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  • Advice?

    I am soliticing some advice from the more seasoned posters who've been dealing with post separation parenting issues. Here's a synopsis:

    Easter isn't a big holiday for me as I'm non-religious, however, ex is Catholic and its a big deal for his family and wanted to use a "make-up" access day for this last Sunday.

    I told him I'd ask D if she wanted to go...of course, she said "no"...which has been happening a lot lately.

    I, with mixed-feelings, convinced her to go at the last minute...saying stuff like "its a big holiday for your dad...you should see your cousins...you'll enjoy the food..." She continued to grumble but I helped her get ready and sent her off.

    She came back late in the evening pretty ticked off both at her dad and at me for making her go. I ended up sending her to bed because she was unbearable all the remainder of the evening. Next day, ex forgets/misses his access day and since I had to work late, she stayed with my new partner and apparently ranted his ear off. They are very close and she sometimes confides in him things that she doesn't tell me. So when I got home he told me that she had just literally vented about my ex, his family, how she hates going there, how much she dislikes her cousins, how my ex got intoxicated and obnoxious (and was possibly was still intoxicated when he drove home), on and on....

    So here's my dilemna, aside from my concern about his potential drunk-driving...which happened a couple times during marriage... (He's a narcissist who thinks he's a great driver and can handle it)...I'm getting a little concerned about D's badmouthing of her dad and his family.

    I think part of the issue is that my ex and his family probably bad-mouth me a lot at family gatherings..which my D is probably reacting to. She would never disclose to me if that was going on, however. And part of it is also how difficult my ex is to deal with...he's agressive, dictatorial, rude, etc...very similar issues happened with our other older child who has limited/no contact with him now.

    I've tried to handle it by remaining positive, as I always try to be when discussing anything to do with her father. I tried to bring up how nice it is for her to be part of a big family, that her cousins love her, that her dad really enjoys taking her, etc, etc. It didn't go well. She also brought up the fact that I and her sister HATED going to the same gatherings..which is very true. In fact, the last years of our marriage, I refused to go because it was unbearable for me. And I explained to her that that was part of the reason I think its important that she makes an effort because I don't want to be the reason she doesn't enjoy her dad's family.

    She claimed it wasn't...and went on another really long, really bad rant. And again, got pretty ticked at me for making her go.

    Overall lately, her feelings towards her dad are just getting increasingly negative. She has been saying things that are surprising even to me, which I try not to react to. And whenever she can she chooses to stay with me.

    I'm just soliticing advice on what I should do...if anything? I know I can't control how my ex handles his relationship with his kids but I'd really like her to have a good relationship with him and want to ensure I'm not doing or saying anything to hurt that chance.

    Thanks much!

  • #2
    How old is your daughter?

    Its not unknown for teenagers to exagerate to avoid something they don't like.

    But the real point is that if she is old enough, she has to have to conversation with her dad, not her. If she is a teen, she should be empowered to tell her dad, in a non confrontational way, that they would be more comfortable skipping the family event this time, and finding another day to make it up with a one on one visit. You can coach her on how to be nonconfrontational, but she has to reach out.

    Comment


    • #3
      D is 13.

      I agree with her having discussions with her dad, however, to say that he has communication issues is akin to saying that "Hitler was sometimes a bad guy."

      His parenting approach is basically..."they should do what I said because I'm the male and I told them to do it." I hate to say its cultural but in large part, that's what it is. He's dictatorial, never admits when he's wrong, and thinks children should simply do what they're told. He isn't the type to negotiate even when the kids make a very salient and reasonable point.

      It's led to a literally non-existent relationship with the older child.

      Comment


      • #4
        I told him I'd ask D if she wanted to go...of course, she said "no"...which has been happening a lot lately.
        I wouldn't have asked.

        Your ex communicated to you that he wanted the extra time, he didn't ask your daughter.

        If you want to keep your daughter out of the middle of the conflict with your ex. then don't ask. Tell her that family is important and she needs to attend.


        She also brought up the fact that I and her sister HATED going to the same gatherings..which is very true. In fact, the last years of our marriage, I refused to go because it was unbearable for me.
        Funny how they always remember the things you thought they weren't paying attention to! Has she been attending these family gatherings on her own for awhile? without you or other siblings?

        Is there someone in stbx family she likes and can act as an allie for her? Someone to watch out for her, if she is uncomfortable, or her dad has been drinking too much they can step in.

        Comment


        • #5
          Tell her that family is important and she needs to attend
          I did this. Her opinion that she doesn't need to see my ex's very large extended family every other weekend. I can hardly argue with her logic but tell her its something she can discuss with her dad. Which leads on to a rant about how he doesn't listen...

          Funny how they always remember the things you thought they weren't paying attention to! Has she been attending these family gatherings on her own for awhile? without you or other siblings?
          I knew she was paying attention to this and a number of other things. Its one of the reasons I wanted a divorce and yes, she attends the gatherings with her father and has been doing so for about 4-5 years.

          Is there someone in stbx family she likes and can act as an allie for her? Someone to watch out for her, if she is uncomfortable, or her dad has been drinking too much they can step in.
          I don't have any contact with any member of my ex's family but its highly unlikely. They tend to protect each other even when acting badly. In fact, one of my daughter's comments was that she got mad at her dad for something he was doing during the party and asked him to stop...he gets obnoxious when drunk...and was told by several aunts & uncles not to talk to her father that way. That didn't go over too well apparently.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Pursuinghappiness View Post
            I did this. Her opinion that she doesn't need to see my ex's very large extended family every other weekend. I can hardly argue with her logic but tell her its something she can discuss with her dad. Which leads on to a rant about how he doesn't listen...
            I don't think her ranting is an entirely bad thing. She is learnig how to express herself and is safe doing this with you and your new partner.

            I would use this as an opportunity to teach her how to do it in a constructive way.

            Originally posted by Pursuinghappiness View Post
            I don't have any contact with any member of my ex's family but its highly unlikely. They tend to protect each other even when acting badly. In fact, one of my daughter's comments was that she got mad at her dad for something he was doing during the party and asked him to stop...he gets obnoxious when drunk...and was told by several aunts & uncles not to talk to her father that way. That didn't go over too well apparently
            Again, I would use this as an opportunity to teach her about relationships. How to stand up for herself and how to change her own reaction and behaviour. It doesn't mean the situation is going to get better. Her dad and her relatives may not change, but she can start to feel better about her interactions with them.

            This is the thing, people don't change, we change how we react to them.

            We get to decide what kind of relationship we will have.

            My kids have recently come to me to say they are frustrated with someones behaviour and reactions, (no, not their dad). What I have tried to say to them is that they cannot change this other person but they can change what they say and how they react.

            We discussed and practised what they could say. We discussed that the situation may not change, but now that they are aware of what they are contributing, they can start to change how they talk to this person.

            They are still frustrated, but are starting to see that how and what they say sometimes changes the conversation. More importantly, they are feeling better about themselves.

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            • #7
              Thank you Downtrodden and Frustrated. Very good advice and funny enough..my laywer had mentioned that since my D is getting to an older age that I need to let her know that she can tell her dad "no" on appropriate occasions...so this kind of goes in line with some of the advice she gave.

              My only hesitation is the personality of my ex. He is middle-eastern and takes any strong statement (particularly from a female or minor) as a personal affront to his authority. He's just under the assumption that he should have the final say even if no one else agrees.

              However, regardless of what happens...as per your advice, my D should learn to use and exercise her voice in a constructive, reasonable way without fighting with her dad. So I will talk to her on the issue the next time she starts to rant.

              Over 20 years of experience leads me to be pessisimistic that he'll start suddenly listening or being empathetic to her voice...but it doesn't mean that I/she shouldn't try.

              Comment


              • #8
                maybe she could tell him that she would like some more father-daughter time on their own? It seems like its always a crowd and maybe they just need some time alone

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                • #9
                  Middle-east is a region, not a race, and the comment is cultural, not racist.

                  There are authoritarians in middle-class white America too, which doesn't refute the observation that the culture in much of the Middle-east (and elsewhere) is built on authoritarian parenting and spousal styles.

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                  • #10
                    Middle-east is a region, not a race, and the comment is cultural, not racist.

                    There are authoritarians in middle-class white America too, which doesn't refute the observation that the culture in much of the Middle-east (and elsewhere) is built on authoritarian parenting and spousal styles.
                    Mess:

                    I'm assuming you're responding to yet another stalkerish-type veiled insult by a poster that I have put on ignore for such obnoxious nonsense.

                    Its amazing to me that such an individual can't find something else to do rather that analyzing every word I say on this forum and responding where its clearly neither required nor acknowledged. Clearly I requested advice from more seasoned, wise posters.

                    Anyway, I assure the other actual relevant posters on this forum that my comment was not meant as any form of "racism". Its simply a fact that my ex has a male authoritarian outlook when it comes to parenting-styles.

                    Anyway, thank you again to the posters for the advice. I actually started the process of speaking to our child last night and I can see that with time, its a very wise investment.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Pursuinghappiness View Post
                      Over 20 years of experience leads me to be pessisimistic that he'll start suddenly listening or being empathetic to her voice...but it doesn't mean that I/she shouldn't try.
                      No, this is not the goal. He is not going to suddenly start listening or being empathetic. He most likely will not change and will actually get mad at her. Doesn't matter, that's not why she should speak up.

                      If your daughter believes anything she says to him will cause him to change his ways, then she is going to be very frustrated.

                      This is an opportunity for her to learn. She will learn her own strength and confidence when she speaks for herself. This is a safe place to learn, she can talk to you before on what to say and after about what happened.

                      She will come up against people like this in the work place, and in other relationships in her life.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pursuinghappiness View Post
                        I know I can't control how my ex handles his relationship with his kids but I'd really like her to have a good relationship with him and want to ensure I'm not doing or saying anything to hurt that chance.

                        Thanks much!
                        I don't think she knows what a good relationship with her dad looks like.

                        Originally posted by Pursuinghappiness View Post
                        She also brought up the fact that I and her sister HATED going to the same gatherings..which is very true. In fact, the last years of our marriage, I refused to go because it was unbearable for me. And I explained to her that that was part of the reason I think its important that she makes an effort because I don't want to be the reason she doesn't enjoy her dad's family.
                        She has learnt that if she waits long enough, when she is old enough, she can refuse to go to any family events.

                        I don't know if this will be the best choice, you and your daughter will know.

                        You stayed with her dad for a long time. You modelled tolerance for disrespect for a long time. You taught her the way to deal with the disrespect was to not attend, to sleep in another bedroom, etc. I get this. I also did similar things for a very long time.

                        My kids are young adults entering relationships of their own and I am trying to have conversations and discussions about respect.

                        Use this to show her what respectful relationships look and feel like. In what way is your new partner respectful to both you, her, his children, etc? And admit to her how you were also disrespectful.

                        Comment

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