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Old 04-11-2008, 10:20 AM   #1
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Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

I have a friend (truly, it is a friend), that is married to guy with a child from his ex. It was a terrible divorce that lasted 2 years in the court. It ended almost 2 years ago, in which my friend married this guy. The problem is that he puts his daughter wishes and activites above anything else. His ex will be dropping of his daughter for lunch and the daughter will say that she wants to have lunch with both of them. Or the mom will be dropping her off at daddy's office and she will want mom to come in and hang out. They will do anything she wants. They go on trips together, lunch together, etc. They both say that they only do it for her. I feel this is unhealthy for the child. She needs to learn that they are divorced. He also will not let the step mother discipline her in anyway but that is another story. He also states that he does this so that he doesn't get his ex mad at him or she will take him back to court.
I'm not a single parent but is this behavoir not normal? Isn't is worse for the child that they let her manipulate them into spending time "together". And what about him putting his child before his current wife? The daughter gets mad when she is at their house if his current wife sits next to him and he allows her, the child, to rule the roost so to speak.
Thanks for any comments. I am just curious about this. He and his current wife are good friends of mine but he says that he will always put his daughter above anything else. I just don't think that is healthy for him, the child or his current relationship.

Last edited by gtts4u; 04-11-2008 at 10:24 AM.

 
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Old 04-11-2008, 02:36 PM   #2
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

That is wonderful that shows more love for there child than most divorces that put there child (ren) in the middle and parents discuss there hatred in front of the children which is more unhealthy than what they are doing more parents should do that the only reason why it isn't normal cause it isn't like that the way it should be with single parents raising there kids, violence creates an ugly world where love creates beauty. Maybe we all should learn from them to better our children......

 
Old 04-11-2008, 02:48 PM   #3
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

Don't get me wrong.. I think that it is wonderful that they are both involved with her life and can get along together. But to let her manipulate them into spending time as a family just adds to her fantasy of them getting back together not to mention the way she acts to the step mother is completly disrespectful. She has only just turned 6. I think that she needs clear boundaries set and that by them not acting as adults and setting them, they are only hurting her in the long run.
I do understand putting your child first but at what cost and when does it end? Do you let a 6 year old run your marriage and your life for that matter?

 
Old 04-11-2008, 09:07 PM   #4
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

Perhaps, but when the time is right it is up to the child's parents to tell and explain all this to their own child when she can better understand being she just turned 6 what is going on I am sure she knows with this other women but to make peace for everyone they are doing what is >in the best interest of the child <regardles. You stated ..... >The problem is that he puts his daughter wishes and activites above anything else< gosh where can I find a man like this....!! I wish there were more men out there like this....Being he puts himself in his daugher's life no matter what he's making a point to be there despite anything else so his daughter can't be technically manipulating them when she is his #1priority overall. Children should be our first priority outsiders coming into this space need to accept this if they don't they don't need to be there, this causes problems in most cases....some can accept it and some can't accept it at all.
I was a single parent to, so what is your relationship like with your ex? I wished mine was like how they are with there child rather than bickering and fighting. just because there marriage stopped doesn't mean they shouldn't stop there responsibility for there child as parents. Society put bad marks against parents in divorces/ single parents raising kids and so forth now that we hear something good like this why add it to the discouraging mess we should more parents doing things like this for there kids less problems in society etc.
If your a good friend of his I would support him in his decision he sounds pretty stern about it and he won't let anything come between him and his daughter that is a sign of protection. Trying to separate him and his daughter will only bring a soured friendship lives are destroyed enough in divorces the kids hurt the most torn between there parents I wouldn't ruin a good thing. You stated.....((((((( I do understand putting your child first but at what cost and when does it end?))))))) Parenting , whether the father or the mother who's names are on that child's birth certificate parenting never ends .... I always put my children first they are my #1 priority as well

Last edited by Heavnlyhart2; 04-11-2008 at 09:18 PM.

 
Old 04-12-2008, 09:06 AM   #5
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

gtts4u: I have a slightly different perspective than HH2 on this topic. I do agree that you are always a parent, regardless of marital status, but I also think that from what you posted, this is a very unhealthy situation.

Children are more intelligent than we give them credit for. I think that what this child is doing is complete manipulation. There is a time and place for a parent's undivided attention. There have to be boundries. If they are giving in to her every whim at this age, I can't even imagine what it will be like when she is a teenager.

A parent has to give their child a sense of security, but this goes way beyond that. They are not just allowing her to call the shots, they are encouraging her to. She will grow up thinking she has the right to tell her parents what is best for her instead of the other way around. And she will demand this kind of compliance from teachers and the parents of other children. All adults, actually.

I know that a step-parent has to be careful about disciplining a step-child, but the bio parent has to respect their new spouses needs and feelings. In my opinion, this guy might as well tell his daughter that she can disrespect his new wife any time she wants. What kind of lesson is that to teach a child.

I wish your friend luck in the future. She's going to need it, as long as she stays in this situation.

 
Old 04-12-2008, 01:24 PM   #6
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

I am the "friend" referred to in this post. My husband and I have been married for 2 and half years. We began dating when his daughter was just over a year old. He and his ex went through a VERY Nasty divorce that lasted over 4 years. Since the time it was finalized they have been able to put their anger aside and let go of the past which I always encouraged. His ex and I have always gotten along. The problems began when they started meeting behind my back to spend time together with the child. They have gone to lunch and dinner together. Spent time at her home and mine (when I have not been there), they even went out of town together for a special event for my step-daughter and had an ajoining hotel room. I have confronted the ex wife about this and she admitted to me that my husband told her he wanted to try a reconciliation with her, not because he loves her but because he feels guilty for not giving his daughter a traditional intact family. She turned him down. I have tried to get past this but recently found out tht they are still "meeting" for lunch and she has been spending time in his office. He says this is all at his daughters request. This is where the manipulation comes into play. Of course a 7 year old wants her mommy and daddy to spend as much time together as possible and neither one of them will set appropriate boundaries with her or with each other and I am given no respect as his wife or her step-mother and I am sick of it. Whatever this child wants both parents will give in. I have always had a great relationship with my stepdaughter and I have never said they shouldnt co-parent, to the contrary, I always suggested that they find a way to come together as parents through the awful divorce. My anger and pain comes from being excluded in this part of my husbands and step-childs life and his ex having no respect for me.

 
Old 04-12-2008, 01:59 PM   #7
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

Well after reading that it puts things into more perspective.
your husband is telling his ex one thing (wanting to reconcile) in the same token telling you it is his (daughter)not him in particularly he's "using" her but he is the one that is wanting when in fact he is using his daughter to smooth things over with you Of course he isn't going to tell you he wants to reconcile with his ex is he? when in fact none of this really has nothing to do with the daughter manipulating she is only 6 she isn't that good at it..really its him manipulating you convincing you differently
The moral of the story is he needs to be honest with you to me it sounds like he is working it out with his ex before he lets you go by keeping you on the back burner per say. if that be the case I would talk serious to him and leave his daughter out of it for she has nothing to do with it really between you and him....I thought there was something to good to be true .....because he is playing you both as you stated ....
>I have confronted the ex wife about this and she admitted to me that my husband told her he wanted to try a reconciliation with her,
>I have tried to get past this but recently found out tht they are still "meeting" for lunch and she has been spending time in his office. He says this is all at his daughters request.
being you was caught on the rebound in the beginning your still sitting on the rebound which is on the back burner cause if things weren't working out so much with him and his ex he would be home with you more cause if it was truely just his daughter the mother would allow him to take her home with him and be with you persay which now I can see that more clearly now.... can you? good luck ...

 
Old 04-12-2008, 03:05 PM   #8
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

I disagree that this child is only 6 (she will be 7 next week) and isnt good at manipulation. I live with her 6 out of 14 days because they share custody and see it getting worse. She has no memory of her parents being a "couple". They separated just after her 1st birthday. They engaged in a hateful divorce and she was often caught in the middle. This story could go on and on..... the bigger problem here is neither one of the parents will explain to her that just because mommy and daddy are friendly now and do these things together with her doesnt mean that they are going to be together as a family again and that could lead to false hope for her and a resentment towards me. This child uses every opportunity to get her parents to spend more time than is neccessary together. I am not saying that she is masterminding anything or is even aware of what she is doing but she is doing it nonetheless and neither one of the parents will set boundaries with each other or with their daughter because they both parent with guilt. If they are going to continue to spend this time together I have asked to be included since I am a part of her life, have been since she could remember and have intended to stay that way by marrying her father. He keeps me excluded for fear of me stepping on the mothers toes and ******* her off. He feels as though he is caught in the middle of keeping the ex happy, their daughter happy and me happy. How do they learn how to be ex spouses and co parent and where the boundaries are?

 
Old 04-12-2008, 05:21 PM   #9
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

My 2 cents..
I guess you would really need to be around the situation to understand. She might be only six, but I can assure you she can be very manipulative! Not to mention disrespectful, not only to the step mother but her own parents as well.
I am happily married with 2 kids, and my husband and I would never let our children manipulate us or control our relationship. What makes it ok when you get divorced that the child can do this now??????

 
Old 04-12-2008, 09:40 PM   #10
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

Well, your right about one thing she is a child "caught in the middle" as you so said yourself..."She has no memory of her parents being a "couple". They separated just after her 1st birthday." Therefore, since she has no recollection of them ever being a "couple" she necessarily can't be doing all the manipulating;however, on the other hand the parents can "use" the child as "the pawn" in order to use/manipulate the other parent and if the parents are doing this with the child they definitely can learn this by being taught by the parents because you also stated ..."bigger problem here is neither one of the parents will explain to her that just because mommy and daddy are friendly now and do these things together with her doesnt mean that they are going to be together as a family again" ....considering that he never told you that they had gone out of town and stayed at a hotel together in adjoining rooms until after the fact you later found out so he isn't really telling you everything either when he is doing things behind your back so it is hard telling exactly what he they could be talking with his ex and his daughter about.You also stated...
"If they are going to continue to spend this time together I have asked to be included ...He keeps me excluded for fear of me stepping on the mothers toes and ******* her off. He feels as though he is caught in the middle of keeping the ex happy, their daughter happy and me happy."
I take you two argue over this alot cause I sense the tone of hostility in your writing but he seems to be making everyone else happy but you really. Consequently he is not including you for some other ample reason other than because clearly if there wasnt anything truley going on he'd have you by his side regardless when he was with his ex and daughter. Sorry 2 and 2 just don't add up from what your saying from what I am reading....Ever hear of the word Naive???
My ex pulled alot too by using the kids he is a very good manipulator when we were married I couldn't tell you how many times I caught him in lies manipulators play head games getting you to believe one thing so you don't catch on to what is really going on...
you stated ...."I live with her 6 out of 14 days because they share custody and see it getting worse." What about the other remaining 8 days? ??? What are the arrangements of there shared custody??? How many days do you have with him?? How much time does he spend with his ex? I mean daughter?

 
Old 04-13-2008, 06:24 AM   #11
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

Is there anyone else on this board?????

 
Old 04-13-2008, 08:23 AM   #12
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

>Since the time it was finalized they have been able to put their anger aside and let go of the past which I always encouraged.

>They both say that they only do it for her
>His ex and I have always gotten along.
>The problems began when they started meeting behind my back to spend time together with the child.
>They have gone to lunch and dinner together.
>Spent time at her home and mine
>>>>>(when I have not been there),<<<
>they even went out of town together for a special event for my step-daughter
>and had an ajoining hotel room.
>>>>>He keeps me excluded <<<<<<
>I have confronted the ex wife about this and
>she admitted to me that my husband told her he wanted
>to try a reconciliation with her,<<<<< not because he loves her but because he feels guilty for not giving his daughter a traditional intact family. She turned him down.
>but recently found out tht they are still "meeting" for lunch and <<<<<
>she has been spending time in his office. <<<<<
>He says this is all at his daughters request.
>They both say that they only do it for her ..........
but that is what they say in convincing you to believe ....Really, If it were me I would be checking it out more closely What do you have to lose? being you was there and encouraged them to set aside there differences it is possible that is what they are trying to do why else wouldn't he want you there and he does things when you are not their and being they are still meeting more so behind your back the child is just the crutch whom they are using her for the excuse....because if it was truly was >>>"all"<<<< for his daughter like they are saying then they shouldn't have nothing to hide and he wouldn't be doing all this behind your back???? It sounds more for the ex rather than the daughter and that clarifies why he does these things more so behind your back that is my hunch that I am gathering because we don't know for sure what him and his ex are contemplating and really talking about together in order to justify the fact whether or not >>>"neither one of the parents will explain to her that just because mommy and daddy are friendly now and do these things together with her doesnt mean that they are going to be together as a family again "<<<< because the wife is totally left in the dark and excluded from there "family" gatherings....to me it sounds like they are trying to work on being a family again good luck ....

 
Old 04-13-2008, 09:06 AM   #13
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

Dear Heavenlyhart-- Thank you for your input however, you are consistently focusing on one aspect and not the whole picture. As I stated previously, you would have to be around the situation to fully understand. As a party that knows all people involved, there is truly no romantic involvement with the ex. Does he hide things from the current wife? Yes, because he knows how she feels about it. He truly puts his daughter above anything else, and I do admire him for that. Now leaving out everything else, he does what he does because...
1. He will do anything that his daughter wants
2. He doesn't want to step on his exes toes. It was a very horrible nasty drawn out divorce and only during the past year have they set aside their differences. His ex does use the daughter to get what she wants. For example, as long as he keeps her cell phone on the company plan, he can talk to his daughter everyday. The ex stated that if he discountinued it, then he could only talk to her when it was his day for visitation. Also, now that they are getting along, the ex lets him see the daughter more than what the court agreement stated. He is afraid that if he makes her mad, she will discontinue this arangement and he would be back to being a weekend dad.
3. He is absolutely paranoid that if he makes his ex mad, she will take him back to court.

Now back to the original question... what do you do or say to someone that allows their 6 year old to manipulate their relationship with their spouse, their relationship with their ex? You even stated yourself in another post that "Children going through messy divorces tend to play one parent against the other". Isn't that manipulation? There is truly a problem with divorced children especially at this age called "reunion fantasy". Now that they are getting along, this child definately has that. What child wouldn't want their mommy and daddy to be together as a family. According to Dr. Phil, clear boundaries should be set. She has mommy's family and daddy's family, and the two should be completely different. There is nothing wrong with them getting together at dance recitals, school functions etc. but it should stop there. It is sending the child mixed message and feeding into her fantasy.

If anyone else has some true advice or opinion, please feel free to chime in.

Last edited by gtts4u; 04-13-2008 at 09:08 AM.

 
Old 04-14-2008, 05:51 AM   #14
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

As much as I believe this 6 year old can manipulate a situation (my daughter is also 6 and I know how they can be) I still find a majority of the blame to lie with the parents here.

The father in this situation is telling a different story to each person involved. He is the one who is creating all of this confusion. If he just sat down and discussed with his daughter the dynamics of this new family then she would learn to accept it. She is taking her lead from him. I am willing to be he is using her in an attempt to reconcile with his wife, or something to that affect. Divorced parents can be friendly with none of this other crap going on. The parents are to blame, period!

No offense, I think there is a lot the husband is not saying to the new wife. Don't blame a child who is only learning from her parents. Blame the man that should be the adult. He isn't treating his wife with very much respect going behind her back like that.

I'm convinced this is more of a husband problem than a child problem.

 
Old 04-14-2008, 06:44 AM   #15
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Re: Child of divorce-manipulates parents to spend time together

No offense but It stands to reason.......your adamantly directing it all to the child. your attitude reflects by means that your digging for an answer to fit to stand against the child when there clearly isn't really anything to stand to reason Because Any which way you look at it The child is "caught in the middle" and she clearly is being used as the pawn between the parents. by reasons:
1>she was 1 yrs old when they divorced.
2>she has no memory of her parents ever being a couple
3>the Parents have been separated battling a nasty divorce most of her life.
Although, I did say what I said that a child can play one parent against the other that was> before <you gave me more details of the situation that makes a big difference all together because it isn't so in this case. Moreover, children under the age 5 have no recollection of any memory not unless our parents tell us things that happen during that time. In which case it is also relevant that both the parents are doing the manipulation more so not the child By reasons:
1>the husband wanted to reconcile with the ex because of the child
2>the husband "uses the child" with his new found wife as an excuse to be with his ex and child
3>The ex wife "uses the child" over the husbands head
4> both parents are playing off the child to get back to the other parent (communicate) in which case this child is learning this by her parents ,being she really had no structured life to begin with.
In which case the parents are to blame in this matter not the child!!!!! Both parents need to grow up and take it the way it is and stop using this child all together it is also clear that neither parent will let it go either and this is a problem as well that will hurt the child in the long run by each parent using her to get the other parents attention. It sounds like the parents had some domestic issues being they battled it out for 4 yrs. and yes that is a whole different story if that be the case this isn't going to help the child either in the long run because of there differences ......
If you truly are a friend and the new found wife protect the child because not knowing exactly what is going on between the parents stepping in could cause more harm for the child considering the fact that the husband does alot of things behind the wifes back you could create more harm than good in the long run and make the situation worse than better because the husband isn't telling everything you know that is true when he didn't tell his wife he wanted to reconcile with his ex...

 
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