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Completely different parenting approaches

Posted by: Anonymous
Sun 19, Mar 2017 at 9:58pm
After Separation

My marriage ended two years ago when our Son was six months old. For various reasons we have been going through court processes for access and other orders ( we are from different countries / cultures). As a result, our little boy has been completely raised by me and has contact with his father through Skype and one hour weekly in a contact centre. They have also seen each other for half days around once a month (very loosely supervised by my Mum).
Our next court case is likely to start unsupervised contact between them, which I accept is in the best interests of our son. My worry is, that our little boy who will soon be 3 is such a sweet, emotionally expressive child.. It feels to me like his Dad isn't sensitive to that. He buys him things which are completely age innapropriate, (two wheel bikes, nerf guns, teaches him to 'sword fight' etc). Recently on a Skype call our son showed his Dad his 'magic wand' and was told that 'boys don't play with fairy wands'.
He plies him with chocolate, fizzy drinks, and lets him run loose in public because 'boys don't hold hands'.
I'm so worried that a lack of consistency for our Son is going to set him back and make him feel confused and unsafe (and probably trigger a lot of poor behaviour too). I do understand that my ex has missed time with his son and being the 'fun parent' will no doubt mean that our Son can't wait for his visits, but I'm so worried about this. I'm certain that once court is over my ex will at best ignore me, but more likely be deliberately nasty and unwilling to communicate.

Does anyone have experience of very different parenting styles and has it negatively affected your young children? Thank you

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  • Pc jaybee (moderator) Flag

    Thank you for your post. Well done for taking a balanced view about this, and one that puts your child first. Your fears about leaving your son on his own with his father are very natural but the first thing I want to say is, don't underestimate the influence that your own bond with your child already has and will continue to have. That isn't going to be 'un-done' by him spending time with his dad. Children become very good at adapting to the different 'regimes' that they inhabit - school, home, grandparents, friends etc- and quickly pick up that there are different ways of doing things in different settings'.
    If you and his Dad were still together, these differences between you would still arise and you'd have to talk about them and negotiate a way of working together as parents. That is still the case but obviously the possibility of talking together is much more tricky. However, I do urge you to try and do this with your ex. I'm sending you a link to a programme on this site that deals with this issue of how you continue to parent together after separation:
    I hope this gives you some ideas about how to talk to your ex.

    Tue 21, Mar 2017 at 9:01am
  • User-anonymous Manchester Flag

    It was nice to explain the background of you 2 & then fathers input to the children. I assumed that marriage life was very short & ended up mainly multiple tiny cultural differences rather then very big issue. You need to keep this in your mind that neither you can change him nor he can change you. If you could then you both shouldn't be in this situation. He is playing with his son in his own way as you are too. I do understand you will not like his way & vice versa. Just let him do in his way until & unless it is not safe to the boy. Better for both parents is to tolerate each other way happily as it will go until your son will choose his own way. You both agree that you loves your son & want best for him in your own way. Give your son to learn both language, culture, religion ( if different ) & be positive to each other. I am sure he will be very confident if you flourish him in this open way rather then playing pulling & pushing game.

    Mon 27, Mar 2017 at 9:36pm