How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask TherapistJen Your Own Question
TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3491
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Certified Coach Mom of Twins.
Type Your Parenting Question Here...
TherapistJen is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Please refer to the details above and our previous discussion... 1.

This answer was rated:

Please refer to the details above and our previous discussion...

1. Do you feel that I should tell the children that this is going to happen or just have her show up and meet us?
2. If I invite my mother will that make it warmer or more complex?
3. I do not want the ex wife to manage my life, but these are our kids. Do you think I should inform her of this or simply manage it on my own? Ultimately, she will know so it doesnt matter much I just want to minimize impact on the kids.

CoachJenK :

Will be available around 5.30 today. if you can wait then great. if you need to go to someone else understand.

CoachJenK :


I don't think surprising the children by having her just show up is the way to go. I would give them the opportunity to hear the information and talk to you about any feelings they might have and also what you expect fro them at the meeting. At the very least, respect. Give them time to discuss it with you and give them time to warm up to her.
Does your Mom like this woman, know this woman? If the answers are yes and your kids have a good relationship with you Mom then this could help especially if they see Grandma interacting well with her...they can feel that it is safe.
In terms of communicating with the is communication between the two of you? How will she handle hearing it? If she will bad mouth you and involve the kids then you may want to rethink it, but if you are both communicating well and you let her know you wanted to give her the respect of knowing that this is going to happen she might be open to it and then can also have open communication with the kids after it. My hope of course would be that she will say all the right things. Mommy and Daddy love them, and it is ok to meet someone else in daddy's life...etc.
Tell me your thoughts.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Jennifer, thank you for your advice.

My communication with the ex is very explosive when it involves my new girlfriend. Last time she asked me for help with something for my son, I offered to have my girlfriend drop me off and pick me up to help (I needed the ride) and she then basically berated me and refused my help.

I think it's going to be difficult no matter how it's done. I just want to minimize impact for everyone.
I hear that for sure, and I can hear that no matter how it is done she will not react well.
I always believe in open communication so it is hard for me to say don't tell her especially because it impacts your children and hers. Maybe when they are with you and you have it scheduled you can give her a call....I am truly not sure about this one.
I am happy that you are desirous of minimizing the impact. You know your ex best, XXXXX XXXXX I have to defer to you as to which way to go on this and I can support you in whatever way you choose and work from that either before or after it takes place.
I also wonder why you felt the need to tell her your girlfriend was dropping you off...why not just get to the house and ring the bell when you were there to help?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I will accept your answer, but I wanted to reply to your question.

There is a difficult pattern with her. Anything I ask for she demands "reasons" and has "a way" that everything should be done. If I were to have her drop me off and she saw she might (a) go berzerk in front of the kids or (b) not allow me to help. If I stand in the doorway with my kid watching me and she then doesnt allow me to help and goes berzerk, its only going to set things backward.

I dont want to cower to her in my life, yet she has primary custody and so much impact on the lives of the children. As an example, I have the kids for winter break. When having them for a week she asked if she could have a night of visitation. I said sure, but the nights she requested didnt work so offered an alternate night. Her response was literally "If you are not taking them anywhere, then there is no reason that this doesn't work. I will take them Monday at 5:30 and bring them back Tuesday at 10:30."

As you can see, there is no respect in the communication or in my life.

So, I decided to tell her so that she knew before I arrived in case of drama. I also do not want to pretend to her that I'm alone, when I am not. That type of behavior is a slippery slope into lying about stuff to make everyone feel OK and avoid dealing with pain. I made that mistake way too often in the past and now I am trying to be very careful about what I say and how I say it. I truly do not want her, or anyone, to hurt further, but I cannot control anyone's emotions but mine. I can only control what I say and do.
It makes perfect sense to me and I can see why you are walking on egg shells. not an easy situation at all and you are thoughtful and very mindful and I support you in your care for your kids.
So, you know that no matter how you will go about it things will not go well. Since you know your ex then figure out what you believe to be the best way that will minimize the impact....I know you are thinking there is no best way, and there may not be, but be the best father you can be and make those decisions. I just hope she can do her part and not destroy you to the kids...that only hurts them.
Will you please keep me posted. I am concerned for you and the kids and want the best for everyone involved.
TherapistJen and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you