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Co-parenting. What does this mean? How do you achieve it?

(16 Posts)
itsnotpossibleisit Tue 13-Sep-11 23:00:45

Background: I have separated from DD's dad since May this year and our relationship is inexistent. Before we separated he didn't help that much with DD or the house. It was my responsability because I was not working (according to him) and because I gave up my job to look after DD after my maternity leave ended. He never did one night or put her in bed while we were together. He never participated in anything related to DD not even when we had to wean her. DD is 2.2 years old

So now we are stroggling to do things in the right way. Today I forgot to send him a text (we had a busy day) letting him know what she had for lunch and I got this nasty lovely text from him saying that it was a shame I was incapable of not consistently letting him know what I was giving DD for lunch. My reply was that it was a shame that he was incapable to co-parent with me which he reply how exactly he should co-parent with me. I know I should not have got into the texting game but I just had enough. Last week she came back from having dinner at his house (middle of the week) eating sweets at 8pm and when I told him to please not to give her sweets he said that eating sweets was ok. That night I could not put DD in bed until 9:45pm. I also asked him not to give her lolly pops which he answered he has not done. I explain him that she has been asking for lolly pops everytime she has seen one and I have never given her one and then he said that he gives her lolly pops every now and then (which translate to probably everytime she is with him). Last saturday she didn't wanted to eat after spending the whole day with him and a friend was around and I said to my friend that probably she had been eating sweets the whole day and DD said yes with this lovely grin in her face.

So how am I supposed to co-parent with someone who is impossible to talk and who would deny everything unless I can prove that he has done something? He has not even bother asking in all this time how DD is settling or anything. How do you do it?

Any advice much appreciated. Thanks in advance

MissPricklePants Tue 13-Sep-11 23:12:12

ok well I have a horrible piece of work for an ex and he feeds dd (2.4) rubbish for the one meal he has to provide per week but she doesnt really eat it as she isnt used to it. My solicitor told me that unless there is a medical reason why a dc cannot have the food then you cannot tell them not, it is upto the nrp during that time. Obv you have a very diff relationship with your ex than i do with mine, we do not text etc as he is abusive so cannot advise you with the co-parenting help but i would say that during the time dd is with you then it is upto you, when she is with her dad it is then upto him x

MamaMassageMe Tue 13-Sep-11 23:20:31

he does not need to know what your dd has every day for lunch. that is a ridiculous request! and sounds a bit controlling to me...do u tell him what she has for breakfast and dinner and snacks too? does he nmeed to know the temp of her bath?? does he text u with details of her meals when dd with him?? and yet stuffs her with sweets....i smell controlling behaviour?!

itsnotpossibleisit Tue 13-Sep-11 23:30:21

MissPricklePants: I know I cannot control what DD eats when she is with him but I would like to be more conscious that she should not be eating sweets at 8pm because it makes her go crazy as she is not used to eat them. At least I do not give her any at all when she is with me.

MamaMassageMe: He is very controlling, he has always been. So I guess my point is how do you do co-parenting with a control freak man?

MissPricklePants Tue 13-Sep-11 23:42:03

My ex is controlling and it is frustrsting. He gives dd processed rubbish and doesnt really bother with her, she usually comes home hungry. I think that there will have to be firm boundaries in place as your ex is being ridiculous regarding texting about lunch etc. What does your ex say about the sweet issue?I agree with you that he shouldnt do it.

itsnotpossibleisit Tue 13-Sep-11 23:50:00

When we used to live together he used to agree with me that it was not necessary for DD to try them soon in life He agreed that if she didn't know what they were she would not miss them. Now it seems he has changed his mind (what a surprise).

It is not just the sweets. She went on holiday with him last month and when they were back he texted me after dopping DD (as he always do) asking me when I was going to start potty training DD as he had already started while they were on holiday. I didn't even bother replying to that text as DD is not ready and the health visitor had to explain it to him 3 times when we went to the 2 years review. By the way it was the first time he came to this kind of appointments.

In the past when I have had to go to the hospital with DD and we were still living together, he just dropped us and left us in the hospital. Never came to doctors or any other thing

Dee34 Wed 14-Sep-11 11:46:57

I had the same situation (and yes, its controlling!). I used to get texts from ex asking me what DS had done that day, what he had eaten, what time he had gone to bed (used to get that at around 10.30pm at night!) all sorts. And these texts used to come throughout the day when at the weekend (e.g. how was DS at his swimming lesson this morning). All information he didn't need to know. I would say ignore his texts if you can or explain that they are intrustive if you are having to stop what you are doing to text him what your daughter has just eaten. If your DD is with you, then he can be rest assured that she is fine/being well fed etc. Does he send you similar texts back?

I also get the whole potty training thing and when are you getting rid of his dummy query. Following excellent advice on another thread on MN, I now just ignore him if he starts being incessant. By all means, if he is truly interested and wants to really help, then I 'welcome' his queries at the right, agreed time.

itsnotpossibleisit Wed 14-Sep-11 11:59:46

Dee34: he does not text for anything else. I have been trying to ignore his texts for a while. He has never bothered asking how DD is addapting to the new life or if she is sleeping well. Just these things which has the main point to make me feel like if I am a bad mother because DD is still using nappies when she is just 2.2 years old.

I would love to be able to co-parent with him but I just don't know how to achieve this as he can be very difficult, controlling and he likes to plan and plan and plan with no chance for improvising (one of the problems in our relationship)

cestlavielife Wed 14-Sep-11 12:58:58

would eh agree toa ttend a local coparenting course?
ask GP.
seomthing like this
www.tccr.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=93:parenting-together-service&catid=35:counselling-a-psychotherapy-services&Itemid=95

there may be a local service to you ask GP in first instance

itsnotpossibleisit Wed 14-Sep-11 21:44:48

Cestlavielife: I don't think a coparenting course would work at all. we tried relate before we separated and it didn't work as ExP is the type of person that he is always right and it is very difficult for him to accept any kind of advice. Evn when health visitor tried to explain him 3 times that DD was not ready to be potty trained he didn't listen shock

I guess I just will have to get used to it and learn to live with all his c**p

YoFluffy Tue 20-Sep-11 20:42:14

It's not easy but I've learned to accept that when the kids are at dad's, they live by his rules and routine, when they're at mine they live by mine. This involves everything from food / clothes/ bed times etc.

Although I don't see eye to eye with my ex & our approach is different, the kids are happy with him and he's a good father - I don't need to know what they're doing there. Likewise when the kids are with me, I certainly wouldn't be sending him a text telling him what they'd eaten !!!

Kids like routine but can understand that this is different in different houses (how many are spoiled rotten by grand parents?), I really don't think it's essential your ex has to use this to exert any kind of control or enforced communication over you.

solidgoldbrass Mon 26-Sep-11 17:58:38

This man is a knob, bear in mind that you do not have to obey him. Ignore his texts. Put the phone down on him if he calls up and is rude or verbally aggressive. Make yourself a little sign to go on or near your phone which says 'WHo cares what Knobbo thinks?'

On the other hand, though, you do have to accept that when he is looking after her he can do as he sees fit unless his treatment is genuinely harmful (giving her gin and fags or letting her play in the fast lane of the motorway or whatever). Sweets won't hurt her and the novelty of having them will wear off after a while.

balia Mon 26-Sep-11 19:03:12

Excellent advice from the previous two posters. I'd only add that if he never has to take the consequence of giving her sweets he isn't likely to stop doing it - I'd pick her up the following morning so he has to try putting her to bed full of sugar!

MrGin Mon 26-Sep-11 20:14:08

The only way to achieve some sort of decent co-parenting is to get on with your ex. This involves both of you putting the past behind you. All the injustice you and he may feel. It may help to both agree to hear each other out with no interuption. From that point on the past should be just that. The future is the child.

My dd was potty training at 2 so I'm not sure why you're so against him for suggesting it.

My xp, the mum, sends me a text every night. Just short and sweet. Mainly so I know they are both safe and well. My xp is usually interested to know what dd ate and when, and also what time she went to sleep and when she woke.

The rest of the co-parenting is usually discussed face to face as we managed to recover a fragile friendship from the carnage of the relationship.

So xp will give me advice on what needs to change. For example I stopped giving dd fruit juice as the nursery only offer water.

The bottom line is that you both need to accept past mistakes , get rid of the anger from the past and move forward in a positive way. You are both, like it or not, going to be in each others lives for the next 20 years or so. You need to find a way to resolve your issues with each other.

YoFluffy Wed 28-Sep-11 22:31:27

I could happily stick hot pins in my ex's eyes (and he in mine no doubt) and we'll never get on. That doesn't stop us co-parenting successfully. We have things we simply won't agree on - how much independence the children are allowed for example - but we have learned that we simply cannot impose upon the other. There's no way my ex will be telling me "what needs to change" (!!), nor vice versa....that's the first thing that would wind each other up, nor do I want him gracing my mobile every night. shudder

itsnotpossibleisit Wed 28-Sep-11 23:01:57

MrGin: I wouldn't oppose to potty training if DD was ready. She has plenty of nappy free time in the house and she is not able to control it or ask for it. So yes I do oppose if it is going to make things worse once she is really ready. Also I wish we could really coparent together as you are describing it but with someone who believes he is always right and won't listen any other opinion it is very difficult if not impossible. My intentions have always been to be able to do things together for DD best interests but the reality is that at the moment it is completely impossible. I hope that maybe in a few years we may reach that point or maybe not who knows.

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