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Question
Posted by: Niki | 2011/02/10

Children

How sneaky can kids really be when parents are divorced? I see my step son taking advantage of things when he goes to his mother, he breaks all the rules because she doesnt really shout him or tells him what to do or what to eat...He just says he gets confused when his father gives him rules and his mother allows him to do those things.

He is 10 and I am sure by now he knows what is wrong and right..isnt it?

I am getting the impression he blames his behaviour on his mother, He knows what is wrong but yet he takes advantage of it.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Extremely sneaky. It seems instinctual to take advantage of such situations. But a key factor is that one or both of the divorced parents feel guilty and decide to spoil him, to try to buy his love and support ; and they may decide to compete with the other parent by showing what a cool, rules-free parent they can be, not realizing that failing to give a child consistent, fair, predictable and routinely enforced rules is actively abusive. It is ESSENTIAL that BOTH parents agree to the same set of rules and keep to them, so the child does get a chance to exploit the situation, and they don't have to change rules each time they change homes.
With his father, you need to sit with him mand discuss such issues, including the necessity of simple rules on important things -, and that theyre not really optional - other people will expect him to behave properly, and will impose rules more unpleasantly than his father and you will do.

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/02/10

Extremely sneaky. It seems instinctual to take advantage of such situations. But a key factor is that one or both of the divorced parents feel guilty and decide to spoil him, to try to buy his love and support ; and they may decide to compete with the other parent by showing what a cool, rules-free parent they can be, not realizing that failing to give a child consistent, fair, predictable and routinely enforced rules is actively abusive. It is ESSENTIAL that BOTH parents agree to the same set of rules and keep to them, so the child does get a chance to exploit the situation, and they don't have to change rules each time they change homes.
With his father, you need to sit with him mand discuss such issues, including the necessity of simple rules on important things -, and that theyre not really optional - other people will expect him to behave properly, and will impose rules more unpleasantly than his father and you will do.

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