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TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3396
Experience:  Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Certified Coach Mom of Twins.
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I am a happily re-married father with a great wife, and

Customer Question

I am a happily re-married father with a great wife, and we've been married two years. I have four kids from a previous marriage, my wife has one, and we have one together. I have a good job, but it frequently requires that I travel two to four days per week, and my options for other employment which would keep me home are limited. Because of my travel, it often creates tension between my wife and three of my kids who are still living at home. The tension comes from the fact that I do not have custody of my three kids and pay a lot of child support, but they want to come over while I'm out of town. My wife doesn't feel like they listen to her, and that their mother is taking advantage of the situation by having us take care of the kids when it suits her, so she's requested that they spend the night at their mother's house while I'm out of town. We've accomplished that, but the kids sometimes come over in the morning before school, come home for lunch, or run home before football practice to grab items they need (we live very close to their high school, while their mother lives about 15 miles away). My wife has been frustrated because they don't always clean up their messes, eat food when they have paid-for lunch at school, and most recently left the door open. This allowed our dog to get out and roam the neighborhood and get put in danger of being run over. My wife wants to lock the house during the day, and not give any of them a key. My hesitation is that she wants to give our other son a key so that he can come home after school, since his father completely stepped out of the picture long ago and he has nowhere else to go. I just want to make things work so our family feels like a family, that my wife is happy and our kids are happy, and not make some of the kids feel like there's favortism, because all of the kids take turns doing things they shouldn't, and well, being kids. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Actually, it's not that she wants to, she went ahead and told the kids they couldn't come over during the day while she was gone, and gave her son a key. I'm pretty sure it was one of my kids that did it, and I have my ex demanding an explanation. I feel like this issue is just dividing our family, and really frustrating me because nothing I do seems to be helping (right before I left, I made sure the kids did their chores). And a while ago a friend who was house sitting accidentally left the door open for a couple of days after she left, but nobody got upset.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
By did "it" I meant leave to door open and let our small dog out
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 year ago.

I hear the frustration and a bit of chaos. I agree with you that it is sounding a bit unfair to restrict yours and not hers. BUT, there is a way to bring some order back....First a meeting between you and your wife needs to take place where you both get to put out your wants and desires around this and some compromise to take place. Once you are both clear and the boundaries, then a family meeting with everyone where the rules and boundaries are made clear with a clear understanding of the consequences if not followed. Let them know what is expected of them and if they don't clean up, take care of things, etc then the doors will be locked. To lock the doors without letting them know what you want and how you want extreme and causes tension. Yes, you may have told them to clean up, etc, but I am talking a formal family meeting so that everyone is on the same page with a very clear picture of the rules and the consequences.

Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 year ago.

and there should also be other consequences for them not doing their chores or whatever...and doing them without being reminded.

Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 year ago.

Let me know how else I can support you. If all good for now, please click on the rating tab to rate my support. Thanks so much.