Kids, Custody, Who deserves what?

I have spent a long time watching this forum and reading the posts. I am also a step-parent and have been for 13 years and I have been a PARENT for 17 years. I have a few things to say…

To the “Biological Parents” you are not the "perfect parent! Unless your children are being seriously abused, GET OFF YOUR HIGH HORSE and allow the other parent and step-parent to BE PARENTS!!! They don’t need your every stipulation and direction to be accomplished parents.

To the Step-Parents, as long as you try DON’T EVER LOOK DOWN ON YOURSELF! You are a PARENT and BEST FRIEND when these kids have 2 parents who can’t stop thinking of THEMSELVES long enough to see the damage they’re doing. YOU ARE THE WALL AND ROCK of Stability for these kids. BE THERE FOR THEM!!

To the parents who use their kids as pawns for money, revenge and spite. Your kids are NOT a requirement in life, they are a gift and just as quickly as God gave them to you, he can take them from you!!! They are not a commodity or your bank roll!!!
At one point you thought the other parent was a good one, otherwise you wouldn’t have had children with them. Why has it changed just because your marriage is over??? GET A GRIP

To those who just don’t deserve to have their children, just remember, eventually your day will come!

What ever comments I recieve from this post, I gladly and proudly except them. Because if I can stop at least 1 parent from causing damage to their kids, then I at least accomplished something worthwhile!!!
Trust me, I know the damage that can be done, we buried my step-children last week from a joint suicide, they left a note as to why they did it…

I’m so so sorry to hear about your stepchildren. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. I’m horrified that the situation got so out of hand that the children felt that this was their only recourse.

I can honestly say that I’ve seen more damage done to children, not by the divorce itself, but by the way the parents react to the divorce. Children take their cues from that.

I’ve seen parents use a child’s loyalty to one parent or another to divide the child from the other parent and utterly destroy the child in the process.

I’ve seen parents try to win affection and loyalty while alienating the other parent by allowing the child to run amok and spoiling that child to the point where the child respects neither parent.

I’ve seen children afraid to speak their minds because of the thought of stirring up more trouble between their parents. There are kids who are made to keep secrets they never should keep for fear of creating more trouble between parents.

I’ve seen parents tell the child that all their problems and all the child’s problems stem entirely from the divorce and that life would just be happy again if the parents weren’t divorced. This turns that child into a powerless victim of circumstances out of their control rather than giving them the tools to adapt to changes in their lives and empowering them. Divorce can be an opportunity to teach how to overcome loss and adversity.

It is so easy to wallow in self-pity, to use the children to get your own needs met whether it is the need for the love you no longer get from your spouse, or the need for revenge and having an ally on your side to complete that revenge. However, the long-term irreversible damage you do to someone that you were supposed to love enough to bring into this world isn’t worth the selfish comfort derived from such actions. By engaging in such behaviors, one only points out just how much the other spouse was justified in divorcing such a self-involved, selfish creature who would sacrifice their own child’s life for selfgratification.

One last thought. For those of you who deny the stepparent’s role in the new family or see the stepparent as enemy rather than as an extra helping hand. Stepparents by and large care deeply for their stepchildren, as evidenced here by grief. They have the hardest job in the world. They cannot be full parents but yet they have all the responsibility of parenting and are often the first to be blamed if something goes wrong.

I love my mom. I love my dad. Before I fell into the stepparent role myself, I recognized that my stepmother was far better suited for my father than my mother was, and that’s no disrespect to my mother. It just is. Now that I’m in the stepparent role, I appreciate my stepmother so much more and recognize what an extraordinary person she is.

Once again, I’m so sorry that you are going through this. My prayers are with you.

But my husband was good at first, then I caught him with another man and everything about him went bad. I can’t lie to the kids and the judge didn’t like him. Mostly I just don’t talk about him except he moved back in for a while. He tried to change and not be gay but I don’t think he tried very hard. It is hard not to say bad things so mostly I don’t say anything. I know its not wrong to be gay so I don’t want to hurt anybodys feelings.

What does that have to do with what kind of parent he is?
Why was the fact he was gay brought up in a custody hearing if it didn’t matter to you? Or was it used JUST to get custody? Here in the “Bible belt” it’s a known fact that is frowned upon and the other parent will get full custody.

What if the shoe was on the other foot and you were a lesbian? Would it have made you angry that it was used against you? Would you have wanted it used against you for him to get custody? Or would you have argued, that it was private and your business and had no effect on your ability to parent your children?

You see…it’s ok if it’s the other parent!!! That is wrong!!!

I know its not wrong to be gay. I like Ellen and all that but it was very unfair to me because we were married and then he became gay. I didn’t bring it up to the judge that he was gay just that I caught him messing around at work and he admitted it was another man and anyways the judge didn’t like him before he said all that.

BarnOwl I went through and read your posts. You are one of the ones I am speaking to. in my original post…

What right or reason did you have to tell your children all the “bad things” their father had done. They didn’t need to know that!!! All you had to do was tell them that the 2 of you felt it was better to not be together any longer and it was not their fault and the 2 of you promised to work together to keep their lives normal…HOW DARE YOU tell your children that you found their DAD in bed with another man!!!
I can only imagine the other things they have heard from you!!!

HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO THEM!!! You may think you’re hurting their Dad, but you’ve also probably destroyed them and their relationship with him!!!

What satisfaction would you possibly get from that?

You ask soley about money and making him pay in your other posts. and the fact YOU were worried that he got into your emails and YOU WANT TO ALREADY Marry someone else!!!

Then he should have requested a different judge so he could be treated fairly, these children seem to be in more emotional danager being with you.

I would hope that this being a public forum, that someone realizes who you are and helps your children heal from the damage you’ve done.

Barnowl, sounds like you have a lot on your plate, more than most people. I don’t know how you deal with it all. I was the same but got involved with a counselor at my church who really helped me juggle all the garbage I was dealing with. Check it out. Whew, I am glad its Friday.

To Sleepless- I have one thing to say…AMEN!! You are so right. It is a shame when children get caught in the middle of adults acting like children. In the end the only ones who suffer are the innocent kids. Maybe judges need to look at the maturity of both parents when deciding certain things in a divorce.
To barnowl- I said it in a earlier post to you and I will say it again… you need to grow up, leave your ex alone and stay out of his life. If he choses to be gay, let him be. Being gay has nothing to do with what kind of father he is. Let your kids have a realtionship with their father minus your meddling. If you are so ready to marry someone else, do it and leave your poor ex alone. You are the kind of woman that gives women a bad name.

On being gay…after having a gay stepbrother and several gay friends, I am firmly convinced that it’s not a choice, that one is born that way.

Barnowl, look at it this way…your husband was probably always gay but hoped that he could convince himself not to be. He probably married you with the thought that you were the one woman on earth that might be able to make him stay ‘straight’. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way and you got caught in the crossfire of his poor decision.

On speaking ill of the other parent…my grandmother spoke ill of my grandfather to my dad. FOr a while, my father mistrusted his own dad and didn’t want to spend time with him. However, over time, my father gradually changed his opinion to thinking that my grandmother would say anything to get her own way or get her needs met, whether it was true or untrue. In the end, my grandmother’s behavior damaged his relationship with both parents. My father had none with his dad, and was constantly at war with his mother. The only benefit was that he learned from them not to behave that way and when my father and mother divorced, my father was wholly supportive of my mom.

Barnowl, can it hurt to take the high road on this one? Your kids will find and see their own truth. Children have minds of their own and will over time reach their own decisions and interpretations of events. You cannot control their minds, just as you can’t control your ex’s sexuality. If you take the high road, they will never be able to blame you for either marrying their dad or ruining their relationship with him.

Sneaking around and saying things out loud while on the phone is really manipulative and dishonest. Kids aren’t stupid and they will eventually figure out what you are doing. Don’t expect them to respect you for it.


Oh my! I just read through this post. sleeplessinNC, I’m terribly sorry to hear this tragic news. You will be in my thoughts and your post should be in the forground of every parent and stepparent’s mind.

Children should NEVER be put in the middle of a divorce. It should be for the children instead of about them. There are too many families in crisis because of bitter emotions. Children love both parents unconditionally and there’s no excuse for alienating the other parent. No matter what that person did to you their feelings and ability to parent the child does not change. The child does not care who bought them new shoes or who takes them to the movies…all they care about is that they got new shoes or got to go to the movies.
You have to remember that these are children. They have all the same emotions as we do. They are scared and sad and angry but they don’t understand why. They may never have experienced anything like this before whereas we, as adults, probably have gone through more than one break up at the very least. We have some idea what to expect emotionally when a divorce is imminent. Children on the other hand will normally cling to the parent that remains because if one parent can leave, then they both could. They don’t understand that the parent/child relationship is different than the husband/wife relationship. After all, if you can stop loving the other parent, then it’s not a stretch to them that you could stop loving them. Especially if they don’t behave the way you want them to. They will want to choose a side because they will want to have someone to direct their anger towards. This should not be encouraged because it will eventually come back to you. Instead of trying to make your child love you the most, try loving your child the most and see if that doesn’t make things easier for you. If you are encouraging them to treat a stepparent badly or disrespectful, keep in mind that you are the reason that they treat your new wife or husband badly. When they are adults, they will understand. For the time being, it has to be enough to know they love you and that you will always be their parent. There’s no way to change that fact so there’s no reason that you can’t allow them to make room in their life. They have to know that it’s ok for them to love their stepparent, and they take their cues from you.

My stepsons have struggled with this the entire time I’ve known them, because their mother chooses to talk badly about me and used to tell them they didn’t have to listen to me. After all, I’m not their mother. The oldest has realized that there is room in his life for me but the youngest feels that if he lets me get close it will be betraying his mother. Can you imagine how much it tortures him to want to be loved, to see his brother and I getting along as we do yet he will not let his gaurd down because he does not want his mother to think he loves me? I know that it’s only a matter of time before he chooses not to visit with us anymore. And when that time comes, I assume that I’ll understand that it’s simply easier for him. I do what I can to make sure he knows I love him, but I can’t fix the whole situation without his mother’s consent.

In answer to your post subject question…kids don’t deserve to be treated as property. They are yours to care for and love for such a short time that none of that should be wasted on petty things such as which adult they should respect or which parent they love more. Both parents deserve to have an equal opportunity to be involved in their child’s life as much as they desire. Custody should never be about what the other parent did to you but about how the child will get the most love and care that they can possibly be given.
Just my own opinion though…

sleeplessinNC, I hope that you and your family will come to know peace after this tragic event and thank you for sharing what can only be a painful experience.

I am sorry, I did not read all of your post at the beginning. I think my problems only seem small now.

bump…I feel the need to bump this to the top again. The intial post should be REQUIRED READING for any parent going through issues of child custody as to how bad things can really get.

We’re going to court, and we will probably lose. He gave up everything so that the kids wouldn’t be in the middle of a protracted divorce battle. The kids are pretty much the only thing that he has left that she hasn’t completely taken…and now she’s found an opening and is working on that too.

If we lose, he will not be able to have overnights with his kids anymore…and he doesn’t deserve that. He’s a good father who comes home from work and helps with homework, cooks meals, and does his kids laundry. It breaks my heart to hear from the children’s own lips that even though they’ve not seen their dad in over a week, they’d rather go stay at mom’s because she has expensive toys and “Skype is good enough”…or to watch them go into a back bedroom, close the door, and talk to their mom before coming out to announce that they aren’t going to stay another night because “mommy needs them”.

So, if you engage in working against your children’s other parent, remember this, what comes around goes around. When you alienate your child from the other parent, you teach them coldness. You teach them not to look at the whole, but that sides must be chosen. One day, they may indeed choose against you. Either way, at some point you saw something in your spouse worth marrying, and now you wish to deny your children the ability to see good in that parent or deny that parent the ability to step up to the plate and become a better parent than they were a spouse. You’ve injured that child just as sure as if you had stabbed them in the chest with your own hand.

Thank you for bumping this up. This has prompted me to search for a family counselor in my area and get myself and my daughters in to hopefully start getting some help on dealing with all of this. We left my abusive STBX in November and it’s very difficult for me to shed any type of positive light on him at all after the way he has treated not only me but the children and now makes himself out to be superDad and that’s just not the case. However, I don’t want to alienate my daughters from ME so perhaps a counselor is necessary for us… and hopefully one that might be able to help my daughters deal with the abuse that they witnessed.

Thank you very much and my heart goes out to the OP who lost her step-children. God Bless you and pray you all will heal in time.

Great post, thnks for this post about kids custody and who is actully deserves it. Parents should know the responsibilities for their childern’s. Parents should understand their children spend time with them and share things with them. Their behavior with each other will affect the children. Both mother and father have to take care of their children not a single is responsible for that.

Thnks regards…