little games

yabberFebruary 22, 2011

Oh how BM never gets tired of her little games.. She will never change, I'm sure of it. I've been with my FDH for over 6 years, he's been divorced for 10, and still BM gets her kicks out of these sad little games. It would be laughable if it wasn't so detrimental to the skids upbringing. They are 13 and almost 15 and they are learning by example to treat their own dad in a poor way, it saddens me.

This is what happened: The skids had a basketball match, they knew we were coming to watch, we confirmed it with them 2 days ago. This means I drive for an extra half an hour and have to rush and for FDH it means asking his boss to finish 20 mins early and also extra driving. No probs with any of that. But then we get there and guess who are a no-show? Yep that would be the skids. No call, no text, and of course an irritated coach who comes to question us where the girls are? All FDH can say is that he's wondering the same. Then ring BM, straight to voicemail of course. As this has happened so many times in the past, we know the drill. The skids usually tell us later on how funny BM thought it was that we drove all that way, hahaha.

Honestly, after 6 years of this, I'm kinda getting a bit tired of it. Do you really still get a kick out of this BM? How sad does that make you?

Doesn't she realise how she's teaching the kids that it's ok to let the team down, to not even bother cancelling? Bad manners.

The hard thing is to decide what to do about it. It makes us angry, but if we show that to the skids it goes straight back to BM, who's loving every minute of it. So you don't want to give her the satisfaction, or the message that it pushes our buttons. So then what? Suck it up, pretend it's no big deal? Also not that great, because then the kids get the message it's ok to treat their own dad this way. It really is a catch 22.

My solution is to change the rules of this game. Give the skids some responsibility in all this, they're old enough. So far FDH has been contacting them one or two days prior (when they always say they should be going..) so we go to the game hoping that the skids are there. But things always change last minute (because it's a game for BM). So instead FDH should tell them to confirm with him on the day if they're really playing. If they confirm, we go, if not, we don't go. A simple text message will do. Simple, right?

If anyone has any other tips I'm interested to hear them. I know lots of us deal with these kinds of issues ;-)

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Don't tell them you are coming ??

I hate this about my ex too. I can't get him to understand that if DD signs up for something especially on a team, regardless of who's 'weekend' it is, she needs to be there as part of a team. Instead ex makes something 'better' for DD to do instead of showing up for her team so that DD will say, well I didn't want to go, I wanted to go to the water park instead. So now... Until ex stops his little games of 'this is MY time' DD cannot sign up for any activities that will interfere with 'his' weekend. I hope that one day DD will say, I WANT to do cheer or soccer or whatever she chooses... This is MY time and I want to be there... Until then, she doesn't do anything because she cannot disappoint a team by not showing up bc BD doesn't want her to do an activity that 'I' signed her up for. I know that the weekends are precious and I agree... But at the cost of DD NEVER participating on a team learning to win and lose and be a member of something important not to mention the friendships she would make. But that's how my ex is and how he plays his little games to laugh at me. Well I think I will have the last laugh... DD will say DAD I want to have a life and then what will he say??

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 12:29AM
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What happens if you were to inform ex before enrolling DD into sports? Ask him if he would be ok with taking her to soccer games on Sat.mornings. Informing him of the time, how long it would go for etc, starting at such and such a date. Would he still say "No way, it's my time, not happening"?

I'm asking because I can understand his reluctance if you didn't consult with him prior and just presented him with the fact after enrolling DD. BM has always done that to FDH, it puts him on the spot and it is not considerate to keep him out of the loop till the girls are signed up and excited. For her it's a powertrip, she doesn't need to consult with FDH, they're HER kids and she IS their mother, using the excuse that she's only trying to act in best interest of the kids. "So kids can play sports and make friends and be healthy".

Talk is cheap of course, BM really has her own agenda which is to control the time that FDH spends with kids. It's all to do with her, nothing to do with these kids. She just wants to dominate FDH and actually taking kids to sports is not a priority, more of a hassle. That's why she doesn't take them to training and maybe half of the games, and usually they'll pull out early, that is how dedicated BM really is to their activities.

Not to say that this is you of course :-), but just wondering if you give your ex some notice on possible activities, he might be more easygoing if he doesn't feel excluded and 'pressured' to spend his time a certain way.

For us it wouldn't work to go unannounced, because the kids don't go half the time. That's how sad it is.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 5:18AM
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That's horrible ladies. Yabber, I would say that yes, the kids are old enough. Tell them you need confirmation they are playing on that day, and that you won't be able to make it if it's not confirmed.

That would make me so angry and disappointed. The worst part is she's teaching them that it's ok to do stuff like this. They'll grow up and what a wake up call.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 11:04AM
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BM is beyond nasty! But at 13 and 15 they should be able to call or text ahead of time informing they are not coming.

If my DD did that, I would be very upset and angry (unless it happened once by mistake). One cannot control what the other parent do, but one can control the kids actions by teaching them values. Dad should hold THEM accountable.

Now is it possible SDs are in this with BM, like planning nasty tricks together? I don't think there are any legal actions here to be taken, maybe? ...but how nasty! 10 years and she still does not want to co-parent.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 11:41AM
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OK - So BioMom's a flake. And she's teaching her children to be irresponsible and inconsiderate. That's *NOT* OK.

Now Dad's got to step up and teach his children that flaking out like that is *NOT OK* -- whatever the reason. That people who do that get ostracized by their friends and fired from their jobs, and that people who encourage them to behave that way are *not* setting a good example and not showing concern for their well-being. (He might give an example of a friend encouraging them to flake out on a planned activity with another friend.)

I'd add that the kids are now old enough to take some responsibility in this -- since they know how to use a phone, they now also have the responsibility to use one when necessary. When something unavoidable prevents them from honoring their commitments, *they need to call* the people who are expecting them and let them know. That is their responsibility, and *NOT* doing that is *NOT OK*.

Also, as honorable and responsible people, they have the responsibility to honor the commitments they have made. If there's a game - they show up. Their teammates are counting on them. If there's a party and they've said they'd be there -- they go -- even if something 'better' comes up. Quite simply, that's what polite, responsible people do -- and that's what he is raising them to be.

He expects (and will tolerate) no less --

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 2:24PM
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If this has happened more than once I am surprised that coach keeps them on the team. Someone (preferably dad but even the coach) has to teach the children that this behavior is unacceptable.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 4:20PM
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It sounds to me that they are playing BM's games with her. I just would not make any plans to go and would not pay for it. We pay for all of DH's kids activities but we get the schedule so we know when and where to be. Its terrible of her/them to do this to ya.

myfam- I feel bad for your DD not getting to do any activity. Hopefully Bd will realize what he is doing. We get our kids EOW and believe me it is a pain to take them everywhere and to get the weekend schedule from BM but thats what the kids would be doing no matter who's weekend it is or if their parents had never divorced. We learned in counceling the kids should continue their same life with friends, sport, ECT just like before. It stinks when they want to spend the night with a friend on our weekend. We only get them 4 nights a month but they should get to spend the night with that friend. They did not choose the divorce so my DH lets them as long as we have notice and he knows the parents. Your DD seems like a strong little girl she very well could speak up later for HER time.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 5:55PM
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It makes me feel a lot better knowing that it's not just me, thanks for your support ladies! I actually felt like crying last night. FDH was in a bad mood and told me he feels he doesn't even have a real bond with his own daughters :-(
He's such a good man, he tries so hard and they don't even see it.

You are right PO1, sometimes the girls do join in with their mum. It's partly understandable because this is the kind of conditional love they experience with her. They're partly manipulated and they're partly just joining in because it's easier to go with it then to fight it. Yes these girls are growing up in an angry environment, learning that it's ok to treat people like this. It's really depressing because we can't turn this around.

But I will pass on your tips to FDH, they are similar to what I already advised him but worded differently, it might help.
Thanks so much guys!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 7:34PM
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"It's really depressing because we can't turn this around."

Oh yes you can! And it's really important that you do.

Even though the girls may be joining in, on some level, they *know* their behavior (and BioMom's) is wrong. And on some level, they *want* to be called on it and urged to do better. It shows Dad acting like a real a Dad -- Doing what he's supposed to be doing and teaching them right from wrong. That's what a loving parent is supposed to do.

And if he corrects them, and they comply -- he can then praise them for their consideration, reinforcing the good behavior and making them proud of being good people. All kids want to be good people.

My son went through this with my Ex urging him to misbehave and lie/hide things from me. While I certainly confronted my Ex about it, I ALSO confronted my son, who was 9 at the time. I told him that he was responsible for his own behavior, and that he knew better and would be held to a higher standard. He made a few weak excuses, but only a few -- he DID know better. And from then on, he also behaved better.

The secondary benefit was that DS learned very explicitly that his father's behavior was *wrong* and that he needed to apply his own judgement to things his father did. I didn't bad-mouth Dad, just pointed out that that specific behavior was wrong. DS drew his own conclusions about Dad's motivations (not rocket science) and future behavior, and has since grown into a very moral and responsible young man.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 8:00PM
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Sweebie you are right! We will try and do what we can. I guess I'm pessimistic because I don't think our influence is as big as BM's. Slowly these kids are slipping away from us. When they get to our place tonight it's awkward, and if we talk to them about what happened they'll take that info back to BM who then tells them "We lecture them and we don't respect their choices". Even if we didn't lecture them, once BM tells them that's what happened, their memories seem to change. It's really out there.

Whatever we try and teach the kids, BM will question them about it, give it her own spin and then undermine it. That is something we can't change, and in the end it's up to them to draw their own conclusions. SD14 knows her mum has problems, but SD13 is in denial. We cannot get through to her, at all.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 9:33PM
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Yabber- DD started dance when she was 2. We divorced at 4 1/2 and her class happened to be on his day. We divorced in the middle of her dance year so taking her out would not have been fair since she already had been fitted for costume and was so excited for recital... BD took her to class and picked her up every class day for 4 months. Then he wante her in tball too ... So every weekend she was at a game. Dad and I both there to support. No problems. DD wanted to try cheer. It was a huge commitment for me, for dad it was only 2 saturday's a month. So I asked him showed him the schedule.. He was perfectly fine with it. As soon as he met SM that all changed. I got an emAil that DD would NOT be participating in any extra curricular activities on HIS weekends ever again. Instead she gets to go watch her step sister's activities. Mind you... They are the same age... But DD is not allowed. She is in two activities right now but they are not on weekends at all and they aren't sports. It is not possible for her to play sports if she can't go to the weekend games. Every activity is on the weekend. It's just how it is for us. I have accepted it but once she is older it's going to piss her off. She is already frustrated with having stepsisters gymnastics and soccer shoved down her throat ... While dad works, dd sits at meets and games all weekend with SM watching stepsister... She won't sit quiet for long, I believe in no time she will finally tell them how it makes her feel.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 10:04PM
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"When they get to our place tonight it's awkward, and if we talk to them about what happened they'll take that info back to BM who then tells them "We lecture them and we don't respect their choices". "

Yeah -- But you'll still have been right, and on some level the girls will know it. And if BM does say something along those lines, you can be sure that a little voice inside the girls' heads will retort that it's *BioMom's* choice you don't respect, and that those choices weren't worthy of respect.

Your message *WILL* get through --
But for maximum effectiveness, *plan* your lecture. You *know* they'll tune out after 2 minutes, so keep it short and to the point. (That's why you *need* to plan.) But also keep it strongly worded and forceful. They need to hear, feel and understand. I'd follow up with a short time-out, during which you (that'd be the Dad 'you') ask them to think carefully about what you've said because you'll be asking them about it later and they'll need to explain why what they did was wrong and how they'll handle a similar situation differently in the future.

Yeah - it's that important.

I know you're modelling high-road behavior for them -- and once they are made to acknowledge the difference, they'll see it more, understand it more, and appreciate it more. They really will -- (And worst case - If they don't, at least you'll know deep down that you really did give it your best shot.)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 10:21PM
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Another spin you could add to the discussion Sweeby proposed (which I agree with) is how would they feel if mom brought them over to your house for scheduled visitation and you weren't there? Or if they were expecting you to pick them up Saturday at 9am for the weekend and you never arrived - no call, no warning. Would that be ok?

I completely understand not wanting to let BM know she got to you - been there, fought that. But I do agree the girls are more than old enough to know that is not an acceptable way to treat anyone, and that the example their mother is role modeling will only harm them in their future endeavors. (Yes, I would say just that.)

I also agree there should be some consequence from the coach. If my SD misses a game or practice - even if it's excused - there is still a penalty.

Hugs - I know how frustrating this is.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 10:49PM
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Good idea JNM, I'll keep it in mind when talking to FDH. I really think it should come from him, and he just doesn't seem to want to say anything, to add to my frustration! he feels like it's so out of control, whatever he says will only push them away from us more. I say I agree with all of you, this is not acceptible and you can't just let it slide. It reinforces BM's message that it's ok to treat us like this, why would you do that? Back to talking to FDH :-)

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 11:47PM
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--""We lecture them and we don't respect their choices""--

Pfft. I'm totally amazed that the coaches of these activities tolerates this behavior of hit and miss, undependable BS. Out here we have try-outs and disappointed children when a 'team' can only have x amount of players and maybe a few backups.

Does BM really think a coach with a team of players should 'respect their choices' when their mood of the moment includes dumping on a team the depends on them and perhaps can't function without them?

This is just wrong in so many ways. Dumping on Dad/SM, cutting out on coach and team mates. These kids should be being 'lectured'. These kids should be being told that they can no longer sign up for activities if they can not be dependable enough to follow through with their committment. It's not just the sports, as stated above, these kids are learning it's perfectly ok to screw with people (Dad, the coach and team, the future boss, the future spouses blah blah)...hey, it's ok, I did not 'wanna' today', right?

Don't make this all about just dumping on Dad and letting him's much more. This is shaping their attitudes for a long and rocky road through their adult lifes. This may currently be a 'game' to annoy Dad by BM now, but these are actions that are being imbedded in these impressional teens that dumping and ditching and being unresponsible are perfectly ok. It's not.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 8:54AM
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"Don't make this all about just dumping on Dad and letting him's much more. "

In fact, the more you can leave 'disappointing Dad' out of it, the more effective the lecture may be, and the less 'BM got to you' satisfaction there will be in this whole deal. As JNM said - It's not about disappointing you guys really -- It's the much greater issue of being decent and responsible human beings.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 10:19AM
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what worked with my DD was telling her how such and such behavior makes me feel and why, then it would get to her.

If you just tell them then this and that is wrong and what they do is wrong, they tune it out or get deffensive. They perceive it as lecture, but if you tell them how you feel, then it is more like sharing.

i wonder if dad tells them directly that he is hurt and upset when he gets there and they are not attending. Maybe it would make a difference...

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:47AM
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With all due respect, I'm going to have to disagree with Po1.

If the whole point is to annoy/get to Dad, then coming at it from the angle of how hurt Dad was just lets them know that their little game was effective. (Not to mention the satisfaction BioMom gets...) Plus Po1, a key distinction was that your DD was not deliberately trying to diss you the way Yabber's SKids are doing with their Dad.

Yeah - It's certainly true. I'll concede that point.

But the objective is as much to teach them to be decent and responsible people as it is to get them to stop no-showing on Dad. I'd argue that teaching your children to become decent and responsible people is *even more* the point.

And honestly, sometimes kids *need* a lecture.
Sometimes they *need* to be made to feel bad about their conduct.
In measured doses, guilt and shame can be very GOOD things!

Of course, I always like to give them a path to redemption -- a way to rebuild their self-esteem after you've knoced it down a few (well-deserved) pegs. And by asking them how they will handle a similar situation in the future, then giving them the chance to make it happen -- you'll be doing that.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 1:04PM
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I would inform the girls if this happens 1 more time without letting him know.Then he will no longer come to any sports event!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 11:03PM
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FDH is going to have a talk to them. I copied and pasted some of your tips and comments for him because they are really good, so he can prepare his talk properly.

I do think that PO1's comment to discuss feelings is good, but perhaps in our situation it might be better to make them think about how 'the team' feels when they are 2 'men' down, instead of how it makes us feel.

Sweebie you are right, the point is to teach them to become responsible people. The way you explain it is really good, lots of copying and pasting there:-)

About the coach of the team: I'm also amazed he has let it slide. They did change coaches halfway through the year, don't know if that made a difference. We kind of feel a bit embarrassed sitting on the sideline, knowing other people might think it's us that stuff these kids around. But hey, who cares right? We know the truth..

So here is the (annoying) update. The girls didn't come on Thursday, as they should have. BM sent a message to say they're not coming. We have also been down that road before. The kids know that they did the wrong thing, they don't want to face up to it, so staying with BM is easier. Not a real surprise. SD13 had a guitar lesson that night, which she missed because she didn't come to our house and BM was never going to take her (it's FDH's thing and he pays for it). Isn't it ironic, like really?? Here we are, again, with SD13 skipping a lesson that was paid for, for no good reason or without even telling FDH herself. Let mummie send him a message.. Aaaarrrggghhhh...

So here's the plan. FDH will tell the girls once we see them that this is going to stop. This is not how we treat each other. So when the girls have a game, they'll need to confirm on the day that they're going. Otherwise we assume they're not. With the guitar lessons; SD13 gets one more chance. If she cancels one more time for no good reason, that's it. No more guitar. We will not pay for lessons that are going to be cancelled at the drop of a hat.

Unbelievable :-(

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 3:57AM
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sweeby, I was going by what was working with DD. I am giving advice based on personal experience of raising a daughter. My DD was not easy at that age either, how do you know if she tried to ditch me or not? Yabber's SKs are the same age as DD was when she was very difficult. Maybe she was worse that yabber's SKs, how do you know?

If she was insensitive, giving her lectures never worked. It made it worse. At this age they often do not truly comprehend how their words or actions make others feel. Letting her know how her actions hurt someone worked better than lectures. Now if it does not work with yabber's SKs, they'll try something else.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 10:32AM
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