Monday, December 15, 2014

Bad advice on managing joint custody

I sometimes post bad advice that women commonly get, and here is another example. This mom has joint custody, and needs a man to be in charge of her child-rearing. Either the ex-husband or the boyfriend would be an improvement. But the columnist Amy advises neither, and to rely on some stranger instead. Furthermore, she suggests undermining the joint custody.
DEAR AMY: I am divorced and have two young children. Their father and I share equal custody. I have had a boyfriend for a year. He has a young child of his own and we all live together as a blended family. This man is kind, sensitive, supportive and loving, everything my ex-husband was not.

There’s one problem. My kids tend to act up a lot and I’m not sure why. His child NEVER acts up. She’s helpful, listens, is easygoing, etc. My kids are the exact opposite!

This past year, my boyfriend has really been working with my kids on discipline and setting good examples, and so have I. I am an easygoing person but their dad is not. I think they get this trait from him. I don’t really know what goes on when they’re with him. When they come back to us, I feel like we’re going backward. My daughter (age 10) doesn’t act her age. She whines like a 3-year-old, is unhelpful around the house and with her younger brother, etc.

Now my boyfriend is showing hostility toward ME because of their behavior. I honestly do my best at disciplining them, but because his child is “perfect” he does not understand. I know I’m trying but he doesn’t see that. What should I do? -- Challenged Mom

DEAR MOM: You should take your kids’ behavior not as a sign that they are “bad,” but that they are very stressed. Your daughter’s regression does not mean that she is immature, but having trouble coping.

You should establish consistent routines, make sure they get plenty of healthy food and sleep, and treat them with firm, unflappable, loving kindness. Their routine of switching households is extremely challenging (could you do it?). You, not your boyfriend, should be the primary disciplinarian. Let him teach you how.

Your whole crew could benefit from some professional mentoring. The kids need to see your family as a “team,” with good days and bad days, but always on the same side.

Most important, your daughter should get some private counseling with a child therapist. Because you are not willing/able to communicate with her father, you should make sure she is safe and well cared for when she is in his household. Her behavior could be a red flag that there is a serious problem.
Note that the mom does not actually say that she cannot communicate with her ex-husband. Amy just assumes that, as well as assuming that the ex-husband is a problem.

Talking to a counselor is just crazy. Why is Amy being paid to give advice, if she is just going to tell everyone to go get advice from someone else?

The kids are not necessarily over-stressed. Maybe they are not stressed enuf.

You would think that advice-givers would encourage steps to make joint custody work. For example, this mom could ask her ex-husband to take charge of the child discipline, and promise to back him up when the kids are with her. But Amy does the opposite, and suggests that there is something wrong with the his care, and that the mom should interfere with him.

Yes, it is possible that the behavior differences are largely genetic. There seem to be some genes for bad behavior. If so, it is foolish to try to blame food or sleep or the joint custody.

I post nonsense like this just to illustrate the bad advice that women commonly get.

3 comments:

HeligKo said...

From the letter, my first reaction is the kids are responding to the fact that she doesn't actively parent them. She probably did this with her ex-husband, and seemingly as the kids respond to her boyfriend, he also is becoming hostile towards her. Maybe she should consider that it is her that is causing the stress in the household, especially since the results with two different men are very much becoming the same.

Malcolm said...

HELLO to my friends out there i am testifying about the good work of a man who help me it has been hell from the day my husband left me i am a woman with two kids my problem stated when the father of my kids travel i never help he was living but as at two weeks i did not set my eye on my husband i try calling but he was not taken my call some week he call me telling me that he has found love some where easy at first i never take to be serous but day after he came to the house to pick his things that was the time i notice that things is going bad i help he will come back but things was going bad day by day i needed to talk to someone about it so i went to his friend but there was no help so i give it up on him month later i met on the the internet a spell caster i never believe on this but i needed my men back so i gave the spell caster my problem at first i never trusted him so i was just doing it for doing sake but after three day my husband called me telling me that he his coming home i still do not believe but as at the six day the father to my kids came to the house asking me to for give him the spell work to said to my self from that day i was happy with my family thanks to the esango priest of (abamieghe)esango priest he his a great man you need to try him you can as well to tell him your problem so that he can be of help to you his content email is this esangopriest@gmail.com indeed you are a priest thank you for making my home a happy home again. remember his email is esangopriest@gmail.comii

paulmurray said...

Cupcake mingled her genes with those of a dirtbag, and now her kids are half dirtbag. Boo hoo, whatcha' gonna do?

The bf, who clearly isn't a dirtbag, would be well advised to get his kid the hell away from these people as soon as possible.