Single Parents - Divorced Adults Group Message Board › Seeking advice before I act.

Seeking advice before I act.

A former member
Post #: 27
There are so many accusations when it comes to this sort of thing, be careful to pick your battles. I have concerns about my children's mother as well, but the truth is, I can't control what she does as a parent. And it's really valuable to be able to co-parent together. I would attempt to mediate a situation like this very tactfully before going the route of confrontation. I know, easier said than done, but there is a lot to be gained by taking the high road... especially for your kids.
Jolien
user 10665161
Madison, WI
Post #: 2
Here's another take on such situations. I have been learning a lot about NVC - non violent communication -- and attended a week long family camp with my sons that centered on NVC. One thing that is at the heart of the process is realizing that we all have the same needs and often the same wants, but very different strategies for getting there. When we make that assumption, that the other person in a conflict is simply using a different strategy, and also realize that we have a strategy we might very much prefer to use, sometimes conversations can go better.

In the case of children, both parents always want the safety and well-being of the child, but sometimes one person uses a strategy that doesn't feel ok to the other (sometimes because it really isn't very safe for the child), usually because they're more focused on a different aspect of safety or other needs of theirs. In the case mentioned, it sounds like the mother feels that she needs sleep to be able to function and doesn't feel able to provide an additional adult to supervise the daughter while she does this, which I think by many people's minds would be unsafe. In approaching the mother about this, one way to start the conversation is to acknowledge that she wants the same thing -- for the child to be safe -- and that for the dad, it really isn't feeling safe. So, is there a way we could work on the situation so that we both feel the child is safe. I can't imagine she wants to be endangering the child, and would probably welcome an open discussion about how to work together to improve the situation. If it's done with caring and concern, and acknowledgment that she's doing her best, you are likely to make more progress than if you attack. Have in mind specific, doable requests, too. If she feels like she has no alternatives, she can't make any changes.

I met someone at the family camp who described using this type of communication very effectively with her ex about a safety situation with her son. She preferred to let her son walk home from school unaccompanied (age 10 or 11), and her ex started attacking her and calling her neglectful and saying that someone could kidnap him. She expressed appreciation that he clearly cares very much about their son's safety and assured him that she values this as well. She brought down the tone of the conversation and shifted it to how the idea of safety may look different for different people, and that she values not only his safety but his independence, and feels that he can be safe even if he walks home from school alone. I think she was able to work with him to better understand his concerns and wants, and try to come to a reasonable solution that satisfied both parents, and that acknowledgment that his concern was for their son's safety (rather than just calling him an over-protective nutcase) really helped the situation.

I personally work very hard to make sure if I have a concern, I respect my son's dad and make the assumption that he cares about the safety and well-being of our son, and ask specifically for what would help me feel better. It can be really hard to improve a relationship when there's hurt involved, but if that is even one person's focus, it can really work well, given some time.

Jolien
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