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Different house, different rules and standards

How do you define and reinforce your boundaries. How do you explain the different rules and standards?

The children shuttle back and forth every week or so.

"At Dad's we do x, y, z - why can't we here?"

"Mum let's us do x, y, z…"

How do you explain the different rules and standards?

Or, are you able to work with your ex to get some consistency between the houses?


Let's discuss this topic and see if our members have any pearls of wisdom to share.
Personally, I struggle with this. We (we bio parents) have different standards of discipline.
I find this hard. The other "stuff" mostly works out.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
I have the battle of the diet to contend with. We believe in eating healthy, organic where possible, lots of fruit and vegetables and only junk on occasion (it's hard to not eat a dim sim sometimes!)
My X on the other hand thinks the 5 different food groups are KFC, McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, Red Rooster and Pizza Hut. I struggle with that s it is not in my childrens best interests at all. My solution, to try to teach my sons to cook and send some food with them when they visit Dad.
Aphrodite said
I have the battle of the diet to contend with. We believe in eating healthy, organic where possible, lots of fruit and vegetables and only junk on occasion

With respect should you not have rephrased that as "I"? Until children get educated at home or school they are the major food groups!


Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (look for the Avatars) Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

The conventional wisdom

And even the experts suggest that as long as there are not extreme differences, children soon learn to adapt to variations in rules from house to house. They main point is to set clear boundaries and be consistent with you application of them.

That doesn't mean the kids won't try it on - after all that is their purpose in life - to see where the boundaries are!

Generally I respond to "Mummy lets me do X" with "Good - you can do it at mummy's. You are not doing it here" That usually works.

I also get "I want to go to back to mummy's" when jnr finds boundaries inconvenient - "Ok, as soon as we get home, pack you bag and I will take you back" - That always results in a "Do I have to go to mummy's?" just as we arrive home. :P From past and recent experience, I know mum's rules are all over the place and grandma's are over the top.

I laugh like hell inside - Mum claims to be the "Primary Disciplinarian"

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
Once children leave your home they are in a different enviroment and adapt a lot better than given credit for. As suggested what they adapt to may be questionable.

Time they are with you is a major component, I think you still have to have rules and boundary's if the kids come every second weekend and influences can be great but it would be extremely hard for the child to enter a strict regime for 2 days out of fourteen.

More contact allows the child to experience the enviroment a lot better regular bed times, meal time, homework times as well as relaxation time.
The other home may have none of these and be verging on chaos so they bloom from this style of stable enviroment.

I've always been fond of term like " And this concerns me how ? " when I get grief about what she gets at mums, tongue in cheek and off the cuff remarks lets her know it's not a sore point but it won't get any where to pursue.

I find it impossible to achieve consistency, have tried to for some years, things change for a short time then back to comfortable habits. Both homes have different standards and rules as well as enviroment and extended family. One has discipline the other enviroment has most members of the house dummy spitting, yelling and swearing at each other on a regular basis.

I think the main thing is to try and communicate in a healthy way but a lot is dependent on the age of the child and their personal bond with the parent.

 
It's a tricky one Artemis - you know all too well the issue I have with my "visiting" kids and my "sucky" rules.

Explanation could be along the lines of "Your Dad and I  have different ways of living and different styles of being parents"

Kids learn early on that different standards of behaviour apply in different places - watch what happens when you visit one friend who insists on tidying up b4 they go to another who says don't worry about it. I have never heard one of mine say "I'm not cleaning up my mess cos I don't have to at  so'n'so's house".

I think the Dad v Mum argument is more of pushing boundaries. Lately I have been able to talk to my ex more and the things child3 says she is allowed to do there is NOT allowed at all. The old adage that its the kids who suffer the most in divorce is true in many ways except for the things they soon learn to turn to their advantage.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.

I prefer to ask Mum or Dad because they will say YES

Children soon learn one parent is easier to get a yes out of - In fact it will depend on the question which parent is going to be asked - this is "Normal" in intact families - why should we be surprised that children do it when their parents are separated. While communciation between separated parents can be more complex - the children's attempts to manipulate their parents by playing one off against the other is generic - whether their parents are separated or not.

Even very young children are capable of manipulating the truth when they want to - they may or may not have learned the concept that what they ask is "Wrong", but that doesn't stop them asking.

When I get a request - "Mum gets me this or allows that" my response it always "well, you will have to ask mum for that again".

I once made the mistake of using an activity "Mum" had promised as "encouragement" for the return trip. The activity didn't happen - Jnr was seriously annoyed at me because I had broken my promise! Now I don't promise "Mum's" commitments, it is simply "Mummy will organise that"

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
Kids are the master of manipulation and will exploit any chinks they see. The best way to deal with it is if you CAN work with the other parent. I am slowly (while it suits him) getting the ex to realise that I will support his decisions when it comes to the daughter who lives with him, and am now involving him more in discussions with the bigger things that involve the two living with me (bf's staying over etc). It makes it easier now to work together to nip the manipulative behaviour in the bud now he is not using it to add to his point scoring sheet.

When you are swimming down a creek and an eel bites your cheek, that's a Moray.

What can I say

I offered the ex a lift to mediation this week - it was accepted:ninja:



And in case anybody comments on a Dad posting on M4E - I have it on good authority that I make a great "Mum" - Jnr - regularly calls me "Mummy" -  "daddy' wasn't a safe word for a long time!

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
LOL, I often get called "Dad" by the stepson, because Mum is forbidden, as is any other term of affection (other than my first name).

Being a good parent and offering a safe place to be is what is important. Mum and Dad are just titles.

Good for you Oneadadc

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
oneadadc said
I offered the ex a lift to mediation this week - it was accepted:ninja:



And in case anybody comments on a Dad posting on M4E - I have it on good authority that I make a great "Mum" - Jnr - regularly calls me "Mummy" - "daddy' wasn't a safe word for a long time!
 
I did wonder why you sometimes use the word "mum" in inverted commas.  I thought maybe you had issues with the validity of the role like some people used to have with "dads", so it is good to know it is just that your are a "mum" youself!

You are also a great dad and I love that you complemented your son's (other? real? female?) mum on national telly.

Way to go oneadadc.



My choice of the term "Mum"

That is a story in itself - I have never deviated from the absolute certainty that our child needed his "Mum" - even when I believed (with very good reason) that his Birth Mother (BM) was not delivering as a "Mum". In fact I can say that Jnr's relationship with his mother at some times was totally dependant on my attitude to that relationship. Over the past few years BM has grown into the role of "Mum". Occasionally when seriously peeved, I will refer to the "Ex", that is my personal feelings speaking, usually related to the lack of "Mum" from BM. But the long term goal remains "Mum" so I choose to mostly refer to Mum as "Mum" because that is her primary role in the combination of "Mother & Father" which hopefuly parent our child. My primary role is "Dad". As separated parents, we will at times have to be able to meets our childs need from the other half of the "Parental" role



In the past we have fairly entrenched concepts of "Primary Carer", "Primary Disciplinarian" and "Primary Educator" - all of which complicated communcation as "Mum" and "Dad" and as Parents.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
I don't like the use of Primary this and Primary that. It's exclusionary. Mum and Dad are both parents. They should be able to do what the other does, yet bring a subtle "flavour" of the masculine and feminine to the mix that kids get to experience.
People have different strengths and weaknesses.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
My children have operated with different rules and different houses for 12 years - mostly week about but no mainly with me. They also stayed with my parents when we visited. Each house had different rules - as is the right of the people who own the house.  Each parent was different and deliberately so - i never put the ex down but i DID highlight and explain the differences AS SOON as any question was raised . I provided immediate explanation and clarity. This provided a stable and sure environment and trust.

I never said anything, made a rule,etc that I couldn't stand up to, repeat in public or argue with the kids when they grew up (why did you do/say..)

Any partner I have had is my relationship - not a step parent and if we live together we share the house rules but not the parenting . Thats my job.
This can be hard for some motherly types who feel they:
  1. have a natural role
  2. are 'better'
  3. provide something 'extra'
but they get used to it with time.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
One of the things I did from a very early age with my daughter was tell her that she could tell anyone what happens in the house and there are no secrets.

This of course has backfired once or twice but as I had said what she repeated what can you do, I did but face the music.

I found this made me more aware of how she perceived things and established a good " lead by example " mannerism.

Have to admit Jon as far as partners go I have a similar rule and this includes boyfriends of her mother.  
I copped "Mum said I can lick the spoon at your house" from the little tacke when we were making a cake together, as far as bed times, rules etc we had to go off the omther rules because she was primary carer

Rarghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Han Solo routine "We're all fine here, thanks. How are you?" *weapons fire* "It was a boring conversation anyway!"

Sausages for dinner

Tonight was a good illustration - Jnr was trying to get sweets before mains - sometimes it is ok - but tonight I knew mains wouldn't get eaten.

In the debate about what the prorities were, I made the point to Jnr that Vegies were more important that meat (Not what I really believe, but a suitable position for the circumstances), Further, I would insist he ate his vegies but not the sausage. I explained that I would be "Unhappy" if he did not eat the sausage, but I would not make him eat it. Jnr replied "Mummy says sweets are more important than sausages!". I replied " I am certain that Mummy does think sweets are more important than sausages, and I am sure she did not say that" - Jnr said "she did!" My come back to that was simple "Well we can ring mummy and ask if she thinks sweets are more important than sausages?" - Guess what, that was the end of the discussion - Jnr said "we don't need to ring mummy" and ate all his dinner :thumbs:

As for "Mum said I can lick the spoon at dad's house" - I got in first - we started on cakes before he was three - Licking the spoon is a very important way of helping make cakes :P - The other household had to take up cake making after a looooong break :ninja:

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!

3 year old doesn't like "NO" - Time for some education

the hardest thing because of his age is saying no full  stop becuase he doesnt hear it often at his mums hearing it here really makes him scream
YEP - total routine for a 3 year old - "NO" triggers tantrum - BUT "NO" represents a crucial lesson - So the best way to manage the post "NO" tantrum is to ignore it, even if that means stepping over the child as you continue with your routine (Make one up on the spot if you need to). The child will quickly learn that tantrums are not the solution in your house leading to reduced tantrums and then almost no tantrums. That he does not hear "NO" at mum's is totally irrelevant

On the issue of the cake disappearing before making it to the oven, perhaps a restriction to only licking the spoon after the cake is mixed and in the oven might be useful - yes - probable tantrum territory - but then NO SPOON LICKING. The experts call this "Natural Consequences" - and guess what - It usually works - you just have to willing to call their bluff.

Also, when you decide to get Tough in the cake baking dept, schedule the getting tough so their is time to do a rerun under the new rules (yes, you will need a second mix). This is an important part of the reinforcement - Consequence applied, then we try again, with a little luck and perseverance, licking the spoon after the cake is in the oven will soon become and accepted procedure.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
tantrums are my pet hate - its such a waste of energy (especially with 'grown ups'). The trick is to be firm and consistent. In terms of 'sweets' - i never associated things like that with rewards - they were just things we had sometimes in moderation.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Quote: And in case anybody comments on a Dad posting on M4E - I have it on good authority that I make a great "Mum" - Jnr - regularly calls me "Mummy" - "daddy' wasn't a safe word for a long time!

M4E is open to everyone! I had a friend tell me recently who has full time care of his two children that around mothers day his daughter was asked to make something for her mother. She did make something and on the top wrote in big letters… My daddy makes the best mummy!
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