No matter how much you believe that you are on the same “parenting” page as your partner, there are bound to be times that your common sense doesn’t match your partner’s common sense. When you are married, there has to be discussion and an understanding come to as to how you move forward past can the girl wear short skirts and makeup at 12 years old or does the boy play football or badminton or violin. There has to be discussion and sometimes someone just has to take the lead. It is inevitable.
I am a single parent. My children live with me. So, when we don’t meet eye-to-eye, who takes the lead in my case? Do I acquiesce to the wishes of their father when those wishes clearly go against my own thoughts, beliefs or desires? Do I do what dad wants simply to give the satisfaction of a feeling of some kind of control over the life of his child?
No! I don’t. And, frankly, I think it ridiculous to think that I should. For example, when I make a choice to allow The Boy’s hair to be long because I like it and he likes it and it completes the look and matches the wild/carefree/noncomformist personality, do I cut his hair because his father does not like it most especially because he thinks he looks like a girl? Well, he is a beautiful beautiful boy with curly hair, lush eyelashes and a striking smile. Of course, given that only girls are beautiful with long eyelashes then he definitely can be seen, by the ignorant unattentive eye, as a girl. However, fortunately for my child, other’s perceptions do not govern my decisions.
I like his hair, The Boy likes his hair, The Boy lives with me and only spends short visits with his dad one or two times a year. What effect does the long hair have on dad other than that it challenges dad to confront his own gender identity issues? It challenges his dad to accept that his definition of what it is to be boy/man may not apply in 2012 and, perhaps, should have never applied. It challenges his dad to conquer the fear of his boy becoming gay because people think he looks like a girl and it challenges his father to decide whether he wants his boy to give a greater value/significance, throughout his life, to what others think and want rather than to what he thinks, wants, and is comfortable with.
I am not cutting The Boy’s hair until The Boy, without pressure from his father, decides that a haircut is what he wants.
Which brings me to my ultimate point (I know it took a moment). I am not cutting The Boy’s hair. I, his mother, have made that decision. I have made that decision, unfortunately for his father, and am not budging from it any time soon. So, is it appropriate for dad to constantly question The Boy knowing that, in the end, it is a decision that I, his mother, have made?
Do you want your hair cut?
Don’t you want your hair to be like dad’s hair (bald)?
Can we just cut your hair a little? (We understand that his little is not my little)
It seems to me that this is where the non-custodial parent comes up against a problem that they don’t perhaps even think about when they are trying to get the child to want something that the custodial parent has decided against. If you constantly pressure my child to do something I don’t want done or allow my child to play with toys (toy guns) that I do not allow then, I have no choice but to start to put it in my child that it is okay to ignore dad. I am left to convince my child to ignore dad because ultimately dad is an idiot (we have to be extreme sometimes to get the point across) because only an idiot would encourage the child to go against the rules/decisions or address something with the child that should be addressed with the other parent.
It is not fair to the child.
I don’t want to teach my child to do anything but love and respect his father. I don’t want to teach my child to do anything but love and respect his father. Again, just to be clear, I don’t want to teach my child to do anything but love and respect his father. Because, in the end, THAT is in the best interest of the child.
But, let’s not be fooled, if dad thinks it is okay to teach him to go against my decisions/rules then I have no choice but to empower him to ignore dad. Do unto others, right?