Coparenting Control Issues as told by a Mom/Stepmom

As a blended family of six dealing with co-parenting for close to seven years now, I can guarantee you, a common thing people come to me for advice on is a result of them being angry or hurt about something that’s gone on in “the other house.”  (“The other house” refers to your ex’s home and where your child shares their time.)

I’ve received desperate pleas by frustrated friends and threats of calling an attorney to “fix” the problem at the other house. Ya’ll listen to me. You’re not going to like what I have to say, just like the people who call me with these issues don’t like hearing it, but…hold onto your britches…you CAN’T control what goes on in the other house. Holy crap, I know. That’s a punch in the gut but it’s the truth. You can vent to your friends, you can complain to your therapist, or even try to drop $1k on a retainer with your attorney to waste their time and your money, but if it’s a simple parenting style that you don’t agree with, you’re out of luck.

“…you CAN’T control what goes on in the other house.”

The disclaimer is this though…if you feel that there’s actual domestic violence or emotional abuse or neglect, yes, please reach out to the proper authorities and/or attorney. But what I’m talking about here is usually the examples below…

  • “I can’t BELIEVE they let my child stay up until 10pm on a school night!”
  • “They won’t even help them with their homework!’
  • “They pack crappy, junk filled lunches for my child!”
  • “Look what they let my child wear to school!”
  • “Omg, they saw an R-rated movie!”

This is the stuff I’m talking about and let me start with this. You’re in the wrong frame of mind. The whole “my child” this and “my child” that. First, it’s “your child” as in “our child isn’t doing well in Math, I need to talk to my ex and see if they’re seeing the same thing and if we should implement a tutor.” See the difference there? Yeah, I know what you might be saying. “Lady, are you out of your damn mind? There’s NO way they’ll listen to me. If it’s MY idea, it’ll never work.”

Alright, I hear ya. But have you tried? No? Try it. Send an email. If it doesn’t work, see what tools and resources you can legally utilize according to your parenting plan to help during the time your child shares with you. Do you want to be a part of the problem? Or part of the solution? Who are you trying to help? Your child? Yes. Will getting angry at your ex and demanding they do something about it work? Probably not. So, change your mindset.

So, let’s talk about that bedtime hour. I hear about it a lot and ya’ll, again, you can’t control that. You can’t demand a certain bedtime at the other house. And bonus…they can’t do that in YOUR house either so it works both ways.

You also need to be mindful about how these sorts of dumb arguments (yeah, I said it) put your child in the middle. If you’re naive enough to think that your child doesn’t feel or hear what’s going on, you need to honestly stare long and hard in the mirror. Children are more intuitive than you think and their mental health should be your TOP priority.

I hope that this blunt information was helpful. Or you’re cursing at your computer screen or phone. Either way, whatever the case may be, I hope in some way there’s a resolution for you.

All my best,

A Super Mom/Stepmom