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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?

Artemis said
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.
I have found this to be more on the age and developmental status of the child to be honest. I have a 12 (almost 13 if you ask her) year old that doesn't have contact with her biological father (except when it suits him. He lives in NZ) yet uses the at a friends house they can do a, b & c so why can't i?

I don't think it is a child playing mum and dad off each other and find these comments to come from a child who is clearly pushing the boundaries and seeing if they can get some extra miles out of us. (By us I say mum and step dad).

I have read all posts on this topic and have found a mirrored result happening in our house, except for the 'but they can' being replaced with a friend instead of mum or dad everything else is just the same.

Personally, we have gone with the 'if that is how friends name's mum wants to let her do a, b or c that is fine but we prefer to do x, y or z in our place'.

Boundaries are supposed to move

The boundaries we set for our children are supposed to move. While it would be very unwise to allow a 2 year old to cross a road with direct adult supervison (And preferably a firm grip on their hand), expecting a normal 13 year old to allow constant supervision of their road crossing skills would be taken as extremely insulting.

Children's needs change. As parents we have to change with them. Where a child never pushes the boundaries, I would be extremely worried the child is not developing properly. That means as parents, we have to allow we will be pushed sometimes. It doesn't mean we have to give in either.

A couple of years ago, I watched my then 3 yr old push boundaries, sometimes it was because he wanted to prove he was independant - sometimes it was to test that the boundaries were still there and he was protected when he needed to be -  a matter of maintaining trust.

In the past, I have experienced similar as a youth leader, even though the young people were mid to late teens, they were definitely more comfortable when there were clearly defined and APPROPRIATE boundaries. On minor issues, experimenting was allowed, the young peope soon realised the boundaries were there for a reason. This reinforced the serious boundaries that were there to protect against serious consequences.

Thats why parenting is both the best job in the world and the toughest - Pride in their new accoplishments - Setting clear and approriate boundaries - Having those boundaries tested regularly!

I still rememder the look on one mother face - She had just laid down the rules for her 15 year old daughters first non school disco. No This and No That - I will pick you up at xx o'clock at x place. Mum turned away from her daughter as she finished speaking. Then her face disintegrated into fear. Mum showed tremendous courage to hide her fears from her daughter.

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
At times I have to encourage my daughter to test boundaries especially her own, being the youngest child at her mothers with the advantage of 7 years junior to the next in line she has everything laid on for her as servants so there is little need to press boundaries that don't exist, when at home here she is an only child and needs to fend for herself. Whilst still on plastic plates and glasses at mums she was encouraged to handle crockery and glass here.

Like oneadadc says boundaries are pretty much age appropriate but you don't want you kids not to have the skills to cope when your not around.

One thing I have began doing is when another person is used as an example, or enviroment for that matter I give a flat refusal, when questioned I explain that because you didn't ask properly and tried to get your way by saying so and so do it the answers no, when the awwww comes I remind her to ask properly next time and tell her that I don't give a rats what xxx does because she's not my child, but I do care what you do.

Stay tuned for the teen years because I think the tact will definitely have changed by then  O_o  
D4E said
Stay tuned for the teen years because I think the tact will definitely have changed by then O_o
D4E I am heading crash bang into the 'teenage years' with 2 daughters only 13 months apart I am sure it is going to be a great big Roller Coaster ride… I have noticed that as they get older and the boundaries well and truely change we also need to change the way we as parents deal with certain situations.

Am sure it'll all be a great learning experience for all of us…
I've still got a few years left but I've decided to put some groundings down now so when the time does come and she rebels that she will have plenty of common sense to fall back on. I know I can't be there for her all the time especially as some of the time she won't want this and lets face it teenage years were the best and worse of my life and it'll be the same far into the future. ( It stil scares me though  O_o )
D4E - I recall a friend who never really had a great upbringing and who always felt that his parents were too strict telling me;

"I very much was aware of my parents rules - however I don't think their rules were aware of me". When i quizzed him as to what he meant by that he actually said that the rules in their house had never changed from when he was young untill he was an adult and that lack of change caused so many problems not only with his own development but with the relationship he had and now has with his parents.

Sometimes little things like that remind us that we have to be prepared to expand boundaries and teenage years are just like any other, they fall over, we are there with tissues and bandaids to fix it all.. Unfortunately as we know teenagers can do alot more damage to themselves but its all a part of growing for us and them.

I have often told my eldest that I wish she had come with a book LOL
The fact that there are already mixed messages coming from one of her homes as well as other social structures with in it already adds to the problems that are starting to generate so I really do think I will be flying by the seat of my pants with my posterior dragging down a bitumen road, at times it is going to be very painful with relief short lived, and yes I so understand what your friend is saying.

It's funny I always think when she's with me she is safe but tonight she came into the puter room crying, as it turns out she thinks all the animals at her mums are pinning for her, it turned out mum told her her favorite pet was running around trying to find her and missed her awfully.
I rely on humor a lot so I started to talk about animals walking around calling her name and basically making a situation so ridiculous that she was starting to join in, then I explained that pets don't miss us in that way etc etc. A couple of little words changed her day into misery and she only six so teens I am going to need some damn fine advise for I can tell you.  

"Make sure you be good....."

My kids step-mum always says to them before a visit "Make sure you be good so you don't get into trouble", which is her way of saying "Be careful of those nasty two parents at that house.  They may just try to discipline you, which could lead to you growing up to be nice and well-grounded children!".

She has them believing that if we try to steer them on the path of good behaviour and manners then we are being mean!

Can we ever win?

Like most Mums & Step-Mums….
;) I'm Mumfabulous!
My little one seems to cope quite well with two different sets of rules. It has been six years now though. I rarely have to enforce any behavioural rules on her either, its like we havean unwritten code that has a line in it, and she knows not to cross it. I dont really know what goes on in the other house.. well I sort of do based on what I KNEW, but the last time i was at the house was in mid 2006….

Some of the rules, such as bedtime seem to be around the same in both houses, we do seem to have a different approch to dicipline though… but our little one seems to understand that certainrules in one house should be carried to the other house… I would say that its only the mother that fails to understand this…

I do know it is pointless to worry and stress on what is going on in the other house … if you know you cannot do something about it… It can eat away at you and cause a lot of pain… I have learnt to accept that two houses means two sets of rules… and pretty much nothing will change that…

If I was talking to someone affected by this kind of situation I would tell them to focus on THEIR routine with the child/children… make it the best you possibly can based on your views…and accept the things you cannot change… it's a lot less painful.


They must find it difficult, those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority

It can turn complicated if the other parent confides that they are having problems and thinks the issues are physiological or medical rather than environmental.

This happens to me on a regular basis every four months or so.

Talk comes around about seeing a mind doctor because of behaviour at one home, my daughter behaviour at my environment is exemplary and she is behaving age appropriate unfortunately it is not the same in the other environment and although communication is not stressed at this point it is heard with selective hearing, valuable facts and tools are dismissed because they come from me.

This still comes down to gooner suggestion on knowing what you can change and your limitations to advise change but you may have to follow the situation further because the other parent feels they do not have a problem with their techniques but rather the fault is with the child.

When there is no consistency between the home in regard to boundaries then the child is going to have problems adjusting and in my case adjust better to the home with consistent boundaries.

D4E said
Talk comes around about seeing a mind doctor because of behaviour at one home, my daughter behaviour at my environment is exemplary and she is behaving age appropriate unfortunately it is not the same in the other environment and although communication is not stressed at this point it is heard with selective hearing, valuable facts and tools are dismissed because they come from me.
I hear you on this D4E, My little ones behaviour, at the other sides if the family report is anything to go by, is downright out of order,to be honest I could not believe the reporter was talking about my daughter… and neither could anyone I know…

Anything i say to try to help to rectify this situation, is ignored or ridiculed.. and usually both! I have just given up, my daughter knows how to behave, she is only one person. I am leaving it to the other side to work out their own problems now and I hope eventually they will see the error of their ways and rescue their relationship with our little one… but it's out if my hands… people dig their own pits… and kids grow up fast…

What is shocking, in my case, is that the family reporter identified these problems between the mother and our daughter, and then said the only way to stop it was to limit nearly ALL contact between myself and my daughter… What do you do with recommendations like that hey?(off topic I know but…).

They must find it difficult, those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority

Yep limit contact would bring one consistent behaviour package you simply can not argue with that, unfortunately it may not bring the right behaviour to the front.

It can well get to a defensive stage very quickly and many tools become reduced to an attack because it comes from the other parent, even in the best intention or being ask for the advice on resolution of the situation.

We assume that advice is being ask when the real request is for the problem to be sorted by the parent who's environment is stable, simply put the demand " Make them behave for me like they do for you " is impossible unless the conflicting parent changes their environmental structure.

There is also another situation that is even more troublesome where the child is punished and degraded to establish what a parent sees as respect, we all know as we get older there is a difference between fear and respect yet many are guilty of using fear to gain control and call it respect.

And you are so right gooner they do grow so quickly, far to quickly to waist time trying to control rather than teaching with kindness, it just doesn't make sense we are still encouraging control by abuse be it yelling, hitting, degrading or blackmail.

To me it's been much easier earning the respect and have my daughter happy to do things because she aspires to be a nice person not only for me but for herself. ( mind you I understand her inability to do so at her other home )

Hopefully Step Mums are included in this group too! I have real issues with the perseption or manipulation of behaviour by the mother of son no 1. (she has majority care) I asked him to clean up after himself - normal rule in MOST house holds - and got the response "My Mum says when I'm at dad's my job is to have fun not do cleaning!" It was MY house so he got the "well in MY HOUSE - you clean up the mess you make!" Dad was very supportive. But sometimes - when we are at dads house the 'fun house' comes out again. I do have a few issues with it but as it isn't my house I feel uncomfortable acting on it. (My house is 'being reno'd beach house' dads house is 'work / school house') I feel that as a step parent - I don't have any say at all. I am a mum as well to a 14 yr old (& am expecting no 2!) so try and get my son to lead by example. Hints? Tips??????
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