Guilt tripping a teen?(5 Posts)
My ex and I have co parented DD (14) for the last 6 years - despite our differences, we've negotiated the major hurdles (secondary school selection, first mixed sleepover etc) but as she's growing up into the normal, challenging teen stage we seem to have very different approaches.
As far as I'm concerned, DD is a pretty normal teen - we've had very few issues, but there have been repeated incidents of mislaid school letters/reports and issues around her personal hygeine - in particular the disposal of sanitary products.
I've been pretty detached and matter of fact about these - yup, these things happen, but I do follow through on "natural consequences" and am unmoved by her tears and tantrums (when, for instance, I call the school to ask for a copy of the letter/report she has lost, or ground her until her room is clean). I ignore her accusations that I'm the worst parent ever and I don't bear a grudge - she makes a mistake, we deal with it, move on and learn from it. We have a very good relationship; she confides and debates with me, and we spend lots of positive time together.
Her Dad favours the "I'm so disappointed in you" approach - followed by a compensatory gesture (last time it was an iPod) after a shouting match.
He copied me into an email he sent her today reprimanding her for not disposing appropriately with sanitary items at his house that his DW subsequently found. It includes a photo of the offending items and it's littered with references to how he feels about it. He has asked that the three of us (me, him and DD) meet before Xmas to discuss it further.
I'm wondering if the lack of consistency in approach is going to be a problem long-term; I tend to expect this kind of behaviour/attitude from her as normal teen stuff and deal with it as it arises without getting upset and emotional about it myself, but he seems to take her mistakes/teen attitude very personally.
Peru, I have been through exactly the same. I saw a brilliant counsellor who gave me some invaluable tips which worked. We had the same issue with mixed disiplinary methods. The counsellor told me, my house, my rules.
Email him back and tell him you will discipline your DD in your home the way you see fit and he can do the same in his home. Tell him you do not want updates. How she behaves with him and his DW is their problem not yours. You are no longer in a relationship with him.
You sound like you are doing a super job and you do not need to synchronise your parenting with him. Second guessing his decisions will only make you less competent and less decisive. Carry on as you are doing. Don't even discuss it with him.
I promise you I have been there. Put your head up high and make your own decisions. You worry about lack of consistency but you can't control his decisions. Impose consistency quietly and confidently in your own home. Never defer to him. If you do she will exploit this loophole to the max, trust me!!! You are in charge of your child in your home. You are doing a great job against the odds.
Meanwhile.... what do he and his no.2 wife think are inappropriate places to dispose of used sanpro?
I entertained myself back in 2011 going through every bathroom and loo and installing flip top bins with liners ready for dtds imminent sanpro crises. I also ensured that all four bathrooms/loos had nice simple sanpro solutions ready installed in a discreet drawer.
OP by the way, my DD is 18 and your DD's behaviour sounds 100% normal. When I first saw used sanitary towels not disposed off I was not impressed - me and the rest of my friends with teenage DDs. Not nice, I know but all too normal.
I dunno, DH & I (still cohabiting) sometimes do a Good Cop/Bad Cop routine. I don't think it works badly.
So he goes with the initial screeching, which calms down to a cold "I'm so disappointed in you". I go with "Well that's quite a problem you have there, how do you intend to work on that, do you want any help?"
Not always perfect, but almost nothing seems to work with teens anyway.
You can still do things your way & let him do his own thing without making different approaches into conflict.
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