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Hi everyone-

This has been bothering me for a while and I feel like nothing I try is working. My problem is how to coparent and make decisions with my XH when he is still foggy, pretty clueless to the parenting stuff, and controlled by his OW new wife. On top of this we are currently in the midst of a custody battle so things aren't all that comfortable to start with.

I really don't think he has true parental instincts in him. Thus a major part of why I am currently fighting in court to make sure he doesn't change our present custody arrangements. He was raised in a highly dysfunctional family and therefore never saw true parenting first hand. The result is he is pretty clueless when it comes to making decisions about our kids. Therefore he pretty much lets her make all the parenting decisions at their house.

The problem is the OWwife is an insecure control freak and seemingly goes out of her way to disrupt things and do them "her way." When I talk to my XH about it he asks me to cut him some slack as she is young and this is new to her. He has also told me that she is a bit controlling and rigid, but has good intentions and is still learning. Whatever!

Just last week when they were with them she took our girls to the store and ended up bringing them to get their hair trimmed. Well, she advised the beautician to cut four to five inches off of our middle daughter's hair. Of course none of this was mentioned to me beforehand.

When I asked my XH about it first he said that the daughter had wanted it. Oh sure, this is the child who has been growing her hair out for almost a year. It was to the middle of her back, well cared for and beautiful. The OWwife has been complaining for a while that it is too much work to care for. When I told him that I was told by more than one of the girls that the OW had told the beautician to do it and told my daughter she'd have to get used to it, he was like, "Oh, that's not what she told me. I asked him why I hadn't been consulted on something as major as this and he said he really didn't think it was that big of a deal and it had been a spur of the moment decision by his new wife. (I bet) I told him that a trim wouldn't have been a big deal, but four to five inches is something that I as their mother and the parent with primary custody should have been consulted on. He then shocked me by replying that I was absolutlely right and that it wouldn't happen again. You know it would have been one thing if our kids were unkept and unruly looking, but this was not the case. I told him that he wants us to coparent and work things out together, but that this is just another example of how it never works both ways. I told him that I want us to figure out a way to work together and because of this I would take him on his word and assume that it would never happen again. I told him that the kids don't feel comfortable expressing their opinions to his wife because she belittles them or puts them in their rooms he said she does have a tendancy to be strict, but kids need that. I then told him again that as their mother I expect to be consulted on all issues regarding their care and grooming. I told him that when it came to the care of our children it had to be between he and I and that his wife would have to be left out of it. He reassured that from now on it would be like this. It was then that I heard his wife in the background, but I couldn't make out what she was saying.

Then I asked him about a way of contacting the kids next week as they are taking them out of town on vacation. I told them that they had just had them for a four day weekend last week and I had no way of contacting them. I told him that he always has a way of contacting them when they are with me and I don't think it is fair. Furthermore, I am not used to not having my kids for extended periods of time and miss at least talking to them. He agreed and gave me some times when the kids would be available. As he said this I heard her say, "You know we might not be here when you said and she just might have to wait to talk to them. It is our vacation week with them you know." I said nothing about her comment, but thanked him for his understanding and hung up. I would've loved to have been a fly on their wall last night!

There are obviously some issues between them on how to handle the kids and dealing with me. It is very easy to notice that his wife is insecure and does not like it when we are able to work together. That is not my concern. I am worried however about finding a way to coparent under the present circumstances so that my children are not negatively impacted anymore.

I would greatly appreciate any suggestions.

Take care and God bless!
K

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ICK!

A lot of this reminds me of my own situation with the X and his new wife. The hair thing is a big issue with them, and if she ever DARED to get my girls' hair cut without my permission she would get a DAMNED GOOD SHEARING with RUSTY BLADES <img border="0" title="" alt="[Mad]" src="images/icons/mad.gif" /> HOW DARE SHE???? I am so angry on your behalf. It makes me sick...

My X's wife complains non stop about my girls' waist length hair and how hard it is to run a brush through it. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Roll Eyes]" src="images/icons/rolleyes.gif" /> So I told them the brand of conditioner I use as well as the brand of detangler. I even sent along a half bottle with the kids. Well, since then she has NOT BRUSHED their hair the entire weekend.

What can I say...your X like mine is a wimp as far as the new wife goes. She stamps her foot, and gets her own way. Don't worry, he will get sick of it....mine is alreadys showing signs.

In the meantime, keep being you, negotiating sensibly, and anything else you do not want that woman to do to the kids in their presence should be clearly spelled out. For mine, she is no longer allowed to take them off for lectures in her bedroom when they do something wrong...it distresses them and they felt like prisoners, only allowed out when they said whatever it was she wanted to hear.

So now she does nothing at all for them I am told...she is stamping her clicketty clacked foot. Too bad, so sad....she is the adult, she will get over it. Like yours will when she is told to BUTT OUT.

She is his new wife, not the kids new mum.

Love and light,

Jacky

<small>[ August 09, 2004, 11:23 PM: Message edited by: Nina too ]</small>

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I totally agree with Nina too. How dare she cut your daughters hair without your permission, OMG, I would've gone ballistic.

Where does it stop? <img border="0" title="" alt="[Mad]" src="images/icons/mad.gif" /> This woman thinks she has the right to do whatever she wants without repercussions. If I were you I'd call my lawyer and find out if she's allowed to do things like that. I too am so angry on your behalf.

I can't believe that your XH took it so easy, I mean doesn't he even try to care for your kids.

I feel sad for the kids though they're the ones who suffer for the X's stupidity. <img border="0" alt="[Teary]" title="" src="graemlins/teary.gif" />

I think you handled yourself very well, Congrats! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Smile]" src="images/icons/smile.gif" />

Keep up the good work! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Cool]" src="images/icons/cool.gif" /> Sooner or later your X will have to see that this woman is not good for your kids, and maybe, just maybe, he'll intervene before it's to late.

I think if things continue the way they are your kids will probably not want to spend any time with him/them.

Good luck!! TG

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Hi Nina and Tommysgirl-

Jacky- I am so happy to hear from you. I have seen you posting a lot and will always have a special spot for you as you were one of my earliest supporters when I first came here almost three years ago. How is life down under?

To you both- I was totally sick about the hair. Luckily for everyone involved she came home in french braids (the wife generally forces her to wear some type of braid in hair so she looks presentable) and although I could tell it had been cut I couldn't tell how much. Obviously the braids chosen to disguise things. We were getting ready to head out of town the next day and it wasn't until I gave the kids baths that night that I noticed just how much was gone. By then they weren't home and I didn't feel like leaving a message. As luck had it I was pretty much gone for the week and had time to calm down and consult friends. It was a general concensus that the hair shouldn't have been cut. Most were out for blood, but in light of our upcoming custody hearing I decided to remain calm and save it as yet another example of this woman overstepping her boundaries and my XH allowing it.

The problem is multi-facited. The OWwife has a need to assert herself and prove herfself the new stepmother and authority figure. Because this my XH needs to learn some parenting skills and grow some balls and learn to stand up to her. We have talked about it on many occasions, but I think the lights may be going on as we get closer to the custody hearing and he realizes that in addition to his many issues his wife is a hindrance not asset to his case. Trust me I have already filled the Guardian ad Litem in on the problems with the new wife and I plan to inform him of this as well. I really like the idea of putting her limitations in writing as well. It will give me much more leverage.

It's just this never ending insecurity thing on their part. My XH is constantly belittling me saying how the kids only want to be with me because I have no limits, let them live like pigs, eat what they want, and do what they want. Of course this falls on deaf ears as it isn't true. They are both so unwilling to accept the fact that the kids are more comfortable with me because I am the one who has always been here for them. I have always been their stability and security. You can't just snap your fingers and change that.

Our phone call the other day has inspired me though. I generally can't stand my XH, but seeing how nutsy the wife went when she thought we were getting along I am going to literally throw sugar at him. People are already saying how he is stressing because she has turned into someone so completely different than the person he started the affair with four years ago. It has been gradual, but with every pound she has put on her personality has gotten uglier and more controlling as well. I guess the old saying be careful what you wish for is coming true.

Thank you both for the support!
K

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial"> My XH is constantly belittling me saying how the kids only want to be with me because I have no limits, let them live like pigs, eat what they want, and do what they want. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Oh, me too. But, I am more lenient. I think kids should be kids.
Just keep doing what you think is best and refer to books and other resources. Chances are, X & NW are winging it, and you have a history with the kids.

I've learned to just tell X what is going on, and if he has a problem to call me. He never does.

Keep a parenting journal to track these issues so that you can bring it up in court. Also, a friend who is going through something was advised to ask for "assitance" from the counselor/guardian. In other words, don't accuse, but phrase things as questions. ie. to the GAL "Should I be concerned that NW had DD's long hair cut off 6 inches when DD told me she was growing her hair long?"

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Hi Still--

This woman is something else!
I can't believe she could even think that this was okay. But, obviously, she knew she would get you, and I'm sure hope to stir your emotions!

I'm glad you had a few days to cool off. I think that played in your favor with what has been going on.
I think you handled yourself very well, and that will show well for you.

It may make you puke! But, sugar is sweet, and she won't be able to take that. Good for you, pour it on baby!!

I applaud you! You handled yourself so well.

If your X keeps allowing this witch to do what she is doing to your kids, just maybe, they will refuse to go back oneday!

Your doing great!!
K.

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Thanks newly and Karona-

I have such great friends here. You always help me so much.

newly- I am very lenient and I too believe kids should be kids and make as many of their own choices as safely possible, but I have limits and the kids know it. Of course the wife doesn't think my limits are enough and my XH doesn't seem to have any real thoughts on parenting of his own so he goes along with it. My oldest daughter summed it up well once when she said that the OW makes the rules at Dad's house and he just goes along with it. Just like when he lived with me I made the rules and he did things like me. He really is clueless.

The wife has a degree in teaching, but has been unable to find a job for over a year. She step-parents very much like a strict teacher. You know, a lot of sticker charts, chore charts, etc. There seems to be very little natural instinct involved. Of course I am a teacher too, but I teach like I parent and guess what? Most parents really like me. I have been told on many occasions that with my child driven, easy going approach I have made their children feel comfortable and inspired a love of learning in them that the strict teacher before me had put out. I do believe the fact that I have the job that the new wife wants, but can't get is another huge thorn in her side as well. She may have gotten my loser XH, but I have the kids and the life she wants! Ha, ha, we'll see who has the last laugh!

The weird thing to me is that I have met her parents and they are two of the most laid back and easy going people I have ever met. My oldest daughter has told me on numerous occasions that they have told OWwife to lighten up. It is very weird. I don't get where she got the huge stick up her very large @$$!!!!

I like the suggestion to pose my concerns about the new wife to the Guardian ad Litem in the form of a question. Very good suggestion. What do you do? You should be an attorney as I have received more on the ball legal advice from you than almost anyone I know!

As always this is well documented in my very lengthy journal.

Karona-

Yes, she did do this to get to me. She has been complaining, although not directly to me, about the hair for months. She does not like it and is upset that my daughter has it yet can't take care of it by herself. Hello! She just turned six! I just got done teaching third grade for five years. Most of my third graders still need help brushing their hair. It's just something they learn with age. My oldest daughter was the worst hair child I have had, but she has been fine since fourth grade. Up until then she was horrible, but the OWwife never had to deal with that as she wasn't living with them then.

My XH was very apologetic and I was very calm about it, but the fact remains that she hacked off a huge chunk of hair on a little girl who has put all her effort into growing it out. Sorry, sure, but it's not like you can just put it back and she knew it.

My oldest daughter is already on to her and I am sure it is only a matter of time before the others catch on as well. Actually I think they already have, but are young enough to still be intimidated. Plus they have been raised by me to respect adults, even the nasty ones!

Of course the new wife always comes across as sweet as pie in public, but many are on to her. They pick the kids up at 3:00 today. It will be interesting to see if she says anything. I have been thinking of how to reply if she does.

Thanks again for the support.

Take care and God bless!
K

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Ummmm....SHE is picking up???? OOOOHHHH what an opportunity!

I wouldn't wait for her to say anything. If it were me I would tell her straight to her face that she is NEVER to do that again, that it is NOT her place and that if she does she will be slapped with a court order (ummm....make up something here, or investigate....but cruelty is something that springs to mind if she did it against your daughter's wishes).

In the ideal world, I would also say this in as calm a manner as possible too, firmly, assertively, yet pleasently (albeit sinister undertones <img border="0" title="" alt="[Big Grin]" src="images/icons/grin.gif" /> ) but as I said before I would be waiting at the door with a set of shears for HER head!!!

Love and light,

Jacky

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What we want to do, and what we do are two different things. Any negative actions will reinforce NW's beliefs about SR.

Acting like a caring parent will only upset her more. Begin with a coparenting discussion and say that in important matters you would appreciate a discussion in advance of any actions.

And, did you get the address or contact phone numbers yet for their vacation?
My X told me I was only allowed to call the girls between 7 & 7:30 pm. Again, rigid behaviors really say alot about people.

Be the best person you can be. I will miss my girls when they go away with their dad (and GP's), but am really looking forward to a week where the house will look OK, and I can sleep in.
Yeah.

SR, I am not a lawyer, I'm a finance person. I'm learning the feeling side now. I'm blessed with many good friends on and off these boards to help in areas where I am deficient.

Good Luck and don't stress. Also, I forget the age of your oldest, but perhaps you can buy a phone card so the girls can call you without X paying. That takes the control out of NW's hands.

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Jacky you crack me up!

Call me vain, but the new wife is by all standards unattractive. She wears no makeup, wears her hair straight, parted down the middle between her chin and shoulders. The very idea that she is forcing her beauty regimen on my children makes me gag.

I haven't decided how I will handle the situation this afternoon. The primal, mother bear part of me wants to attack her, well at least verbally, but then the other side of me thinks it may prove to be in my best interest to sit back and see what she does. My XH has been made well aware of my feelings and I'm sure has shared them with her. The whole calm side of me may prove to be very empowering as they are probably expecting a confrontation of some sort. I know I need to say something to her directly so I will definately have to develop a game plan.

Thanks again for the support!

Take care and God bless!
K

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newly-

You are very right about the need to stay calm when discussing this. It really keeps the control on my side. What she did was wrong, plain and simple and she knows it. By staying calm when handling it it will strengthen my case even more. If I blow up they will just say I am irrational, etc. and use it against me.

Did I mention we go to see the Guardian ad Litem in a week in a half. So far he has taken my side and he seemingly feels we can work out an agreement so I want to keep things calm between the XH and I.

I haven't gotten a contact number yet, but am supposed to get one tonight. I also love the calling card idea. My oldest daughter is almost twelve and more than capable of using one. I'm sure the OW will figure out some other way to hinder things, but at least I can put in a valiant effort.

You know when we first separated and I learned of the affair my XH would keep details from me under the pretence that I would try to sabotage their plans or make a scene. I guess it added to the thrill of the affair or something as I never stalked them or showed up anywhere they went. The thought of seeing them together made me literally sick. Anyway, to this day he still fights me on it and I really don't get it. I guess it just helps to keep his fantasy alive.

I too am looking forward to the week on my own. I am splitting it between home and my BF's. I have a ton of stuff to do and am relishing some time to myself especially after our whirlwind week last week.

Finance huh? You are always so rational and remind me a lot of my BF who is one of the most rational people I have ever met and I have to admit sometimes it absolutely drives me nuts! I on the otherhand am a very feeling motivated person so I am learning to step back and think things through rationally. Thanks in great part to people such as yourself. It's all about balance.

Thanks so much for the input.

Take care and God bless!
K

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I have been thru much of the same as you...it helped me to keep in mind, what is really important?...then, be as direct as poss without emotion, this gets things right to the point(you definitely have a right to all your feelings, both positive and otherwise)...remember, it takes two, is this the life you want?...don't waste too much of your energy engaged with those two...they have their own problems...living well is the best revenge.

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Thanks Peacebunny-

You are so right about picking my battles and keeping my emotions in check. Believe me, I have let many things slide and I am surprised that I even have a tongue left, but there comes a point when you have to stand up for what you believe in. I will keep in mind the need to keep it calm however.

I do believe living well is the best revenge. My life is so much better since the divorce and I know it drives my XH crazy!

Thanks for the support.

Take care and God bless!
K

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Well they just came and picked the kids up. Not a word was said about the hair, however, my daughter insisted on wearing it down so the length was clear to see. I bit my tongue and said nothing as the kids were right there the whole time. I also figure I have addressed with my XH and will think of a way to legally address the issue of her interference when we talk to the guardian.

Of course my youngest having spent a week with me didn't want to go with them. It is funny, but she never reacts that way to me!

We didn't exchange the phone numbers either. I totally spaced it, but will ask for them when they drop them off.

Talk to you later.

Take care and God bless!
K

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My H's OW and my H took my two youngest to get their hair cut without my permission or knowledge also, and then had the audacity to stop on the way home to buy a digital camera so they could email me a photo of the results! The older of the two got only a little bit trimmed in accordance with her wishes, but they chopped off most of the not very verbal little one's hair, leaving her looking like a boy. The next day when she went to preschool and realized that her hair was shorter than every other girls' (and probably a few of the boys') she was horribly upset.

Don't count on your H ever standing up to the OW. It has been 5 years and my H still lets her walk all over him, and she keeps coming up with new ways to be controlling.

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Still Reeling,

I'd like to ask you to think about something for a moment. Children, especially younger ones, tend to play to their audience.
Your ex's new wife may have been told by the little girl that she wanted her hair cut; the little girl may have actually wanted to try short hair, or she may have been playing to that audience -- trying to please her new stepmother. Then she returned home, and realized you were unhappy with her hair, and played to you -- her other audience. She probably already senses that you are (and I don't mean this in a bad way) a bit prejudiced not to approve of her father's household.
I don't know how to rectify this, but I'm certain your little girl's stepmother didn't cut her hair to be vindictive to you. I just can't imagine a person would do that.
Another thought; is it possible that sometimes, in this forum, we demonize other people for doing things we might do ourselves? Would our children's lives be improved if we could promote an environment of peace?

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I hate to butt in Garbo,
But I can't ignore your question to Still.

I can see what you are saying, about children playing to an audience.
I know for sure, that my YD tries to say the right things to me about OW, and I feel for her.

But, I tend to think in Stills case, OW/now wife, stepped out of bounds.
I don't believe Still had a clue about a haircut. Shouldn't OW/W have contacted Still, especially if she were going to have so much cut off?

Granted, in the end, we are talking about hair. And I'm sure Still realizes this is not a major life crisis, but, out of respect to a childs mother, I think she should have been contacted.
Also, being the OW/W, you would think in her mind, she would have wanted the permission to do this so she wouldn't have looked like she was doing something out of line.

Anyway, I understand what you are saying, but, I still think she owed it to Still to ask before having the childs hair cut. Even if it would have been the childs request.

K.

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Nellie-

That is awful! What nerve. I really feel for you having to deal with that. Mine more or less snuck away and acted like it didn't happen.

Garbo-

First of all I see you are playing devil's advocate here for whatever reason, but you are way off base. I don't know how much of my history you know or for that matter if you are the BS, WS, or OP, but although some of your points are valid they don't really lend themselves to the reality of the situation at hand.

When my kids came home and I noticed their hair cuts I mentioned them and told them they looked nice. I did not play up the fact that my middle daughter's was considerably shorter than when she left, actually as I have already stated, it was in french braids so it was hard to tell exactly how long it was. There was no playing to an audience as I wasn't playing into it. When I told the kids I like their hair I mentioned to the middle one that she had gotten a lot cut off and said I was surprised as she is so attached to her hair. It was then that my oldest daughter said that the OW had chosen how it was cut and had told the middle daughter she'd get used to it. You have to remember that this is a little girl who has been growing her hair for a good year, she has no problem having it brushed and done up she has never wanted short hair. Furthermore, her hair isn't short now it's still past her shoulders so the length isn't as much an issue as the point that this woman is making decisions irregardless of my children's wants and without consulting me.

Would I have done it myself? Sure if it was a tangled mess and my daughter wouldn't let us take care of it, but since my daughter asked to grow her hair out she has been wonderful about taking care of it. She loves it long and everyone knows it. So no, unless she wanted to cut it, which she doesn't I would simply keep trimming it every couple of months like we've been doing. The OWwife has said multiple times that she doesn't want to deal with it and has mentioned that it should be shorter. Did she do it to be vindictive, I'd say yes definately. I think you are naive to think otherwise. She is out to control whatever situation she can and I don't really think she gives a rats butt who gets in her way.

As your comment for promoting a peaceful environment, once again you are way off base. I have bent over backwards to keep things peaceful throughout this whole ordeal and take offense that you should suggest otherwise. Even from this post it should be evident of how I handled the situation and there was nothing unpeaceful about it.

Do I like this woman? No, but I accept the fact that she is now my XH's wife and therefore will have a relationship with my children. However, she is not a parent and never will be and therefore needs to back off and stop pushing her own agendas.

Karona-

Thanks for the support. As you said this isn't a life or death matter, but a simple phone call would have made all of the difference and in this case would have stopped the hair cut, but that is exactly what the OWwife knew and that's why nothing was mentioned. However, since it is only hair I did nothing but calmly discuss my concerns with my XH.

Furthermore, although this thread has lent itself more to the haircut, the original point of the thread was how to coparent with my XH when his new wife is constantly pulling this kind of stuff and the hair cut was just an example of the things she continually does. If anyone does have suggestions for how to deal with the situation, not just the hair, they would be greatly appreciated.

Take care and God bless!
K

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Garbo,

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I don't know how to rectify this, but I'm certain your little girl's stepmother didn't cut her hair to be vindictive to you. I just can't imagine a person would do that. </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Unfortunately I am quite certain that many of us can well imagine that a person would do that, because our children have experienced it. I don't understand why you would have trouble imagining such vindictiveness, especially when there have been all too many cases of people doing much worse, such as the recent case of a father in New England killing his children to get back at his spouse.

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But Nellie, you are citing psychotic behavior. Less than 5% of the population has the psychological capacity to do that sort of thing.

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