Separated and new partners introduced to kids

posted 1 month ago in Family
Post # 46
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2003 posts
Buzzing bee

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@KittyYogi:  Yes – agree with this approach. Your initial response read much more cutthroat.

Post # 47
Member
2003 posts
Buzzing bee

*edited* Duplicate post

Post # 48
Member
2003 posts
Buzzing bee

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@minnewanka:  Thank you! This is where I was trying to come from… You articulated so much better.

Post # 49
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2152 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: City, State

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@KittyYogi:  This is why dating partners should not be introduced as dating partners to kids until things are headed in a permanent direction. Meeting the partner as a friend of the parent with limited interaction (no sleepovers or hang-out time, but only activities where a “friend” would be expected to join) is playing it much safer in terms of how much attachment is formed. 

The kids may be smart enough to know the difference depending on ages, but setting ground rules and limiting the partner’s role in the kids’ day to day lives until engagement/living together is imminent helps a ton. 

Post # 50
Member
745 posts
Busy bee

Bee, you sent me down a rabbit hole. This is from a handout at a conference I was at:

The general parenting consensus is the following:

– on-going high conflict between parents and the obvious involvement of children in their parents conflict places children at risk for stress, depression, low self-esteem, poor adjustment, academic problems and the inability to attach in future relationshipps

– children are harmed by the drawn-out, lasting, high conflict fighting that occurs betwen parents

– positive involvement with both parents support children’s development. It is beneficial to children when parents support a relationship with the other parent, ensure smooth transitions, and establish a workable method of communication between the parents

– children are at potential risk for suffering serious long-term emotional problems when parents make their children choose between them, when they argue, or when they withhold access to the other parent

—————-

You’ve stated your children’s father is a great dad. I’m sure you’re a great mom. Focus on co-parenting and getting the kids through this without toxic stress.

Post # 51
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2178 posts
Buzzing bee

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@KittyYogi:  Here’s the thing, though– that approach can really backfire. Sending someone articles you looked up that you think they should listen to when it comes to their decisions in life, can really backfire. It can look passive aggressive, judgmental, assumptive… to name a few.

It implies the dad DOESN’T have the kids interest in mind, that he didn’t look into things on his own, that he still needs your guidance to tell him how to parent on his time, etc.

And the guise of, “well it’s my kids so I get a say, too!” doesn’t legally work in many of these situations. So long as dad isn’t introducing abuse, he is free to bring in a new woman every week if he wants to. Now, MANY don’t do that, it’s just that mom doesn’t like dads girlfriend, full stop, and she causes conflict “in the interest of the kids”. 

My husbands ex wife routinely sends us her thoughts on our decisions. Let me tell you how that goes over, not great. She’s done it in little situations and in larger ones, never once have we thought “oh how nice of her to do her research to tell us how to operate our household!!”. It almost always causes tension, and there’s a communication breakdown there– because what she probably THINKS is very helpful, isn’t. And maybe she doesn’t think it’s helpful, I don’t know because I don’t try to anticipate where her headspace is, but I can tell you it’s never produced a productive conversation.

Our therapist had repeatedly recommend to her that she not do that, because it does foster a contentious and overbearing tone in the relationship. And it’s a really common problem in blended families, the mom thinking she knows best for both households.

Another thing is, you can’t say how you’ll parent as a separate unit until you’ve done it. Saying you and your husband parent a certain way and it works great doesn’t apply here because you’re in a happy, committed marriage with just you two making decisions. Once you split, you parent differently because you have to. Your circumstances change, your priorities change, your threshold for what you will/won’t accept changes, your tolerance for how your ex-spouse parents changes. So it’s apples and oranges to say “well we get along and do this parenting thing great right now and it works for us so it will work in divorce!”

 

Post # 52
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3314 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

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@fromatoz:  My suggestion is nothing like your situation, with you being in a married, presumably stable household.  Having a rational, collaborative, research-based discussion with a recent ex regarding the way you will co-parent going forward should be something to strive for.  I would not be willing to just wait and see if my ex fucks the kids up first before initiating a conversation on how we want to address some of these big important issues.  Each to their own I suppose.

Anyway, I’m not interested in these back and forths here so I am disengaging.  I find research and advice from the experts to be helpful.  If you do too OP, consider looking into the research on this issue.  Good luck!

Post # 53
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2178 posts
Buzzing bee

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@KittyYogi:  LOL ok, well I guess screw the (let me go back and count and see how many step parents have weighed in here on this thread alone) who have repeatedly said that you have to alter your approach sometimes in blended families. But cool boo, you know best even though you’ve never been in that situation before lmao.

Post # 54
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2003 posts
Buzzing bee

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@fromatoz:  Accurate. This is where I was coming from with my initial response. Blindly jumping to throwing him articles and assuming he hasn’t done his own research could feel very belittleing and offensive. It’s all about how you present the information.

I agree much more with her response to say “hey, I was researching this and found this interesting and wanted to share”, versus just jumping him saying “This is damaging, don’t do it, don’t introduce our kids to anybody for X time”. 

Also, my husband’s ex also used to send her frequent thoughts on his decisions, and it NEVER went well. It really is best to butt-out unless you have reason to believe there is abuse, or if the children start acting in a way that makes you think he’s not acting in a way that is in their best interest.

Post # 55
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2178 posts
Buzzing bee

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@MargaritaVille:  It really is best to butt-out unless you have reason to believe there is abuse, or if the children start acting in a way that makes you think he’s not acting in a way that is in their best interest

Yes, so much this. There’s a reason why they have co-parenting apps and mediators and all of these technology go-betweens when it comes to parenting. Our family (which includes the ex) therapist has repeatedly told us that getting on the same page under one roof when it comes to parenting is exceptionally difficult, doing it under two roofs wirh 4 people feels impossible at times. We’ve been advised time and time again by both our lawyer and family counselor to minimize contact to just about the kid and to leave out anything that isn’t 100% applicable and pertinent. And we don’t have even have an overly contentious relationship! I get along pretty well with DH’s ex and she calls/texts me as needed, and it STILL is difficult to get everyone on the same page and keep feelings in check. 

When the opinion pieces and articles and FB screenshots starts getting interchanged, things gets tense because inevitably someone feels attacked and you’re always on guard when it comes to communication with the ex. Even good relationships can turn sour and there’s the ever-present thought of landing in court and having all of these conversations pulled up. 

Post # 56
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2003 posts
Buzzing bee

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@fromatoz:  Absolutely. Emotions run so incredibly high when dealing with split parents and kids. I’m glad you guys have a family therapist that works with everyone. We’ve gone through our ups and downs, but I’m happy to report that we’ve been able to diffuse their past hurts and we all do things together. She has another child with her husband, and my husband and I are expecting our second. Our three boys play together and we celebrate birthdays and events as a group, and our husbands hunt together. It’s a team effort, but it meant everyone putting aside a lot of hurts and fears and assumptions. It can be done!

@MeandYou: And their son has never ONCE questioned who mom is. I promise you, it’s so so scary, but your kids know who their mom is. Even 5 years later.

Post # 57
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3314 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

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@fromatoz:  you’re projecting based on your own experience, which is nothing like the one described.  No need to be so defensive – this isn’t an attack on stepparents or something, lol.  Chill, boo.

And have YOU been in this situation, newly divorced and trying to figure out how to co-parent your children?  Get off your high horse then.  I’ve been divorced – it can be plenty easy to have a rational, productive discussion with your ex.  

Post # 58
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2178 posts
Buzzing bee

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@KittyYogi:  LOL cute that you assume I’ve never been divorced (spoiler alert: I have!). Or that I have no experience with this (I do!)

But the main issue here is, there’s 6 pages of people giving OP their experiences and advice. You posted what you would do, with multiple posters who are actively living this scenario saying that it’s not a great approach. And what do you do? Double down and call anyone who dare defy your sage advice as “defensive” and telling them to “chillax”. You, who aren’t living this. And for that you should count yourself lucky! I mean that! You have a child with a person you love and there’s no divorce on the horizon for you! Bask in that fact that you don’t have to give your son up to another household every other weekend or every week. Many people DO have to do that, and it sucks.

But I get it, it’s kind of your schtick to be the resident expert on everything on here and this is no exception. But again– I think your original piece of advice is damaging and I would not suggest it to a blended family. Call me defensive, or whatever else you want. And sure it’s “not an attack on stepparents lol” but it IS. You’re very unabashadly saying that what YOU would hypothetically do trumps what others have lived through/done/regretted and continue to double down on your bad advice, despite people suggesting (kindly, I might add) that it isn’t a good approach. Stepparent or not, when one house causes conflict with the other, everyone suffers– mostly the kids and step-parents, they get caught in the line of fire while the ex-spouses hash it out. 

Maybe sit back and learn something from people who know what they’re talking about– there’s no shame in seeing there’s an alternate way to do things and to adjust accordingly. Try it, it’s really not that bad.

Post # 59
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3314 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

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@fromatoz:  That’s the beauty of opinions, everyone has em.  You are welcome to disagree, but that doesn’t make it wrong.  In my personal experience, having a rational, calm, evidence-based discussion with an ex-husband is not difficult, provided you go about in a polite way.  That is nothing to do with “causing conflict between households” or “being so mean to stepparents” or anything else you want to project.  Really not sure why you are taking this so personally or insisting on everyone who doesn’t agree with you is wrong, lolol.  I guess maybe you must have a lot of conflict with your ex or with your husband’s ex.  But there is no reason to assume that others are unable to have a normal functional relationship when needed, or agree on some basic co-parenting guidelines.

I’m not a resident expert.  I value the advice of ACTUAL experts.  That’s the point.  

Anyway this discussion is like wrestling with a pig, so take care.

Post # 60
Member
1643 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2021 - Glacier National Park-Montana

I’ve been divorced for almost 13 years with 3 kids.  The number one thing that will bring you peace is understanding that you won’t be able to do anything about what he doesn’t with his time or the kids.  You won’t agree with his choices and he won’t agree with yours.  Focus on what you can do with your kids when you have them.  Make the most of your time and try to let go of trying to control what he’s doing. Unless it’s outright dangerous.  When you can accept that (and it can take years). You’ll have so much peace and can do the internal eye roll at your ex.  Good luck bee.. it’s hard but you’ll get through.

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