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  1. #1
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    Default Consequences vs Punishment

    I've been with DH now for over 6 years. And every week we get at least 1 phonecall from his ex (the kids' mum) about her disapproval of our methods of dealing with behaviour.
    As a general rule, we have explained to the kids that we feel consequences are what happens as a result of a choice, when they know it is the wrong thing to do. Whereas a punishment is something they do not like to make them not do it again... (just how we explain it- our way).

    Anyway, I'll give you the latest "issue".

    DSS' birthday- neither of the kids really like cake, but DH likes to mark the occasion, so he gets 4 cupcakes (one each) and the kids tell him which they want. They beg, plead, scream, etc etc for these particular cupcakes. DH agrees. We both know they won't eat them, but anyway...
    So the night of, we have forgotten all about them. It's 15mins before bedtime and DSS asks about them. We suggest we do it in the morning instead as it's so late. But they, again, beg, so we allow it. However, we make sure they understand that as soon as they are finished eating, it is bed time. They agree.
    DSD complains about every part of the cupcake (she has complained about the entire day as it's what DSS wants to do... we remind her all day that it's his birthday not hers, and we do the same for her), so I say, "Sweetie, if you don't like it you don't have to eat it. Are you finished?" She says yes and puts the mostly uneaten cupcake in the fridge, and then gets ready for bed. We give her a kiss and cuddle and say goodnight.
    DSS is still eating and finishes most of it within 15 minutes and then is done so he gets ready for bed and we tuck him in, kiss and cuddle.

    All good. Kids are fine, noone is upset.
    Flash forward a few days and they go to their mums. We get a passive aggressive email titled "punishment and food" with a piece of an article about encouraging healthy eating habits (all stuff I know, and we do). Usually, we would have gotten a screaming phone call. This time we didn't.

    My point? We we harsh? unreasonable? Is what we did a punishment?

    We checked with the kids when they came back, to make sure they understood. Neither of them felt upset at it. DSD did say it was annoying that DSS stayed up later, but said (without prompting) that it was what had been agreed on, so she wasn't upset.

    Their mother grills them about their time with us. It's like she HAS to find something to be able to complain about.

    I guess the years have taken their toll, and I'm starting to feel worn down. I find myself nodding along and not listening to her anymore, because there is always something wrong with us (DH is the worst father in the world apparently, because DSS can't ride a bike... nothing to do with the fact that she insisted he be in a pram at all times until he was 5).

    So, bubhub, am I an awful person? Are we bad parents?
    (I do consider myself a parent while their with us, but not their
    parent, if that makes sense... as in, I treat them as I would my biological child).
    I freely admit, that we are not above criticism, but my god... every time.

  2. #2
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    SuperGranny is offline Worlds best grandma! Winner 2012 - Most Helpful Member
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    hi DT75, I think I would have done the same as you. if this is her usual behaviour (the mother) I would just let it roll off my back. From what you have said, it seems to me you are good parents, and not doing anything out of the ordinary. it must be so hard to have every action scrutinised. marie

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    I don't think you did anything wrong at all.
    She sounds incredibly painful!

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    As a single mum of 2 with a "difficult ex" I would say the best thing you can do is practice ACT (acceptance commitment therapy) skills. You can't control what she does or how she acts towards you but you can choose how you respond. Let her stuff wash over you. Make a list of appropriate responses and keep rolling them out. Here are some off my list: Thank you for the email. Thank you for the text. Duly noted. Thanks for that. Message received. Email received.

    You do not have to answer her calls. In fact I haven't taken a call from my ex in 3 years. I will text, email or I listen to his voice messages and respond with a text or email. Boundaries are really important and so is self preservation.

    And the reason why there is always something wrong with you is because there's something not right with her. People within the normal rage don't bleat on about nothing and everything.
    Last edited by BbBbBh; 06-01-2015 at 15:25.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BbBbBh View Post
    As a single mum of 2 with a "difficult ex" I would say the best thing you can do is practice ACT (acceptance commitment therapy) skills. You can't control what she does or how she acts towards you but you can choose how you respond. Let her stuff wash over you. Make a list of appropriate responses and keep rolling them out. Here are some off my list: Thank you for the email. Thank you for the text. Duly noted. Thanks for that. Message received. Email received.

    You do not have to answer her calls. In fact I haven't taken a call from my ex in 3 years. I will text, email or I listen to his voice messages and respond with a text or email. Boundaries are really important and so is self preservation.

    And the reason why there is always something wrong with you is because there's something not right with her. People within the normal rage don't bleat on about nothing and everything.
    I do the response thing already. But I'm not really listening. Anything important, we get emails of from the school, dr, etc anyway.

    The problem with not answering her calls is she then turns up. Or she reports us. It's not worth the drama. DH is at work, so I'm the one actually with them, so she rings.

    ETA: I'm glad to read that we aren't being unreasonable. Kids need boundaries and rules. We include them in the set up of ALL rules, even non-negotiable ones. It's come to a point where I am second-guessing everything and watching every small noise that comes out of my mouth in (almost) fear.

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    I dont even understand what her problem is..? Her kids ate a cupcake and went to bed? Confused...

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    Another who doesn't understand the problem? How is being given a cupcake either a punishment or consequence?

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    She feels that DSD was sent to bed for not finishing the cupcake.

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    Default Consequences vs Punishment

    Quote Originally Posted by DT75 View Post
    She feels that DSD was sent to bed for not finishing the cupcake.
    Sorry I must have missed it initially but that is just ridiculous. Seems as though you are handling it the best that you can, I would try to not engage her - she sounds truly unhinged!
    Last edited by ChelleBH; 06-01-2015 at 20:05.

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    You are not doing anything wrong. When she rings say yep, no worries, see ya ! **** ! Every week ? What the hell is wrong with her ? My guess is she has nothing better to do with her time. Or say to her, I have asked the kids, they didn't have a problem with it, so I am not sure why you do ? grrrr. My blood would be boiling if I were you LOL


 

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