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How do you let the ex know how you feel about issues with the kids without the kids being penalized for it?

My two daughters-13 and 11-just went with their dad for eight hours to his mother in law's house for Christmas. While they were there, my 13 year old was reportedly "disrespectful" to her "grandma" (she said "ugh" when she had to get her step-sister's dog out from under the Christmas tree). Grandma told her dad, who then made her cry over it and continued to yell at her while she cried. Both girls then had to take this dog out to the bathroom in the cold before they came home. My daughter received no apology for the way she treated. I'm all for respect and responsibility-but within reasonable limits. If I call and confront him, he will back down from me and then attack the girls over it again when he gets them this weekend. Similar things have happened before. Any suggestions? I feel like we're all being punished by Indiana's parenting time guidelines.


Asked by Anonymous at 9:15 PM on Dec. 25, 2008 in General Parenting

This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • I would talk to the girls and let them know what you think about the situation... but make them understand that they have to do their best to do as they are asked at their dads because you can't decided for him what rules he has for him while they are their. Do it in a nice way without making their dad out to be a bad guy. Thats a tough one. I grew up with that kind of life and I honestly just had to learn to watch my butt and suck it up while I was at my dads... and I counted down the minutes till I got to go home to my mom.

    Answer by dtetz at 10:27 PM on Dec. 25, 2008

  • I would talk to the girls and let them know you expect them to be helpful and respectful, but that you don't feel they were treated in the best way. Do they want to go with their dad? If not, check the laws in your state and see what age the child can petition the judge. Then they could ask that they not have to go with him.GL, MC & HNY

    Answer by Babylove76 at 9:18 PM on Dec. 25, 2008

  • Well do the girl wish to go with his if he is going to act that way to them? I'd tell him strait up, "Look, why would you do that to her, she is 13 she is gonna say UGH." Yeah they should be respectful, but to keep going after you got the point across once sounds kinda mean.

    Answer by CorCorsmomma at 9:18 PM on Dec. 25, 2008

  • I say don't say a word to him. Talk to your girls about it. Help them understand, but don't say a word to him if it will only make things worse for them. My DD has problems at her Dad's house as well. I do what I can on my end, but stay out of it on his. How he does things when she's with him is none of my business. How I handle it when she talks to me about it is. She's also talked to the school counselor about it, and I let her call the ex and approach the subject. If I were to do it he wouldn't hear me. Having the counselor do it he's much more willing to listen.

    I know it's tough. We all want to be able to work these things out with our exs like adults...but sometimes that just isn't possible. Getting a professional into the mix is sometimes the best possible option. That way our ex's bitter feelings toward us isn't taken out on our kids, ykwim?

    Answer by desert_diva at 9:35 PM on Dec. 25, 2008

  • Pretty much I would say dont say anything to him. Unfortunately unless it is abusive you cant do much about your ex's "parenting styles" and scolding him isnt going to make him change. Just talk to the girls help them "brush it off" so-to-say (and maybe teach them to respect their elders a little bit better.. If I said "ugh" to my granparents when they asked me to do something I would have gotten the same type discipline if not a smack in the mouth)

    Answer by AMsMommy212 at 11:35 AM on Dec. 26, 2008

  • If your daughter was being disrespectful then she needed to be talk to. That is their father, if he handled the situation then let it go. Obviously he has a (stricter?) different parenting style then you. If you push our ideals it will only alienate the girls. What is the big deal with your daughter helping out? She is thirteen years old, she has bigger responsibilities in school then just helping out!

    Answer by Anonymous at 6:17 PM on Dec. 26, 2008

  • I would not talk to him at all, I would allow her to vent and maybe say that grandma is old-fashioned strict and to be extra respectful around her. Although my face my show that I do not approve of the discipline unless this is a constant issue I would not even show my disapproval to the girls. If its continuous I would check out my states age of when the child can choose not to go over there and also teach her ways to deal with someone who is absolutely disrespectful in a respectful manner.
    If they can talk to their dad I would encourage them to do so but other than that I would stay out of it.

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 4:45 PM on Dec. 27, 2008

  • Thanks for all your advice. I ended up telling both the girls to just try to be good while they're with him and follow his rules the best they can. I really felt like he completely overreacted. And the deal with taking the dog out was more of a problem because I think it's unfair to make them take care of someone else's dog when they're on an 8 hour visit. They go to his house and have to share beds with his wife's kids like guests but are expected to clean his house and take care of his pets like they live there. We've been seperated for almost 12 years and it's still frustrating!!

    Answer by AngieG. at 8:20 AM on Dec. 29, 2008