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I have 3 kids (girls) from a previous marriage , ages 9, 12,

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I have 3 kids (girls) from a previous marriage , ages 9, 12, & 18. I have remarried and have a stepson who is also 9 yrs. old.The kids have really done a great job of helping each other blend our new family, I was surprised to be honest , that the 4 kids were so understanding of each other. Not that we haven't had our problems , we have indeed. We have always worked it out by talking as a family and making adjustments that were good for any or all involved .It has been 3 yrs now and the only real problems have always come from people outside saying I give my kids too many rights. They say my kids should learn to do and feel what adults tell them to do or feel.
The issue at hand now, I've been called a bad parent (to put it nicely)
My youngest daughter who is 9 and my stepson who is also 9 have come to act like the typical siblings , they play together ,fight with each other, go to the same school, both in 4th grade but 2 different class rooms. They always seem to be together most of the time, and really don't fuss & fight as much as I did with my brothers growing up.I feel truly Blessed that they do so well .Considering my daughter had to give up her place as baby of the family and the stepson give up his place as the only child , to share the place they are in. My daughter only sees her Dad on the way to and from church on Sunday mornings and for a while on Wednesday night church.She was in a small class of only 3 kids and her step mom was the teacher.This to my daughter was still time with her Dad that she craves so much.Somehow the step mom and her 2 yr old son(my child's 1/2 brother)were still a part of Daddy time even when Dad was not there.I understand. She and my other 2 daughters see very little of Dad. Anyway, the X-husband and his wife asked if my stepson could come along to church with my daughter.Without thinking I said if he wanted to go it was fine with me.He went a couple of times and my daughter told him she would rather he not go anymore.So I saw the boys feelings were hurt and asked my daughter what was up.She explained to me that her step brother likes to make a big deal of things and even make up stories to get attention and this few minutes a week was her time to have Dad and step mom 's attention,and she wanted it to be her and Daddy's time .I sat them down and explained to the boy why she was upset and he said he understood and was no longer hurt, then they went off to play.We decided the boy would not go with them anymore,but we would find a church he could go to, to enjoy Sunday school.
Then step mom calls me to tell me I was totally wrong in letting my daughter get away with being so selfish and I let my kids make choices that only adults should be making.She says if she is not picking up both kids ,then she will not take my daughter either. I tell her that they are not puppies the are little people with minds to think with and hearts to feel with and they do have rights .I am here to try to teach them how to make the right choices not tell them what they have to do like it or not. Some things yes parents have to make choices for them and teach them why i made that choice for them, not just because i said so. We have a lot of family meetings around here,and the kids don't always get what they want, they get what i think is best for them after we talk it out and EVERYONE has a chance to make their feelings known.My kids all 4 are people not pets.My daughter is upset that the few crumbs she was getting from her Dad are gone now. Did I handle this right in your opinion?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for using Just Answer. First of all, I applaud you for having such important family meetings. Also, I praise you for the way you handled the situation with the ex wife. Not attending the same church was a very mature and wise move. However, another solution must be agreed upon so that your daughter can see her dad. She obviously valued her relationship with her dad even if the time was so brief. Try to come up with a solution so that your daughter will not feel like her feelings were neglected. Can your ex take her to the park at least once a month or participate in another activity. Her dad should at least think of another alternative to see each other as well.

Have a blessed day.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It has been a real battle trying to make Dad and his wife understand how important it is for the girls to spend time with him. I can't force him to want to spend time with them. He never wants to make time for them. As long as the girls go to this church with them , they get a few minutes twice a week, on the ride to and from. The older girls have pretty much given up on any real Daddy time. When they complain , they are told he doesn't want to hear their drama and BS.
I tossed aside the visitation plan and told him, the kids can have any and/or all the time he can spare when ever he can ,so that there is no reason to ,not see them.He and his new wife and 2 yr old son live only 6 mile from us and I will change my plans around anytime he needs me to do so. I have begged this man to be a part of their world.I even told him, if I am them problem, I can send the kids out to him for pick up and he never has to see or speak to me. The man lost his job the 29th of May and did not go back to work for 2 1/2 months. The kids were out of school for summer break the same 2 1/2 months.Never one time did he see the girls outside the church. 700 excuses , but no Dad.They are not allowed to tell him how they feel, it's called drama & BS.He says he is not going to kiss their behinds and let them try to pull his new family into all the drama.
It is so hard to try to help them understand that these girls have feeling and are allowed to get upset when Dad does not see or feel what they need him to hear.
In the beginning (2008) the kids and I had no idea he was unhappy and planning to leave .It was a total shock to me and the kids, after 23 yrs of marriage you would think I would have seen it coming.But it happens,to marriages, not to the realationship between you and your kids.These kids have worked so hard to accept so very many things just for that small peice of Dad's time.It has been very hard for them after they found out that he left them to be with my best friend of 8 yrs. a family friend they all loved very much.
I closed up a part of me and bit my lip to try to make this even a little easier for the girls. After the first few months I even let everyone believe that I did not want to give up my best friend, i still loved her and we can break all the rules and still be best friends, so the kids would never have to play the divorce game , hate one to love another.It did not work for long, even the kids noticed Mom was doing all the giving and they the demanding.I still wish so hard and pray that somehow before it is too late,that this man who fathered these amazing little people would soften his heart and let him know them as the people they each are, they are great kids .And each have very different and wonderful hearts,minds, and souls, that he is missing out on.
Emotional abuse is always what the girls end up with from Dad and his wife, it is very sad. It does not have to be.Both their Dad and I have remarried and have our own new families.There is NO reason they can't be a part of both.I don't know what to do from this point. Trying to make it all ok for everyone has not done anything but make the x-husband expect even more from me.I don't have much left, and it really hurts deep to let them tell me what a bad parent I am because I don't agree with the new wife.
the two older kids 12 & 18 don't want to try anymore and the 9 yr old just had the door slammed in her face the 3rd - 4th time. I am feeling like a bad parent now because I keep the door open in hopes someday Dad will wake up and salvage some kind of realationship with his girls.My hope is wearing thin each time he breaks a heart. I don't think he really wants to see them at all anymore, he just does not come out and say it.So what do I do now ?
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.
You are correct in the fact that you cannot make your ex change the way he feels about your girls. His new wife is probably manipulating his every move. Unfortunately, your girls and you are suffering. I would suggest that at least your youngest seek counseling so as to learn how to deal with such a frustrating situation at such a young age. Ask your daughter's pediatrician for a referral for a counselor and or psychologist. That might be the best route to go. She needs some intervention and coping strategies on an on going basis.
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