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If you have important family news, whom should you share it with first?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I requested a thread pulled regarding a similar matter that I started because I felt I gave away too much information that would be used against us in court. We were told that the reason my DHs ex is so worked up about our new DC is that she wasn't told before DD. My DH and I feel that we should talk to DD first because a)it affects her more than her mother and b) if it comes first from her mother it is not exactly framed in a positive light. Whereas we might say, "you're getting a new sibling" she is more likely to hear it from her mom as "your dad is going to forget about you b/c he's having another baby." DD is also 12 yo and deserves to be treated with respect and as a member of our family. When we told DD we were having a baby, we sent a letter to her mom (she doesn't communicate by phone) immediately after. Her mom is mad that she wasn't told first, and feels that she should be told first so she can break any news to DD. This is a recurring problem that we share our family news with DD first before telling DHs ex (who doesn't communicate with us except through her attorney or husband) by letter. Our only alternative would be to call her attorney or husband, tell them, then tell DD, but then it looks like we don't care enough to tell DD ourselves because she knows by the time we get to see her to tell her (phoning her is not an option). There's no way to break the news to everyone at once.

How do you handle family news- babies, moves, job changes, etc. Who should find out first?
post #2 of 20
We tend to do things the same way you do, for some of the same reasons. When we have something big we have told my stepkids, and sent a note to their mom at the same time. She has the same issues with it that your dh's ex does, about "breaking it to them" herself. We tell the kids ourselves in our way because it's important to them to feel like part of our family (as opposed to mom telling them what's going on at dad's), and to hear good stuff (you're going to be a big sister! instead of "I'm sorry honey, we always knew he'd abandon you eventually").
post #3 of 20
You're right. There is no reason for dh's ex to 'break the news to her'. Your dsd has every right to hear news from her father or her mother- your news of a new baby shoudn't have any impact on the ex, only dsd.

I don't understand why one person would go so far out of her way to make everyone else around her miserable- just don't understand it. Good for you for being a better person. You're so strong to keep your head up and deal gracefully with all this stuff.
post #4 of 20
It isn't even her news! Why would you tell her? It is the child's news!

OK I do think you should tell BM and preferably before the baby is born (as has happened to a friend of mine!) but really it is the child's news...the child is getting a sibling. Bm is getting nothing, the child ain't no relation of hers!
post #5 of 20
PS I think that some ex's have a really hard time understanding that they are not family anymore and they keep being angry about this kind of thing. While I do think you are right to do it your way-especially if you know she will undermine the news with her nasty spin, I also want to add that if she can behave it sometimes makes sense to treat a BM like "family" just because a happy BM makes your life easier.

But as I say in your case she would have created problems.

I wonder why she thinks you should tell her ANYTHING if she won't talk to you all! What loon!
post #6 of 20
It's your news and you have every right to tell her.

I think that it's wise that you let the mom know immediately after telling your step child. I think it's good for the parents to share information with each that could have an impact on the child. By age 12, I'm sure you're step dd would have told her, but it's good that you let her know the facts as well.
post #7 of 20
My ex tells our ds then ds tells us.
We reply appropiately ("a new baby? Yeah!" or "gramma is sick? I'm sorry, I hope she feels better soon")
I gave up a long time ago wanting to hear the "news" directly. I let go of my control issues and accepted that its really, not my business. I'm interested and care (b/c of ds being affected) but only for him, not me. That being said, when I do talk to the ex, I mention that I know, like congrats for instance, but thats about it.

Before dh and I got custody of his kids, his ex demanded we tell her everything first. Which is funny b/c since the kids moved in, we heard from them about her pregnancy, not her. Can we say double standard?

Anyhoo, I say keep doing what you're doing. Maybe one day she'll get over her control issues.

Good Luck!
post #8 of 20
I do agree that, where possible, it's better to communicate the info to the ex either at the same time as you do to the child (e.g. you tell the child around the same time ex gets a letter), or immediately after. For sure, it's the child's right to hear big family news from the family, and not secondhand. On the other hand, it shouldn't be the child's responsibility to pass news between parents or to keep it from the other parent.

Still sounds like you've been doing things right to me.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reassurances. Since I had my own child, I can really appreciate how difficult it is to let go of control and not be in the know first about everything that affects your child. I agree that the child should never be in the position of having to tell the other parent big news...it puts the child in the position of spy and potentially the recipient of negative attention because he/she is being forced to be the bearer of "bad" news. DH & I try never to give DD the third degree about anything going on in her home, because it is not her job to "report" what goes on in one house or the other. Whatever she wants to tell us about her mom & family is her choice and the rest we don't know. It's not that we don't care, we just want her to feel comfortable to be herself with us and not feel she is betraying her mother by being with us.

I wish we could share news simultaneously if it would help ex feel more in the loop and less hostile, but I just don't see a way, especially since she won't talk to DH. You'd think after 12 years with both parties having new spouses & children that it might get easier instead of more difficult. In the beginning DH tried really hard to keep it as one family, requesting communication, family dinners (he's a little bit of an idealist), praising what he thought his ex was doing right, etc., but it really got him nowhere and none of his requests were ever granted. I see all these blended families getting along and wish it could be us. I know people must think we're crazy when we tell about all the problems we have with DHs ex.
post #10 of 20
She won't talk to him, what about email- quicker than mail, still don't have to talk? I'm sure it's been addressed, so if you don't want to share, I understand.
post #11 of 20
We have had similar problems. When we've been going through a stretch where dh's ex won't take his calls about the kids (and she has his email blocked), and we need to let her know something that we will also be telling the kids, we have sent her a registered letter timed to arrive around when we plan on letting the kids know the info.

If she is going through a phase in which she characterizes receiving letters as harassment, we send the letter with the info, e.g. new address, children's flight information to her lawyer. Then she usually gets upset at our "forcing" her to pay for her lawyer's services, and we can get back to just sending the letter to her house.
post #12 of 20
We have not had problems with how we do things. But, we tell our children, and then we tell their parent (well, DSS's biomom, as DD's biodad is out of the picture).

HOWEVER, we DO tell the other parent prior to the child having the chance to. We feel big things should come from us, and not the child.

Biomom has done it the same way (when she was pregnant with her new DS), however, I see an engagement ring on her finger, and noone's mentioned it to us or DSS yet (although we've known for a while they'd be 'getting married after the baby came', so who knows!)
post #13 of 20
Same thing here, tell dss, then call the biomom to say, "by the way, x is going on around here."
post #14 of 20
I'm confused on why you have to tell the BM at all... it's your news, your family, your business. If SD has issues with it, she can talk to you about it.. her father and you are as much her parent as her BM is...

We get along okay with my husband's ex but we don't tell her anything personal about our life... because it's just that, our life. When I was pregnant with DS, we told our step-kids and they told her. When we got married, we told the step-kids who in turn, told her... we aren't hiding anything from her, we just don't see the need to inform her of everything that goes on in our life. It's our family now, not hers. We've been at this for over 5 years now so there's not any big surprises between any of us...

Ex didn't tell us when she was moving in with her new boyfriend with the kids other then to give us the new address and hasn't told us when they are getting married and/if they are having any more kids... personally, we don't feel it's any of our business. It's her life and she can break her news to the kids as she sees fit. I wouldn't expect her to tell us news before she told the kids so I guess I don't expect her to do it to us either... but then again, we have the kids 50/50 so things might be a bit differant.
post #15 of 20
Actually, just went through this recently. I don't tell my ex husband much of anything. Why should I? Unless its something that I think he needs to know about because I think it will cause problems or issues with our child, then whats the point? The news of a baby is special news for OUR family, not his. It impacts my daughter, but it doesn't impact my ex husband in any way. No way would I let him tell her! Thats MY happy news to share! If she wants to tell him, then thats great! I leave that up to her. He will undoubtedly find out himself when he drops her off and my belly is out to there.

If there was a death in the family, I might tell my ex husband about it... but not so he could tell our daughter. I would take care of that. Bascially, what happens in this house is our house. His house is his house.
post #16 of 20
My husband's ex takes the "it's not their business" approach to stuff going on in her life, and the "I need details, it's all my business" approach to stuff going on in our lives - lol! Probably pretty common.

I would fall somewhere in the middle. As I said above, we try to tell the kids and then inform her by writing as soon as possible. I do think it's her business if we're moving, having another baby, etc. - it's a major event in her children's lives, and even if she doesn't show us the same courtesy, I know we would rather know about major stuff that goes on for them at her place too. And it's just not fair to make the kids do all the news-carrying. Would you like to be the child telling mom, who's still angry about the divorce, that dad and his new wife are having a baby?
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammastar2
My husband's ex takes the "it's not their business" approach to stuff going on in her life, and the "I need details, it's all my business" approach to stuff going on in our lives - lol! Probably pretty common.

I would fall somewhere in the middle. As I said above, we try to tell the kids and then inform her by writing as soon as possible. I do think it's her business if we're moving, having another baby, etc. - it's a major event in her children's lives, and even if she doesn't show us the same courtesy, I know we would rather know about major stuff that goes on for them at her place too. And it's just not fair to make the kids do all the news-carrying. Would you like to be the child telling mom, who's still angry about the divorce, that dad and his new wife are having a baby?
Why do they HAVE to tell the other party at all? We leave it up to the step-kids... if they want to tell her, great... if they don't, it's their decision. It's our life and she doesn't need to be included in every piece of news and decision making. What is my telling her first going to change? Other then the fact she might tell them first and not put it in a very nice light for us... and ruin OUR surprise. She didn't find out we were married until 2 nights ago, LOL when my husband told her, lol. Then again, there really isn't much bitterness left between them about the relationship so really, neither party cares about what's going on in the other's life... as long as the kids are happy, that's our only concern.
post #18 of 20
I don't trust my ex and his wife to take news with grace, and don't like to put my kids in the position of dealing with the immature reactions that will most likely occur, so I mention big news in an e-mail or on the phone beyween the time the kids know and their next visit.
post #19 of 20
I just finished reading this entire thread. I must admit I did feel a little guilt when I read that some of you tell the ex first or at the same time to prevent the child from being the bearer of "bad" news. My ex is very imature, but that is nothing new to my dd. I can't change who he is, I merely have to accept him b/c I can't make him change. I guess I sorda want my dd to know that we are all responsible for how we choose to act. Her father isn't always perfect and that's okay. She can still love him and feel safe with him, even if he act's like a 5 yo sometimes. Having said that, I always tell my dd any news first. If I feel like her father needs to know b/c she will be wanting to talk about it and we need to remain positive and support her, like when my granny died, then I try to have a rational conversation with him, but I think I mentioned that he acts like a 5 yo So it's hard sometimes. In fact, it's harder to deal with him and his issues than any issues dd might have at hearing things like "we're having another baby". Still in the future I am going to try to make a definite effort to tell ex when we have news so that I can avoid my dd having to deal with those first few moments after he finds out when he may be stunned or upset or jealous or unsupportive.
post #20 of 20
I think the child/ren should be told by you first. I would have waited for a face to face visit from the child and then quickly told the other parent on the way out "DC is going to be told he is getting a new sibling."

The only exception might be for a death of a relative/good friend. Situation might mean the other parent is told first. The other parent might be physically closer and able to give the supporting hug.
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