Is my husband too strict? His ex-wife says he is.

Nadia - posted on 01/30/2013 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Recently, my husband found out that our 14 year old had lied 4 times about where she was. She was supposed to be sleeping over at a friend's house and then we find out she is hanging out at the mall at 9pm with boys. My husband has always told her she has a 5pm curfew at home at her friend's place. So he made a new house rule, that she could not sleep at her friends place because he couldn't trust their parents to look after her. He didn't want to stop her from seeing her friends, so he suggested that instead... her friends could come and sleepover at our place. His daughter threw a tantrum and said she never wanted to see or speak to my husband again and went to live with her mum (permanently), who of course sided with her daughter and said my husband's rules were too strict.

It is impossible for my husband to discipline the girls when they are allowed to run to mum for support and stay with her. My husband has asked his ex-wife to please say to the girls... "When you are with your Dad, you need to follow the rules in his house. You can't come running to me every time you don't like his rules." But she refuses to do that. She simply says... "The girls are at an age now when they can choose which parent they want to live with". My husband is absolutely gutted that he has lost his daughter but there is nothing he can do except remove all his "strict" rules to get her back. He doesnt want to do that.

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Amy - posted on 01/31/2013

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I'm going to go at this from two different angles: First of all I think it's unreasonable for your husband to think he can enforce a 5pm curfew when his daughter is staying over at a friends house. The parents may have dinner and a movie planned for the kids and it's not fair to your daughter to have to say "I need to be in your house by 5", I do think he has a right to know what the kids have planned when she stays at a friends house though. If he doesn't want his daughter at the mall with or without supervision then he can say "no you can not stay over at your friends house".

Your husband has the right to punish her for lying to him but rather then say you can never sleep over at a friends house again, he should of said because you lied to me for the next month you will not be able to stay over at friends house.

Tracy - posted on 02/01/2013

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a 5pm curfew - even while at a friend's house?? I think that is WAY too strict. I'm sure there are other equally strict rules that haven't been stated here. Now, that being said, I agree that the mother should TRY to co-parent and express to the children that dad's rules are his to enforce. She should encourage them to still visit or at least TALK to you guys. But, not knowing for sure, I am guessing a conversation (or many) has come up before about his overly strict rules and your husband has not let up. It sounds like he is just trying to be a good dad and worried about his daughter BUT he may be too overboard in protecting her. I would suggest having him sit down and LISTEN (no defending himself really) to what the daughter has to say about the rules and crackdown. From there, maybe he and her could negotiate to something they both find reasonable.

Now, knowing she LIED about where she was on several occasions, she definitely deserves a punishment for the rules (even if unfair) were broken. I will say that while growing up, and while watching my son's friends, the parents who have rules that are super strict are the parents who are lied to and ignored FAR more than the parents who are reasonable and flexible.

Jodi - posted on 02/01/2013

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My 15 year old has a curfew of 6pm without my explicit permission. It appears I must be unreasonable too...... :\

Ariana - posted on 01/31/2013

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Could he get into councelling with his daughter to work out their relationship?

Also if possible could he convince his ex to see a mediator with him so they can at least try to get on the same page?

[deleted account]

Yeah I agree with the above comments re the 5pm curfew - that's way too early! What was the reasoning behind that - was he worried about her becoming a burden on the other family or something?

Anyway - maybe he could organise a meeting with her now and sit down calmly to talk about the rules, and he could show that he is willing to negotiate on some of the them but not on others. He'd have to explain that he loves her and misses her, but is still going to have some strict rules eg on lying. Can you afford to get a mediator (or some other calm third party who can help the discussions stay on track)?

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Sarah - posted on 04/08/2013

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The issue here is it about the lying or the curfew breaking? The curfew does seem a little strict to me but I don't live where you live. Insisting on a curfew in another parent's home also seems a little controlling to me. I have to trust the parents of my children's friends that they will keep my kids safe but it is not up to me how they do that. I would be quite upset if someone told me my curfew rules were not strict enough and that the kids should be home to some other person's schedule.

However the lying does concern me. If your child is lying to you about their whereabouts then you cannot possibly keep them safe. It seems to me that it is a bit of a trade off. If the rules are too strict then the kid is going to start lying to you and sneaking off places, maybe even cutting school. Maybe try relaxing the rules for a special occasion, a birthday or a great report card. Extend curfew but ask where she is going to be. If she comes home at the right time and was where she said she was going to be then you have the beginning of a trusting relationship. Praise her for that, thank her for obeying the rules and then reward her with a little longer on curfew for no reason other than you can trust her. Build it up slowly. She breaks the trust then no curfew extensions for two weeks or whatever you think. It is really hard but she has to make her own way in the world and this might just give her the tools to make sensible choices.

Good luck

Dee Dee - posted on 02/01/2013

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My daughter is 18. I can understand how hard it is to ask teenager to follow the rules. Your struggle is curfew. My struggle is accountable. they both are important. are they more important than the bond/love between us and our children? I am passing on the advice my therapist told me today. Keep talking, keep calm, let them know we love them , or else they will scream or rebel. they will become less agreeable. it is hard for me. 5 pm? 6 pm ? 7pm? curfew... does it matters? the more we argue with them, the more they are going to lie to have their way. Now the days, I just ask her what's her plan is. if it sounds safe to me, I work with it. I know I sounds weak. At least, my daughter spend time with us eating out and watch movies. my daughter even pays for it. she knows we love her even she dislike/hate us making her clean the room, curfew, stay on budget. ... I pray one day she would understand we did it because we love her and I don't freak out all the time. And not to hurt each others feelings too deep in the process. according to my therapist, they don't understand until they have their own kids. your daughter is home, she is fine, right? we all did a good job. it is time we go out to have some fun. I went out to get manicure this morning. Feel much better.

Dove - posted on 01/31/2013

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Tell you husband to remain firm in his boundaries and his love. Of course a 14 year old is going to run to whoever lets her do whatever she wants, but when she has been an adult for a while (perhaps having a daughter of her own) she will realize that all the boundaries he laid out for her were out of love and that 'cool' mom probably just didn't care enough to be bothered to put her foot down.

[deleted account]

I wouldn't say he was too strict, but there is definitely room to relax the rules in order to better build a relationship with his daughter.

5pm is a very early curfew--good for every day, but on special occasions it would be okay to let her stay out until 8 or 9pm as long as she asks permission and lets him know where she is. She stayed out late because she was with a friend, all of her friends were out, and she didn't want to miss out--there is nothing wrong with being out that late, the problem is that she lied about it. My thought is that she has followed the rules for a long time without having gained any of his trust--she followed his rules, but he never allowed her any more freedom, so she gave up and took the freedom for herself.

Perhaps he could talk to her and find a compromise for the rules that both can live with. Like she can stay out past 5 once a week if she calls to let him know where she is, who she's with, etc. (But I think 8 pm would be my limit at her age, not 9). The thing is, by prohibiting her to be out past 5pm period, he forced her to lie, whereas if he could find a little flexibility, she would be more honest with him and open about where she is.

Jodi - posted on 01/31/2013

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No, your husband is not too strict. I agree totally with his point of view and I think his solution was perfectly satisfactory. However, unfortunately, he can't control his ex's reaction. I think he should stick with what he believes, but I can see why this is such a dilemma for him. Reassure him he is a good and caring dad.

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