What do you do, as a step-parent, when your step-kids real parent is a bad parent? Ok, so that’s unfair… I can’t say that Kim is entirely a bad parent. She’s not a negligent parent. She clearly cares about the kids, even when they’re not with her. She made all 3 kids valentines when they were with us, (hopefully) so she could spend time with them when they were with her. I also suspect it’s so she can look like the better parent, but there’s no law against that. It wouldn’t be our choice, we would have done them with the kids, but it’s still not bad parenting. The reason I say that she is a bad parent is because she punishes the kids to hurt Curtis.
Kim won’t take the kids to ‘our sports’ on ‘her days’. I understand that’s a bit of a grey area, legally. Her time is her time and she shouldn’t be required to take the kids to things that we sign them up for. The things is … the kids WANT to play and ask her if they can play and she says no. Similarly, she signs them up for ‘her sports’ and says that we are not allowed to take them on ‘our days’, even if the kids want to play and we are willing to take them. She will also not allow us to watch them play ‘her sports’ on ‘her time’. That issue is still outstanding on their custody agreement and has to go back to court. She had said that the kids playing sports was entirely dependent on how well she and Curtis got along. He took that to heart and naively believed they were making headway. (I never believed it).
So, here’s the latest… Today, she found out that Curtis called Taitum’s dentist to confirm some things about his appointment and the charges, insurance, etc. It’s sad that we had to put in their agreement that he has the right to contact any doctors, teachers, etc., but we put it in there so there would be no question as to his rights as an equal parent. Still, when she found out, she has said that he is no longer ‘allowed’ to take Nolan to basketball at the school on ‘our time’ because it is ‘her sport’. She also said summer sports are a no go. All because he called the dentist to ask a question. Curtis has to call their family doctor every few weeks to find out what appointments he didn’t know about. I can only imagine how bad it would be if she knew that.
She seems to need to have all the power, all the control, and to look like the sole parent. She went so far as to lie to get government-funded insurance so she could control that, too. (We have her application, this is not speculation). The moment she feels any perceived power struggle, she lashes out in the only way she knows to get to Curtis, and that’s to use the kids. I could go on and on about the things the kids tell Curtis’ mom about her saying and the things they’re told to keep secret from us and the lies she tells them and other people.
How is this ok? How does the system allow this to happen? What can I do, as a step-parent, to help him and the kids through this? It causes strain on our family, it affects our mental well-being (I know my anxiety is through the roof right now and Curtis has to deal with way more than I can even fathom.) And, forgetting about us… let her do her worst to us… how do we get the kids out of the line of fire. I am so afraid of the long-term damage being caused here. How do we stop her from hurting them to hurt us? Is there anything I can do, is there anything we can do to help this? It looks like we’re headed back to court, but we can’t make her follow the agreement we have now, so how will that even help? What can we do… ?