The issue we have is about Internet security and smart phone usage. We currently have a situation where my husband has been disrespected so much by his ex wife and the children have been fed years of negativity. It is now proving very difficult to have important rules at our house as they are disregarded by mum so in turn are disregarded by kids. We occasionally monitor phones and Internet usage (Facebook, you tube, Instagram etc for inappropriate use by them or by anyone sending inappropriate things to them including messages images etc,) which we believe is part of parental responsibility as the children are still young. (16 and 12) Mum has told kids to change there security codes and not give them to us as we''re invading their privacy. There is another child in our home (13) that is subject to the rules of smart phone usage in our house and he feels aggrieved that the rules do not appear to apply to his step siblings and this is beginning to cause friction between him and them. How can we fix this when we cannot co parent on this issue with their mum and agree how their phones will be monitored especially in this age of cyber bullying, grooming and as it is so easy to send images of any sort. Or are we completely wrong and maybe we shouldn''t give a damn!
Constructive criticism and advice gladly received.
The real point here is that your households have different rules.
I agree, and the children may be struggling with the differing sets of rules. On a previous post just a couple of weeks ago, you posted that Mum was under the care of a mental health team and was in a residential unit, which is bound to have impacted on the children.
The other issue is that you are binding a 16 year old to the same rules as much younger siblings/step-siblings. At 16, your step-son will value and need his privacy, especially with messages to friends and what he is sharing on his social media accounts. For teenagers nowadays, social media accounts are the equivalent of hand-written diaries of the teenagers in the 70s and 80s. Would you read someone else''s diary?
Kids are pretty internet savvy, and are aware of the dangers that sometimes lurk online - they are given internet safety lessons at school
for instance. And there comes a time when parents have to learn to trust their children and allow them to have some much-needed privacy. What you think is protective and responsible parenting, an older teenager may well see as intrusion and snooping
The other thing that strikes me here is that you are holding out for co-operation with your ex spouse, and expecting/hoping that they will engage in and support co-parenting. While co-parenting is the "golden ticket", it''s not for everyone, especially where communication is non-existent. Perhaps something called Parallel Parenting might be a better option for you? Parallel parenting grants each parent independence from one another, while still enabling each parent to make child-rearing decisions for their children. With parallel parenting, the parents do not have to consult each other or seek approval when making decisions on their children''s behalf. Rather, each parent agrees to let the other parent make their own decisions, in exchange for them being able to do the same. Parents who are able to successfully engage in parallel parenting, acknowledge that high-conflict parenting is much worse for the children than being in agreement with the other parent on parenting/child issues.
Thank you for the replies. I guess we need to compromise. To be fair it wasn''t the eldest that we had concerns about. However we have already had an incident of the 12 yr old receiving texts that distressed her. She actually showed us the texts so we were able to help. We are concerned about the Internet access and have looked into restricting content to under 18 or changing passwords. I do not believe we will ever get to a coparenting level unfortunately so it may well be just sit back, support and cope for now.