In a normal world with sane and rational people, both households after a divorce would have consistent and reasonably similar, if not identical, boundaries and rules to maintain a comforting level of consistency for the children.  It’s been painfully obvious for a very long time, however, that is certainly not the world in which we exist, and the kids being home for spring break last week more than drove that home.

Being the home with actual rules and boundaries is exhausting sometimes.  The kids bound in after spending two straight weeks with a woman capable of spitting offspring from her womb but without the vaguest idea what to do with them after that, and it shows.  The kids are largely left to their own devices at their other home, and it shows.  Whatever weak and inconsistent rules are occasionally applied in their other home are biased and decided by which child is in question, and that shows as well.

Being forced to over-parent due to the complete incompetence and lack of parenting skills in the other home is ridiculous, unnecessary, and in no way best for the kids.  Ricocheting from no rules at all, to clear rules that apply equally to everyone, and then back to no rules again, is confusing, especially for Dove, the youngest.  In one household, a five-year-old orders her mother and grandparents around and mandates to them what to do; in our home, she is to follow the rules just like her brothers and sister, and the holier-than-thou crap doesn’t fly.  In one household, it’s considered cute when she bullies her siblings.  In ours?  Hell no.

Yet again, their father and I have to overcompensate to make up for the lack of skills and caring of others in the children’s lives.   And yet again, the kids are the ones paying the price for the pettiness and sheer laziness of a womb-for-rent far more interested in herself than the children.

The easiest thing to do would be to give up.  Fighting against the lack of adult supervision and lack of discipline in which the children live the majority of the time feels like a losing battle.  We can’t undo in two weekends a month the damage that is inflicted on them the other three and a half weeks.

But what we can do is not contribute to the damage Crow and her parents already inflict on the kids.  It will never be okay in our house to order each other around like mini Nazis, or snap at each other with contempt and hatred, or any of the other behaviors that the kids have learned from their mother and grandparents.

I watch the girls playing with dolls or “playing Mommy”, and the spankings and harsh insults that they repeat in their role as mother, and I feel sad and scared for them.   What they have already learned, what has already sunk into their heads, what has already been beaten into them, is going to be hard to dislodge and replace with sanity, love, fairness, and safety.

About TheSmirkingCat

I am endlessly trying to make sense of a world that has completely and unapologetically lost its mind.
This entry was posted in neglect, poor mothering skills, poor parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Over-Parenting

  1. cassee01 says:

    I have a friend who is in the same position but unfortunately her BF is just now beginning to realize that structure and limits are important for children to have in their life – his daughter is 5 years old and has been in trouble for most of kindergarten and sometimes this month they are supposed to have a meeting with the teacher, the principal, a psychologist and a representative from the school board. This poor little girl has never had limits or structure and she is paying the price now.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Smirking Cat – I wish that I could say that I'm not in a very similiar situation. Your words hit home to me. I have 3 stepboys and I will say (we've been doing this for 11 years and we have the eow schedule too) it gets easier. We are considered the strict parents but, the years of staying strict/paying attention has really paid off. As they get older they appreciate the consistently applied rules, the 'no favorites' crap, the punishment = to the crime mentality. Don't give up! Real love means teaching kids their boundaries and how to treat people. Real love = consequences for actions. The kids will be better people because of your determination and love.

  3. kerbauk says:

    This is one of the hardest things to deal with in a step-family – especially the one with non-custodial visitations. The parent(s) that act with rules, boundaries and appropriate discipline are labeled as evil, mean, and unreasonable – while the other parent with no rules, boundaries or appropriate discipline is lauded as wonderful, caring and the ground that they walk on is to be worshiped.

    It is sad and terribly hurtful to be the one watching this unfold and be next-to-powerless to stop it from happening. Some days the only thing that keeps me plodding ahead on the course of sanity is the hope that one day the kids will recognize what their father and I have been trying to teach them and be thankful for it (not that I expect to be thanked, but just that they realize it for themselves).

  4. kimberlina says:

    what you guys are doing is the best you can do, especially for them. good for you!! even if it is utterly exhausting.

    by the way, love the new background!!!

  5. clickclickshutterbug says:

    I think I know what you mean…We get my fiance's kids 2 weekends a month, and I sometimes see little glimpses into the lives they have at their mom and stepdad's house. The 12 year old snaps at the 6 year old like he's running a bootcamp, and sometimes the 6 year old seems panicked and scared because the sweatshirt she wore last time to our house hasn't made its way back to her mom's house. It's very hard to have your own rules and get the children to stick to them, only to have them go back to their mom's house, where everything is done for them. Good Luck!

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