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My 14 yr old throws tantrums & threatens to... Expand / Collapse
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Posted 17/04/2012 3:08:47 PM
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My ex and I have been divorced for 6 years. We have equal custody of our teenage girls (50/50). My ex and I have totally different parenting styles. My ex is very soft with the girls, gives into their every whim and sides with them every time I try to discipline them in my own house. In contrast to their mum, the girls naturally think I am way too strict.

I will give an example of what happened in my house a little over 2 weeks ago. I am at a loss to what I can do about it. It was a school night & my 14 yr old daughter Gabi sent me a text at work to ask if she could go to Zumba classes after school and then stay at her friends house. I am happy for the girls to have sleepovers & a social life on weekends but not during the school week. So I said no. Gabi's grades have been all Cs & Ds and I would like her to put more effort into homework. Gabi turned up late to school 21 times last year & took 16 sick days off & her mum wrote her a note every single time excusing her for that and for not handing in homework on time. The teachers believed that was the cause of her poor performance.

Gabi then called me at work 4 times to argue her point. When I got home the arguing continued so I threatened to ground her. She replied that she would go and live with her mum permanently if I did that. I got angry and told her she could pack her bags & I would take her if she didnt like the rules in my house. Gabi ran out onto the street sobbing hysterically that I couldnt love her if I was prepared to let her live with her mum. Then she called her mum and asked her to pick her up (which she did). Her mum and the eldest daughter (17) consoled Gabi and uniformly told me off saying I was too strict & that I needed to apologise to Gabi because I upset her. 4 days later, I received a text message from Gabi's mum telling me that Gabi would be staying with her indefinitely & that Gabi didnt want to see or speak with me. I wanted to resolve it straight away instead of let it fester for weeks or months. I told Gabi she needed to come back so we could talk about it but that I wasnt going to back down on my rules. My ex & my eldest daughter said Gabi needed time to "recover" and that it wasnt fair to force her to come back before she was ready. My partner (of 5 years) and I are getting married in Thailand in July. I know I was using bribery to get Gabi to come back when I said the next bit but that was my only ace card. I sent Gabi a text asking if she would be back with me by July because I needed to book airfares. Gabi said she needed "a break" from me but assured me that she would be back in time for the holiday in Thailand. She hasnt text or spoken to me for 2 weeks since.
Post #67298
Posted 18/04/2012 2:42:40 PM


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G'day Brian

Bugger!
Do you and your ex have any means of discussing the issue?
You opened by saying that you and your ex have 50/50 custody of the girls, so that suggests you 'should' have an equal say in the girls' upbringing, and you 'should' be able to discuss with each other important issues as they arise.
I appreciate that you and your ex have different parenting styles, but together, you and your ex are still the parents of the girls, and are the only important people in their life.
I may be barking up the wrong tree by suggesting that you and your ex work it out together, but 50/50 access suggests to me equal say - on both sides - and the right to be heard and understood - on both sides.
I am not in the same situation as you, and probably can't imagine fully what your Dad-life is like, but I can appreciate that if I was in your situation, being manipulative/using bribery - like the example you gave of your ex, and you - is understandable.
Lastly, are you able to contact Gabi directly, to ask if you and she could chat and sort this out, together?

All the best


Richard



Where I blog: http://the3rdquarter.com/
Post #67317
Posted 23/04/2012 1:16:25 PM
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Brian, 14 yrs is a SH*T age! Worse when they are in the situation ours are in too.

The worse thing about 50/50 is kids thinking that they have "choice" to go running to the other parent when they don't like the rules. (ie: don't get what they want) And it sounds like the two households in your situation are very different. You try to get the kids to take responisibility for themselves, and your ex makes excuses for them.

I'm not sure there is an easy answer. Particularly at this age. I would stick to your guns though, because you don't want her to come back and then think she can walk all over you. You could you take her out for a Macca's Frappe (I know bribery, my kids will do lots for one of them!) and talk to her really, really honestly. Sometimes writing gets through to them more. Write her a letter and then have a talk?

When my daughter was 14yrs old she tried the running to daddy thing. I was better postioned though because he hardly saw her, so I kinda knew she'd be back. But, it does hurt. It hurts because you can see they know exactly what they are doing. Like I said, it's a really difficult age and they do morph into these aliens for a while. Stay firm but loving, make sure she always knows how much you love her, but you everything you do, you do with her best interests at heart. They do come back to you as the sweet kids they used to be. But with a mother who, it sounds like, is trying to thwart your attempts to teach responsibility, it may be a bit of a longer road.

Hang in there.
Post #67396
Posted 28/06/2012 10:11:11 PM
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Hi Richard
I meant to email a while ago and say thankyou for taking the time to give me some advice. Unfortunately, my ex and I dont (cant) talk anything through. Its her way or the highway. She doesnt agree with anything I say and never thinks it is important to show a united front and so I have given up on trying to "talk". She disregards what I say and does what she wants anyway. The ONLY thing I thought I had control of was discipline in my own house. But it seems she wont even allow me that.

Anyhow, seems it is a horrid age. Only last week though, my daughter lied and told me she was shopping but the truth was she was at a boys house. FINALLY, my ex has decided that she will allow me to ground her for that and not interfere with my decision to do so.

I dont want to wish these years away but... roll on 18 year old !! Im ready and waiting!

Brian

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Posted 29/06/2012 2:15:00 PM


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No worries Brian.

Good luck !



Where I blog: http://the3rdquarter.com/
Post #68054
Posted 26/10/2012 12:20:41 PM
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Hi Brian

Would have loved to comment on this topic earlier but I did not see it. I find that the issue with shared parenting after separation is that there is no willingness for the partners to show a unified front to their kids as they would have when they were together. This is going to end in bad results more times than not.

My suggestion would be is to forget your daughter and concentrate on your ex partner. If it is 50-50 shared custody then it stays 50-50 shared custody. If her school grades are falling behind and she has had so many days off school then you and your ex need to address this issue as her parents. That way when a resolution is found both parents are on the same page. If there is a set rule that sleepovers are not permitted on a scholl night then it would be irrellevent whos place she was at as that is the blanket rule.

Your daughter will find out soon enough that playing one parent against the other will not work when both parents are communicating and working with the same set of rules. I know this is hard, as dealing with ex's is not the funest way to spend your time, but at the end of the day you are both connected through these children and just because your relationship has ended your jobs as parents has not.

Hope you can use some of this to help you.

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