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xdh not doing alternative parenting

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
edited. I posted too much info (and poorly worded) in my original post and did not get the answer to the query I wanted. So here is the question without too much information. How do you handle different parenting styles under one roof (or in separate locations if you live apart from your ex)? Please share your experiences with what has worked for you when your partner has a different parenting philosophy.
post #2 of 34
It sounds like you've done all you can to directly influence x's parenting style. If I were you, I would set my sights on getting out of his house as fast as you can, WITH dd. Let him parent her his own way in his house.

He has you hiding with your baby in a bedroom- this can't be healthy. Just because it's his house, that doesn't mean he can do whatever he wants with your dd. And just because your dd says she wants to live with him, that doesn't mean it's the best situation for her. She may not want to risk hurting his feelings and ruining their relationship. She might think it means she won't get to see him. In that case, you are asking one question, and she's hearing and answering a different one. Or she might just want to live there because he gives her candy and lets her watch tv. Either way, you have a responsibility to protect her as much as you can from the manipulative, inconsistent parenting. I really think she needs to be with you.

I believe in consensual living too, but I've found that sometimes it takes digging to understand what is behind the "wants". For example, at my house, the kids like tv as much as anyone- but we can't afford cable, and I just think it's a waste of money to pay advertisers to blab at me. So our solution is to have netflix, where they can get all the shows on disc or instant streaming. It's not exactly the same, but it works for us. If your daughter wants to be rewarded for eating dinner, help her come up with a treat to stash away and "reward" herself with. If she wants candy, well I don't know how you would feel about this, but my kids each have a stash of candy that we keep full. It means candy is a part of their life, but it also takes the magic out of it, and they don't obsess about it.
post #3 of 34
Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post
He has you hiding with your baby in a bedroom- this can't be healthy. Just because it's his house, that doesn't mean he can do whatever he wants with your dd.
It's his daughter too.

OP, I think it would be beneficial to you to get out of the house asap, simply because it seems to be causing so much stress for you, not because I feel you're child is any danger. I wonder if you're seeing your ex snap so much right now because he is stressed out with the current situation in his home.

ETA: She's six. She's supposed to be co-dependent. That's not a bad thing at this age!
post #4 of 34
Honestly, I am not seeing anything horrible here. Nothing that will harm your child / HIS child. This man sounds like an amazing ex... how many of us have ex husbands that would allow us to live with them if we had no where else to go?
post #5 of 34
Quite honestly, I think that what's going on here is that you have different core beliefs. Living with your ex seems to be causing a LOT of stress here. It sounds like you've done all you can to bring him around to your way of parenting. He's taken what works for him and left the rest behind. That doesn't make him wrong necessarily, it just makes it different. You admit that he's a good and loving father, but that the majority of the problems result from the fact that he does things differently than the way you would do them.

It sounds like you have REALLY high standards. And while I support your desire to eat a specific diet and parent in the way you feel is best, I don't think it's okay to expect your ex to adopt that same diet and parent the exact same way just because you want him to. He's not flaunting you by eating a cheese sandwich- he probably just wants to eat a cheese sandwich He tried parenting your way when you were together and your DD was young, but has since decided that a different method of parenting works better for him.

Do you have a legal custody arrangement? I think a PP's suggestion of moving out, and taking your DD with you (if it can be arranged) would be the best way of ensuring your DD is raised the way you want. That said, your ex is her father and he has just as much right to raise her the way he sees fit as you do. Is there any way you'd be willing to compromise some of your beliefs; perhaps just focus on a few parenting practices that you believe are most important? I think that when you're parenting with a partner, choosing your battles is important.

FWIW, I think a 6you SHOULD be dependent on her parents.
post #6 of 34
Wait - your husband is an alcoholic, and you let your three year old live with him without you there? Or am I misinterpreting?

I'm wondering if your daughter is picking up on the hostility you're feeling toward your ex and is acting out as a result?

Honestly, and I say this gently, it sounds like maybe you're a bit jealous of the relationship your daughter and her father have. Just because she loves him and wants to live with and spend time with him doesn't mean she loves you any less.
post #7 of 34
I think you're being too controlling. You're living in the man's house and trying to make all the rules. I would kick someone out who did that to me. Also, seeing your child as a manipulator is pretty much the opposite of the line of thinking of Alfie Kohn, et al.
post #8 of 34
Thread Starter 
edited. see page 2
post #9 of 34
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by papayapetunia View Post
I think you're being too controlling. You're living in the man's house and trying to make all the rules. I would kick someone out who did that to me. Also, seeing your child as a manipulator is pretty much the opposite of the line of thinking of Alfie Kohn, et al.
yes I am an alpha personality. I do make all the rules about the child in our relationship traditionally, so why would it have changed? He can't kick me out unless he wants me to move to NC with his child, which he does not want. I have nowhere else to go. I live here celibately. I do not go anywhere except the grocery store. I try to get dd1 to respect him, but he wants to stay in the rut. Children adapt to their surroundings. If they are taught about manipulation, they learn it. She is an old 6. She is 6 (7 in a month) going on 14. She knows a lot about how things work. She can carry on a conversation about all sorts of things. She is not like 6 yo I have known. If all age markers such as appearance and timbre of voice were removed, you would think she is at least 10. She is learning behavior models I would have rather kept from her. But like many of us agree, he is her father. I was looking for ways to make it work better for all of us, him included. I love him and he loves me. We made a commitment to take care of each other. If the roles were reversed, I would have taken him in too. He is 12 yrs older, so I imagine I will be caring for him when he is old also. gg baby needs me
post #10 of 34
I don't mean to sound mean, but you sound really overbearing. Have you considered that you're stressing your daughter out? I feel stressed out just reading about your parenting practices.
post #11 of 34
OK, I'm confused.

On the one hand, you note that you and your x love each other, and he is a sweet person (lets you live with him, purchased a computer for your and your child's use, treats your second dd like his own.) You say that you intend to take care of him when he is older.

On the other hand, you note that you disagree with his parenting and his diet, feel he is manipulating your older child and treating you with disrespect, your relationship is over, and you are planning to move out.

It sounds like you are trying to decide what your relationship to this person is. Are you together or apart? Are you staying or going? I think confusion about this might help explain why your 6yo produces explosive vibes when all three of you are together.

I think applying some of your empathy to your xh might be helpful here. Imagine your roles were reversed. If my dh left me, had a child with another woman, and then moved back into my house when that relationship went south so that he could continue to be near our child - well, I'd do a lot more than role my eyes if he criticized my parenting and my cheese sandwiches.
post #12 of 34
I wonder if you're just not coming across well b/c your posts are v. hard to read (no paragraphs) but I agree with the PP that even reading it is stressing me out. I think you need to let her dad be a dad. If that involves TV and cheese... well that's what her relationship with her dad is! (sounds fabulous to me, but that's a different issue).

You are one of many influences in her life.
post #13 of 34
OP, I think your parenting choices are so extremely specific and controlled that there is just no way on earth your ex could follow them the same way. And honestly, it's not going to get any easier the older your daughter gets; other influences will be everywhere.

I'm thinking that your daughter is reacting to two very different parenting practices in one household; it must be confusing for her.

As for your ex... well, I have certain things I hope my ex follows (for example, I'm a vegetarian and he is not, yet I request that he not give our son meat, etc.) but I can't make him do it. I can just model the example I want my son to grow up with. But really some of the tenets you follow are so very individual, if I were him I couldn't even remember them all. I am pretty stringent about some things, but if my ex tried to get me to follow all that stuff, I would really balk. It sounds like all things considered, he is being incredibly patient.
post #14 of 34
Is it at all possible that you're hyper-focused on controlling everyone else because it's easier than looking at what lies within you? I say this as someone who has experience being an adult child of an alcoholic, an ex-spouse of an alcoholic, and a recovering codependent who finally ran out of people to point the finger at and had to look at myself for once.
post #15 of 34
Just because OP's parenting style is radical, that doesn't make her neurotic. Most of what I hear her having a problem with is really reasonable. Inappropriate tv, and all day would be a problem for many coparents. So would using bribes and punishments to control behavior. I don't know- it would bother me. I personally cringe when I see someone argue with a whining child and then give in to get them to shut up. Or use treats as a bargaining chip. None of it is abusive, and he certainly shouldn't be separated from his dd, but honestly it sounds to me like he might not really have solid strategies for dealing with dd, and that can really be a mess. And even if it is HIS house, that doesn't make her a second class person in the house. He agreed to live together, and when parents live together, it's on both of them to arrive at some kind of common ground on these parenting issues. If he disagrees or agrees but can't remember- let him say so.
post #16 of 34
It sounds like you are stressing them out by trying to control the situatuion and she is leaning on him and depending on him because he has been the stable person in her life for over two years. Even if he kicks you out you still can't move more than 200 miles away without risking him going to court to make you move back and there is a possibility that you will wind up with him getting full custody because you are homeless and your child has been living with him since she was 3.7 so technically he can go back to court anytime and ask for the custody arrangement to be changed because of that. You sound like a very precise person who wants things just so. I am like this also and stress brings this out more in me, is it possible that the stress of being homeless and not having control over much of anything is making you focus on trying to grasp control from everyone around you. I think you should continue to try to limit your contact with him and keep your contact with your daughter happy. You are in a fragile position right now and you should be careful not to let your stress push you into doing things that may get you kicked out.
post #17 of 34
I'm afraid I'm also confused.

Consensual parenting means that she decides where she lives, and with which parent, but she shouldn't be able to decide whether or not she watches TV shows designed for children her age, or eats cheese.

You are the one who has "always" made all the decisions, but in fact she's been living with him for the past 3 years he's had primary physical custody.

You don't want him to tell her how much to eat because it might give her a "complex", but you tell her how many cookies she may have.

You got him to support you and your other child by threatening to take his daughter (who he had been raising for 3 years) 3,000 miles away (something the courts would not allow you to do) and you think he's teaching her to be manipulative.

It sounds like really complex situation, but not like a situation where one parent is wrong and one parent is right. All of you are going through periods of extreme transition and stress -- a new living arrangement, a new baby, a job loss, the threat of losing one's child. I think that establishing consistency and mutual respect for the sake of the children has to be more important for them than Kim Possible or a piece of cheese.

I'm sorry that this probably isn't what you wanted to hear.
post #18 of 34
Thread Starter 
thank you all for your perspectives. dd1 has some damage from the vaccines we got her before we knew better. Not eating cheese is part of the GFCFSF diet, not to be mean. Cow's milk proteins cause havoc on her emotions. If she has soy or cheese, she has crying jags over seemingly trivial things. When she does not have these things in her diet at all, she is more even keeled. It is also a personal belief that it is wrong to ingest milk because of how it is produced. The fact that babies are taken from their mothers at birth to produce that milk, which I do not agree with. I think I am too controlling and should back off. I think someone pegged it when they said I am stressed out. I am. I have always been in control of my situation and I am not anymore, due to having people dependent on me (I am not free like a bird and have to take others into all my decisions of course because I am a parent). She did live with him from 3.7 to 4.7, she was with me for days in the first half of that year, then wknds, then I moved to MT and she came for 3-5 days at a time. Then I moved back in here. I have a lot to process and I thank you all for giving me perspective. As for consensual living, I guess I do it with specifications. A child does not know about a thing until it sees it. So, if no one had ever shown her Kim Possible (which I do not feel is good for children, nor much of Disney stuff or other things that are supposedly made for children, it is all part of a brainwashing/ marketing/ separation tactic by corporations to me) she would not know about it. She is growing up and I do understand she will see more of the 'outside' world as she does. I had always hoped to raise my children on a commune in the woods yk... but it didn't work out that way. I have offered to look for work to ease his load, but he wants me to wait, he would rather be the one working and me to be with the children (we homeschool dd1). Things are very in the air. If he doesn't find work soon, we may have to move in with family, but not much chance of selling his home. Sorry if my posts are hard to read, I have been told I write in stream of consciousness. I feel weird about even having written now. I feel so bare and judged. I do not have anyone IRL to talk to, no friends or social outlets. It is impossible to adequately express our situation with this medium. But I do take from this a reality check that it will all be ok. He can parent how he wants and I can parent how I want, it is just hard when we are in the room together. Maybe I am the manipulative one, that is what I get from some posts. thanks for the feedback and opinions.
post #19 of 34
You really need to stop trying to control how your ex parents the child. He's her father and absolutely has the right to parent as he sees fit. Even if you don't agree with it.
post #20 of 34
Originally Posted by singin'intherain View Post
It sounds like you've done all you can to directly influence x's parenting style. If I were you, I would set my sights on getting out of his house as fast as you can, WITH dd. Let him parent her his own way in his house.

May not be as easy as that. They are divorced, if the court order states that he has custody, then she can't leave with the child.
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