Friday, 24 March 2017

Co- Parenting- when kids play you up against each other

I know there are many parents who will agree that playing up one parent against the other is a normal childhood rite of passage, one parent is usually easier to win over or manipulate and this leads to the whole but mommy said I could or vice versa, I know growing up my dad was the parent who hated confrontation and whose usual answer was either ask your mother or if happened to say mom said ask you (which never happened) then he would mutter yes ok just to get us off his back or to stop the whining. 

Now that I have kids I have encountered an interesting dynamic between my ex and my husband.

You see with my ex it seems I am the easier parent at least according to my kids… and with my husband he is the one who lets Jesse in particular get away with blue murder…

For example last night I had to go and fetch Loghan from his father and when I pulled into our driveway at home just after 8 I expected Jesse to be sound asleep, however when I got inside he was wide awake and eating a yogurt, I was of course upset and proceeded to tell hubby he needed to get him to sleep whilst I sorted Loghan out, Jesse was by this time over tired and irritated he cried and threw a tantrum and it caused a major issue, I chose to carry on and ignore it because as far as I was concerned my husband had made his bed and now he needed to deal with.

With regards to my ex, he and I have both made changes to the way we discipline and deal with the boys but even I will admit that I deal with Loghan especially on a completely different level compared to his father and this means that I can usually get a lot further with Loghan and changing his behaviour or calming him down.
Loghan however has reached an age where manipulating the pair of us against each other seems to have become more prevalent and it came to a head last night when Loghan acted up at school yesterday and then turned around and told his father he wanted to live by me, his father put his foot down and said fine you can go but you need to understand this is not a game so until further notice you will not be coming this side.

This initially made me angry and it broke my heart to see Loghan’s face when he was told because I know how much he loves his father and I know he wants to spend time with him and he is going through so many changes and things right now but it was a decision I had to stand with and see through and I understand that for my ex it was a decision made to ensure that Loghan understands he cannot just jump around because he feels things will be easier one side or the other, as we explained to him wanting to live one side or the other is not the issue the issue is that he presumed that by asking to come my side his actions would go with less or without consequence which is completely untrue.

It is extremely difficult to understand how a child of 9 could contemplate manipulation and such but I know I did it as a child as did everyone else, I think it is just a bit different when you co parent separate households as you do not always have the complete story, sometimes you only have the word of your child to go on and even if you have the word of the parent it can be difficult because you want to believe what your child is saying and you are not aware of what goes on in another household other than what you are told.

I know that my ex loves his children, I know I have made mistakes and so is he but we both want what is best for the kids and will always do what we need to keep things civil and great between us as parents so that we can be the best parents we can be between the two households.


  1. Great post. My step-daughter tried that last year but she lives in the UK with her mom and they'd had a fight. Long story short, her & her mom had a fight and she told her mom she wanted to come live with us. We said yes, and basically called her bluff. It hasn't happened again. At least she knows where the line is drawn on that issue.
    As a daughter of divorced parents, it sounds like you & your ex are doing a great job. xx

  2. thank you I really appreciate that, we are trying our best which sometimes isn't easy with an ex spouse, I think kids try to push different boundaries at different stages and this one is it for my son, I love having him home and I do feel it is best for him to be in one home for most of the time, but I would never want that decision to be based on something other than what is best for my child or children I would never want it to be because of spite etc so I am really hoping that it will settle out now once he realizes what this kind of decision entails