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His Parenting

I've been cringing almost every time he's well enough to be with the kids, and I think I've figured out the problem.

When I met him, he was "Uncle ____", the best uncle who got all his dozen nieces and nephews tons of toys at Xmas, took them out to movies, etc. I thought that was super sweet at the time! Didn't realize he was almost $6K in debt from teh Xmas presents he was always buying!

Well, he's STILL "Uncle ____", but to his OWN kids. This morning, he feels better so he gets up, "Let's have CHOCOLATE CHIP PANCAKES this mornign!!!" I'm like, they'll eat pancakes as a treat without the chocolate, we're trying to ween them off Hallowe'en candy, WHY are you putting chocolate into their pancakes?

And then it hits me - he HAS to be the "BEST UNCLE" ALL THE TIME. TO HIS OWN KIDS.

It's all FUN. There's no RESPONSIBILITY. Soon as you mention "let's put money away for their RESPs (education)", or "Let's eat more vegetables", or "let's get them a healthy snack this morning", or "let's plan for their future", it falls on deaf ears.

Anyone else in this bizarre situation? Should I just be happy he's taking an interest in the kids (albeit not consistantly as he's sick most of the time)?

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CONTINUATION: he took the kids out this morning to "give me a break - have fun!" (I worked on the insurance forms FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY this morning, that's MY fun time). He then bought them McD's on the way home with the toys. He gets home and says when he sees my face "I tried to talk them out of it but they insisted!"

I lost it and told him "YOU ARE THERE FATHER. YOU DO NOT NEED TO 'CONVINCE' THEM. YOU JUST TAKE THEM TO A DELI INSTEAD AND HAND THEM A SANDWICH OR BRING THEM HOME".

He'll NEVER get it. He really won't.
zsuzsilowinger zsuzsilowinger 36-40, F 8 Responses Nov 25, 2012

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oh yeah same thing here too! Hiding chocolates and cookies from me and bringing them for DD. And when I confront, its someone from work gave them, or she somehow found them. Its all about play!

My son is beginning to hold my wife at ransom. He also behaves worse with me when mommy is around. He is quite well-behaved, if not extremely sweet, when he and I are alone together. My wife wears this as a badge of honor, because, unlike with aloof dad, "he feels no inhibition with [her]." Well, there's one that does not. I certainly do.

He sounds more like a kid himself than a parent. I think you have nailed it, Z - he wants to be the best Uncle all the time! And I doubt you can change that attitude of his toward his children.

This IS a big deal. Essential differences in parenting styles need to be addressed by both parents. And a compromise reached. But your husband, Zsu, is unable (unwilling too I'd bet) to compromise on this, as with anything else.

He has a chronic need to reassure himself he is a "good guy" because he is so deficient in so many areas - and at a gut level he KNOWS he is. But instead of being a genuinely "good guy" - he chooses (yet again!) the path of least resistance.

Sadly he is teaching his kids that he is a push-over and their demands will increase exponentially as they get older. Today, Macdonalds - tomorrow, an Ipod! Given his inability to manage money, this situation will probably get much worse as the kids get older. .orry to be the arbiter of such doom and gloom. {{{hugs}}}

You know what? I'm slot this whole episode into the "things that bug the sh*t out of me about him that I could otherwise deal with if other things with him went well"...

Taken by itself, it does look petty and silly to get upset. But when this is the constant ever flowing tide washing away my shoreline, I'm downright sick of the site of him and this ain't helping...

Probably PMS/horniness aint' helpin' neither.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to do things like that (health of the food aside), and I know you know that, but that's not the whole picture. For me, the most satisfying part of being a father is teaching and helping them learn new behaviors that will help them grow and succeed. Sometimes people aren't cut out to be heavies, but I think a parent needs to have at least a modicum of involvement in their development.

He does what is best for his ego, not what is in the kids best interest. Playing a subtle game of good cop bad cop, and he Always gets to be the good cop, Santa Claus And the Easter bunny all rolled up in one. I find parents who need their kids to love them very disturbing.

this is my feeling too... *sigh*
It's fun being on the receiving end of this attention from him... but as soon as responsibilities come into play, I was dropped like a hot potato and left with all the work on my shoulders... this really bugs the crap out of me that I fell for this attention at the beginning and watching my kids fall for it...

My children's father developed schizophrenia in his mid 20's (they were 2 and 5 at the time). I can only wish they had a memory of something as pleasant as making chocolate chip pancakes with their father. Sure, the guy may need parenting skills training, but "bizarre situation" seems a bit of a stretch. Very little back story to go on here, but isn't being upset because he's having fun a little bit selfish? What is it you expect of him?

The background is in my stories, starting a year ago. I am sorry your children's father is schizophrenic. I understand where you are coming from, and my attitude was similar to yours until recently - it was selfish of me to want "more" from my children's father.

However, when you live with the inconsistency of him being constantly ill (one day he's up and beign "Best Uncle" to them, the next he's sick for a month), the stress of always being the "BAD GUY" (mommy doesn't let us have chocolate pancakes every day, mommy is always stressed about bills and housework while daddy does all the fun things), and you see how it tears your family apart, and how you stop giving a sh*t about your family after awhile because it's all work, work, work, and never any fun, you may change your tune.

Yeah, my husband doesn't take much interest in our son. I think I'd be excited as heck if he made chocolate chip pancakes (although he wouldn't, we both feel like you do about chocolate chips in pancakes). I'd love it if he wanted to take our boy out and treat him to stuff instead of just ignoring him. I've given up on him taking the responsibility he SHOULD. Maybe if he did do that stuff though, I'd feel resentful of the stuff he should be doing as well. But as he does so little, I'd be pleased if he wanted to have fun with him. Heck I'd be pleased if he even asked how things were going with the boy. He had his first football match on Friday and my husband didn't even ask how it went. My son scored his team's only goal.

elk, how'd you feel if randomly, every feew months, he'd take your kids out for a super fun morning, fill him full of sugar, go to all the fun places, then ignore him for weeks once again? At least right now your kids realizes daddy just is a dud, whereas in that case it's like reset sex: DADDY'S BACK!! THIS TIME HE'S GONNA STAY!

I don't know. Are you saying you'd rather he was a complete dud, instead of just mostly a dud? I do get a choice, not an easy one. Not a fun one. But my kid gets no choice of parents. No offense, but when they look back your kids can rationalise that he's unwell and when he was well enough he was interested. Mine will look back and see a dad who didn't think he was worth it.

Please understand I wasn't saying that you shouldn't wish for more. I'm suggesting that there comes a point where we have all have to face truth.

Being a single mother is difficult, but it sounds like the real problem may be that you haven't accepted the task and continue to dream their "daddy" will recover and make it all better. He won't. Being the responsible parent is your job now and forever, both good and bad. This job will be difficult, stressful and more than you can bear some days - but one day your children will recognize and thank you for standing tall as the "bad guy" because this is what made them understand what responsibility means.

My first husband eventually attempted to murder his own children and damned near came close to succeeding. Forgive me if stressing over chocolate pancakes seemed a bit trivial. It's never trivial to the person living in it.

It doesn't matter whose is the worse situation. That's just someone's opinion and/or perspective, anyway. Neither one if an optimal situation for raising children.

I don't believe anyone is trying to trump anyone else here with a worse situation. It's more a collective remembering that "chocolate pancakes" anger is a normal reaction to unresolved frustrations. You keep it together until one day you can't. We've all had our pancake moments. It's never really the fault of the pancake.

Hey, Poco: You clearly don't know much about Zsu's situation, so it's a pretty provocative statement to say that she doesn't "accept" her role as a single parent. Her husband has been extremely ill and has not really ever been a strong partner for her. In her case, she has one more child with him around.

You had a bad situation with your children's father, to say the least. But you need to stop negating other people's experiences by expressing how yours was much worse; this is not the first time you've done this in the ILIASM group. You are being dismissive and unhelpful.

I think sometimes it is important to remember that we each have our own journeys. Even if someone seems not as bad as yours to you for any reason, it does not seem that way to them. It's kind of how my ex used to say to me "Yeah, but it could have been so much worse... I didn't jump up and down, pout or throw things this time around so you should be grateful." Just because it could have been worse doesn't make what it was/is any better.

@maryryan - I actually think Poco has hit the nail on the head. Zsu has got a crappy situation. Really crappy. He's unwell. He's unhelpful. And when he is able to help he'd rather have fun. Here's the thing. He doesn't CARE about Zsu - about helping her raise their children as a team. A real man would want to do that even if they weren't together anymore. She's right he does want to be the fun uncle. But getting angry about it isn't going to change the situation. Zsu I think you're still hoping he's going to wake up and take responsibility one day, but NOTHING you've said about this man makes me think that's going to happen. I understand the hope. I have that hope, too. I get angry and hurt, too - on behalf of myself and on behalf of my son. But you can let yourself be consumed with anger or you can enjoy the time that the kids are being distracted by chocolate pancakes. After all, it's only every few months. You can be jealous that he gets to be the fun guy because he won't do anything else or you can have fun with them yourself.

@maryryan - I'm not being dismissive and unhelpful. I simply refuse to sugar-coat reality for myself or anyone else. You and anyone else here are free to dismiss anything I say. I believe it is the posters like yourself who couch your answers in sweet fluffies who are unhelpful in providing hope in hopeless situations. This is exactly how people (like myself) get trapped in these never-ending situations. This is why so many women are unable to trust their own strength - because their sisters set them up for failure. Zsu sounds like a strong woman with a good heart. That heart knows the right path isn't made of daydreams no matter how comforting they may be.

By the way you're the only one openly negating anyone here. I defy you to find a post of mine anywhere on EP that negated anyone's experience. Not understanding and attempting to gather more information to clarify is not negating.

One more thing. This only reason I mentioned my first husband is as a warning. No one can control what goes on in someone else's head. When toxic becomes the everyday we're no longer objectively capable of making the right decision without outside help. That help has to be objective otherwise it's just more of the same poison.

Anyone else around here remember that one lady who came onto the site warning us to be nicer to our refuser spouses because HER spouse was deceased, and if we'd only send our spouses to her, she'd love them like they were and ignore the negative? Anyone?

Yes, Zsuz! I remember that well and recognize it...yes, siree!

@Poco: The thought that you would say I answer coated in "sweet fluffies" is pretty funny, actually, and shows that you comment before you have done your homework. I stand by my defense of Zsuz as being in complete touch with her reality and all too aware of her situation. That's likely why his actions hurt her so much. If you're so concerned with empowering women, why don't you stop telling her how she should think and help her figure out what she can do.

...and to counter your claim that anyone could find a post where you negated anyone's experience...try Neuilly's story from Nov 7th, "I Won't Back Down Because YOU Matter". To paraphrase the essence of your contribution, you told Neuilly to not fall on her sword for you because you don't have that problem. Apparently, you're hot; always have been, always will be...

MaryRyan, I wasn't negating her experience as it was she who pointedly and repeatedly ignored my "no thanks" and kept insisting that she was absolutely correct and that all I had to do was make a video. After providing extensive reasons why her experience was of no interest to me she even went so far as to write a story supporting her own viewpoint to negate me further. Anyone here is free to blast my opinion - I would never be so rude as to insist that I somehow have the magic answer and gosh-golly you better acknowledge it. I've read Neuilly's myriad stories. I can most assuredly state that I have no interest whatsoever in her advice. That doesn't mean her information isn't of use to others.
And of all the things you could have pulled from my somewhat terse style you've selected "I am hot, always have been, always will be". Why does that bother you? I'm actually curious as to why you believe a self-affirming statement negates anyone else.

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