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#1 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 12:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DH's ex calls here yesterday. Says Charlie is playing soccer this year and wants DH to take her to practice on Wednesdays. He tells her we'd try to work it out. We thought she starts next week. No... she calls at 4:30 today and it starts today!! My oldest son has dinners with his high school football team on Wednesday, my next oldest has band practice on Wednesdays, and we are down to one hehicle right now which is why we said we'd *try* to work it out thinking we had another week to do it. So DH tells her we can't today, she gets mad and hangs up on him. Five minutes later Charlie calls back and demands my husband to quit lying to her and tell her the truth that he won't take her because I'll get mad!! WTH?!! Her mom is in the background telling her what to say!! He told Charlie to put *her* on the phone. She gets on and very loudly starts saying he needs to tell me to go to H, and start giving a SH about his daughter. He shouldn't show Charlie that he doesn't care about her feelings just to make me happy. DH got really mad, started yelling at her and ended up hanging up on her.

So now Charlie has it in her head that she can't play soccer because of me. She's coming over this weekend and I know it's going to be an issue. Any advice on how to handle this one?
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#2 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 12:31 AM
 
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How old is she? Because really, I think honesty is the best solution - one vehicle, other plans on said night - but that you guys were working on trying to find a way to work it out, but that you need TIME. I don't know all the specifics, but maybe on some of the Wednesdays your sons could catch rides, and why doesn't Charlie's mother help trade turns taking her whenever you can't?
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#3 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 01:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How old is she? Because really, I think honesty is the best solution - one vehicle, other plans on said night - but that you guys were working on trying to find a way to work it out, but that you need TIME. I don't know all the specifics, but maybe on some of the Wednesdays your sons could catch rides, and why doesn't Charlie's mother help trade turns taking her whenever you can't?
She's ten. The biggest thing is, her mom knew the times when she signed her up. She has dance on Wednesdays, too. Her mom volunteers on Wednesdays to pay Charlie's tuition. Charlie gets out of her class at 5:30, her mom doesn't get out until 9. So she knew from the beginning she couldn't do it, and then springs it on us the day before.

I go to my footballer's dinner because it is a parent organized thing. We bring the food, too. My 11 year old just started a new school, and I'm not ready to send him with other people to band, since I don't know the parents yet. So DH handles it. Then of course we have a 7 year old,5 year old and a fifteen month old, and again...one car. So Wednesday's are stretched pretty thin as it is.

I'm so mad she's telling her it's because of me. DH was the one that got stressed over the request (demand), and I calmly told him we'd figure it out. I was more willing to try than he was. And it's so not that we don't want to help Charlie out. We're humans, not gods. We can't be in fifty million places at the same time. We pretty much have no family support, and everyone else is doing their thing. We really needed more than less than 24 hours to figure this out.
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#4 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 07:20 AM
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mama.
I agree, honesty w/Charlie is probably the best policy. It's easy to point out one car to her. Does she get along well with her step(half?)-siblings? Would she recognize and understand that they've had these Wednesday schedules for a while now, before hers just started?
I'm sorry you're dealing with this. Hopefully her mom can be reasonable and find a way to work this out - and STOP using Charlie as a pawn in her sick game.
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#5 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 07:33 AM
 
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Ouch *hugs*
I agree with "honesty is the best policy". This calls for a BIG discussion.

Sit down altogether with Chalie and talk about "stuff". Tell her you support her in whatever she wants to do, and if soccer is it, you as a family can pick a place and time where she can play, and it doesn't conflict with excisting schedule. Ask a lot "what would you do" questions. Say "I love yous" a lot. Repeat you are there for her until it sticks.

For the future reference, be prepared to be a scapegoat for everything. One thing that helped to get me through those times is repeating to myself that "it doesn't matter what her mom thinks or says about you". Really. It doesn't. If you prove with your actions otherwise, Charlie WILL see things for what they are, even if it will take her a few years. Just be consistent with your support and patience. And don't say anything bad about her mom. It's just you and Charlie, she needs to know she is cared about, and if you will make her believe it, no matter what her mom says it will start bouncing off eventually.

I've been there. I think we are almost out of that hole.

P.S. I read somewhere that 11 is the toughest age on stepkids in a family.

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#6 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 08:03 AM
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P.S. I read somewhere that 11 is the toughest age on stepkids in a family.
Oh no... I think we need a new thread...
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#7 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 08:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I could write a novel about the drama her mom has caused just in the last 6 months. All things total would be enough to entertain millions of Jerry Springer fans every day for years. It's really an ugly situation. Charlie and I had a pretty good relationship up until May. Her mom caused a huge scene during one of her visits, after which she ended up in jail. We've been in and out of court over parenting time and other things. It's just ridiculous. Of course, I'm the monster. Anything that doesn't go her mom's way is blamed on me. This is not a surprise really, although for some reason, I wasn't expecting it.

I feel being honest with her is right. I'm just worried about the kinds of questions she'll ask. I don't get into bashing her mom, at least not in front of her, or where there's a chance she might hear. So, if she starts asking something like why did my mom say x, y and z...

And, you know, after reading I recalled a period where after my mom divorced my stepdad that she would completely trash him. For a while I believed he was this evil, prejudiced, child hating monster. And when I was about 14, something clicked and I was like "I don't remember any of that stuff". I asked my sister's and brothers (I'm the youngest) and they said the same thing. Well, not Laurie...she still thinks it was mean to have to go to bed at 8:30 and was light outside. Anyways...we remember the time she was married to him was the only time family felt like family and home was home.

Hopefully Charlie will get there too.
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#8 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 08:51 AM
 
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I feel being honest with her is right. I'm just worried about the kinds of questions she'll ask. I don't get into bashing her mom, at least not in front of her, or where there's a chance she might hear. So, if she starts asking something like why did my mom say x, y and z...
At times like this we try to say as little as possble about mom. Even if she says "but my mom says x, y and z..", your answer should be "look around, it's a, b, and c in this house".

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#9 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 09:10 AM
 
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If her Mother signed her up, shouldn't her Mother be responsible for bringing her there?

As for your stepdaughter, just tell her the truth and tell her if she's got a better idea of how you can get her there and still keep your previous plans with your other children, they you're all for it.

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#10 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If her Mother signed her up, shouldn't her Mother be responsible for bringing her there?
I say yes, and I don't object to her making the arrangements with us. But I think she should have the decency to consider that there is a family living here, not just my husband and me. You'd think it might filter into her brain that a family with kids (a lot of kids) just might have things to do, and just might need time to work it into their schedule. But, of course, the world must revolve around her bunghole.


Sorry...little rant.:
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#11 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 09:46 AM
 
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For the future reference, be prepared to be a scapegoat for everything.
I guess I'm lucky. DF is still the scapegoat.

I agree with everyone else - honesty and talking it out.

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#12 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 11:14 AM
 
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Oh my...that's a difficult situation. We've had a couple of situations that are kind of like what you are going through now. We had to basically sit the boys down and explain that with 4 of them (and thankfully, they all share the same interests at this point ie: martial arts) we are simply not going to be able to do each activity unless it's planned out a least a week in advance.

We had to set boundaries with the 3 boys BM regarding making sure she's not promising our time and how our time is spent with the boys (ie: telling one we'll take him to an audition when it's our weekend and we might have already had plans). Sometimes it's unintentional, other times notsomuch.

Sit down with your DSD this weekend and both you and DH explain to her the logistics of this past week and see if you can come up with a compromise for the future. Kids are smart and also know that you can't be in two places at once, but at the same time they want to know that their activities are validated and recognized as well.

Hope you have good luck with the outcome.

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#13 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 02:46 PM
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oooooh! i'm a mamma and i can't imagine putting my kiddo in that situation. how can she expect you to just drop everything. it sounds like you were open to trying to figure out a solution for the next week. sounds to me like either a power play or she's a a big baby about some things and kind of a flake. so sorry this happened to that poor girl. i remember things like this from growing up and it's rough.

ITA with the idea of your DH talking to the kid, explaining the real reasons for the time crunch and figuring out a creative way to meet everyones needs and giving her time to ask him about the emotional issues that came up too. poor kid :
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#14 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 04:07 PM
 
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Regarding the "but why does mom say that xyz is true?" I would say that, well, she didn't talk to us about it beforehand and she was/is mistaken. Or just turn it around to DSD - do you think that's true? Maybe your mom misunderstood the situation etc etc. Always focus on it being an error/mistake on her mom's part (everyone makes mistakes, right?) or a simple misunderstanding.

I think that kids do see that there is more to it than that, but framing it as a mistake or misunderstanding lets them assume the best about their parents, which is what they want to do.

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#15 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Regarding the "but why does mom say that xyz is true?" I would say that, well, she didn't talk to us about it beforehand and she was/is mistaken. Or just turn it around to DSD - do you think that's true? Maybe your mom misunderstood the situation etc etc. Always focus on it being an error/mistake on her mom's part (everyone makes mistakes, right?) or a simple misunderstanding.

I think that kids do see that there is more to it than that, but framing it as a mistake or misunderstanding lets them assume the best about their parents, which is what they want to do.
That's a good idea. I should have thought of that...I think the anger fogged my brain.
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#16 of 27 Old 09-20-2007, 10:30 PM
 
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Is there someone on the soccer team who can take her? My dd is in soccer, and the coach has a list of the families' email addresses. Maybe you know someone else who's playing, so you could carpool?

It's in our divorce agreement that dd's dad and I can't schedule dd to have activities during the other parent's time with her unless the other parent gives permission first. Sounds like you all could really use that clause!


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#17 of 27 Old 09-21-2007, 01:31 PM
 
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No advice...just

I hope this works out well for you. I am sorry you are going through this. How unfair!!!
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#18 of 27 Old 09-22-2007, 03:01 AM
 
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Yep, this happens to us too. X emails us 1/2 hour before kid pick up time and says kid1 has a birthday party today, therefore needs a gift and to be dropped and picked up at XYZ location at these times.

Or worse, X doesn't give us forewarning at all so we end up running around to WalMart for a last minute gift and wrapping etc.

Or how about the time we find out it's a pool-party and have to run around to find a suit for the kid in the city (we live 1 hour out in the country) in JANUARY?!?!?


My advice to you is to tell the truth, put the onus back on the mother. If you don't 100% know why the mom is lying to the kid, say so. It's OK to say that you think that the mom is telling stories to drive a wedge between you.

Kids see this carp all the time in school, with one friend telling a lie about another kid just to break up a budding friendship, so they can have that friend all to themselves. Same thing here... just with adults involved, instead of all kids.

Don't punish the kid. Explain it all, and bend over backwards to make it work so she can get to her soccer. Taxis, team-mates or grandparents can all be called upon to move heaven and earth to get the kid to practices and games.

Best of luck to you in this.

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#19 of 27 Old 09-22-2007, 03:27 PM
 
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I am of course the custodial mom in my situation, and I am in no way saying the mom here is right, but just give a listen with open ears and mind. I may be way off base, but I will try to help ease tensions.


When you sign up for soccer, usually you have no idea what the practice and game times are. Then the coach sends out the information and you are left in an "Oh POOP" situation, you are one person with the need now to be several places at once. So you call the child's other parent, the one who should be there to pick up the slack, help handle the "OH POOP" moments in life and you are told that because his wife's children have XYZ to do on that day, he can not help with his own child.

So imagine the added frustration, you can not get your child to the events they want to do, the partner who you thought would be there for life has let you and your child down again (or in my case yet again).

You have the right to be frustrated, but what you guys really said was that your husband's step children are more important, take priority over his daughter's needs and wants, at least this one time.

So you have an 10 year step daughter. My ten year old son has a very hate/hate/love with his father and his step mother. He already resents the time and energy his father spends with his new family, and every little offense is (however minor or blameless) is a tally mark in his mind on how his dad does not love him.
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#20 of 27 Old 09-22-2007, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am of course the custodial mom in my situation, and I am in no way saying the mom here is right, but just give a listen with open ears and mind. I may be way off base, but I will try to help ease tensions.


When you sign up for soccer, usually you have no idea what the practice and game times are. Then the coach sends out the information and you are left in an "Oh POOP" situation, you are one person with the need now to be several places at once. So you call the child's other parent, the one who should be there to pick up the slack, help handle the "OH POOP" moments in life and you are told that because his wife's children have XYZ to do on that day, he can not help with his own child.

So imagine the added frustration, you can not get your child to the events they want to do, the partner who you thought would be there for life has let you and your child down again (or in my case yet again).

You have the right to be frustrated, but what you guys really said was that your husband's step children are more important, take priority over his daughter's needs and wants, at least this one time.

So you have an 10 year step daughter. My ten year old son has a very hate/hate/love with his father and his step mother. He already resents the time and energy his father spends with his new family, and every little offense is (however minor or blameless) is a tally mark in his mind on how his dad does not love him.
The oh poop situation would be understandable, except it wasn't oh poop. The forms for the city divisions come with the schedule included. So she knew when everything happened before she turned the app in. It's a matter of consideration, a concept she isn't able to wrap her head around. Knowing her, I could completely see her doing this to set up a situation where we look bad. And I'm not willing to tell my kids oh well, you can't do this or that because Charlie's mom is going to make sure we look bad if we don't do that. And we have sacrificed and been there plenty for Charlie, so it's not a matter of doing something for her "for once". Had her mom told us the week before rather than the day before, we would have had enough time to figure it in. Next week won't be a problem, because we've been able to come up with something which involves other people stepping in and helping, which we couldn't find between 9:30pm Tuesday night to 5pm Wednesday...less than 24 hours. And now that her soccer is now part of our schedule, if one of "his step kids" said they wanted to do something that conflicted with her schedule, we'd tell them no.
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#21 of 27 Old 09-22-2007, 05:14 PM
 
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You have the right to be frustrated, but what you guys really said was that your husband's step children are more important, take priority over his daughter's needs and wants, at least this one time.
But what message are you sending the other children to tell them that their activities are cancelled because someone who asked for something at a later date get first priority? Wouldn't the Husband's stepchildren's Mother be sending the same message that you're saying will be sent to this person's stepdaughter, by telling her own children they need to cancel their activities because their Stepfather's child comes first? Why not first come first serve in a case like this? Is it right for ANY child, to be told that another is more important and therefore they need to cancel whatever they previously had planned because of this?

I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#22 of 27 Old 09-22-2007, 06:51 PM
 
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No, but a high school student is much more cabable of hanging out, waiting, getting his/her own way to their event than the 10 year old. I am not trying to start stuff here, just trying to help the OP understand why maybe it is not just a black and white situation.
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#23 of 27 Old 09-22-2007, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And my 11 year old in band, the 7, 5 and 15 month old kids...and the one car? And for my 15 year old, you darn bet I'm going to be involved. I enjoy and appreciate that I can do things with him at his age, where a lot of times, teens are pushing away their parents.

And I don't feel the situation is black and white...it's VERY gray. We are not a second family or the other family. We are all family together. If my ex signed my boys up for something, and then asked me to pick it up, I might say no depending on the situation. And I wouldn't sign them up for something and wait for the last minute and say, you do this. If I couldn't manage it, and he couldn't manage it for whatever reason, then they just won't do it. Period. End of story. No finger pointing.

And don't forget, the blame was placed on me, not DH. And not because of my kids. The accusation was I would get mad if DH took her. Her meaning was I would get mad because of jealousy.
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#24 of 27 Old 09-22-2007, 07:53 PM
 
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Sorry, I will back out of this. Forgive me for trying to shed light on the other side of the story. You are right, you are so right, I never should have tried.
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#25 of 27 Old 09-22-2007, 08:40 PM
 
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Sorry, I will back out of this. Forgive me for trying to shed light on the other side of the story. You are right, you are so right, I never should have tried.
There is no need to be rude.

To the OP, . You certainly are in a tough spot.

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#26 of 27 Old 09-22-2007, 09:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, I will back out of this. Forgive me for trying to shed light on the other side of the story. You are right, you are so right, I never should have tried.
No...you don't have to be sorry. I think we're both in tough situations. It just happens that I'm the stepmom and you're the mom. I know my situation, we are dealing with a particularly mean spirited mom. You, it sounds like are dealing with an insensitive father. I completely see how what's going on here may seem quite reminiscent to what you deal with. If you could see the things we've dealt with, you'd understand what I mean. And I've seen quite a few situations where dads get remarried (or new relationship) and forget they have children.

Sorry if I got a little touchy. I got defensive and I shouldn't have.
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#27 of 27 Old 09-23-2007, 03:32 AM
 
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I'm really glad you got the scheduling problem worked out. I still find it incredible that Charlie's mother signed her up for soccer and then expected your family to deal with it. You obviously had to find help to solve all the time conflicts. It seems like the mother could have done as much as well. Like a pp mentioned, she could have checked with the coach and arranged a car pool for her dd. I can understand her trying to fulfill her dd's wish to play soccer by signing her up knowing full well that she couldn't bring/pick up her dd herself. I imagine she thought "where there's a will, there's a way". But dumping the issue on you and being nasty about it was not constructive in the least.
Anyhow, kudos to you for finding a solution.

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