T.S. asks from Murphysboro, IL on February 21, 2008
What to Do About My Ex Husband Letting My Kids Watch Rated R Movies.
I have been divorced now for 8 years and have two sons with my ex husband. My oldest son is 10 and my youngest is 4. They visit their dad every weekend and when they come back it is a constant battle to get them back to where they were. They act up a lot more and fight each other throughout the week. By the time the weekend comes, they stop their fighting and go back to their dads house. Most weekends he allows them to watch movies I unapprove of. I have requested to him not to have them watch such things especially when I have to comfort their nightmares. He does not realize what torturous things he is ruining their little heads with. Yes, they watch rated R horror movies. I have endlessly talked with my oldest son about this practically begging him not to let his little brother in the room with him when these movies are played. They are in a little apartment so he hears these movies even if he doesn't see them. I do not condone these movies and I prescreen everything they watch at home. I am beside myself on what to do. He legally has the right to keep the children every weekend and sometimes I try to keep them home when it worsens. I have asked their dad repeatedly not to let them watch these movies and why it bothers me so. He just says he'll quit and shut me up. This is becoming a real problem as my children are growing older and acting out these movies. Any advice?
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L.D. answers from St. Louis on February 22, 2008
He is not going to change. I would ask my oldest what movie(s
) he watched. As a last resort I would the movie or the makings of the movies with my littlest and talk to him about it. I am so sorry that you have to deal with a person with such little reguards for their kids.
J.A. answers from Joplin on February 21, 2008
I think Sandy's advice is great buying the TV and giving it to him with some movies for the kids. Also, I would send over some age appropriate board games with the kids and say something like, "All Bobby could talk about this week is playing this game with his Daddy" Maybe it will get him and the kids focused on more appropriate activities. As for not censoring your children I believe that there comes a point when everyone will need to censor themselves but 8 is a little young to start being the "Buddy" to your kids. Of course that is just one opinion. Good luck.
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L.B. answers from St. Joseph on February 21, 2008
Well you need to determine how you want to expend your energy. Are you always going to fight with your ex-husband or are you going to show your children how to impower themselves? Frankly, I'd vote on the later as the former seems beyond redemption. Sit down with the kids and ask them what they think about the movies they see at daddy's. If the sound bothers them, then send them with ear plugs so they don't have to listen to the sound. If they aren't interested in watching those movies, they need to take a stand against dad by saying, "Dad, these movies really bother me and I'd rather watch ______, which I brought with me. Can we watch it instead?" If he says no, tell them to go to the other room and send them with games, books, puzzles they can do on their own or give them the option of calling you to come pick them up if they feel that uncomfortable.
Ultimately, they need to learn that they have consequences for their own decisions...if they want to watch these movies, then they are going to have the nightmares...If they don't like the nightmares, they shouldn't watch the movies... If you treat them like little adults and teach them alternate ways to solve the problems they will thank you when they grow up because you have impowered them to make their own decisons! Good luck and keep us posted!
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W.B. answers from Kansas City on February 21, 2008
Well I have totally different advice thent he other people have responded.
1st,I have 4 kids and I don't hide anything from them. I don't allow them to watch xxx rated movies or anything but I also don't censor everything. So my advice let your kids know that from now on these are the rules in your house and Dad may have different ones then you but when they are at your house they follow your rules.
2nd, Also let your kids know that you don't approve of these movies and they will not be allowed to watch them at your house.
Get a piece of poster board write your rules down. Let them know there are clear consequences when they don't folloe the rules.
For you, I know you disapprove of the movies he is allowing them to watch. But this is like a tug of war the more you say to not let them watch them the more he is gonna let them watch them. So just lay low for awhile. Don't say anything about it and I bet he will stop doing it. Right now your EX knows you can't control him, what he does in his own house, with his own kids and it pisses you off. He has the upper hand when he sees that these things make you mad. Basically call his bluff.
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J.S. answers from Columbia on February 22, 2008
I do not believe the courts would accept this as appropriate parenting. You could tell your ex that if his inappropriate parenting continues, you will look into getting his rights with his boys limited to "with supervision".
N.T. answers from Kansas City on February 21, 2008
I would speak to a legal professional to see if his weekends could be monitored to insure the best care for your children. Maybe get all the information that you can and then present it to your EX, see if things change if they don't start taking action. I have the same battle with my husband with my 9 year old but I'm around to say change the channel or Landen lets go to another room. What also might work is whenever your children get up because of nighmares call your ex and have him come over or speak to your son.......then he might see how it does have a negative affect on them and he'll stop. Maybe pack approved movies with them and say please watch these first and watch yours later when the kids are in bed.
I'm sorry you are going through this and hopefully it will stop. It's hard not having the control in a situation like this knowing it is hurting your children. I'll be praying for your family.
J.A. answers from Kansas City on February 21, 2008
T. - Something just can't be fixed. This is what happens when people get divorced with children - you lose control. Maybe an alternative is to ask you ex if you can all go see a movie together; this way you have some say so. Like I said, some things just cannot be fixed.
B.H. answers from St. Louis on February 23, 2008
I have a step son whose mother is very similar to your ex. He is now 11. We have learned that there is nothing you can do in court and definately nothing to be said to his mom about these issues. Just do what you can when you have them and they will see the difference. Kids like rules and boundries. Eventually, they will begin wanting to spend more time with the parent who does the most parenting. In the meantime, just remeber, you're not married to this person anymore and that means you can also run your home as you see fit.
N.H. answers from Springfield on February 22, 2008
Many states offer a free of cost mediation program through the court system or social services. In Missouri it is called MARCH. I would reccomend that as a first step. They get the two of you together with a volunteer attorney or social worker to address the issue. The issue and the resolution is then filed with your divorce file. Hopefully this solves the problem - but if it doesn't, you have record of making this attempt first before you go any further. There are tons of research, statistics online regarding the harmful effects of your ex's parenting choices.