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Tablet Madness and Tantrums

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This topic contains 53 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Skyblossom Skyblossom 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 25 through 36 (of 54 total)
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  • #668247 Reply
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    Ron

    And don’t assume that just because the views LW has about the kids and their father’s parenting ‘stay in her head’, which I don’t believe for one second, given the vehemence with which she wrote about them, that the kids don’t pick up on her feelings about them. She can’t be sitting there thinking “why can’t my bf just man up and throw that complaining child’s burrito in the trash” and not have the child pick up on that. Her attitude is one of almost total disdain. If you are going to date and have a relationship with a father and his kids, you have to actually like the kids. Too much of what she writes indicates that she doesn’t like them. She describes them as impediments to the relationship she feels she deserves to have with their father. At the same time she is way too enmeshed in the lives of two young children whose parents are still legally married. The kids know what married is. They should not be complaining about the details of her cooking, because she should not be cooking for this ‘family’. She should not have to worry about the loudness or location of the late-night TV, because it’s too early for her to be there. None of that is the kids’ fault. It is the adults’ fault.

    #668250 Reply
    FireStar
    Firestar

    Overnight visits when there is no divorce is a no go. You may think the kids should be over it by now but it’s unlikely. They are still in the thick of it. And then there is you – literally in the space their mother used to have. Visitation with the non custodial parent should be just that. A visit to maintain and strengthen that bond. Hard to do with the girlfriend always there. Can’t you just not give them that time together? Especially since one is having a hard time? If you must see him then do something fun together out of the house with the girls for an hour or two. And then leave. Leave them alone to reconfigure their family. You can always join it later but you shouldn’t be around during the set up stage when they are still trying to find their way.

    #668265 Reply
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    Kate

    All right, so I think Ron got a little harsh, and I don’t think I would be able to conclude from your letter that you don’t like the kids or have been imposing your parenting beliefs on them (we all just had a reprise of the “Doozy of a Letter” post involving pancakes- look it up if you want – there’s a woman who can’t stand her stepdaughter). You seem pretty well intentioned.

    That said, Ron and others have some good points. A year of being separated is not long at all. I met a guy 8 months into my separation, and that was no time at all. Up until that point, our minds were naturally in a place where we still wanted to try to make it work, and I think that’s pretty common. My *husband* and I were still seeing each other fairly regularly (no kids).

    I would guess that something similar may have been going on with your boyfriend though I don’t presume to know. Separated isn’t divorced. It’s not done, finished. He was still probably spending time with his wife and family. They, or at least the kids, may have been entertaining ideas of it still working out. Seriously, a year is a blip on the radar of a marriage.

    He’s still not divorced. And you’re reluctant to talk about the reasons. You also said “divorced” in your first post. It sounds like something a bit complicated may be going on. It’s not a good idea to be so seriously dating a guy who doesn’t have his shit finalized. Taking a step back is a really good idea. Thinking that this is all fine and great because you both “deserve to be happy” is a mistake. There’s a lot going on here that you walked into and the situation is very much in flux.

    Finally, your ideas on parenting are at the strict end of the spectrum,rather than moderate, in my opinion. Throwing away food they complain about, taking away a toy and making them earn it back… is that wrong? No, but it’s stricter parenting than might be common in US or Canadian families, and it’s not necessarily “right.” You didn’t say you’re expressing these ideas out loud, and you definitely shouldn’t.

    I think you’re framing the whole situation a certain way in your head, when it’s really a lot more complicated and at the core of it is actually not the right of the two of you to be happy. It’s a family being able to work out its problems and try to get everyone feeling ok.

    #668266 Reply
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    Kate

    Two other thoughts: 1) “hounding” him to finalize the divorce doesn’t sound good, nor does the ex having dragged her feet. This isn’t a clean break. Stop hounding. My new bf had respectfully told me it made him uncomfortable that I was still married, so I filed for divorce. It was just procrastination.

    Second, it’s very common for people to look for love again after a separation or divorce, and to feel like this is their second chance to find the happiness they deserve. Unfortunately that often precludes the focus on the kids which should actually be their #1 priority. The *kids* deserve to be ok, first and foremost. I’ve got a cousin who has been on drugs his entire life, in and out of rehab and on the streets, because his mom was too focused on her new boyfriend and not noticing that her 12-year-old was in a really bad place and had started drinking and smoking weed.

    #668268 Reply
    Skyblossom
    Skyblossom
    Participant

    I didn’t manage to read your entire post yesterday due to work. I did read about the TV and the tablets.

    As far as the TV I think it is common courtesy to not make noise with it that will keep someone awake if they are sleeping when they should, where they should. If the big TV can be heard in their rooms then it is thoughtless to run it once they have gone to bed. If you want them to be respectful of you then you need to be respectful of them and that includes letting them get a good nights sleep in their own bed in their own room.

    The time on the tablets is one of the few things that they can control. They get to decide what they do and who to keep in touch with through the tablet. It is their connection to their friends which is probably an oasis in their lives.Kids get off tablets when they have something else better to do so ask yourself what they have to do besides the tablets. Are they allowed or encouraged to invite friends to come over? Is anyone willing to drive them to a friends house? Do they have any activities?

    As far as preparing their own snacks goes you have to realize that they have grown up with the rules made by their parents and some parents, especially moms, don’t allow kids to do anything in the kitchen because they are afraid of a mess. If the kids have never been allowed to make a snack then you can’t expect them to suddenly start making them now. They may not know that they are allowed. I assume they are in their childhood home and that they are still following the rules that always existed in that home.

    The older girl punching a hole in the wall is a serious cry for help. A serious sign of anger and unhappiness. Someone needs to be looking into it immediately. That it is happening specifically at mom’s house indicates that there is a problem related to living at mom’s house. Does mom have a boyfriend who may be making her uncomfortable? Did she have to change schools because mom moved out of the school district? Is she being bullied at school or on a bus? Is there a creepy neighbor? She is middle school age and middle school can be especially negative and mean spirited for a girl. If she had to move to a new school without friends it is even worse. Does she need to live with dad?

    At this point in time you shouldn’t be there when the girls are there. It is their home and their time with their dad. If they have the standard amount of time it is every other weekend and one night per week. That isn’t much time to see a parent and maintain a good relationship. A good relationship at their ages is critical if the parents want the kids to navigate the teen years in a healthy way. Lost kids tend to turn to drugs and alcohol and find the love that they aren’t receiving at home in the arms of another teen. The risk of teen pregnancy becomes high.

    #668271 Reply
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    Ron

    Kate–

    Perhaps a little harsh; certainly you were more diplomatic. But, I was struck by how her long letter and multiple responses say nothing positive about these two girls. Yes, she says how hard she is trying to get along with them and how much she’d like to help them, but nothing positive about them, their character, or their behavior. This is matched by finding way too much personal disrespect of her. She recounts the incident of the girls objecting to the mash potatoes she made with sour cream and how disrespectful they are being of her. I see no disrespect by the little girls in this incident. I do see disregard by her for the girls. Adult palates and kid palates are not the same. Kids often eat the very narrow range of foods they are used to and want those foods prepared in the way they are used to. I think most kids that age would turn up their noses if their mashed potatoes were made with sour cream. This particular episode is not difficult to suss out. The LW was cooking to impress the father with no thought for whether or not the girls would like what LW saw as a treat of fancy potatoes. This was just another chance to impress her bf that she is a great cook. The kids’ objection spoiled her plans. She gets angry and views their objection to the food she prepared as personal disrespect. It just isn’t disrespect. It is kids being kids and her being totally clueless about kids.

    When you start your initial post saying your life is perfect except for his spoiled kids, I don’t think it particularly harsh to say you don’t like those particular kids. That’s not to say she isn’t a good person or she isn’t trying to do right by those kids (but for their father’s sake, perhaps), but clearly she doesn’t like those kids as they are. We say don’t marry a person if you don’t like/love/are happy with them exactly as they are. I think it much the same with a potential spouse’s kids. Kid’s aren’t as malleable as she believes. It’s hard to take a kid you don’t like and shape it into one you do like, when you’re the stepmom. I will stand by my belief that it is selfish to expect your future spouse’s kids to be changed into a form which pleases you. That’s not your decision. Whether you voice your view aloud or it stays in your head as a destroyer of your new family, it’s going to lead to unhappiness and damage to the kids.

    Btw, from what LW has written, it is unclear whether her bf or his ex have primary custody. It sort of sounds like the father has primary custody and is living with kids in the old family home.

    #668272 Reply
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    Kate

    To be fair, I asked for examples of how they were showing disrespect.

    It sounds like they haven’t worked out custody because the details of the divorce are still on the table.

    I got the sense she thinks they have problematic behavior she wants to help address, but not that she dislikes them. She repeatedly said she wanted to give them space and improve the situation. I think she’s just not used to kids.

    #668290 Reply
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    Janelle

    I know you and him wish to integrate you into the whole family but why the need to spend so much time when they are with him. My BF has his kids 50/50. Yes sometimes I am there when they are but more often than not I spend time with him when they are not. A.) They deserve time with just dad. B.) I don’t really want to spend all my spare time raising his kids, that is for dad and mom (not that I don’t help in many ways), and C.) well, frankly, when I see my BF I want to kiss him and cuddle and…ya know, and the kids being there makes that less possible. I just don’t feel the need to spend every day with them. If we lived together, yes I would be around more but while we don’t I’d much prefer to enjoy my free time while he enjoys dad time. Just my two cents.

    #668320 Reply

    Ron, that is a seriously large amount of “assumptions” and quite laughable and untrue.

    Perhaps I should have explained better. He has his children a full week on and a full week off. Of that time, I see them 1 or 2 days, every other weekend. So really not that often. What I meant originally is that while everything with me and my boyfriend are fine, there are problems that we are facing with the children. My boyfriend is in agreement that there are behavioural issues. As that is the part that I require help here with. The fact is that there are some concerning things going on with their behaviour, that i am trying to think of ideas for. I care and am trying.

    The reasons for both me and my boyfriends separation are very similar. My ex cheated on me with a coworker. He left me stating he no longer loved me. With a few months he was with the woman he cheated with. He is still with that same woman and part of her and her children’s lives. Everything is amicable there. My boyfriend’s ex cheated as well and he left her for that reason. At that time she moved out of their home.

    There are some objections against taking the tablet away as a form of discipline. I don’t really see that, but fair enough and I can respect that. I am also not going to make an issue of the tablets although I don’t agree with the amount of time kids nowadays spend on that sort of thing. And yes I realize I sound like an old fart!! They do have neighbourhood friends they get out with, that makes me happy to see, kids playing. Is that really so wrong to think kids should be outside playing? Again, I am not going to enforce that but its my personal opinion.

    His oldest daughter is really quite lovely and talented and we get along well. She tells her father she is glad I am in their lives. I know she is having issues with a certain teacher at school and there are also boys at school bothering her and her good friend is hot and cold with her and that has been upsetting her.

    Perhaps not seeing the kids during their fathers time is something I should think about. I recognize that separation is hard on children.

    Also to set the record, yes both of me and my ex are only legally separated, that is quite common in Canada. I happen to know many others in that same boat, some working toward divorce and others not. We both have the ultimate goal and have been working toward a legal divorce. I have been emailing my ex asking to sort out details together about the divorce since we are filing jointly. My boyfriends separation has been slow due to his ex taking forever to get back to his lawyer and due to the typical back and forth negotiations that go along with getting separated.

    I don’t cook fancy mashed potatoes with sour cream to impress anybody…hahah!!! They were out of milk 🙂 But the point I was trying to make was that there is quite constant critism 🙂 Anyhow I am trying.

    #668323 Reply
    bittergaymark
    bittergaymark

    Honestly? Its odd to me that so many people can’t even bother to legally wrap up/end one relationship before leaping into yet another… Especially when they have kids… Talk about rebounds. Talk about a mess. Talk about self absorbed…

    #668325 Reply

    I dont personally see much of a difference between being legally separated and legally divorced. But that is my opinion!

    I was with a man for years that was not right for me. He did not treat me well and now I am with a man that I am very happy with. He is wonderful to me, kind, honest, and caring. I love him very much and am hoping things will work out. This may mean taking a break from seeing his kids. At the very least I am trying to think of solutions or a way to make it work. Kids are an important part of the picture, and taking them into consideration is crucial.

    #668326 Reply
    bittergaymark
    bittergaymark

    Also — sweetie, admit it! — you clearly LOATHE the middle child. Hell, even after being taken to task on this you say NOTHING nice about her. Not one thing. I’m sorry she’s such an inconvenience to your vapid happiness! Truly, I can’t imagine the horror you must go through on those night you are not allowed to watch the big TV… And how awful to be criticized for your messed up mashed potatoes — which, frankly, sound simply GHASTLY to this forty-something palette. That’s not DISRESPECT. No, that’s having fucking taste.
    .
    Honestly, the more you try to explain yourself — the worse you sound. PS — It’s rather cowardly to delete your entire initial post. It makes those late in the game here view you with skepticism at best…

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