Relationships with Kids

I know everyone has different relationships with their kids. We all parent differently.

My kids are mostly benign. We don’t have the greatest relationships but they trust me and come to me when they need help. I am home for them. I try to be more of a friend now that they are getting older (18 and 21) but I still treat them like my children and there are lines I don’t cross.

Scott has one daughter she 24 who lives with him. She’s a good girl. She lives in a basement apartment he built out for her and she pays rent and holds down a job. He would like her to be in school be she can’t quite get it together. They have a good relationship. She is mostly respectful and is learning to be a good adult. She adores her father to no end.

Scott parties with his daughter. He told me a story of how “they” took her out when she was 21 and got blackout drunk for 2 days. They both tell the story with delight. I had to turn away in disgust. Not for her, she’s a kid, that’s what kids do – but for him.

I don’t think a parent should be hanging around with his kid and her friends getting black out drunk and footing the bill. I don’t think it’s appropriate.

His answer is “we are free spirits, we do anything, age doesn’t matter”.

When he is out at the bar, often times her friends are there and he’s hanging with the kids. He talks about them like his “crew”. I’ve met them all now, her friends are nice. One night she came to the bar to hang with us a bit and then her friends met her and we stayed and had a fun time. This was the night he smoked and got very drunk. When he is around a fun crowd he loses sight of how drunk he’s getting.

Several months ago he acknowledged he was drinking too much and I added in her was hanging out with the kids too much. He doesn’t have single male friends that are age appropriate but he doesn’t see that as an issue. He has bar friends for his free time. He grew up in another state so his closest friends still live there and his other close friends where he lives now are married – so he is out at the bar socializing.

Should this bother me? I know it’s not the way I parent (or anyone I know frankly) but maybe this is normal in other parts of the country.

I’m trying to suss through so many differences. Does it matter the way he parents if it has no effect on me? No, it doesn’t. But I don’t admire it despite the fact she’s a good girl. I don’t want my kids to see me black out drunk – I have more grace and pride than that. I have more class.

I have never said those words to him: Grace, pride snd class but I realize this is a big divide between us. He makes me feel like I’m too formal and I am not carefree – but I don’t see going out with your kid and getting drunk as being carefree as much as I think it’s inappropriate and not classy.

What do you think?

Author: Madeline Harper

My journey through divorce and an emotional and sexual reawakening. Love, laughter, friendships, family and heartbreak included. And there is sex, lots of it, so close your eyes and turn the page if that's not for you! While I started this blog as an endeavor to journal my thoughts and feelings in an attempt to better understand myself, it has become an amazing platform from which I have met some of the most interesting and wonderful people in my life. My path is often crooked, but I hope you will share in the journey with me.

7 thoughts on “Relationships with Kids”

  1. Hi Madeline, long time, no comment. I am 100% in agreement with you about the inappropriteness of the father/daughter relationship dynamic. I love hanging out socially with my kids, and many times I have done so with their friends. But it’s not me partying with them, unless you count the parties my son hosted while living at home in college, at which time I prepared food, said hello and exchanged pleasantries with his guests, then retreated to my room for the night and made breakfast for a large group of hungover young people.

    Blackout drunk is not a good look for anyone and should not be behavior you want to model for your child at any age. Calling himself free-spirted (and you by extension uptight even if that reaction/feeling goes unexpressed outwardly) is not flattering or term/frame of reference that inpsires building a stronger relationship between the two you. Imagine being with Scott a year from now with the attitude, defensiveness, resentment unable to be addressed openly: is this someone you want your boys to see as your partner? Add to that Scott demonstrating a parenting style that you abhor? Your values are very far apart and Scott does not seem like a romantic partner willing to work with you toward building bridges. Sorry, but I think the great divide becomes more apparent every single post.

    Even if you can separate your strong judgmental terms – grace, pride, class – when discussing parenting styles, perhaps there is a tiny window of opportunity to discuss your differences in values. From what you have written, I do not see you as long-term couple compatible. But as a FRIEND, maybe it works. You have fun together. There are a lot of good times you both enjoy. If you can separate the boyfriend experience from the friend potential it might be a way to continue to see one another without the stressure of trying to make a romantic relationship work.

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  2. Ok, so I am 36 and I party with my 61 year old mother – now. When I was 21, aboslutely not. Yes, my mom would have a cocktail or two with me then she would be on her way. I think 21 is still too young for him to be “black out drunk”. Whether she is going to do it with him there or not is irrelevant. Even if he hangs with her friends, there is still a limit of time and cocktails that should take place. He should still hold the “adult” standards rather than being that cool, 50 year old who thinks he is 21 still. Not a good look. Let the daughter be 21 and remember your own age – and act so. Just saying…

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    1. I’m glad you said that. I see my cousins children hanging with their parents but they are 27/30 respectively and don’t live at home, have graduated college, have significant others, and don’t live at home. And when they are home with their parents, sure they all drink, but the parents remain parents even if everyone is drinking. It’s not “partying” together. I’ve been at a lot of bars and parties with my cousins and their kids and there is always an adult standard. And I’m so glad you said “not a good look” because that’s what I say to him – you need to act your age and not act like a drunk 21 year old. The problem is they live in a small town and there’s only so many places people go out so inevitable everyone ends up in mostly the same spots. She’s 24 and he’s 46, now. But I agree with everything you said. Kids can be kids and do dumb things. He needs to be past that stage

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  3. Argh – this is a HUGE red flag. No, people don’t do this. My Ex likes to drink and party with the college kids on occasion, but he had boundaries and always remembered he was a parent. I would be done. No way. He’s never going to change. If you can’t accept who he is today, you need to end it. You deserve better.

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    1. Yea this one has caused quite a bit of debate with him as he just doesn’t see that he needs boundaries with his child or her friends. Of course if it was once in a while And not like once a month it wouldn’t be an issue. But they are actually proud how black out drunk they got for her 21st birthday and he just says they are “carefree”. She’s a good girl and he is good to her but this is something I can’t accept.

      He is not for me long term.

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  4. I have friends I’ll go get drunk with. My mom and I wouldn’t have that. I can’t imagine having that with my kid and we are pretty friendly. My mom and I will have drinks and talk, we will go out to eat together or to a movie. That just seems weird to me.

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    1. Yes. Exactly how I feel. If I were to go out with my Dad it would be to chat over drinks, and have a chat. When my kids are old enough I can see taking them to a bar to hang out a little and maybe meet their friend but then I would leave and let the kids be kids. I think it feels very immature to me and he doesn’t see it that way.

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