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  1. #1
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    Default How to parent/step-parent part time...?

    Hi all - long time reader, first time poster

    My Fiance (do you call them DPs on here? confused!) has three children with his ex wife. We have been together for three years. The ex wife is also repartnered. We have the children every weekend and they live with their Mum during the week (she has them for the occasional weekend if it's a birthday etc).

    Lately the children have been allowed to stay home from school for an array of ridiculous reasons (three days off for a blister this week, five days off for a rolled ankle the week before) and we're worried this is setting a poor example for the children.

    Also, their Mum has started bribing them again (like she used to in the early days) with "you can go to Dad's if you like, but you'll miss the party/fair/holiday we're going on this weekend". She has also told Miss 8yo that she is allowed to choose if she goes to her Dad's or not.

    How on earth do we have any say in these types of behaviours when we're only hands-on parenting for 2 days per week? It's becoming so frustrating that we're considering going for 50% custody which will obviously be a battle and a half.

    Thanks for reading and apologies for my first-post babble. Just getting frustrated

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    It does sound like that the mum might be missing the kids? If they are at school and then with you every weekend...when does she get time with them. It might be the reasoning behind letting them stay off school and trying to get them to stay home.

    I would suggest that a change to the parenting arrangement might be in order...so maybe get your fiance to raise it with her and see what they can come up with together. If he approaches from a place of recognising that she does not get any "free time" with them, maybe a big fight can be avoided?

    I know that DS struggles with how little time he gets at home with us and he only sees his bio dad every other weekend.

    Maybe see if you could have them alternate weekend and maybe a few weeknights? so you guys still get the same number of nights but also take on some of the running about to school drop off/pick up and afternoon activites...but I guess that would rely on your DF having flexible enough hours to be able to do that. Just a suggestion.

  3. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to River Song For This Useful Post:

    poppy83  (23-03-2013),VicPark  (22-03-2013)

  4. #3
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    I agree with River that maybe she's not getting quality time with them if they're either at school, doing homework and winding down for the day while she does baths, dinner, etc and then on the weekend they're with you. My daughter goes to school and I work on Saturdays... Sundays are my only day with her and it kind of sucks... And I have found I'm sometimes wanting to give her the day off just to be with me so we can spend time together (on a day I'm not working).

    It might be worth discussing the current arrangements before anything else?

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    I agree with the others perhaps if you had them every other weekend and 2 nights midweek such as a wed thu night every second week.
    So you would still have them 4 nights per fortnight just set up a little different.

    My advice is to let your DP do all the communication with the mother, you can still 'have a say' in changes that affect you but just discuss them with DP.

    Dont bag the other parent out no matter how hard it is, dont let the kids hear any negativity or arguments about it because it causes them stress and anguish.

    Make your partner do the majority of the parenting, they are his respossibily so dont let him force that on you.
    You can still have a good relationship with the kids though.

    Try not to let what happens at the other parents house get to you unless of course the kids are in danger and what not, you cant save kids from their mother she will do things her way and although it may be frustrating the best thing you can do is try and ignore it and get on with things.

    Kids are clever they will eventually figure out that they are being bribed and they will be annoyed at the parent or person that speaks poorly of their mum or dad so take the high road in that regard.

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    Change of parenting plan, every second weekend and a night during the week? If you think the kids are missing out on too much school, maybe have a chat to the teachers and if worse comes to worse go to mediation

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    Thanks guys - all great advice! Really like the idea of approaching from the Mum's perspective and asking what she'd suggest in terms of a new parenting plan. Cynical side of me thinks she'll just want DP out of the picture, but trying to be optimistic.

    At the moment we're on the opposite side of Sydney to the kids, so weeknights may not work. We're building a house ten mins from them that will be ready at Christmas, so maybe for 2014 school year we can try a 50/50 plan.

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    then maybe alternate weekends for the rest of the year and if your DH can get the time off, 1/2 school holidays.

    Then next year, maybe talk about more time during the week.

    It is very different for each family, but, I would never agree to 50/50 with my ex. It might seem a simple solution, but it isn't and you will more than likely have a huge fight on your hands. It is hard on the kids moving back and forth all the time (although, if you are only 10 minutes apart it might not be as bad) and if the mum is a stay at home mum and the dad is not the stay at home dad...then it can cause even more problems. AS in, i am the stay at home parent and am there for school drop/pick up, do the majority of the care...my ex works and is often interstate and I would not be happy with DS's step mother being the primary carer.

    If your goal is what is best for the kids (which it really sounds like it is which is awesome), then look for stability and go from there. Maybe once you move there could be 1 arvo a week your DH could pick them up from school and take them to a sport/activity and then drop them back at school the next morning plus alternate weekends.

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