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Thread: Co-Parenting Not Working Out So Well

  1. #1
    Akfranklin2014
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    Co-Parenting Not Working Out So Well

    I am married, have been for a year, and my husband has two children from previous relationships. I have an 8 year old stepson and 4 year old stepdaughter that my husband shares custody of with their mothers. They each have a different mother. He and I do not have any children together yet. I treat them both like they’re my own. I love them like they’re my own. My husband and I do everything we can to make sure they know they’re loved by us and their mothers. We do not have any problems with my stepson’s mother. Drop offs and pick ups go well and there’s never any drama. They have a set custody agreement and there’s usually no deviation unless they agree to a change or to switch weekends. The drama all comes from my stepdaughter’s mother.

    We dropped off my stepdaughter yesterday (Sunday), which was our anniversary. We were dressed for dinner reservations we had after the drop off. She’d asked my husband if she could keep his daughter an extra day. He said no because we both have to work and his mother, who usually babysits when we’re at work, had to work as well. She got angry when she saw us, stating “Oh, so you can’t keep our daughter an extra day because you’re going out to celebrate a wedding that is unsuccessful.” Of course she says this within ear shot of to get me on purpose. I kept quiet and stayed in the car as I know she says these things to get under my skin. After we leave, my husband gets a phone call from her. She says their daughter told her she’d asked for some white cholocate covered pretzels when she was at our house and I had refused to give them to her. She then proceeds to chew him and I out, yelling at us, stating that her daughter is to be given whatever she asks for. I told her it wasn’t her house and she has no say in what she does or doesn’t get while she’s there. Normally I don’t interject in their conversations but she’d asked to speak with both of us on speakerphone. She threatened to go back to court, I told her let’s go. She said she was going to call CPS because we were denying her child food. She started to scream and talk over me, so my husband hung up the phone and refused to speak to her again because she wouldn’t calm down and be civil.

    When my stepdaughter is at her mother’s, she is given whatever she wants. They never say no to her. So when she comes to our house and we do say no, she goes back to her mother and tells her that we said she couldn’t have something or couldn’t do something. The pretzels incident is just one example. We have never denied her food and feed her appropriate meals. No, we aren’t going to give her everything she asks for. She likes to eat everything else and then not eat her dinner. And if she doesn’t like what she has for dinner, she will say she’s full, and then immediately after her plate is taken up, ask for a snack. I don’t want anything to think we don’t feed her or we’re mistreating her in any way. Every time we do a drop off or pick up, there is always some reason she has to call and complain or yell at my husband for something.

    My husband and I are looking into parallel parenting as a way to try to co-parent before this gets worse. We both believe limited contact between us is the best way and we would still be able to all be good parents. From what I’ve read, parallel parenting involves and very very detailed parenting agreement that lays out specific dates, times, and places for pick ups and drop off; gives specifics on every holiday, school breaks, including summer, spring, and winter, etc. It’s very detailed and most communication is done via email or text unless there is an absolute dire emergency in where a phone call is necessary. Has anyone heard of or used or know someone who has used parallel parenting? If so, what is your experience and how did it work? The drama and yelling and fighting is very stressful and while I know it’s never going to be easy, I have to believe there is an easier way than what we’re doing now.

  2. #2
    DancingFool
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    Sounds like you are doing that child the greatest favor of all - telling her NO.

    That said, the ex is clearly not over him, not happy that he has moved on and married someone else and she is lashing out. This is the core cause of the unhappy situation. So, probably the less contact you have with her, the less your presence is in her face, the better. Better too that the husband formalize pick up/drop off and otherwise minimize contact with her to strictly e-mail/txt and nothing else. Not being seen together by the ex might be a bit inconvenient at times, but will probably save you a whole lot of grief overall. The fact that she saw you and him dressed up heading out to celebrate your anniversary very obviously set her off. Try to avoid similar scenarios in the future. When the child is in school, maybe best that the drop off/pick up so to speak happens directly from school to minimize any in person contact between the parents. On weekends, let your husband drop off the child and you do not go.

  3. #3
    ~Seraphim ~
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    I would go back to court and set up a third-party pick up and drop off . And he has to tell her he's not taking phone calls from her only text or email . You have no contact with the ex.

  4. #4
    Akfranklin2014
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    Usually this is what we try to do. The place we wanted to go only had one reservation left so we didn’t have a choice if we wanted to go there. I usually stay at home with my stepson while he drops her off and comes home. There are times when it is unavoidable, mainly because we have only one vehicle. I absolutely prefer not to go, and dread those times when I do. There are times when my stepdaughter’s grandmother does the drop off and pickup and we have no issues there. She’s very cordial, we sit and talk for a minute and then we leave. No drama, no fuss.

    My stepdaughter hasn’t started school yet but even that isn’t practical because mother and daughter live in a different state than we do and I doubt he could drive there after getting off work at 3:30 in time to pick her up. We live in neighboring states and they set up a halfway point between the two houses.

    And I guess I’m the only one who sees that she’s not over him, but when I point it out to him she disagrees. Either way, I will definitely discuss all of this with him as you make excellent points.

  5. #5
    Akfranklin2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by ~Seraphim ~ [Register to see the link]
    I would go back to court and set up a third-party pick up and drop off . And he has to tell her he's not taking phone calls from her only text or email . You have no contact with the ex.
    I think this is an excellent idea as well, although I’m not sure who the third party would be, unless they assign one. My stepdaughter’s mother insists on being able to call him and chews him out if he doesn’t pick up. I believe this communication is part of the issue and combines with what DancingFool said. She wants to be able to have constant access to him to discuss things that have nothing to do with their daughter. He’s told her before their conversations need to be be about their daughter and only her, but she refuses to comply with that. Is this something a judge can rule on? Meaning, can he put it in their parenting agreement that emails and texts are the only things to be exchanged unless there is a life threatening emergency and their daughter has to go to the hospital? She seems to want control over every aspect of her daughter’s life, even when she’s not with her. I understand, but she can’t control what happens when she’s with us.

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    DancingFool
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    Well I mean of course they are going to disagree. She out of pride, he out of guilt. So long as you are clear where the strife is coming from. I'd just focus on how to resolve better the drop off/pick up situation and general contact and come from the angle of how to reduce the screaming and the fighting and here are some practical solutions. Hopefully eventually she will get over the whole thing and meet someone else, let this go and move on....hopefully and that will make everyone's lives better, including the child. Unfortunately, until that day comes, strictly formal minimal contact is best.

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  8. #7
    ~Seraphim ~
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    Quote Originally Posted by Akfranklin2014 [Register to see the link]
    I think this is an excellent idea as well, although I’m not sure who the third party would be, unless they assign one. My stepdaughter’s mother insists on being able to call him and chews him out if he doesn’t pick up. I believe this communication is part of the issue and combines with what DancingFool said. She wants to be able to have constant access to him to discuss things that have nothing to do with their daughter. He’s told her before their conversations need to be be about their daughter and only her, but she refuses to comply with that. Is this something a judge can rule on? Meaning, can he put it in their parenting agreement that emails and texts are the only things to be exchanged unless there is a life threatening emergency and their daughter has to go to the hospital? She seems to want control over every aspect of her daughter’s life, even when she’s not with her. I understand, but she can’t control what happens when she’s with us.
    Personally if she's that invasive I would go back to family court . Or he can turn his phone off or keep hanging up on her . Or decline her calls . Eventually she's going to have to get the message . She's obviously so jealous it hurts . Unfortunately my brother also has an ex beast like this.

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