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Q:

Ex constantly questioning child

My ex and his fiance are constantly questioning our child, always asking if she's made her bed, if she slept in her own bed, etc etc. When it came time for the day that she was going to them, she cried a lot and said she didn't want to go because of all the questions being asked all the time. Please give me some advice?
In Topics: Single parent families, Divorce Issues
> 60 days ago

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Expert

ShirleyCressDudley
Nov 12, 2012
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What the Expert Says:

Blended families are difficult, and co-parenting is a part of that life.  I'm sorry your daughter and you are frustrated with the parenting techniques of your ex-spouse and his fiance.

You can't change their parenting, but you can change the way you respond to it, and help your daughter respond more positively to it.

When your daughter says they "ask questions all the time," it's time for you to be supportive of your ex. I know this is difficult at times, but you want to do what's best for your daughter, and creating an environment of support will do this.

Here are some suggested answers:
"Honey, I know your dad and his fiance ask you a lot of questions, that's because they care about you and want to make sure you're taken care of."

"Yes, I know it's different at your daddy's house, but that's how they communicate and let you know that they are thinking of you."

Communicating calmly and positively will make such a difference in your daughter's visits to her dad's house. Children need both a mom and dad and don't want to choose between one or the other. If you commiserate with her on the fact that they ask a lot of questions, you are just helping expand her perception that they ask too many questions and it's unacceptable. (I don't believe, from the information your daughter is giving that you can accurately determine this.)

Give him the benefit of doubt, and encourage your daughter to respond positively to them. She can even proactively respond to them, by coming downstairs in the morning and saying, "Good morning, everyone. I made my bed and put away my toys."

I hope that's helpful.

Kindest Regards,

Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC NCC FACMPE
Founder of The Blended and Step Family Resource Center

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