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#1 of 30 Old 12-15-2007, 02:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DSS (6) and I were watching the third pirates movie last night and I mentioned something about one of the characters being a goddess or something to that affect, when he asked me a question. Well he comes back saying "its not nice to God to make up other gods." Um, ok. Then, not even 2 minutes later he says "A (his step-dad) said that the ancient peoples made up Gods to be mean to GOD." WHAT?! Okay, another few minutes pass and "A told me that the Indians and the Pilgrims believed in the same God." Throughout the whole movie he is saying things like "Jesus died on the cross for our sins," "Jesus' blood washed the sins from our heart." I tried explaining to him that I don't believe those things without really saying what I believe in detail because his mother has control over religious decisions.

Okay, now I personally feel these are some ignorant and prejudicial statements 1) because I don't think the ancient peoples made up Gods and 2) because the other household knows I am Pagan and ever since they have found out have become SUPER religious and calling my religion "witchery,"
and even threatening to take DH to court over my religion.

My question really is how do my DH and I calmly combat things like this? I think its setting DSS up for some rude awakenings to be saying things like this to him. Especially things that are so obviously ignorant in our eyes.

Or am I completely wrong and that this is really a mainstream Christian view now?

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#2 of 30 Old 12-15-2007, 03:14 PM
 
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Okay, now I personally feel these are some ignorant and prejudicial statements 1) because I don't think the ancient peoples made up Gods and
You can't call that statement "ignorant", because if I happen to be Christian, that is something that I embrace and believe in. So you would be calling me ignorant based on my religious beliefs...

Now... you CAN say that you have a different religion than the other side of the blended family. Rather than concentrating on religious lessons, I personally would be more concerned with teaching him tolerance and acceptance of the fact that different families might have different religious values, and he can choose his own when he grows up.

If his step-dad is saying his step-mom is practicing witchcraft, and his step-mom is calling his step-dad ignorant for being Christian, well.. that will be one torn kid unless at least one side steps up and says "Your mom believes in this, and your dad believes in this, and you don't have to choose right now, but you DO need to show respect to both sides... When you call me a witch it hurts my feelings".

We are lucky not to have disagreements of this nature, I can only imagine that it's tough on both sides. I hope you can work it out!

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#3 of 30 Old 12-15-2007, 03:17 PM
 
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Bravo Oriole. Excellent response.
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#4 of 30 Old 12-15-2007, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You are correct, sorry for my wording of it. Does rewording it to say "misguided" work or is that worse? I am trying not to offend because I know religion is such a hot issue.

I was trying to teach him last night that people believe different things and its like he wasn't even listening to me, its almost like he was taught to ignore what we say and its not even all regarding that issue either, but that is another story. I'm not trying to give him religious lessons, I was raised to choose for myself. That's what I plan on doing in his case as well and to just be a good example of an alternative religion.

I have to leave now and hopefully this thread won't combust.

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#5 of 30 Old 12-15-2007, 05:39 PM
 
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You can't call that statement "ignorant", because if I happen to be Christian, that is something that I embrace and believe in. So you would be calling me ignorant based on my religious beliefs...

Now... you CAN say that you have a different religion than the other side of the blended family. Rather than concentrating on religious lessons, I personally would be more concerned with teaching him tolerance and acceptance of the fact that different families might have different religious values, and he can choose his own when he grows up.

If his step-dad is saying his step-mom is practicing witchcraft, and his step-mom is calling his step-dad ignorant for being Christian, well.. that will be one torn kid unless at least one side steps up and says "Your mom believes in this, and your dad believes in this, and you don't have to choose right now, but you DO need to show respect to both sides... When you call me a witch it hurts my feelings".

We are lucky not to have disagreements of this nature, I can only imagine that it's tough on both sides. I hope you can work it out!
Yeah, what Oriole said.

I think you're doing as far as explaining to him that different people believe in different things is the best you can do.

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#6 of 30 Old 12-15-2007, 06:39 PM
 
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Perhaps his FATHER should be speaking to him about religious tolerance?... not that you don't "count"...but that perhaps it would be a good thing for him to revisit once in a while, just in general?

We are lucky to live in a place where religious beliefs are so varied...and we are all allowed to choose what we would like to believe and are not persecuted for it (theoretically). I was actually just speaking to the teen-aged daughter of a good friend of mine about that, today. She is home schooled and was talking about how her friend is devout christian and only celebrates the jewish holidays, as they are not "tainted" by pagan rituals. She understands WHY they do this, but doesn't agree with doing it. And is glad that she and this girl can still find common ground in other parts of their lives and be great friends. It was interesting to have a conversation like this with a 17 year old...who is glad that she has the freedom to choose her own views of religion, and glad that her friend is, as well, though her friends' views differ from her own.

Was that too wordy?

Anyway, I think that continually modeling and talking about tolerance in general is a great thing, and having it come from the father, to a son, might make it even more importantly spoken as a role model to child.???

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#7 of 30 Old 12-15-2007, 08:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My husband definitely plans on talking to him one on one, I know I didn't mention this but he was at work when this conversation happened.

We will definitely be having more talks about tolerance and diversity.

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#8 of 30 Old 12-16-2007, 09:38 AM
 
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I agree with the previous posts about modeling tolerance. Just an FYI though in case anyone tries to go to court over this, Wicca is a recognized religion. Being pagan doesn't afford the same legal protections. Freedom of religion should mean just that and I'm sorry you're dealing with this. Good luck and remember that kiddos are smart and as your ds gets older, he will no doubt appreciate how you and your dh handle this sensitive issue!
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#9 of 30 Old 12-16-2007, 10:01 AM
 
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I think that "ignorant" is the perfect word. If something is flat out wrong (in that ancient Pagans made up gods just to "be mean to God") then it is an ignorant belief to have. If you (general) believe it, you are "ignorant" to the truth.

That said, I do agree that it would be best to use less flamatory words so as to keep the lines of communication open. But if they are already calling your beliefs "witchery" then it sounds like they were, unfortunately, shut a long time ago.

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#10 of 30 Old 12-16-2007, 10:29 AM
 
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I think that "ignorant" is the perfect word. If something is flat out wrong (in that ancient Pagans made up gods just to "be mean to God") then it is an ignorant belief to have. If you (general) believe it, you are "ignorant" to the truth.
OP refered to the first paragraph "these are some ignorant and prejudicial statements", if I look at the statements that include Jesus in that paragraph, and then see it as being refered to as "ignorant statements", I'm sorry, but I'll call it being intollerant and prejudicial. I might not think that gods were made up to be mean to God, but first part of that statement, and the rest of the comments about Jesus were not "ignorant", they were statements of beliefs.

Therefore, in the context, ignorant was not a perfect word, unless of course you are calling everyone who does not subscribe to your religious beliefs ignorant.

I give credit to the OP for willing to work on this out peacefully. We can't always control what the other people say, and it's harder to deal with when trying to raise a child in a blended family situation. Using strong words (be it "witchcraft", or "ignorance" as reffered to Christianity), is not going to benefit anyone: it will not solve the problem, and it will not create a healthy environment for the child to grow up in.

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#11 of 30 Old 12-16-2007, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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"ignorance" as reffered to Christianity
I wasn't trying to say people who believe in Christianity are ignorant. I was saying the statements about the "ancient people made up gods to be mean to god" and "the indians and pilgrims believed in the same god" as ignorant, and I am sorry if I didn't clarify that better.

I hold nothing against them for being Christian. However, I do hold something against them for not being more open-minded, especially when I have been told by his mother "I don't teach my son prejudice and I don't plan on it." That's what is happening here, especially with the comments my DSS makes in our home.

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Just an FYI though in case anyone tries to go to court over this, Wicca is a recognized religion. Being pagan doesn't afford the same legal protections.
I am more Wiccan then Pagan. I tend to use Pagan as an umbrella term and its sometimes less inflammatory than Wiccan.

My DH and I are just trying to do what's best for DSS. Its really difficult when he has been "programmed" in DH's words to think that our house is the suck and to basically ignore us. We try so hard to teach him something, anything and to provide him with a loving environment and it doesn't seem to be making a difference.

As we all know, this blended family thing isn't easy. Nobody is ever gonna see eye-to-eye on everything, but we shouldn't be teaching the children involved intolerance and close-mindedness because they are never gonna have an easy time just being in a blended family. Each house does things differently and if we teach our children to be so inflexible then things are going to be difficult.

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#12 of 30 Old 12-16-2007, 04:11 PM
 
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I've heard worse explanations, about "idol worship" with fire and brimstone and hell and death etc. Keeping the discussion to God's feelings actually seems a bit age appropriate.
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#13 of 30 Old 12-16-2007, 04:32 PM
 
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I've heard worse explanations, about "idol worship" with fire and brimstone and hell and death etc. Keeping the discussion to God's feelings actually seems a bit age appropriate.
:

This is a hard situation, I agree with everythin Oriole has said, and also the above. It sounds like you're trying really hard to be fair and not confuse him anymore than he already is, and that's what matters most. If it were me, I'd probably try to diffuse things by saying, "Yes, this is what your mommy and A believe, Daddy and I feel this way, and that's ok. People are allowed to believe what they want to." Even though the other side is playing dirty (calling you a witch and such), I think it's important to stay above that. This is a great opportunity to teach him understanding and respect, and it sounds like you're doing just that. Glad that DH is getting involved too.

I personally am a Christian, and so what he was saying to you (most of it) makes sense to me, but I cannot stand people who are not tolerant of others' religious views. You're right, it's a hot issue, but every person must make their decision as to what they believe.
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#14 of 30 Old 12-16-2007, 04:41 PM
 
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How about something simple like "Different people beleive different things. Your mom and stepdad are Christians. I am a Pagan. We have different beleifs about who made the world, what happens after we die, and other things like that. It doesn't mean that one of us is "wrong' and one of us is "right." It just means that we are different.

It's OK if you are a Christian. I love you no matter what you believe. But it does hurt my feelings when you talk about Jesus and G-d in a way that isn't respectful of my own beleifs. Maybe it would be easier if we didn't talk about Jesus at this house?"

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#15 of 30 Old 12-16-2007, 07:30 PM
 
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How about something simple like "Different people beleive different things. Your mom and stepdad are Christians. I am a Pagan. We have different beleifs about who made the world, what happens after we die, and other things like that. It doesn't mean that one of us is "wrong' and one of us is "right." It just means that we are different.

It's OK if you are a Christian. I love you no matter what you believe. But it does hurt my feelings when you talk about Jesus and G-d in a way that isn't respectful of my own beleifs. Maybe it would be easier if we didn't talk about Jesus at this house?"
That's a very good answer, Ruthla.

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#16 of 30 Old 12-17-2007, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How about something simple like "Different people beleive different things. Your mom and stepdad are Christians. I am a Pagan. We have different beleifs about who made the world, what happens after we die, and other things like that. It doesn't mean that one of us is "wrong' and one of us is "right." It just means that we are different.

It's OK if you are a Christian. I love you no matter what you believe. But it does hurt my feelings when you talk about Jesus and G-d in a way that isn't respectful of my own beleifs. Maybe it would be easier if we didn't talk about Jesus at this house?"
This is what we have wanted to say to him but, she takes her control of religious decision (it just has the word "religion" in the parenting plan) making to mean that we are not allowed to talk about religion in OUR home period. My DH cannot even say things like his father is in heaven and watching over us or she will get mad. So, rather than having something start I have kept my mouth shut. Unfortunately, lately these sort of happenings have become rather frequent in our home.

I am walking a very fine line, I want him to know that other people believe in different things but, not set her off on a tangent of how I practice "witchery." She picks fights with DH over the most ridiculous of things. I seriously fear that she will try to take DSS from my husband because of my religion.

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#17 of 30 Old 12-17-2007, 10:22 AM
 
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I've heard worse explanations, about "idol worship" with fire and brimstone and hell and death etc. Keeping the discussion to God's feelings actually seems a bit age appropriate.
I do understand that children are more concrete than most adults. So, if you do opt to talk about what God's feelings are, I believe it is important to speak with children in universal terms -- about God’s limitless capacity to love us for example. Anyone or any one faith that attempts to define, or stake claim to, what God's feelings are is fostering a spirit of intolerance. This is just my humble opinion.

My sincere wishes of good will are sent to you and you family, MrsMiller.

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#18 of 30 Old 12-17-2007, 10:32 AM
 
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I don't see how any court decision can control whether or not you discuss religion in your own home. Can they really do that?

I mean, he's six now, but there will come a day when the other family will not be able to shelter him from your beliefs or those of others.

Also, I didn't realize that "Wiccan" affords some sort of legal protection that "Pagan doesn't". Interesting...

This really stinks.
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#19 of 30 Old 12-17-2007, 01:01 PM
 
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You can't call that statement "ignorant", because if I happen to be Christian
ITA

really if you try to say THATm then the reverse can be said, and you don't want your DSS to say YOU are igorant simply beacuse you do not share the faith.

I do not think it is wise, ever, to address an issue of FAITH and PERSONAL beliefe as samrt or dumb.

these is a big differnce in correcting incorrect information -- such as about old reglions --and discussing a person's current faith.

Mayeb some kids hisptry books -- in general, not about religion and faith -- would be in order to get an overview of the anicent people and how they lived? I am all for correcting misinformation.

Note also the adult might not be giving mis-informations -- we all know how 6 year olds are and how they either interpet data or simply are limited in what they can expalin to us.

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#20 of 30 Old 12-17-2007, 03:05 PM
 
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I do understand that children are more concrete than most adults. So, if you do opt to talk about what God's feelings are, I believe it is important to speak with children in universal terms -- about God’s limitless capacity to love us for example. Anyone or any one faith that attempts to define, or stake claim to, what God's feelings are is fostering a spirit of intolerance. This is just my humble opinion.

My sincere wishes of good will are sent to you and you family, MrsMiller.

:


That is all fine and dandy, if you actually believe in god. Your view in it'self is fostering a a spirit of intolerance... to quote yourself.


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#21 of 30 Old 12-17-2007, 03:36 PM
 
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We have a similar situation. In our case, the mother has the children enrolled in a religious school for a faith we don't practice. We struggle with this one. We give them messages of tolerance, and try to make them aware of other failths, but we also don't contradict what they learn at their other home.

I'm not sure what the right answer is as far as how to cope, but I think in factual matters, for example, about historic religious practices, etc., you are well within your bounds to explain that the other parents are mistaken, if it comes up. And no court will take them away because you told them that Pilgrims and Native Americans had different faith traditions. Obviously if the decree says she gets to pick their religion (a strange premise, I feel), then you can't contradict those teachings, but certainly matters of historical fact can be challenged, as well an anything about your faith.

If they are specifically attacking your faith, it would seem more a matter of parental alienation than an issue of choosing to indoctrinate their children as they see fit.

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#22 of 30 Old 12-17-2007, 06:33 PM
 
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ITA
I do not think it is wise, ever, to address an issue of FAITH and PERSONAL beliefe as samrt or dumb.

these is a big differnce in correcting incorrect information -- such as about old reglions --and discussing a person's current faith.
I am all for correcting misinformation.
But she didn't call any religion dumb or stupid.
She only made the comment here in this forum (not to the child):

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I wasn't trying to say people who believe in Christianity are ignorant.
I was saying the statements about the "ancient people made up gods to be mean to god" and "the indians and pilgrims believed in the same god" as ignorant, and I am sorry if I didn't clarify that better.
Ruthla, as usual, you had a wonderful suggestion:

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How about something simple like "Different people believe different things. Your mom and step dad are Christians. I am a Pagan. We have different beliefs about who made the world, what happens after we die, and other things like that. It doesn't mean that one of us is "wrong' and one of us is "right." It just means that we are different.

It's OK if you are a Christian. I love you no matter what you believe. But it does hurt my feelings when you talk about Jesus and G-d in a way that isn't respectful of my own beliefs. Maybe it would be easier if we didn't talk about Jesus at this house?"
We struggle with the same problem with my husband's son.
His mother home schools him and uses the opportunity to exclude science, especially evolution, and then she teaches him stories from the bible as fact and teaches him that anyone who thinks different is wrong.
My husband is agnostic and doesn't want his son growing up intolerant of other religions or incapable of making the decision on his own.
My husband wants his son to make the religious choices on his own, with his own mind, and to be taught about all different religions, not just the one his mom wants him to practice.

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#23 of 30 Old 12-17-2007, 07:11 PM
 
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Purity Lake...if your son is homeschooled...would your husband take the time to talk about "comparitive" religious thought?

It's one of the things that I love about my kids being homeschooled...they see every person as a possible teacher of something. It could be a weekly field trip to the library, just dad and son (or however often they're together), to check out a book about another religion, read about it's history and beliefs, and talk about it. That way, he's not teaching that his son's mother is giving him FALSE info, just that different people believe different things. I'm not sure how old your DSS is, but it might work, were it age appropriate. And, actually, I know that there are a few picture books out there that teach about different religions.

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#24 of 30 Old 12-17-2007, 07:20 PM
 
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I think home schooling is awesome.

I would expect my husband and I to talk about comparative religions with our daughters (I don't have a son).

My husband doesn't see his son's mother as teaching his son false information, he sees it as limiting his world experiences and preventing him from being exposed to greater options.

My husband's son is 10.5 years old, so he's certainly old enough to have a personal opinion on the matter.
My husband just doesn't like that his son isn't given an option to think outside the box. His mom teaches him no tolerance of other religions and tells him other religions are wrong.

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#25 of 30 Old 12-17-2007, 08:02 PM
 
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I am an information junkie, and especially a law junkie. Usually when I fear how a court will view something, I look into the laws of my state (at least, the state in which the legal concern is arising) and the cases that have been brought before the court in that state. More often than not, I am comforted by the answers I get. Some people practice "retail therapy"... my dad calls what I do "law therapy."

Just because the custody agreement says mom gets to make religious decisions for her child, it doesn't mean that a court will interpret that right or responsibility in the same way she does. While she may have the right to make religious decisions (such as whether or not he is baptised, whether or not he can attend services at another church or participate in certain religious ceremonies or celebrations), she is unlikely to have the right to impede on YOUR religious freedom, or even YOUR right to talk about your own religious beliefs.

I don't know what your state's custody laws are like, or the level of religious tolerence in your area, but I do know that I have often been comforted when I found out that just because one person interprets an agreement in a particular way, it doesn't mean that is the legal definition. So rather than just worry, go find out where you stand and what your rights (and your husband's rights) are.

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#26 of 30 Old 12-17-2007, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by aricha View Post
I am an information junkie, and especially a law junkie. Usually when I fear how a court will view something, I look into the laws of my state (at least, the state in which the legal concern is arising) and the cases that have been brought before the court in that state. More often than not, I am comforted by the answers I get. Some people practice "retail therapy"... my dad calls what I do "law therapy."

Just because the custody agreement says mom gets to make religious decisions for her child, it doesn't mean that a court will interpret that right or responsibility in the same way she does. While she may have the right to make religious decisions (such as whether or not he is baptised, whether or not he can attend services at another church or participate in certain religious ceremonies or celebrations), she is unlikely to have the right to impede on YOUR religious freedom, or even YOUR right to talk about your own religious beliefs.

I don't know what your state's custody laws are like, or the level of religious tolerence in your area, but I do know that I have often been comforted when I found out that just because one person interprets an agreement in a particular way, it doesn't mean that is the legal definition. So rather than just worry, go find out where you stand and what your rights (and your husband's rights) are.
I do the same thing. I even contacted a law firm about this and they said the SAME thing you just told me. I told her in an e-mail exactly what they told me. Know what she did? Refused to let my step-son see me before he started school after we had agreed to it. My DH was in Iraq at the time. She didn't even tell us his 1st day of school, I found it on the district's website. She just doesn't care and she completely ignores it.

:~*Barbara*~ 25, DGF to an awesome man (25) and always a step-mom to A (8)
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#27 of 30 Old 12-18-2007, 08:39 AM
 
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How could she refuse visitation, if it's court-ordered? Isn't that an obstruction of some sort? (Sorry, I am not a law junkie, though I sometimes wish I was).
I do remember when you were having trouble getting to see him. How heartbreaking.
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#28 of 30 Old 12-18-2007, 12:09 PM
 
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How could she refuse visitation, if it's court-ordered? Isn't that an obstruction of some sort? (Sorry, I am not a law junkie, though I sometimes wish I was).
I took it to be that the other part of the family was considering going to court to CHANGE the legal establish vistations.

Aimee + Scott = Theodore Roosevelt (11/05) and 23 months later Charles Abraham (10/07)....praying for a little sister; the search starts May 2014
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#29 of 30 Old 12-18-2007, 12:25 PM
 
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Originally Posted by boobybunny View Post
That is all fine and dandy, if you actually believe in god. Your view in it'self is fostering a a spirit of intolerance... to quote yourself.


:
:

Truly sorry that my use of the word God offended. But, don't assume you know what my beliefs are.
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#30 of 30 Old 12-18-2007, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Pam_and_Abigail View Post
How could she refuse visitation, if it's court-ordered? Isn't that an obstruction of some sort? (Sorry, I am not a law junkie, though I sometimes wish I was).
I do remember when you were having trouble getting to see him. How heartbreaking.
I am not part of the court order so she can refuse me all she wants. This was while my husband was in Iraq. DSS had no contact with our side of the family except for my calling every other day and only when I could get ahold of them.

She also refuses to rework the parenting plan so my DH can have more time with him because she thinks all we want to do is "fun things" with DSS. That they want to do things as a family to, and that he won't get as much Church time in, not that he goes often now. She won't even let my husband have time during the summer.

Its very contentious. DH gets screaming phone calls quiet frequently and somehow I am always dragged through the mud. I am the scapegoat now because I practice and alternative religion. She refers to is as "witchery" all the time and quiet frankly that just speaks to her ignorance regarding my religion.

:~*Barbara*~ 25, DGF to an awesome man (25) and always a step-mom to A (8)
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