When there is little communication, and even that is strained, how do you communicate important things to your ex?
This is something I have struggled with since the day my ex left. Okay, well, maybe even before that. I used to tell my ex that when he told the kids he loved them, it sounded just like he told them they were grounded and to go to their room. He had one tone of voice; it all sounded the same, especially to children. Of course, he did not agree, and now he would never agree with anything I had to say.
If I tried to suggest something, I was just a bitter bitch (his words, not mine).
What I struggle with most is being supportive to our children when they feel less than supported by their dad.
For instance, I am driving our daughter to ice skating today and can tell something is on her mind. I have already asked her twice if she is okay, so am waiting for her to decide she wants to talk. As we near the rink, she asks me if I am happy with her skating or would I rather she do something else. Not knowing why she is asking such a question, I explain to her that I want her to do what makes her happy, because when she is happy and enjoying herself, that makes me happy. She ponders my response as I ask her why. Does she want to do something else? Her response is she doesn’t know, maybe. I then ask her, “Do you not like skating anymore?” And to my surprise, she responds with, “I do, but my dad doesn’t like me skating.” Ouch.
He has been less than supportive with her skating, but wow, for her to feel that way really hurt my heart.
You see, besides not being very supportive, he and his wife do not allow her to skate on days she is with them. Oh, they claim it is because she received a C on her progress report in one subject. Yes, math, the subject she has struggled with since 4th grade and the subject that her older brothers struggled with all through school (oldest brother changed his major to one that required no math, LOL.) And yes, the very same subject that her dad was more than challenged by. No matter how many times the teacher tries to explain that a C is average and that our daughter has a 79.55, it makes no difference. I take her to tutoring on Mondays and her stepmom takes her on Wednesdays and Thursdays every week. Now, with that much tutoring, on top of the 2 hours I spend with her on Mondays and Tuesdays, and she is still pulling a very high C, I would say it is not because she isn’t trying or putting forth effort.
Neither here nor there, it is their opinion that until she has no Cs she is not allowed to skate on days she is with them. What they don’t understand is they are undermining their own efforts to get her to do better in school. Kids are all rebellious. Tell them they can’t do something and they want it more, or it causes them to do worse. When you feel you can’t achieve the goal set, why try? I do believe that is what is happening here.
But due to circumstances, I cannot tell my ex or his wife that. For one, they wouldn’t listen, but if they did they would chalk it up to me being wrong, mean, hateful, a bad parent, etc. I can’t make a suggestion that they try enticing her with supporting her dreams, or to help her achieve her dreams.
Seriously, it is not like skating is her only dream or goal. She dreams of being a pediatrician after attending Stanford University. Big dreams for a little girl.
So how do I convince, without communicating, her dad and stepmom to support all her dreams, to take her to skate while helping her with homework?
I was just copied on an email to the ice skating coach from stepmom where she said, if her grades are all As and Bs, if her grades are up, if she has good grades, etc. at least 7 times in one email.
How do I get them to try a different approach other than just yanking skating time? How do I get them to talk with our daughter instead of AT our daughter all the time?
How do I tell my ex he is continually driving a wedge between himself and the kids by not being around?
I can’t even comment to my ex that our daughter was so happy to have alone time with him, or that he took her for ice cream, because he is so defensive and unwilling to listen to anything I may have to say. As much as I don’t want to be nice to or talk with my ex, this is one area that I would like to be able to give him some insight. He has no idea that almost daily he increases the size of the wedge between he and our daughter. She sees it, why can’t he?
I would love to be able to tell him that while he sees nothing wrong with being out of town on his parenting days and leaving our daughter with her stepmom, it is making our daughter hurt and resentful. I would love to be able to suggest he focus on our daughter instead of himself when she is around. I would love to be able to tell him and his wife that withholding time and communication with her mother when our daughter is with them is only hurting their relationship. That if they would make her feel part of the decisions, important, and simply more a part of their family, it would change their relationship drastically with our daughter.
I don’t want to share any of that for my own benefit, or even for theirs (as they are not my favorite people) but for my daughter. My thoughts and feelings about her dad are insignificant; the only thing that matters is my daughter feeling loved, important, and a part of a successful relationship with her father.
How do you handle this with your ex and your children?