Front Seat Angst - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 06-22-2010, 02:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't know whether this is more of a vent or plea for advice. But I'll take either commiseration of advice.

I also consider this issue highly symbolic.


I've been with DH 3 years, married for 2. DSS was 9 when we first met. About a month after DSS and I were first introduced, coincidentally, his father began to let him sit in the front seat of the car. DSS thought this was awesome, and whenever it was the three of us, he'd ask to sit in the front. I remember this as the first time I had a huge "WTF" moment as I realized the scope of what I had taken on in stepmothering. I totally expected DH (DF at the time) to explain to DSS that he would sit in the back when other adults were in the car. Instead, he just left it to me to work out.

I let DSS sit in the front a few times, figuring we'd settle into the norm. Finally, I began to say no, as what I thought was a treat was instead turning into the norm. This began a steady cycle of tears, bargaining, "it's not fair" "you sat in the front last time" Now, DSS was going through a lot at the time, he had a lot of angst about our marriage and this issue was actually one of the strongest ways it was expressed.

I felt stunned and abondoned during most of this. I had several conversations with DH that I felt placed in the position of either being 1) the bad guy - "no front seat for you" or 2) a peer - "let's share the front seat equally" I was not DSS's mother, but I felt I needed from the beginning to be afforded the respect of an adult in the household and I felt that DH was really letting me down by refusing to talk to DSS about it. And, honestly, I felt if he just addressed it once with DSS (adults, not just RaeEllen, but any adults get to sit in the front) it would have been over.

About a month after detante was reached, DSS's mom found out about the front seat and flipped. (Yes, I had repeatedly told DH that the front seat was not safe for a 9 year old. I think he thought I was being overdramatic and using some sort of ploy) They mutally decided that DSS would not sit in the front until he was 12.

Ah, 3 years go by so fast. Things are so much better now. Much less stress. But far from perfect. However, DSS has already been bringing up his future birthday. He keeps wanting to know how we will handle the front seat. I keep telling him that we will worry about it later. (DH still won't get involved)

I'm just so frustrated with the return of this issue. I felt like we had made so much progress, and here we are again. I mean, I know it's symbolic. But it's really key in so many of our current issues.

I've considered telling DH that I'm happy to drive everyplace and he and DSS can determine the rest of the seat order, but I know he won't go for that!
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#2 of 23 Old 06-22-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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I think these kind of small things are exactly what makes stepparenting difficult.

DSD did not appreciate the fact that I was riding in the front, but she always gave me the seat, because her dad asked for that from the get go. It also applied to all other adults riding with us.

I would have a heart to heart with your husband.
Does he expect to be sitting in the back if YOU drive the car? If not, then why would he expect you to do that? Does he realize that it is his place to address it with his son? How would he handle the situation if his mother was in the car, and her grandson jumped in to sit in the front seat? his coworker? neighbor? his ex-wife? Would he remind his son about manners then? Why not with you?

Good luck!

I am 27, and I still give the front seat to any older generation person riding in the car. Your stepson probably should be taught the same. His dad should step up and have that discussion with him.

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#3 of 23 Old 06-22-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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Well, I have a somewhat different take. Is your stepson the only child in your family (not with his mom but with you)? If so, it's a really tough position for the kid to be in. They are stuck in the back while a lot of adult conversation goes on in the front, or when there is family-wide conversation, it's still hard to enter into because you can't hear as well. We've had this issue with my daughter who was an only child until her baby brother was born a year and a half ago.

We found that switching up and letting my daughter sit in the front occassionally (not every time but at least with some alternation) has been helpful. It has given my partner and I perspective on what it's like to be in the back (less from a physical standpoint and more from how alienated you can feel if not included). It has allowed my daughter to feel like she has a real voice in the family. And it's shown a spirit of compromise. At this point, the default is that the adults usually sit in the front on local trips but when we take road trips we divide up and take turns. We're much more conscious now of including her in family discussions and finding ways to make sure everyone's getting their needs met on car trips. And, for what it's worth, she totally doesn't pitch a fit about other adults sitting in front; she understands that it's about when we're together as a family.

I understand this might not work for every family but I don't think it's just an issue of boundaries or respect. Different families can work differently. I'd suggest talking to your husband and figuring out why he thinks it's okay for dss to sit in the front. I'd also talk to your stepson about why it's so important for him to sit in the front seat - there might be needs you can meet without relenting on the front seat issue; or other compromises you can make.
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#4 of 23 Old 06-22-2010, 05:50 PM
 
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I think these kind of small things are exactly what makes stepparenting difficult.

I am 27, and I still give the front seat to any older generation person riding in the car. Your stepson probably should be taught the same. His dad should step up and have that discussion with him.
I agree with this. He can ride in the front when he goes somewhere and there is just one adult along.

We had a problem similar to this when DH and I first got together. We had a rectangular dinner table, and the tension surrounding who sat next to DH was horrible. This went on for quite some time - eventually I was able to get through to DH that although it seems silly, it *was* important to me. To me, it made it clear that we were a parental unit - we were a "we."

Even after we settled that DH and I would be sitting next to each other, DSD kept bringing it up. She would spend entire meals sulking and making rude comments. Eventually, I had an epiphany, and we solved the problem: We bought a round table.

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#5 of 23 Old 06-22-2010, 05:52 PM
 
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Wow -- that wouldn't fly at all with me. Couples sit in the front seat together. End of discussion. If my mom or some other elder of mine were there, I'd give up my spot, but not for any able-bodied peer or certainly for any child.

Does your DH teach his son about manners in other contexts? Does he let him slam doors on people or be rude in other ways? Is this indicative of a larger pattern/problem or is it some weird quirk that he is unfamiliar with car etiquette? Or is he from another country where they don't drive much? I had an ex like that and I had to teach him what was acceptable to me for cars (in that case: girlfriend in front seat, ex-girlfriend in back seat). I have a male friend I was visiting recently and his wife was going somewhere with us and she offered me the front seat. She's from another country, so that may be why, and maybe was deferring to me as the guest or the big pregnant lady. I still refused. I just couldn't sit in front while his wife was in the back. Maybe I'm old-fashioned on this.

I'm also a little put off that he didn't listen to you about the right ages for using the front seat but he did listen to his ex. That makes me uncomfortable too. Which of you is his partner, anyway? I told my DH last year that DSS was too young for the front seat (also 9) (I guess it goes without saying I was not in the car or he would have been in the back anyway), and DH stopped doing it. We know DSS's mom allows it, but we don't usually pick fights about her parenting, so we never asked her to stop.

I like your solution of offering to drive. As in, if his car etiquette is so different from yours, then let him be the spouse taking the back seat to a child. I would probably insist on driving if he insisted on giving a child the front seat. That could be your compromise if he agrees to it. Or he could just teach his son manners. My two cents.

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#6 of 23 Old 06-22-2010, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks to everyone for their input.

DSS is really a good kid. He is an 11 year old boy and not perfect but I find him generally thoughtful and reasonable.

There are some different dynamics going on. DH was only married to his mom and extremely short time. So DSS is used to being the only child to two single parents. His dad definitely sets limits, but his house was the "bachelor pad" until I came around. There are a lot of things that come up that aren't ideal for me (saltier language than I like in a kid, kicking balls around the house, etc) plus I didn't have much experience with kids and I've had to learn to request changes on the things that are really important and let a lot of things slide. However, I think I came on too strong in the beginning and we got into a bad dynamic where DH sometimes feels like he is protecting DSS from me being too hard on him. (Never punishing, just in a lay off and let him be a kid sort of way)

Plus, DSS was used to feeling like he was the "partner" in the relationship. I wouldn't call him spoiled, he just never had to get a sense of the difference interactions adults would have with each other vs interactions adults had with kids.

Anyhow, I appreciate all the feedback.
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#7 of 23 Old 06-22-2010, 06:54 PM
 
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"I am 27, and I still give the front seat to any older generation person riding in the car. Your stepson probably should be taught the same."

Dingdingding! I am 32, and I always give the front seat seat to one of the grandmas if she is riding with us. Maybe there will be an opportunity to model this for ds with an older member of your family?

Either way, the next time it comes up, just shut it right down. "The older people sit up front in this family. If I had a stepmom and she was going somewhere with us, I'd hop right in back with you so that she could ride in front. It's an issue of respect. I know that you didn't mean to disrespect me by bringing it up, but I never want to hear you ask me to sit in the back seat again. It will never happen." If there's any drama after you've explained the standard clearly, then let your dh deal with it. If your stepson is sitting in your seat, you do not get in the car. Tell both dh and dss that you're hurt and disappointed by their lack of respect for you, turn on your heel and walk back into the house. If you and dh have kids together, take them back into the house with you. There should be be no such thing in your world as a family trip where the mom sits in the back and a kid sits in the front. This is a hill to die on.

(It might not hurt to talk to dss' mom about this, either. Even if she does not adore you, she may 1) believe that the adults in the blended family should all insist on basic respect and 2) understand that the back seat is still the safest place for her child.)
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#8 of 23 Old 06-22-2010, 08:10 PM
 
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Wow - I'm surprised at what I see as the authoritarian assumptions here. If that's your philosophy, fine, but it doesn't go for all and certainly not a parenting board devoted to a style of attachment parenting that is supposed to recognize children as autonomous individuals whose needs should be understood rather than met with arbitrary rules.

Why does letting the adult have the front seat = respect? We drive my mom places a lot. Generally, we alternate who sits in the back. We are often in a car with my partners' mom - she is bigger and has more health/hip/back pain issues and so I always give her the front seat. But I don't at all see it as a situation that respect always equals surrendering the front seat to the person higher up on the hierarchy (which is how it seems to be being posed) And the idea that this is a hill to die on is pretty upsetting. What if your partner genuinely has a different view? This is a "no compromise" issue? This is an issue on which it is not possible to even listen to what the kid might be thinking and feeling and why they might feel left out/excluded/alone in the back seat and figure out how differently to get this need met? This is an issue on which you are willing to tell a new child in your life that whatever relationship they had with their parent before and regardless what the other parent thinks things are going to be done your way now?

There are plenty of reasons why it might make sense to allow an older child (at a safe point in life) sit in the front. At the very least, there are reasons to try to adjust the car culture so a kid feels included. In particular, it is very hard for only children who have no companion in the back seat but aren't old enough to really entertain themselves.

I really, really wish at least one response (besides mine) could have taken as a starting point that perhaps the kid had a genuine reason and that it would be good to acknowledge and sympathize with that. I'm not saying everyone has to say it's okay to sit in the front, but at least try to see things from the kids' viewpoint. I find it fairly continuously frustrating that the parenting methods advocated on this board seem to be more rigid and authoritarian then other parenting threads on mdc; in a blended situation I would think the practice of attachment parenting would be all the more needed and helpful, even if harder to achieve.
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#9 of 23 Old 06-22-2010, 08:23 PM
 
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I wouldn't ever let a kid under 13 up front, ever. I'd show him the sticker on the visor saying he's safer in back, and there you go.

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#10 of 23 Old 06-22-2010, 09:44 PM
 
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Wow - I'm surprised at what I see as the authoritarian assumptions here. If that's your philosophy, fine, but it doesn't go for all and certainly not a parenting board devoted to a style of attachment parenting that is supposed to recognize children as autonomous individuals whose needs should be understood rather than met with arbitrary rules.

Why does letting the adult have the front seat = respect? We drive my mom places a lot. Generally, we alternate who sits in the back. We are often in a car with my partners' mom - she is bigger and has more health/hip/back pain issues and so I always give her the front seat. But I don't at all see it as a situation that respect always equals surrendering the front seat to the person higher up on the hierarchy (which is how it seems to be being posed) And the idea that this is a hill to die on is pretty upsetting. What if your partner genuinely has a different view? This is a "no compromise" issue? This is an issue on which it is not possible to even listen to what the kid might be thinking and feeling and why they might feel left out/excluded/alone in the back seat and figure out how differently to get this need met? This is an issue on which you are willing to tell a new child in your life that whatever relationship they had with their parent before and regardless what the other parent thinks things are going to be done your way now?


... I'm not saying everyone has to say it's okay to sit in the front, but at least try to see things from the kids' viewpoint. I find it fairly continuously frustrating that the parenting methods advocated on this board seem to be more rigid and authoritarian then other parenting threads on mdc; in a blended situation I would think the practice of attachment parenting would be all the more needed and helpful, even if harder to achieve.

I just wanted to address the bolded parts:

I don't think that anyone proposes ignoring the child's feelings on the issues or addressing it in "get over it" kind of manner, but here is where I'm coming from...

I understand what you are trying to say, but I know that in our household we are always very conscience about including dsd into conversation in and outside the car, and were even more so when she was little and our relationships were still developing. I agree with you that it is very important to consider on how you approach things with a child, however, it is okay to have a value system that appreciates each generation for what it is.

I realize that some parents hold all generations to the same standards, but I was brought up to appreciate the wisdom of the age. I see how much more my parents / grandparents have done for me in their lifetime than I have ever done for them, and I give them respect for that in a million little ways: preferential seating being one of those little ways. You are right, it does not=respect on its own, but it IS one of those little things that one can do to show you acknowledge the age difference. Many many cultures acknowledge the difference in ages in ceremonies and little rules that allow the demonstration of appreciation to the elders in the community. They will not hear the "thank you for what you've done" every day, but you can do something little every day to show them that you recognize their impact on the world around. I know that some will disagree, and I respect their opinion. I can only give advice from my own perspective, which does not you will see me advocating to ignore what children have to say. It may sound silly, but I feel my grandmother deserves more appreciation and admiration that I do. She has suffered, and loved, and raised children, and has not always made decisions that I would have made, but the number of years behind her belt make me bow my head to her experiences. The feeling applies to various people in various degrees. I would love to foster that feeling of admiration for age and experience in my own children, and I think that it is done not through one huge gesture, but rather in day-to-day routines.

A child of 9 years old has the fact that we always think of their safety first, has the fact that two adults usually work very hard to provide the food, the roof, the healthcare, and emotional happiness and security to the best of their abilities for that child. Surely it is okay to expect something of the younger generation? Something! After all, one day they will grow up and raise their own children to the best of their abilities, and maybe receive the big and little signs of respect that they deserve?

I am not saying that an abusive adult deserves respect just because they are an adult. What I am saying, is that appreciating generational differences is not a bad thing (by my personal standards), and it does not mean ignoring a child in the back seat, it simply means they allow the older person to ride with more comfort.

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#11 of 23 Old 06-23-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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oh god! I almost had a heart attack reading this! even now, if an elderly person was riding with us, definitely they'd be in the front. I

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#12 of 23 Old 06-23-2010, 04:22 PM
 
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oh god! I almost had a heart attack reading this! even now, if an elderly person was riding with us, definitely they'd be in the front. I
There's a big difference between an elderly person and a relatively young parent in their 20's, 30's or early 40's.
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#13 of 23 Old 06-23-2010, 04:38 PM
 
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Okay, I guess I'm going to make this my hill to die on

I just wanted to add that I think there is a difference between deference and respect. Deference can be enforced, but respect is something given voluntarily by one person to another. Oriole gave great reasons why it's a sign of respect to give someone older the front seat; I don't really agree with them, but they are reasons. And if you feel that way then you can explain those reasons to your kid and they may or may not agree. You can choose to enforce "deference" in the hope that the respect will come later.

Personally, I would rather work to build a relationship where respect is given voluntarily. This doesn't always come, I'll admit. But I'd rather have a little genuine respect than a lot of enforced deference. It means that much more when my daughter says "thank you mama for getting up so early to drive me to the field trip" because it means she has thought about how much it means for me and has decided that she wants to express her genuine and heartfelt appreciation. Or when she sees I'm at the end of my rope trying to get dinner ready and deal with the baby and she goes and takes the baby and makes him laugh and smile for an hour. Or any number of other acts of kindness. I never, ever feel that her sitting without complaint in the back seat is an act of respect; I feel it as her being willing to submit to something she doesn't like because she's a kid and sometimes kids get the short end of the stick. That might be the way it has to be sometimes but it's not my preference.
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#14 of 23 Old 06-23-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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Okay, I guess I'm going to make this my hill to die on

I just wanted to add that I think there is a difference between deference and respect. Deference can be enforced, but respect is something given voluntarily by one person to another. Oriole gave great reasons why it's a sign of respect to give someone older the front seat; I don't really agree with them, but they are reasons. And if you feel that way then you can explain those reasons to your kid and they may or may not agree. You can choose to enforce "deference" in the hope that the respect will come later.
I agree with your basic point here that deference can be taken and respect can only be given. However, I just think that what we're talking about here isn't simple deference, but basic manners. It's in the child's best interest to have good manners, and the great thing about manners is they are free, so anyone can have them. In the culture I grew up in (and clearly many others here), it would be considered bad manners for him to sit up front, so teaching him to be polite is better for him. Maybe in your area this is less important.

And, at least where I'm from, it's not just a matter of a child deferring to older person, but anyone respectfully sitting in back where there is a married couple up front, unless, of course, as others mentioned, there was an elderly or frail person who needed the seat.

Of course, bigger than all of these issues is the husband and wife acting as a team and working together on this, instead of hubby telling wife to sit in the back behind his child.

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#15 of 23 Old 07-03-2010, 04:20 AM
 
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Plus, DSS was used to feeling like he was the "partner" in the relationship. I wouldn't call him spoiled, he just never had to get a sense of the difference interactions adults would have with each other vs interactions adults had with kids.
I would like to kindly suggest that maybe you reconsider your position on why you think this is a bad thing. I personally think it's awesome if your DSS sees himself as a partner with his dad, a member of the team, and I don't believe that we have to always take a hard and fast line that interactions with kids should be somehow different because they are kids. When does that change? Does the child turn 18 one day and they are suddenly an adult and now they can be spoken to differently and treated differently? No, of course not. It is a gradual process of growing into the world, and kids are people too, and deserve just as much "respect" for their perspective, feelings, and contribution as anyone else. I hate this notion that we have to somehow show kids that they are not quite worthy yet of being treated as we would treat an adult.

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Wow - I'm surprised at what I see as the authoritarian assumptions here. If that's your philosophy, fine, but it doesn't go for all and certainly not a parenting board devoted to a style of attachment parenting that is supposed to recognize children as autonomous individuals whose needs should be understood rather than met with arbitrary rules.

Why does letting the adult have the front seat = respect? We drive my mom places a lot. Generally, we alternate who sits in the back. We are often in a car with my partners' mom - she is bigger and has more health/hip/back pain issues and so I always give her the front seat. But I don't at all see it as a situation that respect always equals surrendering the front seat to the person higher up on the hierarchy (which is how it seems to be being posed) And the idea that this is a hill to die on is pretty upsetting. What if your partner genuinely has a different view? This is a "no compromise" issue? This is an issue on which it is not possible to even listen to what the kid might be thinking and feeling and why they might feel left out/excluded/alone in the back seat and figure out how differently to get this need met? This is an issue on which you are willing to tell a new child in your life that whatever relationship they had with their parent before and regardless what the other parent thinks things are going to be done your way now?

There are plenty of reasons why it might make sense to allow an older child (at a safe point in life) sit in the front. At the very least, there are reasons to try to adjust the car culture so a kid feels included. In particular, it is very hard for only children who have no companion in the back seat but aren't old enough to really entertain themselves.

I really, really wish at least one response (besides mine) could have taken as a starting point that perhaps the kid had a genuine reason and that it would be good to acknowledge and sympathize with that. I'm not saying everyone has to say it's okay to sit in the front, but at least try to see things from the kids' viewpoint.
I totally agree. Especially the bolded part.

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Of course, bigger than all of these issues is the husband and wife acting as a team and working together on this, instead of hubby telling wife to sit in the back behind his child.
Again, I have to suggest that not all people see it this way. I personally don't like the idea of "husband and wife" = team, and then kids are like, what? The other team? The ball boys? Just trying to say that another perspective would be to look at it like, we are a family, we are ALL a team together, and I am comfortable enough in my own skin, and feel confident enough in my DH's love for me, that I don't need to compete with his son for love and attention. Your DSS is going through a double or maybe even triple whammy. He is probably still adjusting to what he perceives (even subconsciously) as the loss of some of his father's love to you, after having had your DH all to himself for nine years. Then he is entering puberty, major hormonal changes, huge shifts in mood and so much happening in his body that he can't even explain. Then, have you had a baby together with DH? That would be another huge transition for him. And all along, in all these transitions, I could totally see how he would feel left out, like he is somehow separate, and if sitting in the front seat make him more feel more included again, I say, what's the problem here? All I am saying is that this issue is symbolic for you only if you make it that way. It is all about your perspective.

What do you think would happen if you decided to let it go and let him sit in the front seat? (Obviously only once his age and physical body are enough to make this a safe option. Personally I won't be letting my kids ride in the front seat until at least 13.) But, once he's old enough, what if you just looked at it like, hey, this seems really important to him, maybe it's a way that he feels he can reconnect with his dad, sitting up front with his dad, makes him feel cool, whatever it is. I would be willing to bet a hundred dollars that if you didn't make a big deal out of it, and let him sit in the front seat whenever he wanted to, that it would be fun and cool for a while, and after a while, it would wear off. And he'd probably not care so much about it anymore. He is soon going to be a teenager and maybe not even want to be seen with you guys! He might be wanting to sit in the back with his shades on! LOL. My point is this. He is vulnerable now, and at a crucial stage in his life with his father, and I think it would actually be pretty cool to let him connect with his dad like that.

It just sounds too much to me like siblings, like you are both trying to compete for the "seat of respect" or something like that. I say, be confident in yourself and in your place in the world, and help him to gain that too.

This is completely different from say, an elderly person who uses a cane and asking them to crawl into the back seat of a two-door hatchback. Yes, definitely, that is "manners" that the more able-bodied person crawl in the back. But if we are talking about a Honda Accord, or an SUV, or a minivan, or whatever kind of 4-door car, I don't get what the fuss is all about.
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#16 of 23 Old 07-03-2010, 11:20 AM
 
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I think it can be a real balancing act. Obviously, there is going to be some shifting in the various relationships when it goes from Dad & son on their own, to Dad, son and g/f, to Dad, son and wife/stepmom. That can be pretty rough on a kid, especially, since he has had no say in his situation at all. I'm betting he feels as though, every time there's a change in his parents' lives, he (figuratively) moves to the back seat.

I don't think it's at all strange that a parent and their child would view themselves as a "team", especially when it's just them. The problem is that he feels (rightfully so or not) that Dad got a new All-Star, and he's been "benched". The key, I think, is for you to help him see that each of you - as members of the same team - has an important role to play. Help him feel that he's one of the veterans, while you're a rookie on the "Family RaeEllen/Dad/Son Team" and you could use some help learning the ropes. And, ya know, maybe now and again just feel like you "want" to sit in back and let kiddo sit up front with Dad. Maybe not all the time - or even half the time - but enough to help him understand that he IS an important part of the team y'all are building together.
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#17 of 23 Old 07-03-2010, 06:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would like to kindly suggest that maybe you reconsider your position on why you think this is a bad thing. I personally think it's awesome if your DSS sees himself as a partner with his dad, a member of the team, and I don't believe that we have to always take a hard and fast line that interactions with kids should be somehow different because they are kids. When does that change? Does the child turn 18 one day and they are suddenly an adult and now they can be spoken to differently and treated differently? No, of course not. It is a gradual process of growing into the world, and kids are people too, and deserve just as much "respect" for their perspective, feelings, and contribution as anyone else. I hate this notion that we have to somehow show kids that they are not quite worthy yet of being treated as we would treat an adult.
.

Honestly, I think that sounds nice in theory, I don't think it works very well in practice.

Kids think differently than adults. They don't have the perspective that adults do. They don't have the responsibility that adults do. He's in training to be an adult. And, we try to create safe circumstances where can learn about responsiblity and consequances. But, as adults, we are still there to make things safe.


I remember just last week, DSS annouced that it wasn't fair he had to clear the whole table, he was just going to clear his share. I honestly think he thought he was being reasonable. I mean, it's an interesting perspective, but if an adult said something like that, I would have no problem telling them they were nuts. (After I bought the food, prepared it, served it, and cleaned the kitchen....now you are going to just do "your share?") I mean, it's kind of funny coming from a kid, but as much as you have to repsect their viewpoint, yes, I'm going to treat this interaction differently with him because he is a kid. (We suggested if he didn't want to clear that night, he could pick a different cleaning task more to his liking...he vaccuumed. But still, as a kid, while he got to be empowered, he was still getting a bit indulged. Someday, he will be grown up, and if he wants the kitchen clean he will have to do all of it.)

I get where he is coming from with the whole front seat thing. I really do. And I was much more upset with my husband than with DSS. Whoever mentioned it sounded like a sibling interaction hit the nail on the head. But I feel I was put into that position. DH has the authority. If he made it the norm that adults sit up front, I would be sitting up front. By throwing it back to me, he turned it into a negiotiation.

I should point out, there is no way on earth DH would be sitting in back while I sat in front with DSS.
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#18 of 23 Old 07-03-2010, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is completely different from say, an elderly person who uses a cane and asking them to crawl into the back seat of a two-door hatchback. Yes, definitely, that is "manners" that the more able-bodied person crawl in the back. But if we are talking about a Honda Accord, or an SUV, or a minivan, or whatever kind of 4-door car, I don't get what the fuss is all about.
Oh, and it's a two door mini cooper!
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#19 of 23 Old 07-03-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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I completely agree. The children sit in the back. On the odd occassion, ie if we are taking them out to do something special just for them (recital's or a really awesome day out to treat them) then yes, we let them jump in the front as its alll about them and its fun to see their excitement!

However, while we all ascribe to attachment parenting, there are still certain etiquettes and hierachies in this world which the children must get a handle on in order to survive well with their peers/partners/co-workers.

Learning to show 'respect', or perhaps this is the wrong word... learning to understand certain dynamics and why they are in place irrespective of whether or not we agree with them is an important learning curve. I personally enforce certain rules with DH together towards the children until they understand them. Once it is understood, grace is always given and our children understand the choice they can make and the reasons behind the decision they choose.

The backseat/frontseat/dont go emptyhanded to another's for dinner/say thank you even if you dont like your birthday gifts type of things are exactly the type of choices im talking about.

stick to your guns, TALK to dss about this. Ask him to make a decision on where he wants to sit, then ask him to explain his reasoning. If someday his reasoning is purely because he would like to finish his conversation with dad or because you can see he has been really awesome about his interactions with those around him, give him grace.
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#20 of 23 Old 07-05-2010, 11:56 PM
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This isn't exactly a well reasoned philisophical argument for who get the back seat (barring the 'oldies'..grandparents etc having an automatic right) but the rule in my circle growing up was always 'short arses in the back'

Whether it's 4 women together, mixed gender adults or kids, the tallest needs the leg room so they get the front passenger seat.

"Custom will reconcile people to any atrocity."
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#21 of 23 Old 07-06-2010, 10:43 AM
 
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OP, I understand where you are coming from. My DSS used to sit in the front seat with DH (before I would have permitted him- but this is DH's parenting decision, not mine) and when we got married it was obvious, maybe because of what DH had said to him or maybe because the same was true at DSS's mother's house, that I would sit in the front seat and he would sit in the back. I consider myself an attached parent, but I do not strive for a complete sense of equality between kids and adults in my family. DSS was 6 when we married, btw, and is now 14. !

I also understand that it is a principle thing for you. I don't mind if I decide to give my front seat to DSS, but if he expects it (or even asks for it) I get very irritated.

I think that this is a harbinger for later issues in your stepfamily. Your DH will often have the desire to 'protect' DSS from you, but you and he have to be united as any other parenting unit does. Have a conversation with your DH and express to him how this makes you feel. Your DSS can sit inthe front seat when it is just him and his father, but adults sit in the front before children (especially in a two door car! I would urge you to consider purchasing 4 door car). Explain to him why this is an issue for you. If he is not interested in listening or working through it with you, I would expect that other, larger issues will become problems as DSS gets older-- chores, allowances, other money issues, etc etc. If your DH doesn't take the lead with your DSS, then it DOES pit you against him, and that's not an appopriate dynamic. You are not DSS's mother, and he will never see you as his mother, which is fine, but it means you have less leverage (in my experience) than does a natural parent.

Hope this helps.
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#22 of 23 Old 07-06-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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For me it would be a safety issue. My kids won't sit in the front seat unless there is an extremely good reason why they ought to (motion sickness and a 15 year old getting ready to learn to drive come to mind). If I had a larger vehicle, I would sit in the back too and no one would sit in the front passenger space.
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#23 of 23 Old 07-06-2010, 02:18 PM
 
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I should point out, there is no way on earth DH would be sitting in back while I sat in front with DSS.
Have you asked him why he wouldn't? And why he expects you to when he wouldn't?

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