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Parenting Issues Message Board

Parenting Issues Board Index

I have a friend who is married to a man that lost his first wife in an unfortunate freak accident. After the accident he signed temporary custody over to his mother in law until he could get it together enough to provide a good home for the children. He is now married to my friend and it has been eleven years since he signed over custody of the children. The mother in law does not want to give the children back because they mean an additional $1,700.00 a month income for her. She does not care properly for the children. They are left to their own devices almost all the time, feeding themselves and doing their own laundry, etc. The judge decided to try a test thing, giving custody of the children to each party 50-50 for a couple months, with a CASA worker to give a report to the court at the end of the trial period. The children have been being very unruly and argumentative since the trial period started. Before this trial period, my friend and her husband dicsiplined the children the same as they did their own child. The children seemed to have no problem abiding by the house rules then. Now, since this trial period has begun, they have been telling my friend "no" when she tells them it is time for bed and just plain ignoring her when she tells them something to do, etc. Her husband says that she should just grin and bear it until the trial period has ended. She feels angry that she is expected to be treated like she is not a part of the family and nothing she says is of any consequence. The husband is afraid of making the children unhappy or angry before the court date when the judge will make his ruling on the custody of the children. The children are a 14 year old boy, a twelve year old boy, and an eleven year old girl. Isn't this choice of the husband to expect my friend to let the children walk all over her until the end of the trial period, and the subseqential ruling, setting the family up for an even rougher road if they do get custody of the three children. My friend is taking on a heck of alot with these children. The two boys are failing in school and the oldest has been watching some pretty rude pornography on his computer at his grandmother's house. My friend discovered he had snuck into her office and got on her computer to go to porn sites at two o'clock in the morning. The girl lied and told her that when she asked her father if her mother was pretty he had said "yes she was very pretty" and when she asked him if he thought my friend was pretty he answered "she was never pretty". Mind you my friend is a quite attractive 33 year old woman. The husband denied saying this and my friend later got confirmation that he did not say she was "never pretty". She is in enough of a dificult position with these kids and he is setting her up for more misery by usurping her control of the children. Should she just grin and bear it until the custody battle is over? She is taking this all on because she loves her husband and knows he is troubled by the conditions his children are living in. She has two children of her own as well. One is a 9 year old boy and one is a six month old boy. The other children are always mistreating her natural children and the girl tells the baby he is "evil" because he pulls her hair. The husband refuses to change his disposition on the subject and tells her to find another way to deal with the discipline issue but that she is not to yell at the children or discipline them by restricting them or whatever. Of course, he wouldn't allow it to go on if the children where telling him no, but he expects it of my friend. Suggestions? And isn't this making an even unhealthier start with these children than what already exists? Is their some sort of statistics that might help support her opinion that changing their behavior from what has been "the norm" in the past is a mistake?

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