The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...

The driver of tomorrow is not thinking Green...
He's thinking Classic. (click on photo)


Oct 23, 2013

Gifts to the ex - would you?

This IS a topic that has presented itself in our family. To protect the innocent, I won't discuss here how it all went down. I haven't seen anyone write about it before but I love this perspective.

If the relationship between the adult parents (sometimes an oxymoron) is healthy (which it should be but realistically, often isn't), it would be completely acceptable for an ex to help facilitate a gift to their children's other parent. It still does remain my job as a mother to show my daughter & son to uplift & celebrate their father. The problem occurs when the relationship between the adults is not healthy, brings with it conflict & turmoil and actions as this are not meant in a genuine, compassionate role but as an act to cause turmoil. And/or the ex spouse/other parent wants recognition for their efforts, instead of allowing it to be a gift from the children.


"Recently, in a stepmom facebook group, a poster asked the following question: "How do you feel about BM giving DH a Father's Day present? If you are a BM, do you plan to give DH a Father's Day present (either from yourself or via the kiddos)?"

Presents and recognition for parents, bio and step, is often a source of contention and stress in stepfamilies. Biological parents feel the obligation to recognize the other on events such as Father's Day and Mother's Day, and want to set a good example to their children, but stepparents often feel infringed upon when a gift comes to their spouse from the ex, or even from the kids but made with help from the ex. Gifts inadvertently become another way of putting kids in the middle, even when all adults have the best of intentions- and not all do! Some exes even use gifts and recognition to manipulate and guilt trip the other parent, or to give something disrespectful or suggestive. One stepmom mentioned that her husband's ex gave him pairs of pants for Father's Day with the comment that he needed to "stay in them"?

So where should split parents draw the line?

Obviously, the answer is going to be different for everyone, but here is my general rule of thumb: Would you give it to your boss?

Split parents, with rare exception, have to work on forming professional relationships with each other and disengaging themselves from the personal history. So in order to find the right balance between respect and recognition, it would help if moms and dads treat each other as they would treat their bosses (or clients, if you prefer to feel more in charge of the situation) - with respect and good will, but not with familiarity.

So, would you give your boss a Christmas present? Well, it's possible you might give a card. And she might happen to eat some of the cookies you left in the staff room, but you probably wouldn't. Would you give your boss a father's day card? It depends on your relationship. If you saw them that day you'd certainly wish him a happy father's day, and sure f you both had kids and you were on pleasant enough terms that it was a common non-business topic of conversation a card might be in order. But you wouldn't get them a gift. You wouldn't help their children get them a gift unless for some reason you both saw the kids on a regular basis AND there was no one else in the picture to help them. It's possible, but unlikely. You'd certainly encourage them to give a gift, but you wouldn't be a hands on helper.

So parents (and stepparents) out there struggling with this boundary, I would say you can absolutely recognize the other parent with a card or something small, but refrain from giving major gifts yourself unless you are truly one of the rare ex-couples who have developed a friendship post-separation. And if your ex has a spouse in the picture who can help the kids get a gift, allow that individual to do so. They know your ex better now, after all, and it is their place. You can and should model appreciation for your children, but modeling boundaries and respect is just as important, and far, far more peaceful.

Oct 1, 2013

Get the....

The stages of parenting, through the education system eyes:

Elementary - participate, we welcome your presence. And your money.

Junior High - give us your kids, not your parental opinions. We still want your money.

High School - stay connected, don't abandon hope, it's tough but hang in there, ride out the storm. They now want your money.

College - Get the Hell Out.

We both want your money.

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