12
   

Divorced Parent Discipline

 
 
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 07:08 am
My ex-wife and 11 year old daughter have a volatile relationship. My exs' unrealistic expectations result in a screaming fight between them, and ends in my daughter being punished. Example: My daughter asks if she can have some chips. My ex tells her "Only if you can run a mile on the treadmill in 8 minutes". My daughter naturally tries, fails, and then is angry that she is denied the chips. She yells and slams doors, and my ex grounds her for 2 weeks from her friends and the computer. She then calls me to tell me that I must continue the grounding at my house as well. Is this right, or should the punishment be only at my exs' house? NOTE: We have shared custody equally, and my relationship with my daughter is beautiful, mutually respectful, open, and appropriate (I feel my exs' behavior is not appropriate), and it feels wrong for me to carry on the grounding at my house when she is so well behaved. Her time with me also runs through the weekends when her friends get together, and I am struggling with the question of telling her she cannot join them when I have no problems with her myself.

Is my exs' relationship with our daughter (and the discipline she inflicts) her responsibility or ours?

I am also concerned about my ex's competitive behavior towards my daughter, and concerned about my daughters self image as she matures. She is a beautiful girl, and I am concerned that her mother is jealous of her and taking it out with discipline.

I have suggested counseling for mother-daughter relationship, and she got a referral, but has not yet made the call.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Question • Score: 12 • Views: 4,066 • Replies: 36

 
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 07:30 am
@scrump-daddy,
Welcome to A2K!

Really tough call. You want to support your ex as a parent, but you feel that the punishments she is inflicting are inappropriate. Note that the issue is not the chips and treadmill, the issue is that your daughter blew up at your ex. I think you start by explaining to your daughter the appropriate way to disagree with your ex. She is also at an age where girls are becoming more independent and that means challenging their mothers, so learning how to have confrontations in an adult manner is important. Second, I would go back to your ex and tell her the same thing... your little girl is growing up and she needs to handle these types by setting the adult example. (You might want to word-smith that a bit.) Finally, suggest to your wife that the punishment is too excessive, but you will support it and hope that she revises it downward now that the heat of the moment is over.
0 Replies
 
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 08:12 am
@scrump-daddy,
I completely agree with your wife that you need to be in this together. Your daughter is at a vulnerable age, going through some pretty big stuff, she needs a lot of consistency. A power struggle between you and your ex is not at all a good thing for her to witness. Trust me, she'll learn how to use it to her advantage.

That said, it does really sound like your ex's expectations and punishments are unreasonable and cruel. Additionally, she is sending a terrible message to your daughter about her self-worth.

Even though you're divorced you're still a family; you and your wife should see a counselor or mediator and work this stuff out then bring your daughter into the mix so that you can ALL learn how to have healthy relationships with one another.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 08:28 am
@scrump-daddy,
I'm really getting stuck on the chips-treadmill part of it. That absolutely sucks. And I think the daughter's angry reaction is justified. (I don't subscribe to the idea that elders must always be respected, especially when they do messed-up stuff like that.)

But yeah, that's incredibly tricky to navigate. I agree with boomer's observations about the need for consistency et al.

I agree that some sort of counseling is called for. Do you think "co-parenting" counseling is something your ex would agree to?
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 10:17 am
@sozobe,
I usually think in terms of mph for speed, just converted 8-minute mile to mph -- that's 7.5 mph! That's fast! (I'm a reasonably fit adult who runs twice a week -- I have to work pretty hard to do 7.5 mph for a quarter mile.) That adds a level of outrage. Run for your chips = bad. Run unrealistically fast for your chips = even worse.

I do think there is some sort of a line -- you will support your spouse's parenting when it's good through merely adequate, but not when it's downright bad. Tricky as hell to figure out just where that line is and implementation thereof, though. Good luck.
0 Replies
 
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 10:48 am
@scrump-daddy,
I'm sorry, but I don't think your ex has the right to punish you along with your daughter.

You're entitled to boundaries, and one of those boundaries can be, "your punishments can not spill over onto my time with our daughter."
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 10:53 am
I'm not going to add to the above, very well said. I do have a question or two.
Is this a typical punishment? as in, does your get grounded a lot? how often? for how long? How old is your daughter? Is she training for something or is this 'exercise routine' for weight control?
Do you have equal parenting time, or is this a quick visit?
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 11:33 am
First, I think parents must present a united front whether they are together or not. Otherwise, your kid will play one against the other and it will be a far uglier situation than you have now.

Like Celli, I have the same question. Is your daughter overweight? Is that why she was denied the potato chips? Perhaps her mother is trying to deal with that but if so, she's going about the wrong way.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 01:06 pm
@eoe,
eoe wrote:
First, I think parents must present a united front whether they are together or not.

Hmm...

In general, I agree with you. The responsibility to remain united lies with both parents, though. The fact remains that some people are not reasonable.

Two weeks grounding for backtalk sounds unreasonable to me (although I will hasten to say that I do not have the full story; perhaps the punishment is justified). Expecting an eight-minute mile sounds unreasonable to me. Controlling what a teenager eats sounds unreasonable to me (the groundwork for healthy eating should have been laid long before now).
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 02:55 pm
@sozobe,
I think the treadmill thing is a bit absurd, but the real issue is that the daughter went ballistic after not getting the chips. The punishment is not because the daughter failed to run an eight minute mile. If the daughter had asked for chips and the mom said no, then everything else is the same, does that change your opinion? Maybe mom should have just said no instead of making the chips a reward for a difficult task. I think DD did make a good point though. The ex's punishment effectively could punish dad as well. I think any punishment that would impact dad-daughter time would have to be waved, but computer use and calling friends don't fall into that category.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 03:26 pm
I'm reading along, seeing everyone's point - even the somewhat disagreeing points.

I'm not experienced in this myself, except by proxy with relatives. A child in my family had wildly different behaving divorced parents. They were both, ah, eccentric, but one was someone almost anyone would describe as an extremely poor parent. I don't see any reason that the non poor parent (I'm not talking about money, but care) should go along with the miserable or questionable care parent. So (was that DD or Engineer, I'd have to look back and will after I post this) whoever tried to put a line re where support stops into the mix, as in if your discipline is reasonable I'll go along, had a point. Hard to see that working though, and I'm picturing the arguments. Personally, I'd be resentful of being supposed to just follow the ex spouse's moves.

I do think a girl emerging with a sense of herself as trapped by a controlling mother needs to learn to be able to react without fit throwing - but a lot of us at a2k still have trouble with that as adults. (Which brings up that yesterday in the NYTimes there was a really interesting article and followup comments about people controlling what others eat - it's in the Well section, by Tara Parker Pope, or a similar name).

So... it does sound like the counselling some suggested could be a help.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 03:32 pm
@DrewDad,
I agree with the united front so long as both parents come up with a mutually agreeable discipline strategy. If dad's response to getting yelled at isn't grounding his daughter for two weeks then dad doesn't need to implement mom's arbitrary punishments when daughter is staying with dad.

Grounding an adolescent for two weeks because she yelled at mom is excessive, imo. I suggest mom and dad both read the book, "Get Out Of My Life, But First Can You Drive Me an Cheryl to the Mall?" Amazon and then come up with a set of rules that daughter knows and understands and a set of consequences that they both agree are reasonable if the rules are broken.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 03:36 pm
@JPB,
Great title, good suggestions.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  4  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 03:56 pm
@scrump-daddy,
Hello scrump-daddy,

you should honor your ex-wife's rules to discipline your daughter and vice versa,
you would hope that your wife honers yours. Now, when my daughter was that
age, she always portrayed herself as the poor victim. She would embellish on
how badly she was punished in school by her teachers and that everything was
completely unfounded and everyone was out to get that poor child. Once, she
had me run up to school - that's how convincing and dramatic she was.

Point is: does the potato chip story come from your daughter alone or did
you ask her mother too of what happened? Your daughter inevitably will
make herself the victim in the hopes to get you in her corner.

My advice would be to sit down with your ex wife and talk about discipline and punishment and you both should stick to a mutually agreed upon concept.

DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 04:23 pm
@CalamityJane,
CalamityJane wrote:
My advice would be to sit down with your ex wife and talk about discipline and punishment and you both should stick to a mutually agreed upon concept.

Ditto.
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 04:43 pm
@DrewDad,
That would be good, if they can. I guess I'm chary-er. I wouldn't count on it, and think it might help to be in a counselling situation.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 06:17 pm
@engineer,
It didn't really say she went ballistic -- it said she yelled and slammed doors. I certainly would have yelled and slammed doors if my mom pulled something like that with me when I was 11, and I think that's a reasonable reaction.

If she really went ballistic, (which I'd define as destroying property, hurting someone, that sort of thing) that's something else. But I think that while it would have been extremely mature and commendable for the daughter to have just not reacted at all, it's not at all surprising that she would find that upsetting, and react accordingly.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 06:18 pm
@CalamityJane,
That's a good point... before taking any action, best to confirm it actually happened that way.
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Sep, 2009 08:25 pm
I'll second, third and fourth that. Make sure it went down the way baby girl said it did.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sun 27 Sep, 2009 07:04 am
@CalamityJane,
CalamityJane wrote:

Point is: does the potato chip story come from your daughter alone or did
you ask her mother too of what happened? Your daughter inevitably will
make herself the victim in the hopes to get you in her corner.


the potato chip story actually seems to come from the mother - she's the one who called scrump-daddy to direct what should be done in his home in terms of following her punishment

It's pretty clear that the parents disagree on discipline. I'm honestly not sure if it's always possible, or right, for both of them to manage child discipline the same way.

If one parent is unreasonable (as it is presented by scrump-daddy) , why should the reasonable one follow the unreasonable track? I'd see it as an opportunity to demonstrate to the child that she has at least one reasonable parent, that not all adults are crazy.
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

My daughter - Discussion by Seed
acting out or real problem - Question by Bl08791
Tween girls - Discussion by sozobe
Nebraska Safe Haven Law - Discussion by Diest TKO
For Parents - Discussion by shawn1989
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Divorced Parent Discipline
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 05/09/2021 at 10:37:40