Daughter's ex-spouse problems


My daughter’s 1st “marriage” was annulled. She has remarried in the Church and is pregnant, due in September. She and her DH are thrilled about the new baby as is her 5 year old daughter from her annulled union. The child lives with her Mom and Dada as she calls her step-father. She and her mom chose to call him this so as not to hurt her bio dad.
The little girl’s father lives about 90 miles away and she visits him every other weekend more or less. He has decided to remarry a woman he has been seeing for less than 6 months. They announced it to the little girl this weekend. The woman told her she could call her mommy or mom now.
The child is confused now. She had previously called the woman by her name. She doesn’t want to hurt her bio mom or dad’s soon to be wife.
Bio dad is also not being helpful. He has begun planning the wedding trip with the intention of taking his daughter as well as his future wife’s daughters with them to Disneyland this summer. However he has completely neglected to notify my daughter. In their divorce decree he stipulated he would request in writing any summer vacations prior to March 30 each year. He hasn’t done it. His reason at the time was that he thought he would not want his daughter around as much as he has discovered he does now. At any rate he has now chatted up the trip to the child. Without clearing the summer trip with mom.
The man pays his child support ( Thank God). He loves the child.
But my daughter feels he should not get the time with the child since he has not notified her in any fashion. The only reason we know about the situation is because the child recently mentioned it. I spoke to bio dad at a recent drop off of the little girl. He said yes that was what he was planning. Previously it was “all up in the air. Nothing firm.” But now it appears it’s “firm”.
My daughter asked me and I have told her that I feel the child should still be allowed to go if he notifies her. She feels I am wrong. She says he has made his bed …
What a mess. I hate divorce. I hate what it is doing to the child and her mom and “dada”.
Any wisdom?


Sounds like your daughter is digging in her heels on a “form over substance” basis that is nothing more than a petty jab at her ex. What else is going on here? Is she jealous/angry/concerned he is re-marrying? It’s only April 1 for heaven’s sake–he’s at most 2 days late in notifying her of summer plans. She isn’t seriously suggesting she has been relying on his silence up through March 30 and has already committed the child to do something else?!? If this trip is something she otherwise would approve, don’t allow his “delay” (and all of 2 days) justify her being so petty, putting her child in the middle of their squabble and denying her time with her bio dad.


Even though nothing was final mom has a right to know. He had NO right to discuss it with a child.

He may have not fianalized plans but he knew the agreement. Its sad for the daughter, but its only right that she dosn’t go.

He should, however, take her for her own father daughter trip as she’s not really part of that family, and for her own psycological saftey (not to mention the hardship of having a weekend sister on the other girls) should simply develop her relationship with her dad, and then, as years go by, her step family as she dosn’t live with them full time and natural bonds (over dinner, etc) won’t happen.


Island Oak is a smart one, I’d stick with her suggestions. Also, both your daughter and ex-sil are being quite childish, imho. Come on, her daughter calls her step-dad “dada”. What a jab at her exhusband. As a daughter of divorce and as a single parent, to me, that was completely wrong of your daughter to allow her daughter to call her step-father “dada”. As for the vacation, if her daughter is excited, she should go. If my dad had only proposed such exciting times when he entered his marriage a year after my parents divorce I may have been more open to my step-mom. It’s time your daughter and her ex both grow up and try to work on allowing both she and her ex to have as stable and healthy of a relationship as possible with their daughter. Your granddaughter’s “dada” will NEVER be her daddy. Maybe her daddy wasn’t the best before, but if he’s showing signs of being more involved in her life, why try to fight it, he is JUST AS important for his daughter as is your daughter.


She will be a part of that family and it is best for them all to have that attitude from the start. If going to Disneyland will help the new stepsisters to bond better, then it is a fabulous idea. What’s up with this “hardships of having a weekend sister” business?

Blending families is not an easy task, but it is next to impossible if this is your attitude. It is much better for this little girl if those who care about her make an effort to ensure that she IS a part of “that family.”


Erm. Island Oak makes valid points. It’s also valid that the new husband of the mother is not the father, as well as the father’s new wife is not the mother. It is equally wrong and hurtful for the one to take that role too literally as for the other. The standards should be equal. This said, “Dada” doesn’t strike me as being on par with “mummy”. In fact, I believe that one should be made clear if the little girl doesn’t want to call her that. It’s absolutely essential to avoid jabs and power plays or contests for the child’s attention, devotion and whatnot. Children suffer when parents are competing for influence.


It is absolutely appalling :mad: that children are put in the middle of things.I mean for goodness sake, it’s 2 days that we’re talking about here.Sounds like “mom” has some control issues.
As far as step parents, I think the child should call the step parent what she/he chooses.

This whole issue is especially poignant to me in that I have recently been denied the right to see/talk to my grand daughter because her mama, my daughter, is mad at me.
Whatever you do, don’t make the child the pawn!



Who are the adults here? I’m having trouble locating them in your post!

Your daughter needs to grow up. So what if he didn’t notify her in writing by March 30? This is his daughter, and she loves her dad very much. Your daughter would be cruel in the extreme to refuse to let her go to Disneyland on such a “technicality”. She’s 5 for goodness sakes.

As for all this passive-aggressive behavior of both of you-- you daughter needs to just call him up and talk to him. No need to “find out” things through the 5 year old. You daughter needs to be an adult and communicate directly with the dad regarding his upcoming wedding, vacation plans, etc.

Your daughter should bring up the fact that her DD is not comfortable calling step-mom “mommy” and suggest that they come up with an acceptable alternative such as her name or a nickname. If your granddaughter would be OK calling the step-mom “mom” but is afraid of hurting your daughter’s feelings, then it needs to be your daughter who sits down and tells the little girl it is OK to call the step-mom “mom” and that it won’t hurt her feelings.

And lastly, grandma, you need to stay out of it.


This is about the worst advice I have ever seen given!

By all means, punish a 5 year old because her parents are acting like 3 year olds. That’ll be great for the little girl.

Again, very poor advice. Of course she is part of “that family”.

Clearly you have no experience with a divorced and remarried family situation.


You have got to be kidding me! Your daughter would actually NOT let the child go? I think that sounds mean on the part of your daughter. As another poster said, controlling - she still has issues with her ex. Why is that the child’s fault?

If your daughter is not going to ask her ex for clarification of plans, you as the grandparent should bring this problem up to the ex.

See, we need to expect that his new wife is going to be around forever. This is her new family for life. Why would your daughter even think of sabotaging your granddaughter’s life?

Bad…super bad move based on some emotion other than love for her child.


Although I disagree with him telling his daughter all about the trip before talking to her mom, I don’t think it’s enough of a reason to not let her go.

It’s so hard to blend step-families together and a trip to Disney might be just the thing to make it go more smoothly.

I know from personal experience how easy it is to take a little thing, like not verifying the vacation “on time” and use it to get a little spiteful anger out. But the child has to always be the supreme focus: what’s right for her? How fair would it be now to not let her go?

If your daughter is going to make blended families work, she will have to work hard at not letting old emotions for her ex rule the new relationships.

Good luck for all involved and God bless!!



Actually, I do.

I’ve been in the situation where there was a twice-a-weekend version of a family and the day to day family.

The kid who has to come into an already formed family on the weeked has it tough. They often just plopped into the mix of everything else to do and get no special time with their parent. They don’t have the day-to-day soccor games, family dinner and recitals, ed nausaum. They have FOUR to six DAYS a month in another family.

Its emotinally difficult both to be the kid comming and going and to be the family who’s life they try to fit in. I am VERY close to people on both sides. IIn my friends who felt they had the best they were the visitor gets treated as such, a visitor, not royality, but as a visitor who is entitled to specal dad/mom time. Otherwise emotional needs get neglected.

She’ll always love her Dad, but that visits to him are not always stable, that he met and married a woman in less than a year…with children of her own…shows a relationship that dosn’t have a really good track record. The fact that "he thought he would not want his daughter around as much as he has discovered he does now" is a HUGE red flag that he could be emotinally negletful when dealing with his future wife’s children and any of his future children towards his daughter.

Maybe since the kid knows let her go to disney world.:shrug: The mom has a right to emotinally protect her daughter, and I think that short noticed vacations with women that have been in his life is kinda sketchy. If this sitation was a mom marrying a man and her known less than 6 months to be husband taking the kids, people would not think the same.

Plus the fact that he told the kids first is HORRIBLY irresponsible…and when he dosn’t sound perfectly reliable seems to set up for an avenue of disasters that mom should be aware of before she sends her daugher off.


Did you experience this personally? Were you the child in this situation? If not, then you really have no idea how it is in the short and long term. My dad married my step mother shortly after my mom wouldn’t agree to live with him after the divorce so that he could date who he wanted but also be with his children daily. I was 8 when I started evry other weekend visits. Actually a year after the visitations, my dad moved out of state for a year and I saw him once in RI and the other times when he came back for a visit. At the time, going to visit my dad’s when I had two step-brothers who lived there the whole time, was difficult and emotional, but in the long run, now that I’m grown, it was definitely for the better. My parents saw what was good for me even when I didn’t. I mean, I would CRY AND CRY until I was sick every weekend I had to go to my dad’s. It took a little over a year before my crying became less. Had my mom not encouraged me to go to my dad’s during these difficult times (now, she tells me how those times broke her heart but she knew it was for the best) I don’t know if I’d love my dad as I do now, or have such a good relationship with my sister and brother(from my dad and step-mom’s marriage). I love my step-mom very much.

The one thing my mom told me since I was a teen when I asked her why she was nice to my step-mom and wasn’t upset when I eventually found my birthmom, my mom said “I was very secure about our relationship. I knew, and still know, that I am your mother and that you love me. I never felt threatened that you’d stop loving me. I know that it is good to love all the people in your life.” My mom may not be perfect, but she really is an example for me of how to be a selfless mom, even when it hurts.

Also, being an unmarried mom, I have had my battles with my dd’s dad about visitation (we didn’t use the courts, but have managed to work on doing what is best for our dd). Once he lost his job and I didn’t want my dd to spend more time with him b/c he didn’t have to work every day. I was mad at him and tried to limit his contact with her (not take her away, but only allow her to spend 2 days per week with him). Well, I eventually realized how selfish I was being. My dd LOVES her dad!!! Why would I limit her time with him for my desire to punish him? Two weeks of fighting we both talked and even though it hurtm me, she would stay with him for 3-4 days per week. This remained until he started working again full time 4 1/2 months later. I now am able to see how I was putting MY needs before my dd’s.


I could be completely wrong, but you wrote as if you knew someone this happened to. Is this your life? I am confused.

If not, then you cannot completely understand the blended family dynamic.

The child from the OP’s situation is only 5. She is not a toy in a divorce but a real child.

The new step-mom is not just a new woman who has just walked into the picture - but going to be her new step mom. That is a huge relationship. It is one that should be nurtured and helped - not cast as the other woman whom just stepped in 6 months ago.

This child does not care when the new step mom entered the picture - it should not be her problem.

The crux of this particular problem rests with the real mom having issues with her ex- hubby. Sad and vengeful - but the child is paying the price of what…being 2 days late to notify of vacation plans?


As a person who lived through my mother’s control issues with my dad, legal harassment of him, and outright attempts to poison my mind against him (which worked for a time, and for which I will never forgive her, because they robbed me of time and love with my father) I cannot put this in terms strong enough: YOUR DAUGHTER IS BEING CRUEL AND HEARTLESS AND IS USING HER CHILD TO PUNISH HER EX!!! :mad:

I hate all this remarriage and blended family stuff. I wish, when people screw up, they could just use the time they have with their children to concentrate on raising them as well as they can, and then, once the children are grown, they can date and have fun and find new partners. Why can’t people just do that? Why can’t they just focus on the kids they have already shortchanged?!

However, now that this little girl has had to deal with all this chaos in her short five years, and has more on the horizon with yet another new marriage and all those issues, the least her stupid, selfish, childish parents can do is let her have a few days of fun at Disneyworld. If the father can be trusted with the child’s safety, then she should be allowed to make the trip.

If I could re-name this thread, it would be “poor 5 year old’s immature adult problems.” And that would include any grandparents who think any of this behavior by either of her parents is justified!


While you’re argument is valid…please keep in mind that not everyone who has divorced a spouse has “screwed up”. Some spouses are victims. Somethin’ to chew on and think about.

Just as some children are victims.


I think you meant that “all” children are victims in this situation. My mom waited until I was a teen before she dated and remarried. I don’t plan on considering dating until my daughter is at least a teen.


No - not all children of divorce are mistreated and used as pawns in divorce.


I misunderstood you for which I am sorry. I didn’t realize your were specifying children who are being used by one or both parents for the parent’s slefish needs.


Yes - only in keeping with the topic of the thread.

Though I completely agree that all children are victims of divorce - just that some get played in the process.

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