invite us both to celebrate Christmas with them.

Denise

October 22nd, 2013
9:40 am

Yeah, you do, FCM. And it sounds like your children are much better for having you as their constant. :-)

It’s funny how today Mama and Daddy get along so well. Almost to the point where Daddy’s wife gives him the side-eye when he wants to go see Mama when she’s sick or in the hospital (she has surgery today…I’m trying not to stress.). Mama’s husband just accepts it. LOL! Daddy calls Mama’s husband his husband-in-law. He’s nuts. I won’t have any issues with them together when I have a family dinner but this is YEARS and YEARS in the making. I had to get their minds right a long time ago. They had to understand how their actions with each other were affecting their children. Fortunately for me and my brother, they were both consistent in how they treated us. (Even though we argue on who had it “better”. I still think it’s HIM.) And fortunately for us, our mother never tried to keep us from our father as a punishment for him. Divorce sucks for everyone involved. It sucks even worse when both parents do not put the kids as a priority regardless of how they feel for each other. Children are not pawns in a game.

K's Mom

October 22nd, 2013
9:45 am

@FCM, you are such a good mom. The pizza and a a movie was a great idea. Once we had our own children, my husband’s ex (who left him for another man) started changing his visitation last minute. She would usually give him 30 minutes to an hour notice. So he began having to cancel our plans or change them significantly to see his other child. His child from his first marriage will not come to our home because there are rules (seriously) and she has had consequences for breaking them. So my husband was always being put in the position of which set of children to keep his promise to. It was awful. Now that we live about 90 minutes away, he has not had to deal with it quite as much, but watching your 2 yo cry because daddy is not going to a bday party because his ex changed the visitation ttime is awful.

Denise

October 22nd, 2013
1:02 pm

@K’s Mom – that is awful. A parent should not have to choose between children. My cousin would not go to her father’s (my uncle) because his wife had rules for her to follow and her mother did not. It was amazing to watch (I’m older) the difference. Currently my BFF is a step mom to a WONDERFUL 16 year old young lady. The rules she has at her father’s house are drastically different than those she has at her mother’s…as in rules at dad’s few at mom’s. It was really funny to see the “recalibration” that took place at the switch from house to house. Her attire changed. Her behavior changed. Now she’s more of her father’s child everywhere. Like FCM said she is the stricter parent but the kids have more freedom. Dad is the stricter parent but she has more benefits at his house. She just has to earn them. Her father pays dearly for the privilege of having his daughter 1/2 the time in joint custody but it’s worth it to him.

K's Mom

October 22nd, 2013
1:49 pm

My husband’s child wrote all over their sheets with a sharpie and then lied and said they didn’t do it. This child lost sports privileges as well as electronics privileges for an entire weekend for the lying after being told this would be the punishment for lying. There was a ton of other stuff too, but we had to get strict and my husband was completely on board. I am always amazed at dads being blamed for every thing when I know there is a very dark side to women in divorce that rarely gets brought to the forefront.

FCM

October 22nd, 2013
3:38 pm

@ K’s Mom and Denise, thank you I am like other moms just doing the best I know how. Unfortunately there are pleanty of divorced folks out there to create the sterotypes we all know. I can only say that after 9 years I can be around him without anger about “us”. There are times when I am angry about his dealings with the kids. In his way he does love them and in his way he shows it. They know that, it just so isn’t what they really want. We are lucky that other positive males have really stepped in their lives. My Dad, teachers, youth ministers, my brother.