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Joined: Sep 2000
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I am putting this out for a vote because I'm interested to hear what you'all would advise and why. I believe I have made up my own mind already and know why *I* have reached my conclusion, but I want to hear your thoughts and count the votes.

Here's the background. My DD's 15th birthday is Mon. Oct. 25th. She had her birthday party on Saturday, inviting 16 of her closest friends and they all came. Her party was on a work-day for me, but on a day off for her and her friends, so not only did she have a party from 6pm-10pm, but she had the girls all sleep over after the party! SOOOoooo...I was working 9am-5pm, decorating and wrapping etc. from 5pm-6pm, partying with 16 teenagers from 6pm-10pm, and then sleepover with 8 girls from 10pm-the wee hours. Needless to say, we were a bit tired!! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Roll Eyes]" src="images/icons/rolleyes.gif" />

So, for his DD's 15th birthday, my exH WAS GOING TO go to Target and buy the big present (a new skateboard), after I had gone to the store and scouted out the right one and told him exactly what to buy. About Thursday he tells me he is too busy with work and doesn't have time to go buy it...can I go buy it and he'll pay me back? Well, I know where THIS is going folks, but thankfully I have the money and I want DD to have the skateboard--so I figured I would buy it and see if exH is a man of his word (I knew better!) and if he didn't voluntarily pay me back, I'd say it was from ME because it *WAS* from me.

BTW, not only did I end up buying all the gifts by myself, but also paying for the decorations, paper plates and forks, birthday cake, wrapping paper, rental for the clubhouse, damage deposit, additional little gifts, birthday card, and pizza for 20!! Yep...in other words, he did not chip in one dime for his own daughter's birthday!!!!!

In my mind, I thought that was dispicable, but it was my understanding that on her REAL birthday (Monday night) my exH--her dad--was taking her and her boyfriend out to a nice restaurant for dinner, and he was going to pay for the nice dinner and give her any presents he had (if any! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Roll Eyes]" src="images/icons/rolleyes.gif" /> ).

You guessed it! He is nothing if not consistent. Just got off the phone with him moments ago, and he's backing out! UNBELIEVABLE. It seems that he had asked DD to have her boyfriend call him to tell him what time to pick up the happy couple. Well...DD was up until something like 3am, fell asleep, and innocently didn't have her BF call exH. NOW, exH is screaming mad, basically saying that since no one cared enough to tell him when to get BF, he's not going to do it. After biting my tongue for several minutes, I spoke my mind: "If you intend to punitively punish your DD on her birthday for being tired, then that is your choice. I won't stop you." He hung up.

* * * * *

Here's the vote part:

Option 1 I relate the facts to DD as unemotionally and factually as possible, tell her the dinner is off so as not to enable an emotionally punishing ex, and I hurt her on her birthday. In summary, I let her see how her own dad treats her on her own birthday. PRO: the enabling stops here. CON: DD is hurt on her day.

Option2 I do what I can to have her call her dad, or have BF call dad, or kiss whatever needs kissing in order to enable ex's childish temper tantrum but let DD have a good birthday. Maybe AFTER the birthday I explain to her what happened. PRO: DD is not disappointed on her birthday. CON: exH gets message that his tantrums work and is enabled in his illness.


Soooo...how do you vote?? Please support your vote with your reasoning and let's throw in a little intellectual banter too!

As I said, I have already reached a conclusion of my own, and I'll join in the conversation tommorrow!


CJ

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I vote for Option 3.

Call your X on the phone and tell him you refuse to get in the middle on this one. If X wants to cancel the dinner, fine, but he needs to call and tell his daughter himself. You will not be his messenger boy.

1. Enabling stops here. 2. If DD is hurt, you are not the messenger, you aren't in the middle and you can offer consolation since you won't be blamed. 3. If DD is hurt, you X will have to deal with the immediate conseqences.

My gut tells me your X won't have the you-know-what's to act so juvenile to his own daughter. For crying out loud, X is supposed to be an adult. He could have picked up the phone himself.

But, if he's that petty and on such a power-trip, you don't want to be caught in the middle.

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My dearest friend CJ,

First off, I'm so sorry to see this kind of conflict continuing, but given your history, it is not the least bit surprising. Nothing is going to change you ex. And you can't clean his act up either.

There is an old proverb I like: "You can paint wings on a pig, but it still can't fly." If you try to cover for your ex, it won't change what he really is. And you cannot and should not try to protect your daughter from everything. She needs to experience the truth, no matter how unpleasant. She needs this experience to learn how to get along in life.

Quite on the other hand, you shouldn't do anything to make the matter any worse than it already is, just let it happen.

My vote is that you do nothing where ex husband's relationship with daughter is concerned; his actions do not seem to place her in any danger.

The father - daughter relationship is not your responsibility. If you try to interfere one way or the other, all you can do is lose. But it sounds like you already fell into this trap by conveying to your ex what kind of skateboard to get. I really recommend that you quit playing that game, it is a loser.

If he want's her to have a particular skate board, leave it to him to get it himself. No, No, No, don't go buy it yourself and expect him to pay you back. If you really think that skateboard is all that important after all you have done to make this a special day, then just go buy it yourself and be done with it.

Now, being a man, I suppose I have to tell you what happened to me. My oldest son and his wife have recently separated. My grandson is now old enough to get a learner's permit in Pennsylvania, so my stbx DIL takes him to get that permit. So like a damn fool, I get into the act and offer to pay for a professional driving instructor, and I gave her $800.00 to get him started. That was three months ago, she is still letting him drive, he still hasn't been to driving school, and I'm out the $800.00.

That isn't her fault, it is mine. Getting involved in that decision was a loser from the git go. Like thousands of other parents and grandparents, I made that mistake. It didn't work for me, and I suspect it might not work for you either.

I think you know that I am now in a position to make sure all of my grandchildren can get a college education, a live on campus for four years and join a fraternity college education. Having learned from experience, I'm setting up a trust so the parents and other grandparents don't get involved, it will be between the trust officer, my grandchildren, and their schools of choice. And if I drop dead, their education will still be provided for.

I can't change other people, I can't change the way they do things. The only thing I can change is me and the way I do things. And if at times I come across as a cynic and a curmudgeon, so be it.

Who loves ya baby? {{{{{{{{{{{{CJ}}}}}}}}}}}}}

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I'd have to go along with GG, let him fight his own battles and make his own excuses.

Also, let DD use the WTFS format with Dad. Either in person, or if that is too intimidating, let her draft a letter to him, letting him know how this makes her feel. I understand that he can have violent temper outbursts, so perhaps a letter is safer for DD.

Obviously, she should be respectful, but it would be good if she can find a healthy way to share how his behavior makes her feel and to respectfully specify what she wants from him.

Hope this helps,

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Heavens, your XH is a grown man. Let him handle his own relationships including the one with his daughter. If he's intent on bagging his dinner plans with her let him do it and take the heat. You may want to be there to supply a bit of motherly comfort afterward to her, but don't protect him from his own behavior. You're out of that now aren't you?

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I agree with Greengables. Let him do it himself, it's unfair to put you in the middle.

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</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial"> Quick quote from Bumper:
<strong> If he want's her to have a particular skate board, leave it to him to get it himself. No, No, No, don't go buy it yourself and expect him to pay you back. If you really think that skateboard is all that important after all you have done to make this a special day, then just go buy it yourself and be done with it. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">Okay, I can see some minor clarification is in order, and in re-reading what I wrote I can see where there is miscommunication. From a factual point of view only, here's what happened re: the skateboard.

My DD had a cheapy little $9.00 Target skateboard that she learned how to skate and do some tricks on, but being the cheap little thing it was, it broke. Now DD is a very athletic girl, likes skateboarding and snowboarding for fun but nothing else (not competitively), and both exH and I thought that now that she's older and her board was broken...we'd get her another, better one. ExH knows NOTHING about decks, trucks, wheels, and ball bearings--and I only know enough to be dangerous! But I agreed to do the "investigating" part, learn all I could, go to the ESPN park and have the sales clerks show me the WAY TOO EXPENSIVE cool, professional stuff etc. Our goal was to get her a better board without spending a couple hundred bucks! OUCH. So I investigated and recommended some at Target that range from $50 to $70 and are pretty well-built and respectable at a board park without breaking the bank.

Our "deal" was that I'd learn what I could, go to some stores and browse the month or so before her birthday, and then recommend a few boards to the exH--the X, Y, or Z board at Target for example. Then, we were going to split the cost of a board, pads, and helmet 50/50. I was willing to do the investigating because it was interesting to me and I learned something. I did my part of the deal, I was ready with my half of the money for the birthday present...he just backed out on his side of the deal at the last moment.

He's nothing if not consistent, huh?? <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="images/icons/wink.gif" />

Thankfully, I am rather learning from all this and I did have a "Plan B" ready. I had stashed away some extra $$ in case he did what I knew he'd do, and I never told DD that "we" were getting her anything...so when I was put in the position to buy it all myself, I was ready and *YEP* I took all the credit because I deserved it! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Big Grin]" src="images/icons/grin.gif" /> My DD had a fabulous skateboard birthday because her mama socked away the dough to buy it on my own!!

* * * * *

Now, on to the topic at hand...the debate.

Before we progress any further, I want to tell you what I had decided to do last night and how it all worked out as the day progressed today.

Last night I was a bit upset about this (in the sense of concerned for DD, not angry or emotional), but I have learned to calm myself and not make a "decision" based on a knee-jerk reaction. My knee-jerk was to tell exH he was a JERK for treating his own DD that way, but my head ruled my knee, and I thought first. As I said, he is nothing if not consistent, and he is VERY consistent in doing stuff just to get a rise out of me or a reaction out of me...so my reasoning said, "Do exactly the opposite of what he's expecting and you will probably feel quite content!" heehee <img border="0" title="" alt="[Razz]" src="images/icons/tongue.gif" />

So, I decided a few things. First, I have been done enabling for a long time, so THAT ain't gonna happen! If he makes a pile of doo-doo, he's gonna be laying in it!! That was one boundary I knew I wasn't really going to cross--it just makes for good debate.

Second, as a mother I do not want to see my children hurt or hurting, but not all hurting is to be avoided. It is not natural or "right" for a mom to be so protective as to avoid all hurt for her children! Those would be some mighty stunted kids!! So, wisdom dictates that people often learn a deeper lesson when they are hurt. Yep--this would HURT but it is REAL and it is something my DD will have to face and deal with as a maturing young woman with an unstable dad.

Soooo...I concluded that I would most likely NOT be able to avoid/prevent the hurt (because it wasn't of my making or mine to control) but I COULD be there if it did hurt and be comforting and understanding.

With those two guiding principles in mind, I decided to do this (and BTW, this is exactly what I did):

1. When I saw DD in the morning, I spoke to her for a moment in her room. I very briefly and factually told her "Dad called last nite. He is upset that no one called him to arrange the time for your birthday dinner. He ended by saying he wasn't going to go and then hung up."

2. She was visibly upset and a little on the verge of tears with frustration. (She knows how her dad can be--she's not a baby anymore afterall!)

3. I reminded her that she would be by a phone all day long and so would her dad, and it was up to her if she wanted to call him and work it out or wait until he called to work it out...etc. It was between him and her and I wouldn't get in the middle.

4. I offered that we can not tell what dad would or would not do, and we could not make him do anything...but what we could do is make a "Plan B" backup in case things didn't work out. She and I talked about it and reached a plan that would be acceptable so her birthday wasn't ruined--she'd prefer her dad, but "Plan B" was okayish.

5. After that, she felt like her day wasn't going to be a bomb, so she got her her nerve (that's MY GIRL!) and called her dad. As I suspected, he did not have the cajones to disappoint his princess--it was mostly hot air and he worked it out with her. Note though that HE did not call HER--she had to call him. Pathetic, isn't it??

At the end of the day, she had a good day--did a little shopping, had McD's for lunch as a treat, and went to nice dinner with her BF and dad. I'm happy to report that she feels good because her day wasn't a bust, and because she was brave enough to act like a grown-up with her dad. I'm also happy to report that I feel good because I didn't enable, I didn't get in the middle, but I did communicate that DD's day was important and she did have options. It was just GOOD!


CJ

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FaithfulNewCJ,

--1. When I saw DD in the morning, I spoke to her for a moment in her room. I very briefly and factually told her "Dad called last nite. He is upset that no one called him to arrange the time for your birthday dinner. He ended by saying he wasn't going to go and then hung up."

TR--So you reminded her of her own mistake not calling her dad--something she agreed to do before dad got upset and hung up the phone--

--2. She was visibly upset and a little on the verge of tears with frustration. (She knows how her dad can be--she's not a baby anymore afterall!)

TR--So in other words she was acknowledging her forgetfullness to keep her word--(just like others have done)

--3. I reminded her that she would be by a phone all day long and so would her dad, and it was up to her if she wanted to call him and work it out or wait until he called to work it out...etc. It was between him and her and I wouldn't get in the middle.

TR--her being the young woman she is--took responsibility for her mistake--good for her--she didn't dwell in the guilt that she was tired and forgot to call as she had promised to do--

--4. I offered that we can not tell what dad would or would not do, and we could not make him do anything...but what we could do is make a "Plan B" backup in case things didn't work out. She and I talked about it and reached a plan that would be acceptable so her birthday wasn't ruined--she'd prefer her dad, but "Plan B" was okayish.

TR--Good for her--making an alternative plan and setting up her own boundaries for her day--

--5. After that, she felt like her day wasn't going to be a bomb, so she got her nerve (that's MY GIRL!) and called her dad. As I suspected, he did not have the cajones to disappoint his princess--it was mostly hot air and he worked it out with her. Note though that HE did not call HER--she had to call him. Pathetic, isn't it??

TR--I guess I see this from a different perspective, the truth is--they worked it out from the beginning THAT she or her boyfriend would call and let dad know what time to pick them up--they didn't--

yes, I agree her dad could have called--at least to make sure everything was okay, and there hadn't been an accident--but, it sounds like he's "expecting" the same thing YOU "expect" that others will do what they say they--that their words can be trusted--

Just like the skateboard issue--you made an agreement the two of you would split the cost
however, you kept in the back of your mind--there is a possibility based on past actions he wouldn't--and have learned you can't trust his word--

Apparently your daughter saw in her own wisdom, she made an agreement--and didn't keep it--so it was ultimately her responsibility to KEEP her word so that others will know she can be trusted to do what she agreed to do--

And all of this she learns to show others grace and mercy when they forget to keep their word--
because she has done the same thing--

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CJ, I think it went well. But, if I were you, next time X does something like this, refuse to be his messenger. X put you in the middle. I think it's even worse that once his daughter was on the phone, he backed down from his stand. That erodes, ever so slightly, your credibility with your daughter, not to mention his own consistency.

TR -- you have some good points. I think it's important to remember that CJ's daughter is just turning 15. She's not a young lady. She's a child.

If her father wanted her to learn a lesson, fine. But, from CJ's depiction, her father wanted revenge. It's nice if CJ was able to turn it a little around so that her daughter learned a lesson. I suspect the tears and frustration were more fear of the big blow up that was out of proportion to a misdeamenor.

I've been on the receiving end of huge guilt trips from my father simply because I didn't return his phone call within a few hours. And this is recently.

To me, it doesn't pass the "friend test." The friend test is when I ask myself, "If my friend did or didn't do this, would I react the same way?" Well, if you have plans that haven't been finalized, and your friend forgets to call, do you throw a fit and cancel at the last minute? Or do you give him/her the benefit of hte doubt, pick up the phone and call them?

If you do the former, you probably have few friends.


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