I am a divorced father, remarried to patient wife of 2- 20yr old sons, do you have any material I or my EXwife can read in order to communicate?
Divorced father since 2005. Kids live w/ me at least-on Wed sleepovers,every other weekends, 4 weeks in summer. Remarried since 2007.New wife has raised 2 sons now in their early 20s & she did a great job and is concerned about my kids. I have 2 daughters 12 & 13 years old, leaving private school and starting public middle schl in August. The EX is a prblm and doesnt communicate with me well and regrets joint custody (hands on father). She often puts the girls in the middle and now the girls dont want to stay with be since I have begun to discipline them. We live 30mins apart. I dont want to be left out of their daily lives w/ school, grades, events. I want open communication.
Seems that you are working very hard to keep your daughters a priority in your life, and I commend your commitment to them. I know that you are facing a number of challenges as you negotiate co-parenting with your ex-wife and wife, but I believe that you are already off to a good start given the love and dedication that you bring to remaining an involved father.
Now, the hard part. It is crucial that you and your ex-wife develop good communication for managing parenting and discipline of your daughters. Depending upon the level of comfort that your ex-wife and wife have with one another, you may consider a meeting with you and your ex-wife, or with you, your ex-wife, and your wife. If your ex-wife and wife are not comfortable with each other, you may choose to meet first with your ex-wife to discuss your approach to discipline and parenting.
Of critical importance is that rules are the same (or at least comparable) across households. It really is to the benefit of your daughters if there is consistency and agreement between the households. This includes rules for bedtime, use of the phone, internet, etc. Decide on some basic rules and commit to sticking with them. Determine what the consequences will be for breaking the rules.
If it is impossible to come to an agreement independently, I agree with Kat's advice below. You may need to bring in an independent party to help facilitate agreement on parenting practices. Really, the bottom line is that everyone needs to take a big, deep breath, and keep in mind that this isn't about hurt feelings or past transgressions. This is about two lovely daughters who need some good parenting during the often difficult transition to adolescence.
Finally, one more word about your important role as a father. Although your daughters will continue to need you more than ever (see the link before for more information on the role of fathers), they will be pushing away from you at this time. As girls transition to adolescence, it is normative for them to want less physical and emotional connection with their fathers. The father-daughter relationship needs to be renegotiated. You might follow-up with a book or two on the topic: Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters by Dr. Meg Meeker or What a Difference a Daddy Makes by Dr. Kevin Leman.
L. Compian, Ph.D.
Sounds like you're in a tough situation here but it's clear that you understand that putting your kids first is the most important element of success for a "blended family". That's great!
We have an information center with a number of articles that you may find helpful in improving your co-parenting relationship with your ex-wife. (link below) If you can't get things on the right track on your own, you may want to consider engaging the support of a co-parenting coach. Your family lawyer or personal counselor/therapist should be able to recommend someone in your area who specializes in helping blended families reach their potential together.
Well, your children most certainly need you. Your style of parenting may be different that hers of course so this causes conflict even in a marriage that has not split. So this is one issue and the other is seems like could be some old resentment on her part. She may feel secretly angry at you and decides to redirect this to your custody issue. I would first tackle the problem that you can control and that is what you are doing with the children...etc. The adjustment to your house is taking its toll on the girls. It may be stressed already. So lowering your expectations of the girls may be of benefit right now. Discipline is very good and is needed but just take a closer look on how you do and when you do it. Are you consistent? Sometimes not being consistent will also cause problems.
Make weekends a time for you to catch up on whats going on in their lives. Movies are always a plus with daddy and daughter. Pick a good movie and just enjoy the time you have with them.
Try www.blendedfamilyadvice.com It has newsletters, articles and ebooks. The Blended Family Advice Ebook is a great instruction manual for step moms and step dads. The best answer I can give you is not to be defensive and focus on the kids when you talk to your ex.
Shirley Cress Dudley , MA LPC
Blended Family Coach