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simplemama32 04-04-2013 08:56 AM

Hi everyone...it's been awhile since I've been here, but I need some advice about this situation.

 

Short backstory: XH and I have been divorced for a couple years (separated a year before that), and DS (5 yrs.) is with his dad every other weekend.  X and I don't have the best co-parenting relationship, but we manage to be civil most of the time. 

 

 

X has always held very different beliefs than I do and has a vastly different parenting style.  Mostly, I try not to interfere and respect (at least in front of DS) that his father just has his own way of doing things.  This usually means that I end up trying to explain a lot of stuff to DS that his dad has done/said, but only try to have a discussion with his dad if absolutely necessary. ( X tends to view me as controlling and trying to pick a fight and becomes immediately confrontational when I bring stuff up.)

 

Some things have been waaay crossing the line, though, and I don't know how to handle it.  I can obviously try to talk to X about it, but I'm pretty sure that won't do anything except make me even more frustrated.  Examples of things X might say to DS...  Religious scare tactics like if you don't go to sleep/do what I say/go to church the devil will take you to hell.  (Let me be clear that I have no problem with XH attempting to be religious with DS...it's the scare tactics and indoctrination I have a HUGE issue with.)  There have also been racist remarks that have come back to me through DS...comments about skin color and how DS can't go to a certain playground (that DS and I go to all the time) because of the type of people there. irked.gif   I have no idea what else DS might be overhearing that I *don't* know about, which is terrifying.

 

Anyway, I know his dad isn't exactly going to change at this late date, so I've been trying to counter everything DS is overhearing or being told at his dad's (and documenting).  We have some pretty good discussions, especially for his age (5), and I try to model open-mindedness, compassion, and free thinking and encourage DS in these traits.  I can tell he is confused, though, about why Daddy says "this this and this is all true/the right way to think" and Mama is more like "um...not exactly...let's think of it this way..."  

 

Is there a way to be respectful of his dad (or at least avoid negativity, for DS's sake), and still counter all the stuff X is telling him?  Any other thoughts/advice...? 


Learning_Mum 04-05-2013 06:42 PM

I would say "different people believe different things. It's OK for people to have different beliefs to us. I don't agree with Daddy about religion/racism/being a big douche. I believe xyz because abc. In our house it's not OK to call people names because they are black/white/yellow/green. I believe that God is a kind and loving God that helps us to be good, not punish us for being bad (or whatever your beliefs may be)"

 

I think that all you can do is lead by example, keep dialogue open and hope that because he spends most of his time with you, he'll pick up on your beliefs.


justmama 04-05-2013 08:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Learning_Mum View Post

I would say "different people believe different things. It's OK for people to have different beliefs to us. I don't agree with Daddy about religion/racism/being a big douche. I believe xyz because abc. In our house it's not OK to call people names because they are black/white/yellow/green. I believe that God is a kind and loving God that helps us to be good, not punish us for being bad (or whatever your beliefs may be)"

 

I think that all you can do is lead by example, keep dialogue open and hope that because he spends most of his time with you, he'll pick up on your beliefs.

ROTFLMAO.gifThat made my night.  I'm gonna go ahead and " what she said" ^^^^ this.  I have that same problem.  My ex isn't that outright racist in front of the kids about not using the same playground, etc but he'll make comments about "those people" and such.  And he's more homophobic than anything else, which highly bothers me for many reasons.  I have kinda used this tactic with my kids, same as differing rules from house to house.  But MOM, at daddy's we get to stay up until 9!!!!!!!  "But this is not daddy's house and in this house we go to bed at 8:30 so get your butt movin!"  There's only so much you can do but just modeling the behavior you want to see in your kids and reminding them of it verbally as the situation arises is my plan. 


provocativa 04-08-2013 12:51 PM

I would counter that it is not okay for people to have those beliefs about race.  Religion, yes.  But race?  People have been and still are killed because of their race.  Not sure how to phrase your rebuttal...but I would not say 'people have different opinions and that's okay'.  I would want to say people have different levels of being an asshat...ha.

 

If you live in a city with a good library system, I'm sure there are library books out there about accepting and learning about other races and cultures and religions.  Reinforcement from outside sources will help solidify your point.  Also, you can take your DS to awareness programs...we go to a Roots and Heritage fest that celebrates African American history.  My x belongs to the Latino soccer league even though he's from Germany. 

 

Maybe you should take your DS to an African American church just to throw your x for a loop!


justmama 04-17-2013 07:13 PM

Yeah but why badmouth your child's parent?  Just because it's true doesn't make it okay to say to your child.  I agree with you wholeheartedly.  But I want my girls to come to their own opinions about their father, not be biased because of MY feelings about him.  I would hope that he doesn't say negative things to our daughters about me and so I try to be respectful and kind when I'm discussing him with our daughters.  There's no reason to "poke the bear with a stick" by taking the child to an African American church or anything like that unless you would be comfortable with him doing something that bothers you equally as much.  Treating each other iwth respect despite y our relationship ending is a great example for your child instead of doing things directly to spite each other.  What kind of role model is that for your child???


sparklefairy 04-18-2013 07:46 AM

Tough stuff for a 5 year old.

 

I do not agree with maintaining absolute neutrality when one parent is doing messed up things, or interfering with a child's development of life skills. When any adult does something inappropriate, I think it messes with a kid's head to have other adults, especially trusted adults whom they turn to for protection, tacitly support the behavior by remaining silent. It's not inherently disrespectful to disagree with another person's opinion or to offer a different perspective, and it can be done in context.

 

That does not mean I believe that name-calling or other overt bashing is okay. Encouraging independent and critical (not criticizing -- critical) thought is more what I mean. Challenging when we're talking about a child who is in the preoperational stage. (Characterized by "magical" thinking, generally not yet seeing other perspectives, egocentricity, and not yet dealing with information with logic.)

 

The scary monster thing is horrible. I think I would actually classify it as emotional abuse (especially considering that kids believe in things like monsters at this stage). This is not passing on religious belief because I sincerely doubt that he actually believes that devil is literally going to rise up from the floor take this child to hell is he doesn't do as he's told.

 

With the racism stuff, I think I might start by asking my child what s/he thinks, and what s/he has observed. Beyond that, I don't know. I have rabidly racist family members, and I've made a point of insulating my kids from their disgusting comments. I grew up with those attitudes around me, and it frankly never made sense to me, so I've also kind of just trusted that my kids would be capable of the same. As well as had a running dialogue about diversity and the social context of prejudice and inequality (including the biases that we all have, the assumptions that we all make, and how it's just not going to happen that no one is going to ever not be considered subjectively based on traits they can't control, because we're human and that's what we do, but that coming as close as we can while exercising good judgment and good boundaries is the goal). How that looks at age 5, I don't know. My kids have filthy mouths, but somehow have absorbed that racial slurs are never-ever-no-nos.
 


michelleepotter 04-18-2013 08:03 AM

When it comes to racism or things that would outright scare your son, I would not personally go with the "different people believe different things" route. We have said that to our kids about certain things that other family members believe -- like being a different religion from us, or things like that. But if something is flat out untrue or harmful, I don't want the kids to think it's acceptable.

In order to not badmouth the other parent, I would go with something more like, "I don't know why Daddy believes that. It's important for us to love and respect Daddy, but I don't understand why he thinks that way." Then encourage your son to evaluate how he feels about the subject. For example, does he think it's bad to play at that park? I'd be willing to bet that having you as a positive role model and actually having positive experiences with kids of other races, he's going to have a hard time buying into his dad's racism. The devil-coming-to-take-him-away bit I'd be more concerned about, but I think the best you can do is affirm that it's not true and that you don't understand why Daddy would say that.


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