I have two children. I divorced my wife when they were young. My son was eight years old, and my daughter was six. I know it was hard on them, and I always regretted that. When my ex wife and I divorced, both of the kids took it pretty hard.

I paid my court ordered child support, which in Florida is a punishing amount (payroll deducted). My child support was $1400 a month, and that left me only $800 a month after taxes. I was always broke.

The actions of my ex wife didn’t make things any easier. When I would go to pick the kids up for visitation, the ex-wife would refuse to let them see me unless I gave her more money, and when I refused, she would tell the kids that I didn’t take them with me because I didn’t love them. My son wouldn’t believe it, and would tell his mother to stop badmouthing me.

When the kids were allowed to come over, they always came without clothes, and the ones they were wearing were so worn as to be unsuitable for going anywhere. When I would ask about that, she told me that if I wanted to take them anywhere, I had to buy them clothes.

The kids would come to me and tell me that their class was going on a field trip, or they needed supplies for school, or some other event that required money, and their mother told them if I didn’t pay, they would do without. Of course I paid.

Once, the mother’s new boyfriend called me at home and told me, “Your daughter just called me daddy. Just thought you should know,” then laughed and hung up. That incident alone shows how restrained and in control I am, since I did not go down there and… well.

Just before my son turned 15 and he started costing more to raise, his mother threw him out- she said he was too hard to control. He came to live with me, got straight A’s, and graduated high school two years early, at the age of 16. He graduated college and the fire academy, all before he turned 20.

When my daughter turned 15, her mother caught her hanging around with a ne’er do well boyfriend with an arrest record, doing drugs, and skipping school. She sent my daughter to live with me. It was three years of fighting. Three years of school skipping, catching her with drugs, her being brought home by the police, her getting arrested, and me being threatened with violence by her boyfriend for interfering. The cops were not help, and neither were the courts. Three years of being told that she couldn’t wait to move out and be rid of my “bullshit rules” so she could live with her “soul mate.”

On her eighteenth birthday, she left and went to live with her boyfriend and his parents. A few months after she left, I was at her high school graduation. That was the last time I saw her until Christmas, when she came by to ask if I had bought her a present. She had broken up with her “soul mate” and he stalked her for six months or so, until she got a restraining order.

That was over two years ago. My daughter now lives in an apartment with 8 roommates, and has another skeezy boyfriend who uses all sorts of mind expanding chemicals. They both wait tables for a living. Still, I try not to express my displeasure, after all, I remember what it was like to be 20. We have been speaking, off and on for about the last year.

Until this morning. She had friended my brother and my nephew on a social networking site, and it seemed like family relations were improving. Then, my daughter began posting pictures of her illegal substance use, pictures of partial nudity of her and her friends partying, and other mature themes. My brother asked her to tone it down, as her 9 year old nephew could see it. She replied that she would not censor herself for anyone.

I jumped in and asked her to keep in mind that what goes on the internet can hurt you later in life, and also reminded her of the importance of family. She promptly told all of us to f- off.

They joys of parenthood. Why am I expected to endure behavior from relatives that I would never tolerate from strangers?

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1 Comment

CelticGirl · September 7, 2010 at 10:56 pm

You will work it out. You always do.

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