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ExH and wife not happy about Home-Ed - please help - Page 2

post #21 of 36
I would also let the teacher and school know that they need to talk to you and your husband only about your son. They should handle your step-mother's requests for information in the same way they would handle it if a parent of another child asked for information about your son. I would do it gently, and with the assumption that it was an oversight on their part... maybe even the assumption that they *didn't* share any informtaion.. "I know you probably didn't tell her anything, but I heard that my son's step-mother was in the other day, so I just wanted to make sure we are on the same page, and that the school isn't discussing my son with anyone but me and his dad. I'm sure the school is good about keeping children's information confidential, but I just want to check in."

As for communication with dad, we have some experience with stopping bullying. I'll share our strategy with you, and hope something in it might be helpful to you.

I think I would probably just inform dad of your decisions (email, call him at work, tell him when you see him, etc) and let him know that if he disagrees with your decision or wants to talk to you about it, you'd be happy to discuss it with him. For example: "I'm planning on hiring a tutor for [son] to help him with math. If that isn't okay with you or you want to discuss it with me first, please let me know. Otherwise [son] will start with a tutor from his school a week from Friday." And if you hear back from step-mom, just say "I'd be happy to talk to his dad about that if he wants to discuss it. If I don't hear from him directly, I'll have to assume he's fine with my decision." If she argues, just calmly repeat the first sentence ("I'd be happy to discuss that with his dad")... and repeat, and repeat... Finally, if she continues to argue, calmly tell her, "I don't have anything else to say to you on the subject. I would be happy to talk to his dad about it." And walk away/hang up/ignore her emails on the subject.

It has been pretty effective for us, and thankfully the bullying seems to be long past. If it starts to happen, a quick application of the "broken record approach," stated calmly and unemotionally, seems to be a good reminder that my husband won't be bullied.

Good luck! Standing up to a bully can be scary and hard and draining. My husband and I used to practice what he was going to say before he saw her so he'd already practiced saying the words outloud, and practiced saying them calmly and evenly. When you change tactics, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Be prepared for anger to escalate, especially if you remain calm. It is hard work, but it is well worth getting through to the other side!!
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
I would also let the teacher and school know that they need to talk to you and your husband only about your son. They should handle your step-mother's requests for information in the same way they would handle it if a parent of another child asked for information about your son. I would do it gently, and with the assumption that it was an oversight on their part... maybe even the assumption that they *didn't* share any informtaion.. "I know you probably didn't tell her anything, but I heard that my son's step-mother was in the other day, so I just wanted to make sure we are on the same page, and that the school isn't discussing my son with anyone but me and his dad. I'm sure the school is good about keeping children's information confidential, but I just want to check in."

As for communication with dad, we have some experience with stopping bullying. I'll share our strategy with you, and hope something in it might be helpful to you.

I think I would probably just inform dad of your decisions (email, call him at work, tell him when you see him, etc) and let him know that if he disagrees with your decision or wants to talk to you about it, you'd be happy to discuss it with him. For example: "I'm planning on hiring a tutor for [son] to help him with math. If that isn't okay with you or you want to discuss it with me first, please let me know. Otherwise [son] will start with a tutor from his school a week from Friday." And if you hear back from step-mom, just say "I'd be happy to talk to his dad about that if he wants to discuss it. If I don't hear from him directly, I'll have to assume he's fine with my decision." If she argues, just calmly repeat the first sentence ("I'd be happy to discuss that with his dad")... and repeat, and repeat... Finally, if she continues to argue, calmly tell her, "I don't have anything else to say to you on the subject. I would be happy to talk to his dad about it." And walk away/hang up/ignore her emails on the subject.

It has been pretty effective for us, and thankfully the bullying seems to be long past. If it starts to happen, a quick application of the "broken record approach," stated calmly and unemotionally, seems to be a good reminder that my husband won't be bullied.

Good luck! Standing up to a bully can be scary and hard and draining. My husband and I used to practice what he was going to say before he saw her so he'd already practiced saying the words outloud, and practiced saying them calmly and evenly. When you change tactics, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Be prepared for anger to escalate, especially if you remain calm. It is hard work, but it is well worth getting through to the other side!!

I agree with this. Contact the school first thing monday and inform that that they are to only speak with your or dh. Period.!

I am so sorry that you are going through this. This woman sounds very much like a bully and I simply could NOT tolerate her behavior in all of this.
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by papermoon View Post
I saw my ExH this morning when I went to collect the children from their w/e visit.

I calmly asked to speak to him in private for a few moments and he refused, infront of his wife. She told me that she would be present for all conversations and he agreed to this. I told them both that I wanted to discuss a parental concern with him and that it was appropriate for the parents to do this without the other spouse being present. She was furious.

She shouted at me that SHE was his STEPMOTHER and has legal responsibilities for him!!!! I told her No. She Did Not. She told me that as the one handles 'the house', she is as much a part of ALL decisions as he. I agreed with her - for her own house and family - but my Ex and I are the parents of DS. No matter who's house he is in!!!

It turned out that he had asked her to speak to DS's teacher. Because he didnt have time.:

This is so much more complicated than it seemed at first. I really dont know what to do.

Apparently, she told me (in front of him!) that he finds it hard to talk to in private as their is often confusion?? Well - how about actually ADDRESSING that as a grown man rather than letting your wife deal with it? He said he relies heavily on her for a lot of things, but I am sorry - you cannot give your parental responsibilty to someone else because you dont have time for it??

Am very mad. and sad. She was so angry it was strange. Am more confused than ever now.

He is going to come over this week - just him and me - to begin to talk. Maybe it will be a good thing....

sorry so long.


Well done mama! Good job standing up to yourself and not losing it! *I* am fuming pissed and I'm not even you!!! So, kudos...you rock!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaoticzenmom View Post
Of course she was mad. People who bully don't like it when people stand up for themselves. I'd be at that school ASAP telling them not to talk with her anymore.

Nip it now. You need to find out what kind of custody you have and what your rights are. Good for you for asserting yourself. It sounds like you got her true colors to shine brightly.
:

Quote:
Originally Posted by aricha View Post
I would also let the teacher and school know that they need to talk to you and your husband only about your son. They should handle your step-mother's requests for information in the same way they would handle it if a parent of another child asked for information about your son. I would do it gently, and with the assumption that it was an oversight on their part... maybe even the assumption that they *didn't* share any informtaion.. "I know you probably didn't tell her anything, but I heard that my son's step-mother was in the other day, so I just wanted to make sure we are on the same page, and that the school isn't discussing my son with anyone but me and his dad. I'm sure the school is good about keeping children's information confidential, but I just want to check in."

As for communication with dad, we have some experience with stopping bullying. I'll share our strategy with you, and hope something in it might be helpful to you.

I think I would probably just inform dad of your decisions (email, call him at work, tell him when you see him, etc) and let him know that if he disagrees with your decision or wants to talk to you about it, you'd be happy to discuss it with him. For example: "I'm planning on hiring a tutor for [son] to help him with math. If that isn't okay with you or you want to discuss it with me first, please let me know. Otherwise [son] will start with a tutor from his school a week from Friday." And if you hear back from step-mom, just say "I'd be happy to talk to his dad about that if he wants to discuss it. If I don't hear from him directly, I'll have to assume he's fine with my decision." If she argues, just calmly repeat the first sentence ("I'd be happy to discuss that with his dad")... and repeat, and repeat... Finally, if she continues to argue, calmly tell her, "I don't have anything else to say to you on the subject. I would be happy to talk to his dad about it." And walk away/hang up/ignore her emails on the subject.

It has been pretty effective for us, and thankfully the bullying seems to be long past. If it starts to happen, a quick application of the "broken record approach," stated calmly and unemotionally, seems to be a good reminder that my husband won't be bullied.

Good luck! Standing up to a bully can be scary and hard and draining. My husband and I used to practice what he was going to say before he saw her so he'd already practiced saying the words outloud, and practiced saying them calmly and evenly. When you change tactics, sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. Be prepared for anger to escalate, especially if you remain calm. It is hard work, but it is well worth getting through to the other side!!

My bold. All of this is fantastic advice, I was going to say the exact same things but it's been said so well already!

Definitely get a copy of your court order and figure out what it says. UNLESS it says the stepparents have the right to get records...she didn't have authority to talk to the school. If it says XH and You are equally entitled to school records (or something along those lines), then you can use that sentence to DISALLOW her from being involved, simply because ONLY he and you are listed. Am I making sense?

Keep us updated, this woman sounds a bit unhinged. Stay calm and focused, don't sink to her level or let her get your goat. She sounds SO codependent, I mean WTH talking FOR your XH RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM??? I mean for crying out loud, did he own any cajones when you two were married or did she just snap 'em off in her jaws when they tied the knot??

Good grief. I am so sorry you are going through this frustration!!! We are here for you

~Theoretica
post #24 of 36
I think you did a great job - keep up your boundaries. Don't allow her to frazzle you - you know that you have your place and that she needs to stay out of the parenting decisions!
post #25 of 36
I'm sorry but your ex's wife has no say in anything regarding your child. I would not speak to her about anything, ever. Tell ex you will only meet and discuss things with him without his wife present. Sounds like SM needs over-steppers anonymous.
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by robinleann View Post
I don't have any advice for you, but I would be very unhappy about my ex's new wife being *that* involved in our decisions regarding the children. It's between you, him, and the kids! I wish you the best of luck and I'm sorry I don't have any words of wisdom.
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilypie32 View Post
Sounds like SM needs over-steppers anonymous.
:

She's an OverStepMom.....

Ba dum bum...

:
post #28 of 36
could not read this thread and not give you a "thata girl"
good luck on this..
she is going to make an horrible mother in law some day....
post #29 of 36
Yeah, definate boundry issues there. But it seems we're all assuming bad intentions. Could it possibly be that this woman is new to steparenting and is trying to figure out where she fits in? She may be doing it out of love/concern for the child, and she definately needs to figure out where she fits.

Being thrust into the steparent role is scary. All of a sudden there is this child who depends on you in your life. And if she is scared, she may be trying to make things more manageable by being power-hungry and overbearing. You can't force your ex-h to step up to the plate and parent. But you also shouldn't have to negotiate with her about parenting.

I would try first to assume she has good intentions. How can you work with this woman? Getting into a powerstruggle may not be worth it. Figuring out how the three of you adults can work together raising your child is key. She is going to be a part of your life for some time, for better or worse.

If I were in your situation, I'd say something to the effect of I'm happy you're taking an interest in Billy's school, but you're overstepping your role here. I love that you help him with his homework and reading, I do. But I need to ask that you stop talking with his teachers.
post #30 of 36
Thread Starter 

Another Update for those that have been so helpful...

I have spoken to the school last week, very calmly and without upset. It was hard but it felt MUCH better than storming in being angry, even though I felt that way to begin with. I asked the class teacher if they had a confidentiality policy regarding sharing student information with adults other than parents. She looked very flustered and defensive, but as I explained calmly to her that I wanst cross with her, but I was concerned for her IF she had breached confidentialty. She asked me if there was a note on DS's records that info should not be shared with others, but I pointed out that that stand should be the default!

I spoke again with the same teacher the next day - Totally different attitude. She was apologetic, concerned and assured me that the only people they will be speaking to were myself and DS's father. She went onto say that they are now looking at their confidentiality policy concerning data protection of students and it would be made politely clear to any other enquirers that it is staff policy, not individual parents, behind the decision not to share. So that is good.

Ex-H and I have talked on the phone for a good hour this week, and it was a positive and encouraging conversation. He requested that I write a small outline of my plans for the 12 weeks so he could look at it. I was happy to do this, kept it to one side of A4 and it more ideas and resources and ideology than a formal Educational Philosophy, which I WILL be required to write during the first six months or so in order to satisfy the Local Education Authority.

So it feels a whole lot better! I said i was disappointed with the situation last weekend, he said that she was upset. And we left it at that.

I really dont have anything against her, but I was shocked by her behaviour. But then again, none of us are perfect, I have certainly made my fair share of mistakes and I expect to make plenty more. One thing though - I learnt to acknowledge when it was mine! I once read a book called 'Joint Custody with a Jerk' and it helped me to not only see who's 'problem' it was, but also that I was the jerk sometimes! Maybe I should lend it to them!
post #31 of 36
Very well handled!
post #32 of 36
Excellent update! I'm glad things went so well at school! You can feel proud that you have probably saved other parents from going through the same thing now that the school has taken the opportunity to re-educate their staff on privacy issues.

Always great to read positive updates!!
post #33 of 36
OMG I have that book (Joint Custody W/A Jerk)!!!

Great book...LOL

That explains part of how you are so good at this

I'm really impressed at how you are handling it. So many people would have gone off the deep end...I REALLY hope you are patting yourself on the back!

Great job mama...I am in awe!
post #34 of 36
I'm glad for the positive update! I'll bet it feels great. You handled yourself very nicely!
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by papermoon View Post
I saw my ExH this morning when I went to collect the children from their w/e visit.

I calmly asked to speak to him in private for a few moments and he refused, infront of his wife. She told me that she would be present for all conversations and he agreed to this. I told them both that I wanted to discuss a parental concern with him and that it was appropriate for the parents to do this without the other spouse being present. She was furious.

She shouted at me that SHE was his STEPMOTHER and has legal responsibilities for him!!!! I told her No. She Did Not. She told me that as the one handles 'the house', she is as much a part of ALL decisions as he. I agreed with her - for her own house and family - but my Ex and I are the parents of DS. No matter who's house he is in!!!

It turned out that he had asked her to speak to DS's teacher. Because he didnt have time.:

This is so much more complicated than it seemed at first. I really dont know what to do.

Apparently, she told me (in front of him!) that he finds it hard to talk to in private as their is often confusion?? Well - how about actually ADDRESSING that as a grown man rather than letting your wife deal with it? He said he relies heavily on her for a lot of things, but I am sorry - you cannot give your parental responsibilty to someone else because you dont have time for it??

Am very mad. and sad. She was so angry it was strange. Am more confused than ever now.

He is going to come over this week - just him and me - to begin to talk. Maybe it will be a good thing....

sorry so long.

Do you get that she doesn't want him (your ex) to have ANYTHING to do with you as long as it doesan't involve her? She seems to be extrememly controlling and for him to still have a connection to you (your child) probably bugs the SHIT out of her.

My BIL has this same problem with his Ex and "new" wife. Even though he has two children from the other marriage the "new" wife hates this....you would not BELIEVE the trouble she has given over this issue.

It doesn't help that ex-wife is a complete b-%$#@ back intead of approaching te situation clamly.... so of course no one gets along...throw in a nosy MIL and it's just lovely to be around them all.....which is why my DH and I live 1500 miles away :::
post #36 of 36
Well handled. Very.

It sounds to me like the wife is frankly terrified about income and is doing all she thinks she can to stanch the flow. I would tell the ex you understand that times are hard and that his wife is upset, but that this is the ed plan you guys had talked about and you plan to stick with it. You understand the financial strain, but the reality is that she married him knowing that he had a prior obligation. So you will help and bend where you can, but:

1. c/s is off the table as a matter for discussion, and
2. there are things he can't hand off to his wife, like dealing with schools and doctors.

It also sounds like your ex-husband is in a bit of a panic and getting horsewhipped at home. Again, his problem, but just understand that his word may not be worth a whole lot just now. Also be prepared to be the bad guy for quite a while for not saving them from their current bad situation.
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