Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Can skids/differences in parenting styles really break up a marriage? And other musings.

Posted by on May. 6, 2014 at 2:34 PM
  • 30 Replies

Caution:  Long.

My ex fiance, whom I've known for ten years and consider a good friend, called me last night to catch up.  This is the guy who threw back beers with me on my bday after a-hole boyfriend broke up with me via text.  On my birthday.  LOL  He is the one who encouraged me to get back out there.  He met his now wife/ex wife about two weeks prior to that.  So we've been on similar paths for awhile...which may be why this situation bothers me so much.

He and his wife of nearly 4 years separated in Dec/Jan and the final papers are in the mail. He cites an issue with his SS/difference in parenting style/values as the primary reason that things didn't work out.   Our situations were very similar so we've talked about our version of step life a lot over the last 5 years.  Both he and I are childless SPs.   Both 50/50.  His skids are the same age as mine--14 and 16 Fairly amicable BPs nearby, etc.  We have very similar ideas about raising kids.  Friend got along very well with the youngest--SD.  But the oldest--SS--turned into a bit of a delinquent.  Multiple arrests for shoplifting, drug use, alcohol use, poor grades, stealing from Friend, trying to get into things of Friend's and selling them, selling his ADD meds at school and being expelled, etc.

I know I'm super lucky that my SDs are good kids.  But  there have been challenges.  Especially at the beginning, the issues I had were very comparable to the issues that Friend had. 

The divergence I see is that my DH, while reluctant to change certain things, did. If I had a concern and had a well thought out "argument" for a change in parenting the kids, he listened and he often made a change.  I really feel that due in part to that, my SDs have developed a stronger sense of responsibility, self reliance and have stayed on the straight and narrow.  I am not going to break my arm patting myself on the back here, but I do think that some of the input I had has contributed to their current success because my DH is prone to parenting out of divorce guilt.

Conversely, Friend's wife insisted that the behaviors Friend saw were "normal kid behavior" and refused to address any issues.  Little behaviors seem to ramp up to bigger ones if left unaddressed and in Friend's SS case, where we first complained to each other about lack of responsibility, chores, doing homework, getting to school on time, yada yada--it turned into much bigger things for him.

For example, SS in his case was home alone after school.  Invited a friend over.  They drank all of the liquor in the house, puked all over the house, were hitting a bong and left that right out in the open.  They were 14. Mom did not punish.  Told her DH that it's normal for kids to do such things.  Another example would be the arrests. Again, no punishment at home.  Grades?  Friend wanted to sit with SS to work on homework.  Mom didn't feel it was necessary.  She felt that D's were fine.  (which is schocking because she's a professional and a smart cookie.) Selling his ADD drugs at school and being caught with a weapon and thus being expelled?  No punishment.

The list of things goes on and on.  But in every situation, Friend says that his wife was unwilling to do anything about it and it drove them farther and farther apart. She felt like Friend wasn't supporting her parenting choices and he felt like she was making horrid parenting choices that were endangering the child as well as costing them big money in bail, doctors, counselors, summer school, etc. She had told him about a year in that she wanted a divorce because she wanted to parent her kids as she saw fit and if he had a problem with that, he could go.  They tried counseling but she was very staunch in that she was the parent, he was not.

The final straw had nothing to do with SS.  Wife cheated.  But what really drove them apart seems to be the fact that they disagreed so vehemently on parenting.

I realize I've only gotten one side of the story but I do know Friend pretty well and while he has some quirks, he's usually pretty objective about things.  Even when we had issues, he fairly assessed the situation, was not prone to dramatics, and never talked badly about me in a way that was untrue. 

I asked him about SD.  He has had such a close relationship with her.  Ex Wife has it in the court docs that Friend is not allowed to contact or speak to SD.  I think he's more crushed about this than the divorce--well, he said so flat out.  He has always had such wonderful things to say about this kiddo.  He probalby will never have kids of his own but really connected with her and is pretty sad about losing her.

So I guess for discussion (if you've made it this far):

1) Do you think that a SP should have input on how to handle kids?

2) Do you think that a SP should be allowed to continue to talk to Skids if there's a divorce?

3) Do you think this is at all common?

I really thought about leaving my husband at one point due to some similar issues where I was being told to stay out of it, my kids, not yours, I will do what I want, they can do what they want.  But I was lucky I guess.  The whole thing makes me terribly sad.  I really like Friend's wife.  And I truly care about Friend.  I feel like the kids are the ones who are going to suffer most though.  BD in this sitch is not encouraging of SD's intellectual interests. BD doesn't get involved in any of the issues with his son either.  It's like there's no one there to really look out for their best interests. 

by on May. 6, 2014 at 2:34 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
by on May. 6, 2014 at 2:49 PM
Question 1)I think it depends on how long the sp has been in the skids life and what type of relationship the sp and skid hav

2)If the skid wants to continue the relationship and it wouldn't be harmful in ANY way, I don't see why not

3)I think this is VERY common
by Silver Member on May. 6, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Quoting kmur: Answers.....
Question 1)I think it depends on how long the sp has been in the skids life and what type of relationship the sp and skid hav

2)If the skid wants to continue the relationship and it wouldn't be harmful in ANY way, I don't see why not

3)I think this is VERY common
by Gold Member on May. 6, 2014 at 4:01 PM
Posting to follow. Will comment when I've collected my thoughts. ;)
by on May. 6, 2014 at 4:09 PM

 There is a 70% failure rate for 2nd marriages.  No surprise if any of our marriages don't last (ha! we'll show them). 

Given the wife's reaction to her son's behavior, its a wonder that these 2 ever got married.  Did he not see any of these red flags when he was dating or was the SS still too young to get into real trouble?

by Ruby Member on May. 6, 2014 at 4:11 PM
I think every situation is different. My mom and stepdad had very different ideas in raising kids. But they've been married for 30 years and now that they are no longer parenting - their relationship is based on them and not on parenting. They were married for 16 years during the parenting years. There were a lot of ups and downs and there was one time I thought they would divorce. They pushed through.

I've seen people give up on the marriage because they just can't get it together in the parenting field. Or their spouse was just not the type of parent they thought they would be... And it wasn't something they could live with.

I've also seen people just parent their own kids and just keep their marriage separate. My husband and I are basically on the same page when it comes to our son. Lately there have been some things that I do that my husband doesn't like and I feel a bit defensive. But he is our child and we have to work it out. I am learning to compromise. When it comes to my daughter - I do what I think is best for her situation. She has two parents already that struggle working together as it is. My husband is respectful of my decisions and as my place. I try very hard not to make him ever feel that he just doesn't matter but he also tries very hard to bite his tongue.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
by Platinum Member on May. 6, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Ex and his now exwife split up and subsquently divorced due to their differences in parenting (among other things).  Her DD is 19, my DD is 17.  Ex did not agree with how his then wife would allow her DD to dress or do the things that she did.  They've been divorced for a year this past October. 

I do think that the SP has a right to voice their opinion with regards to what is going on in their household to their spouse. 

I think that if the skids and the exSP want to keep a relationship, then so be it.  In my case, DD wants nothing to do with her exSM and I don't blame her. She drug my DD through her divorce with my ex and reality of it is, she doesn't want to run into me anytime soon. Had she NOT done that, if DD wanted to be friendly with exSM, I'd have no issues with that.

I think that it's more common than we think with current relationships and kids from prior relationships. 

by on May. 6, 2014 at 4:17 PM
1 mom liked this

I am not even married yet.  I live with my SO and yes, I do take his opinion into consideration.  He is an adult in this household too.  Sometimes, I do think my biofilter is too strong.  Sometimes, I do think it is the Mom in me babying my kiddo and sometimes, I think I am point on and correct in my reaction (or non reaction) to his behavior.  SO and I have different parenting styles.  We make it work because we both choose to compromise. 

I also think that SP's should be able to talk to their former SK once divorced as long as there is no abuse/drugs etc. 

by on May. 6, 2014 at 4:21 PM
I think they get input if the parents want it. If they do want it, but don't agree their choice. If a sp wants a divorce over that, that is their decision. Divorcing because someone doesn't parent their child to your standards seems silly, but still your choice.

Seeing the Kid afterwards is also up to the parent
by Gold Member on May. 6, 2014 at 4:25 PM
1) I definitely feel that a spouse should take a SP's opinions into consideration. If the kids are spending any time at all in the home spouse and SP share it would be unfair to say "my kids, my way" when the actions of the children directly effect the quality of life of the SP. When you marry life becomes a partnership, and the opinions of both partners should be considered and valued in all areas of their lives.

2) I personally think that if contact with the SP is in the best interest of the skids it is the responsibility of the SP to continue contact and of the BPs to encourage it.

3) I think this is just as common as arguing (and divorcing) over finances.
by Ruby Member on May. 6, 2014 at 4:27 PM

 1. i think that parent should consider what sparent has to say, but the ultimate decision is the parent's.

2. it depends on the nature of the divorce.

3. yes.

all in all, communication is key. SO and i disagree with how i parent my ds16 sometimes. he can be a huge pain in the ass. poor grades. bad language. challenging all the time. has dabbled in dabs (in case you dont know, dabs is like, concentrated marijuana that is ingested. it is not edibles, its like a "dab" of it. ) he does not steal, he is a virgin and doesnt date much despite being a beautiful kid. smart. charming.

SO gets so pissed off becuase i dont parent like him. what he doesnt get is that he is 16 and i cant very well pop his ass anymore, he is 6"3 and 205 and would probably laugh at me. SO gets scared he will end up like his 25 year old son, who has never worked and is a stoner. has been to prison (unfortunately like SO) his son is sweet. but while SO was in and out of prison, his mom was on and off drugs. he hates that he was too busy fucking up to parent his older set of kids. he is VERY hands on with the younger ones. i think he feels like a failure with his older ones.

i dont think my son will end up like his oldest son. i think at worst he will be like me, paycheck to paycheck, but not in jail. i thank bad decisions based on ADHD / ODD.

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)