What would you do??

myfampgApril 3, 2011

This weekend is the 1st weekend of the month but BD cancelled for a dumb reason not even worth going in to. Dd was sick earlier in the week but has been fine for days and would have been fine over the weekend. BD thought it would be best for Dd to stay at home since she had been sick. Whatever makes no difference to me.

We decided to go to the movies. We got there early so we decided to go in to the mall to eat lunch. While eating, dd says there is my dad!!! Can I go see him? Of course I didn't mind, just curious how that would turn out.... So she goes over and says hi, I didn't watch her or anything to give them privacy and respect. She didn't have to travel that far, just a few tables. But she came back saying they were rude and weird. Sm apparently didn't speak to her and got up and left and Bd told her it wasn't a good time. So sent her on her way. Bd has cancelled every weekend in over a month and dd is missing him like crazy.

Well it ended up ruining her day and she has been moody and pouty and saying 'I just want to go to my dad's!!' it's not my fault that he has cancelled and not my fault that he was a jerk today. And if I would have said no you can't go say hello to your father that would have made her angry too. Either way, she would have ended up hurt.

I came home after our movie to an email saying next time dont do that we were having a family day and it was disrespectful of you to send dd over to us and make us feel uncomfortable. Also saying, If dd is sick sh shouldn't be at the mall... Although I had told BD during the week that dd was sick and was no longer sick... She could have gone to his house. I didn't respond but should I? Dh says no, don't respond. He is just trying to fuel you and set you up to explode. Ignore him. But what about dd? She's hurt and I think I should stand up for her.

What would you do?

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What would I do?

I would probably respond to the email with a simple...

"gee, I would naturally assume that your DAUGHTER is part of your FAMILY. I'm so sorry to hear that you don't feel the same and that having to say hello to your daughter was being disrespectful. I'm sorry you were uncomfortable and felt it was an intrusion. It won't happen again."

and then I would ignore any further communications from him.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 8:26PM
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I wanted to add something important ... Like a stepfather award... Dd gets extremely clingy to my husband when things like this happens. She'll hate on me but she will be extremely loving to DH and want him to go for a walk while she rides her bike, or she will ask him to play a game with her. He always stops what he is doing when he can for both kids... He is the play on the floor and get all involved with the kids parent ... I try to be but I am not as 'in tuned' with playing I guess.. Anyway -- he asked me today, is this normal? Why does she get so clingy to me? I have no answer. She wants a father in her life -- period. I don't know if it matters who but that she feels loved by a father in the same way that my son is and her stepsibling is... Does that make sense? Anyway -- I'm so proud of my hubby for being an unconditional stepdad and I really believe God knew what he was doing when he placed DH in our lives .. That's all

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 8:28PM
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a$$hole, pardon my language, what an a$$. i AM MAD TO EVEN READ about IT!!!!

I would DO the same what imaMommy said: I am sorry that seeing your child made you uncomfortable and That SHE IS not CONSIDERED YOUR FAMILY", THEN I WOULD PRINT HIS EMAIL AND SAVE IT IN A FILE

I think you could use his email for next court visit.

I agree your little girl is lucky to have good mom and dad (by dad I mean your DH, he is more of a dad than that a$$)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 8:41PM
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I've gone through so much with my SD. She wants her mom to be a mom to her but her mom is too self involved to give any attention to her. I've stepped up, more in the beginning, and while SD would get excited & enjoy that I was doing things for her... as soon as it was over, there was a backlash of anger toward me. I believe she is angry at her mom for NOT doing those things for her, but it came out as anger toward me for being the one doing them. My belief is that she doesn't want to get angry at her mom because she is afraid of pushing her mom further away from what she really wants.. and that's a mother that cares & will do things for her. So, she gets angry at me because it's safer. She knows that I will continue to do things for her, even after she has taken it out on me for what her mom doesn't do. All of that has taken it's toll on me though.

My guess is that your DD gets angry at you because perhaps her father has told her or implied that it's your fault in some way (even indirectly) he doesn't see her as much as she likes... or she just knows you love her unconditionally so she can express her anger at you. I think the clinging to your husband may be her way of trying to have a father... but it may also be a tactic to get even with dad or make him jealous so he'll want her, by replacing him. But, it doesn't change that she still wants dad to want her... and it's something she has no control over which is the most frustrating thing in the world.

It's really wonderful that your DH steps up.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 8:45PM
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Is it awful of me to say I wish he would permanently walk away and never look back? It's selfish I know but everytime things like this happen, I just feel horrible for dd. Sometimes I hate him so much.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 10:42PM
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1. You can only control what goes on in your own home and within your own family. This is their problem not yours.
2. You do not know what is going on in the other home (can someone please explain all the abbreviations to me? thx).
3. You are modeling behavior for whom I assuming is your stepdaughter - take the high road. You do not know what is going on. Don't think the worst.
4. All children are manipulative and most especially children of divorce where parents are not cooperating to prevent the manipulation.
5. Children love to make parents feel guilty. Guilty parents are more easily manipulated and frequently do things for the children to alleviate their guilt.
6. Tell your step-daughter:
a. be happy with what she's got and be glad she's got it
b. this isn't her problem, it's her dads
c. ask her what she has contributed to the situation (if the step-mom was the last on the scene it can push a child over the top, one step is hard enough. If you were lucky enough to be the first step, count your blessings and have a little sympathy).
d. tell her she's extra-special lucky she has a spare mom and dad (most kids only have one).
e. maybe she doesn't like the step-mom and is giving the step-mom a hard time (see above).
f. try to help her develop empathy and compassion
g. teach her that she has an obligation to be fun to be with too.
h. she could be jealous of the attention the step-mom is getting from her dad and acting out at their home.
7. Answer the e-mail as sweetly as possible and say, 'I agree a sick child should not be at the mall, but as I explained she was no longer sick. I am so sorry that your daughter intruded on your private day; however, I did not send her over to your table. She saw you and asked to go over and say hello to you. I did not feel it was my place to tell her no.'

That's about the most you can do. Don't sweat the small stuff, if their jerks, they are jerks. There are plenty of kids that have jerks for parents. Try to get her to count her blessings and see what she does have. Not what she doesn't.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 12:29AM
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Thanks Po1 and imma!
I don't know Chicago.. She's not my stepchild, she is my child ..

And for the last 2 yrs BD has not had legal access, he just got his rights back in january. Dd actually does like SM (she is only 9..) she is quite forgiving of situations. I think she is a bit jealous of his time with SM but she has never said so or acted that way. I know for sure she isn't acting up at their home because she is terrified to get into trouble by sm.. The therapist agrees and bd has stated to therapist that they have no problems with her at their house.

Which abbreviations are you asking about and I can try to answer them for you. Thanks for your advice!! I do agree on the manipulation thing.. I might sound naive if I say she hasn't started manipulating us yet in this situation ... But this could definitly be the beginning of her trying and we want to put a stop to it.

I know I can't control what happens at their house and this is between my daughter and her father. If she were older I might think more on staying out of it but since she is younger AnD he drug me in to it thru email-- that's where I am perplexed.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 12:40AM
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Like Bd, Dd, DH, DD, SD?

I realized after I posted that she was your daughter, it still all applies. My main point is that you don't know what is going on at their home and you can't control what goes on at their home. Don't make their problems your problems. The hardest part of divorce is you lose control of half of your child's life. If he is a jerk and doesn't want to see her, count your blessings. He could really screw her up. If it is a bad experience for your daughter, maybe you need to encourage her to forget it (unless it is serious and then get supervised).

My son went through a very difficult time, off and on, with the fact that is father didn't visit him. I made it clear to him over and over again, that it wasn't him, it was his father, and it was nothing he did. I also let him know it was his father's loss. I also gave him permission to love his father and remind him of his fathers virtues. (Your daughter is a part of her father, she knows it, and when everyone's hating on Dad, it feels like their hating on her.) I reminded him of all the things he did have, like a mother who really, really loved him and that some kids don't even have that and blah, blah, blah....

The point is all this animosity is REALLY bad for these kids. Someone has to be the grownup. Let these kids have a childhood. There is always going to be something negative to dwell on in life, focus on the positive instead. Tell here to pray for her father, that he is confused. Then take her to the zoo and laugh a lot.

As far as the e-mail is concerned, I would try to maintain a civil dialouge, like I mentioned above. Maybe ask him if something is bothering him. If he gets abusive, end the conversation. Say something like, 'I would be willing to listen to anything you have to say. Call/e-mail me when you are able to be civil and we can talk.' It's in your daughters best interest if you can develop some sort of minimal relationship. Sometimes, it isn't possible. If it isn't, just acknowledge it and move on. I always continued to give my ex small opportunities though (never worked, but I tried).

Anyway, good luck.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 7:01AM
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BirthDad , Daughter, Husband, Stepdaughter.

As far as the topic...has Dad given any reason for the whole month's cancel? This time it was DD is sick (even though she is not anymore). Back a couple months he was doing the same with not having his time.

I half wonder if Dad having the DD is not so much what this all about. Afterall, it is SM that usually has DD the large majority of the time (per previous posted threads). You didn't mention if SM's DD was also present at this incident. Could Dad finally have gotten an afternoon off and he and SM wanted to 'be together' with 'us time'? Maybe, maybe not. I'd not look at this one time, instead I'd try to 'see' the bigger picture of what could be happening overall.

Looking back, the many skips of meetings, the cancelled visits, shortened visits...makes one wonder if perhaps the visits and co-working together is not at all really what Dad/SM actually want. SM demands DD call her 'Mom' while at her house, makes her refrain from even so much as acknowledging nor mentioning you, your existance, DD's life that is 97% all the little girl knows...yet runs into DD at Mall and it's 'don't bother us, this is our time'.

To lay blame on you that child wanted to say 'hi' and indicate it was disrespectful of you to allow is BS (Chi-town, that one means bull%hit).

Normal people would think that you and DD would have walked past them and said 'hello' as you were leaving if nothing else. How abnormal is it to sit a few tables away from your co-parent/father and not speak, wave, smile?

This child is getting twisted double messages from this guy/SM and I would not email back but instead address the topic at DD's next counseling session. Are you still doing the meeting with Dad/SM where issues were supposedly being brought up and looked at?

To answer Dad here gives stock to this being all your fault. In doing so it waives them of their part in the incident. Jerk treated his daughter like a little known nobody that he could not put his sandwich down for 2 minutes for. What message does that send daughter?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 7:55AM
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I would write an email that began "Dear ex-husband, you bottom-feeding, contemptible, piece of excrement..." and then I would delete it, unsent. In the same way that DD is taking out her frustrations on you because you are "safe" as Ima said, I think your Ex may be taking out his frustrations on you as well. It sounds like there may be trouble in paradise and I'd just lie low, stay out of it, and pray that psycho SM ends up out of your DD's life one way or the other.

Oh yes, and definitely print the email and save it.

When things are bad at BM's, SS becomes very clingy to me as well. In the last few months he's started a new trend of being clingy and angry at the same time - not much fun, I must say.

Is your DD clinging to your DH because she wants a father, because she's trying to hurt her real father, because she's displacing anger at you? Probably some mixture of all of the above. DH and I were talking last night about some issues and saying how hard they would be for an adult to deal with - but an adult always has that last-resort option where they can just wash their hands of the whole thing and walk away. These kids do not. Some of us are in a position of forcing these poor children to go to a parent's house who may or may not treat them well at any given time, and basically telling them that they have no say in the matter and to hope for the best. Then, when they do exactly as they are supposed to (hope and try for a relationship with a "parent" who comes and goes) and it all falls apart again, we're left picking up the pieces and putting them back together. In a few weeks/months/years when idiot parent feels the urge to want to see their own child, we go through the whole process again. And again. How many times is a child supposed to be encouraged to love and respect someone who has repeatedly let them down and failed them? It is not fun to watch a child grow up who is starting to believe that they deserve to be treated that way; after all, if they didn't deserve it the courts wouldn't keep making them go through it, right?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 9:45AM
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What an a$$!!!! I don't know if it's the right thing to do but I would respond. I would tell him exactly what was said above. You are right though, it is easier when they just walk away instead of coming in and out of the child's life. My oldest son's dad did that for a little while until my son asked why daddy didn't like him anymore. I drove over to his house and made him explain it to him why he was acting like that. My 2nd son's father walked away. He doesn't remember him at all. My husband has raised him and treated him same as your dh treats your daughter. Be very thankful for him. He sounds like a great man. Reading that brought tears to my eyes. We are lucky to have found the great ones and lost the losers.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 10:49AM
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could that incident in the mall, month worth of cancellations and his email be used in court? I would call your lawyer and therapist and bring documentation of cancellations and his email with me.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 5:10PM
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Yes Po1 -- we think alike on this. Already forwarded it on and it's going to be used. He is fighting for more of a 50/50 split but doesn't have her for the 37% that he is given. If anything some
Time will be adjusted down to just a standard fri- sun every other weekend instead of time during the week or long holiday visits.

I am not responding although I loved all of your ideas. Bottom feeder was my favorite! Lol
My attorney said no.. It's not worth an email war and we are going to use his own words against him. We go back in a few weeks... So hopefully the cancellations and the mall incident and a few other things dd has shared will be what we need to win in the access fight. Crossed fingers.

Children are so amazing. And resilient. Dd was angry and ugly to me last night and I just ignored it. I told her a few times, loose your tone and don't speak to me that way --
This morning she apologized and said she didn't mean to be ugly. Picked her up from school -- same ole happy dd. She kissed DH on the head this morning... And he just melted. He said he is afraid she is going to turn on him one day but right now he just wants to take it in and enjoy it like it's vitamin d from the sun ... I love him. He is one of the many miracles in life and sometimes I feel so undeserving of him!!!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 8:22PM
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I would add if the father is not willing to have regular visits, he should probably not have them at all. That is too hard on the kid. The way he acted was inexcusable, without a doubt. He is her father, BUT she is going to get this treatment from a lot of people in the world. Use it as an opportunity. It should not be tolerated. Don't teach her to tolerate it, or she will end up marrying some guy like him.

God doesn't make crap, he made us all to be wonderful, great people with all kinds of different talents. Her father is choosing not to utilize the gifts and blessings God gave him. The father is making bad choices and choosing to not be a very nice person. At best, he is immature. I think it is important to phrase it in a way to understand that her father wasn't born a jerk (giving her an excuse to be one, because dad is), but rather is choosing to be a jerk (teaching her personal responsibility for her behavior).

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 9:18PM
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I too have a situation like yours. I have a daughter and her father does not have much to do with her. He basically wrote her off when he got remarried and had their own family.

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do. I have had several arguments with him to the point where he asked me if I felt the same way about my daughter as I do my husband's children, basically comparing his relationship with his daughter like she was his stepchild. Sad. She is 18 now and thank God I have had enough love to give her for the both of us. She is closer to her stepfather than her own dad and even made the comment if she ever gets married she wants her SD to walk her down the aisle along with her dad because she didn't want to hurt her dad's feelings, but she feels her SD is more of a dad to her. Sad that she is worried about hurting his feelings after all of these years.

You can't change people. You have to accept the way they are and move on because they only person it affects is you and your daughter. Show her love every day and concentrate on your own relationship with her. Birth dad seems like a poor excuse for a father and he will be the one losing out some day. I feel for your daughter. :(

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 4:03PM
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wonderinginchicago has the best advice I think in regards to a response to the email.

" Answer the e-mail as sweetly as possible and say, 'I agree a sick child should not be at the mall, but as I explained she was no longer sick. I am so sorry that your daughter intruded on your private day; however, I did not send her over to your table. She saw you and asked to go over and say hello to you. I did not feel it was my place to tell her no.' "

They are obviously dealing with some things themselves, and maybe he assumed that you sent her over just to disrupt him (or to make him feel guilty). So, he reacted poorly by being rude and then venting at you in an email.

just be super sweet back. It's hard to be rude to someone who is being nice. (even if you don't feel nice!)

And the other points outlined as well. It's not your daughters fault that her dad couldn't handle seeing her even for 2 minutes. Some guys just suck at juggling situations and people. (and again.. he probably felt guilty because he was supposed to be spending time with her which caused him to get snappy)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 4:59PM
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I actually didn't respond. Since we are currently in litigation my attorney advised me to not respond.

I agree with you all - I had so many things I wanted to say but in the end, they would have gotten what they wanted which was a reaction out of me and to justify myself which I don't owe them even though it would have felt great.

I am sure that he thinks I sent her on purpose but I honestly didn't. Next time I'll just say no maybe next time or something like that. Actually I decided we won't go to that mall again. We live in a metroplex with many malls so we know now that they go there so... We'll avoid that one just in case...

She called him on his bday and he never called her back, then she curled up with DH for the rest of the night. He is pushing her away and I hate it but I can't control it so I might as well embrace what she does have

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 9:48PM
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"She called him on his bday and he never called her back, then she curled up with DH for the rest of the night." Myfampg, give your DD a hug for me, please. I feel badly for her; your ex is horrible. Birthdays are such a huge deal to kids and that was a major fail on his part to not call back.

Right before my parents were divorced, my father was off running around somewhere and never came home until after we were in bed on his birthday. Meanwhile, we kids with Mom's supervision had baked him a cake - and waited, and waited, and waited, to sing Happy Birthday to him and serve the cake, and finally we had to just go to bed. That was over three decades ago; I was just a kid. The cake was lemon, with lemon icing. It was square in shape. It was sitting on our kitchen counter. It was rainy and gloomy that day; we kept thinking we'd heard the car and looking out the windows. Your ex is rapidly approaching or has already reached territory where he can not make these lapses up to DD, where these memories of her father letting her down will be with her forever. I'm glad she has your DH.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 9:06AM
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I am too Mattie -- thanks!

She told me he said he never got the message... So... Who knows. That's his excuse for everything. I didn't know, didn't get the message, but she will remember that.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 2:06PM
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Hi myfampg.

Your husband sounds like my Stepdad. He was there for me when my Dad wasn't. My Dad still managed to hurt me even when I was in my thirties but not almost as much as it would have hurt if I didn't have such a great stepdad and mom. I feel sad for your daughter but I am sure that many people will tell you that YOU are what is important to her. It makes me really happy when I see that, like my stepdad,there are other guys out there who give so much and can step up to the plate like your husband does. And good job you, for not biting and emailing something nasty back. That takes maturity. And a lot of restraint. Your daughter is very lucky.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 2:53PM
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Thanks Kellula I have an amazing stepdad too. He walked me down the aisle while my biodad watched from the fourth row with tears streaming down his cheeks. He too hurt me after I became an adult. At my wedding he emabarrassed me and then was mad that he wasn't more involved or included. He got a flower, what more did he want?? He never gave to me my entire life and then expected to take credit for my great life and happiness... Nope that credit goes to my stepdad. He's so amazing. I just got off the phone with him in fact. We talk every day no matter what about. He calls just to say hi. My biodad has never picked up the phone to just check on me or my family.

He has given my husband a lot of guidance in this stepparent thing. And it's really been a wonderful thing because my dd is gaining exactly the same thing I had. Sounds like you were lucky too. Thanks for the comment.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 7:40PM
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My youngest has a different father than my oldest two. His father didn't really want to see him. He had his reasons. I told him that while he was young, he could see him whenever he wanted, but when he got older if he wasn't willing to commit to regular visits it was better to not see him at all.

Maybe make your husband and daughter stick to regular schedules. Just tell your daughter something like, Daddy doesn't do well with being interrupted. Maybe she could write down or save things for when she sees him. I would log all the visits he misses, drops off early, etc... Sounds like he is just playing games to drop child support or something. It isn't fair to your daughter and it is the worst of all possible worlds, especially since she has a two-parent house now. The court may end up giving him supervised visitation if he doesn't knock this off (on his penny). At least he will stop playing games with your daughters heart.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 2:39AM
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Nah he has been on supervised visits for two years already. The courts are sick of our 4 yr long trial -- now that she is older I'm just waiting for her to figure out on her own that she doesnt want to see him. He doesn't want to drop child support or anything. We've never argued about the cs -- he just won't contribute more than what he pays. Period.

He won't give up his life style either -- he is too proud to go without and his wife would refuse to give up her cushy lifestyle.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2011 at 4:43PM
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