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My Son's Father Works Against Me

One of the members of Online Parent Support recently told me that her ex-husband is not on the same page with her regarding discipline. Sometimes he cooperates with her, other times he does his own thing -- which undermines her.

Her oldest son lives with his father, but visits her a couple times a week. The son does not like visiting mom, because mom has rules and dad does not (not many anyway). So here was my response:


Good to hear from you A.,

I think I detect a bit of cooperation from your ex, although he does not like to be the "bad guy" and does not like to be put in the middle (i.e., between you and your son).

If you haven't already done so, please give you ex a copy of the ebook. Is he open to trying a few new things? If he will get on the same page with you, the two of you will have tremendous success with your eldest son.

However, if your husband "does his own thing" as far as discipline (or lack thereof), then we must revert back to the strategy I talked about in the last email (i.e., 'strategy' is about what you CAN control).

==> My Out-of-Control Teen: Help for Parents

If your ex seems to always work against you (e.g., withdraw a discipline you have already imposed, blame you for the families problems, etc.), then I encourage you to cultivate the "art of letting go."

"Letting go" would look something like this:

-- Your ex has his rules; you have your rules

-- When your son is with dad, he can operate under dad's rules

-- When your son is at your residence, he must operate under your rules

-- If he does not like your rules, he can choose to (a) follow your rules anyway, or (b) leave your residence and go back to dad's

-- If your ex is working against you rather than with you, take no complaints from him regarding your son's behavior (e.g., You might say to your ex, "If you are having problems with our son while he is at your house, I cannot help you as long as you operate under a different set of rules than what I have.")

I think your ex needs to experience some painful emotions associated with his poor parenting choices. Use the strategies I discuss in the eBook on both your son and your ex.

Stay in touch,


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