What about the Kids?

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
It's odd for a childless person like myself to be starting a topic like this, and I wouldn't be surprised if threads along these lines already exist, but I kind of wanted to start a new one using my own perspective.

I've been hearing (on Polyamory.com) a few horror stories about poly situations causing damage to the kids in the household, and a few assertions that poly just isn't good for kids. For example these articles:

FullofLove1052's blog has lately been discussing the damage to her own (five-year-old) daughter, and the efforts everyone's making to undo the damage. The article links above are drawn from that discussion.

With that backdrop in mind, I want to ask: Do you think polyamory is bad for the kids? I ask this especially of poly people who are raising kids, and of people who have been kids in a poly household, but I'm also interested in the thoughts and opinions of the childless-and-raised-in-monogamous-homes people out there.

What problems do you think poly can potentially cause for the kids?

Can those problems be prevented? If so, how?

Would/could some of you compose a list of do's and don'ts for this thread, about how to care for the kids as a poly adult?

How many cases do you know of where there are kids in a poly household? Are you very familiar with some of those situations?

Do you know of many success stories about poly childrearing?

Do you know of many horror stories about poly childrearing?

Which type of story do you know the most of, success or horror? or is it about 50/50?

Is poly living a selfish choice that puts the kids in second place? Does any parent have any business subjecting their kids to a poly environment?

It's because I'm childless (and was raised monogamous) that I have to ask these questions. I don't have the kind of knowledge and expertise I'd need to tackle these questions myself.

My perception so far is that poly is usually about as good for the kids as it is for the adults. That is, if the adults handle themselves wisely and foster a positive poly experience, the kids will usually experience a poly environment as a positive thing. However, one crucial thing poly parents must do is communicate often with their kids to find out about the kids' feelings and needs.

I believe the adults need to be united in 100% mutual consent about being poly and how the poly dynamics are handled, otherwise contention will arise between the adults and that will sour the experience for the children.

It seems like the kids should be the ones to decide, for instance, whether Mommy's new girlfriend will become their second Mommy. Do you agree? Are there exceptions to this rule?

I imagine that some homes with kids simply aren't suited for either parent being poly. This could be for any number of reasons, e.g.

  • one of the parents simply can't tolerate polyamory,
  • poly takes a lot of time and your kids need your time,
  • any number of other reasons.
I think there's a need nowadays to talk about how poly affects the children (and why). Share with me, if you're willing, your thoughts on this important subject.
 

bookbug

New member
I haven't yet read the threads you referenced, but my parents had poly relationships when I was a kid of 10 -12 years old. I loved it! I loved having the extra adult around. I felt like I had another resource; I felt more secure. One of their lovers had a child. As an only child, I got a kick out of having another kid in the house. For me as a child, it was a good experience.

On the flip side, I have no children either.
 

Inyourendo

New member
No i don't think poly is bad for kids. My 15 year old says he's most likely going to practice Polyamory and he's read some books. His good friend down the road is a poly bisexual teen who has a boyfriend and girlfriend so it's not really out of the norm around here. As long as kids are being raised around healthy loving relationships the dynamic really doesn't matter
 

FullofLove1052

New member
And what a mess I made. You asked very valid questions. I do not think you have to have children to wonder about these things.

With that backdrop in mind, I want to ask: Do you think polyamory is bad for the kids? I ask this especially of poly people who are raising kids, and of people who have been kids in a poly household, but I'm also interested in the thoughts and opinions of the childless-and-raised-in-monogamous-homes people out there.

It can be good or bad. It is not for my youngest daughter, and my oldest's therapist has advised against telling her anything about my past. I have no doubt it can be fine for other children. It depends on the people doing it and how they do it.

What problems do you think poly can potentially cause for the kids?

Society and children can be quite cruel. Bullying is a problem, and yes, parents may want to be out but let's keep it real, some of these little brats pick on anything outside of the norm. Children have a hard enough time without their parents causing issues. I went to school with the most pretentious people, and some of them were bloody cruel. I feel compelled to protect my children and not be the cause that they suffer at the hands of others.

In my case, my lack of availability caused me not to have a relationship with my child. I had no time to take from my career. I had no time to take from family/friends because they only saw me at funerals and weddings. I had no time to take from Matt. Newborns and romance do not go hand in hand. Who did I cut time from to meet the other relationship's needs? My child because she was the only person taking up all of my time. I could not be in two places, and I was gone more often than not. She believes I loved my ex more than her and that I chose my ex over her. She talks down on herself and legitimately believes she was not good enough to warrant me spending time with her. I have to live with that. Child or not. Resilient or not. The damage has been in motion since she was 1-2. Damage control? Years late.

Can those problems be prevented? If so, how?

Prioritise your children and remember that they have needs like your partners. Know that if being out caused issues in your life, it might cause issues for your own child, too. Being children does not mean they are shielded from criticism, fighting your battles, or society's disapproval of anything that is a little different.

Would/could some of you compose a list of do's and don'ts for this thread, about how to care for the kids as a poly adult?

Entirely too many to type. Do not think that love and attention from anyone are just enough. My child had love/attention from everyone but the one person she wanted and needed it from: me. Remember that children have needs, too.

How many cases do you know of where there are kids in a poly household? Are you very familiar with some of those situations?

One. I have cut almost everyone who is poly off. That situation used to be seamless, but everything that sparkles is not a diamond.

Do you know of many success stories about poly childrearing?

Same as above.

Do you know of many horror stories about poly childrearing?

Outside of my own? None. I am the first. Congratulations to me for failing to parent well, right?

Which type of story do you know the most of, success or horror? or is it about 50/50?

50/50.

Is poly living a selfish choice that puts the kids in second place? Does any parent have any business subjecting their kids to a poly environment?

I was selfish. My child was in second place. I foolishly thought, "Independence is good. My child needs to learn to miss me. She will not notice if I am gone." Rubbish. The whole lot of it. I have no damn business being a mum and poly. Conflict of interest is not even the half of it. I raise my glass to those who do it successfully. That will never be me.

My perception so far is that poly is usually about as good for the kids as it is for the adults. That is, if the adults handle themselves wisely and foster a positive poly experience, the kids will usually experience a poly environment as a positive thing. However, one crucial thing poly parents must do is communicate often with their kids to find out about the kids' feelings and needs.

Let the choir say, "Amen." I will admit to being dismissive and thinking, "You are just a child. Your feelings will change." Mummy dearest knows best. :rolleyes:

I believe the adults need to be united in 100% mutual consent about being poly and how the poly dynamics are handled, otherwise contention will arise between the adults and that will sour the experience for the children.

Mmhm.

It seems like the kids should be the ones to decide, for instance, whether Mommy's new girlfriend will become their second Mommy. Do you agree? Are there exceptions to this rule?

Case by case basis. I would never teach a child to call somebody mum or daddy. If they are old enough, let them decide what type of relationship they desire. My ex had no business being a parent. I failed to protect my child because I introduced someone like that into her life. My child was taught that is who she was, but I can honestly say she never loved her or considered her to be a second mum. It was unnatural and not how she viewed her. Conflict comes to mind. We all know my husband despised the idea of three parents. She only said she loved her because she thought it was expected of her and because God says we have to love everyone. For example, I never called my mum's dad, "Grandfather," because he was never that to me outside of DNA. I called him James because that was more comfortable. Children should have the option.

I imagine that some homes with kids simply aren't suited for either parent being poly. This could be for any number of reasons, e.g.

  • one of the parents simply can't tolerate polyamory,
  • poly takes a lot of time and your kids need your time,
  • any number of other reasons.

Mmhm.
 

KerryRen

New member
Ah. Hmm.... Probably going to ramble as I chase my thoughts with a keyboard.

Within my marriage with Liam, we have three minor children. Liam has three grown children from his past marriage. Jai has one minor child and two grown children.

I've introduced Jai to my oldest, because, well, he was there at the time. I've met all of Jai's children, but that was about 10-12 years ago. Liam's children know me, of course.

Mostly I think children don't want to think about their parents' relationships, even in the clear cut Mom/Dad one. Adding a third or more parent into the mix doesn't necessarily have to be vast weirdness -- no odder than a step-parent relationship, certainly -- but it's not a move to make without being sure that everyone is in it for a long haul. Stability and consistency are also important.

As things are now, we're pretty much keeping our separate families separate. This may change, or may not. We prioritize the children, and that's as it should be, IMHO, even if it occasionally inconveniences things.
 

Inyourendo

New member
I agree that poly saturation should come into play with children involved. Children should get quality time with parents.

If one parent is intolerant to poly then that factors in. A child shoulpro o infamydn't grow up in a home full of strife because the parents can't agree on poly. If one parent is mono and intolerant then it's probably best the poly parent abstains or they part ways.
 

bookbug

New member
Just read "I Hate that My Parents are Poly." Well, duh! They have put their daughter in an untenable situation - openly poly while enrolling her in a Catholic school? Of course that is going to make it nearly impossible for the child.

As I said, I don't have children, but in the relationship I was in last, the couple i was with had children. I was fully willing to remain a secret so we wouldn't make the children's lives any more difficult than they already are. To me, to do otherwise would have been selfish.
 
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RichardInTN

Member
In my humble opinion, I think more damage is done to kids raised in monogamous homes, where a strict "monogamy is the only 'good' way!" party line is forced upon them.

Most poly situations I have ever heard of or come across put out a "CAN love many" vibe, not a "MUST love many" one.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Thanks for the responses guys. I believe this is quite an important topic and I'm glad we're talking about it.

@ FullofLove1052 ... thanks for your input! Crud, I forgot to mention that monogamous points of view are quite welcome too (and sought after) in this thread. :)

I'm sorry about the way things turned out for you and your five-year-old (and Matt too come to think of it). I liked everything you said in your post and thought it was very prudent. Thank you for being candid about your experience and feelings.

I think we can observe that children can start being affected by poly (for better or worse) at a very early age. As you said Ry, one or two years is old enough.

One of the biggest things that is jumping out at me is the problem of whether or not to "stay in the closet," considering the interests of your child. If the child is old enough to understand the discussion, he/she should probably be allowed to have a vote/say in whether the parents (and their girlfriends/boyfriends) will out themselves. The child should be warned that, "If we tell people, there will be some people who won't be very nice to us about it. You could get picked on at school. Are you sure you'd want to do that?"

If the child is too young to understand the discussion (e.g. a toddler), the poly dynamic should probably be kept in the closet until the child becomes old enough to understand -- and old enough to have a say in it.

Re (from bookbug):
"I don't have children, but in the relationship I was in last, the couple I was with had children. I was fully willing to remain a secret so we wouldn't make the children's lives any more difficult than they already are. To me, to do otherwise would have been selfish."

Kudos and well said.

But there's a complication. If you tell your child (in an age-appropriate way) that you're poly, isn't there a worry that kids aren't always good at keeping secrets? How do you manage the possibility that your child will (accidentally) out you? Alternatively, do you wait til your kids are in their teens or late teens before telling them? Would that even be so easy to do? Kids are usually pretty good at picking up on things ...

---

I'm encouraged to hear some of the positive stories about kids in poly homes. I do want to make sure that the negative stories get their due airtime also. That was one of my objectives in starting this thread. I wanted to set up a fair playing field.

Re (from KerryRen):
"Adding a third or more parent into the mix doesn't necessarily have to be vast weirdness -- no odder than a step-parent relationship, certainly -- but it's not a move to make without being sure that everyone is in it for a long haul. Stability and consistency are also important."

Well said.

Re (from Inyourendo):
"A child shouldn't grow up in a home full of strife because the parents can't agree on poly. If one parent is mono and intolerant then it's probably best the poly parent abstains or they part ways."

I think you're right.

Re (from RichardInTN):
"I think more damage is done to kids raised in monogamous homes, where a strict, 'Monogamy is the only "good" way!' party line is forced upon them."

Interesting way to look at it ...
 

FullofLove1052

New member
Just read "I Hate that My Parents are Poly." Well, duh! They have put their daughter in an untenable situation - openly poly while enrolling her in a Catholic school? Of course that is going to make it nearly impossible for the child.

I can understand the choice of school. The best schools here are religious schools. My youngest daughter is currently attending an Anglican school, and I was not keen on her attending a religious school. However, I wanted her to have the best education and be a well-rounded student. Education is serious here. My son was accepted into a school that has a waiting list of 10+ years for certain entry points. The Dean of Admissions jokingly tells prospective parents to add their children to the waiting list while they are still in the womb. I knew in advance that even if I was to date again, being out at her school was not an option. I was not willing to sacrifice her education or chance at success for my own selfish wants or desire to be out. Being out has nothing to do with her, though. Thus, if I had to give off the impression of being mono at her school, so be it. I have to do the same thing with Matt's job and colleagues.

As I said, I don't have children, but in the relationship I was in last, the couple i was with had children. I was fully willing to remain a secret so we wouldn't make the children's lives any more difficult than they already are. To me, to do otherwise would have been selfish.

Interesting. If you do not mind me asking, how old were the children?

@Kevin -- Right. A 1-2 year old cannot say, "Hey. You are not spending enough time with me," or tell you that they need you/have needs that are going unmet. Sadly, some children are forgotten. It is probably not intentional, but if mummy and daddy are both caught up in NRE and neglecting each other, what are the odds that they are not spending as much time with the child(ren) as well? The only saving grace was my daughter had stability with Matt because he did not want her going back and forth.

I am on the fence about how much a child should know and when. Every child is different. My oldest knows nothing about anything I did relationship wise. I will never tell her. She only knows of my ex as a friend, and she only knows about Kensi because my youngest daughter referred to her as mummy's "friend." My son will never know anything either. My youngest daughter was old enough to know some, and I feel like that was too much too soon. Admittedly, I put her in an untenable situation.

I do like the idea of a cautionary chat with the option. I can admit that though I am a parent, I do not know everything. Sometimes I do not know what is best, and I would rather listen to my children and hear them out.

The one thing I do disagree with is exposing my children to a lot of people. I am never one to tell others how to parent. I do want my children to know that while they will lose people in life, it should not be expected all the time. I just feel like that can breed unhealthy attitudes towards people and relationships. I do not want my children to think, "Oh well. I lost Timmy as a friend. No big deal. I can replace him because he was expendable." I also accept that children will lose relatives and people close to them, but I want to minimise what I can. I cannot stop grandparents from dying, but if I was dating, it should not and would be a requirement for that person to ever have contact with my children. I disagree with new partners being introduced as parents and flaking out when the romantic relationship with the child's parent fizzles out. Children crave stability and consistency. If a person takes on the role of being a parent, keep them in that role. I dislike those parents who cut off a person and refuse to allow that once parental figure to have contact to the child because they are titty hurt by the end of the romantic relationship. In that case, do what is best for your child and stifle your feelings unless their presence is detrimental to the child.
 

KC43

New member
My situation might be a bit different from others in this thread. I acted monogamous for most of my kids' lives. I didn't allow myself to recognize or accept that I'm polyamorous. So my kids grew up seeing me in a monogamous marriage to their father--which ended very badly and with emotional abuse from him toward me--and then a monogamous marriage with their stepfather beginning a couple of years after I left my ex.

Last year, Hubby and I chose to open our marriage. My kids were then 17 and 14, and all they were told was that he and I had decided it was okay if we went out with other people--"going out" meaning to dinner or for a walk or something.

Both kids met Guy last summer, in the context of "he's a friend of Mom and our stepdad." That was all they knew about him at that point.

My older kiddo turned 19 today. Younger one will be 16 at the end of the month. Because the younger one has Asperger's and so tends toward very black-and-white thinking, and because she's very close with her father and tells him far more than I'm comfortable with him knowing about our household, I'm not telling her the truth about Guy until she's an adult, if even then. (Her father would most likely use it as an excuse to file for custody, even though Guy isn't even in the area anymore and so is never around my kids.) The older one knows the truth; I told her a few months ago. She thinks it's "cool."
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Some key points I am getting from the new posts:

  • Schools should be chosen for their quality first, not by whether we want to be out about being poly.
  • NRE doesn't just endanger closeness with our original partner; it can also endanger our closeness with our kids.
  • Children shouldn't be introduced to "revolving door partners;" they should only be introduced to partners who are committed for the long haul.
  • When and whether a child is told is a complex matter and varies from one child to the next.
  • Some kids can't be told til they're adults due to potential custody battles.
One question I kind of picked up from another thread today is, What if adult relationships aren't getting the attention they need due to the needs of the kids? How much use, for example, is it okay to make of the services of babysitters?

Even monogamous marriages can run into that dilemma, especially if they have a lot of kids.
 

MightyMax

Banned
I've dated women who clearly prioritise their love lives and will cut into quality parent-child time to spend time with a partner instead. It's been the reason that I split up with someone. I wasn't comfortable with her child being ostracised from us for hours so we could have quality time. It made her child very resentful of me. I understand that she didn't have many people around to babysit but I think that when you have a child, they come first and your need for sex and romance should be secondary. It's very difficult to tell someone else how to parent their child though.

I've found that women seem a lot more comfortable with early introduction and interaction with their children if the person is female. I've found it quite scary how much access and input some of my female partners have allowed or encouraged me to have with their children.

I don't think it's a poly thing because many monogamous people who have children from previous relationships take a similar approach to dating after the breakdown of a relationship.
 

FullofLove1052

New member
One question I kind of picked up from another thread today is, What if adult relationships aren't getting the attention they need due to the needs of the kids? How much use, for example, is it okay to make of the services of babysitters?

I agree with MightyMax. I have seen mums do precisely what was described. I can only speak for myself, but I know I was stretched beyond my means. I could trim time in every imaginable way, but truth be told, I still never had time in my life for a second relationship. There was no way my relationship with my child would not be affected. I knew that then, too. I just did not take it seriously as I should have. I took quality time away from my youngest daughter to maintain a relationship. (WTF was wrong with me?) I am beginning to understand how she must have felt. I understand the resentment and hatred she has towards me. I am mad at myself because I am the same person who waited almost seven years into my marriage to have my first baby. I knew my time was spread thin, so I waited until I could give my child the attention and time he/she deserved.

When a person becomes a parent, everyone--partners included--have to understand that the infant, toddler, or young child's needs come first. The sick child who is vomiting is more important than a date. My child's ballet recital is more important than a date. If my child has to go to the emergency room, I am not going to be checking my watch and wondering, "Hmm. Will I have enough time to go on my planned date with boyfriend #2 when we leave?" I realise my child has another parent at home, but what happens if my child has a reaction to the course of treatment? Then, my husband has to call me, interrupt my date, and I have to rush to wherever my child is. In this example, I am better off rescheduling the date and staying with my child.

It is understood that not all needs will be met because the baby has top priority. It is like, "I am sorry you have blue balls, but I am exhausted, have sore nipples from nursing, and I have not had a good night's sleep in x days. Sex and being wined and dined are the last things on my mind." It takes becoming a parent to understand what it feels like to be a walking zombie. The first year of parenting was a beast. I can count the number of hours we slept the first year. It only heightened when our daughter started teething and weaning. When a baby starts sleeping through the night or adapts to a schedule, some parents rejoice.

It is important for parents to have quality time together. The relationship between parents and other partners cannot suffer and be forgotten, though. Patience and understanding are key. How much QT and how much a couple/family utilises babysitters is solely at their discretion. I do not care for the idea of different people caring for my children or being in our home. We had to hire a live-in because the former third parent did not live in the home, and we worked erratic hours. There was no family close by. Who could we call at 1 in the morning and ask to watch our daughter because we were both on call? Even now, their nanny has set hours--unless we ask in advance if she can work outside of her regular hours.

It definitely happens with mono parents. I have always shaken my head at the fact that my sister has introduced every boyfriend to her children and had them spending the night. She does not hire babysitters, but it used to piss me off so much that every weekend one child was with our parents, and the other was with our aunt and uncle, so she could go out clubbing or with her boyfriend of the hour. It was not my place to tell her how to parent, and I mind my own business. Our parents still call her out on her behaviour and ask why her children seem to never be at home? My nephews are raising themselves because my sister is selfish and only concerned with her wants, so I do not blame our parents for asking questions.
 

bookbug

New member
In my case, my lack of availability caused me not to have a relationship with my child. I had no time to take from my career. I had no time to take from family/friends because they only saw me at funerals and weddings. I had no time to take from Matt. Newborns and romance do not go hand in hand. Who did I cut time from to meet the other relationship's needs? My child because she was the only person taking up all of my time.

While poly may have been the interest that kept you from giving the time to your daughter that she needed and deserved, it happens in mono households too. If the parents have too many commitments or are too self-absorbed the same thing can happen. A lot of kids feel a disconnect with their workaholic parents - those that miss every event in the child's life because of work, and never spend time with them because they are too busy. Or look at the ultra wealthy whose children are raised by nannies.

The point is when parents consistently prioritize anything over the kids, it is not going to bode well for the parent - child relationship.
 

bookbug

New member
I can understand the choice of school. The best schools here are religious schools. My youngest daughter is currently attending an Anglican school, and I was not keen on her attending a religious school. However, I wanted her to have the best education and be a well-rounded student. Education is serious here. My son was accepted into a school that has a waiting list of 10+ years for certain entry points. The Dean of Admissions jokingly tells prospective parents to add their children to the waiting list while they are still in the womb. I knew in advance that even if I was to date again, being out at her school was not an option. I was not willing to sacrifice her education or chance at success for my own selfish wants or desire to be out. Being out has nothing to do with her, though. Thus, if I had to give off the impression of being mono at her school, so be it. I have to do the same thing with Matt's job and colleagues.

Exactly! My slam wasn't toward private religious schools. I understand that often religious schools offer a very good education. My statement pertained to putting a child in that environment AND being open about a relationship configuration that is not well-accepted. Can you really make things any harder on a kid?

Interesting. If you do not mind me asking, how old were the children?

They were 8 and 10. We were not open about our relationship to the children either. But heck, mono couples don't discuss their relationship and sex lives with children, so why would you in a poly relationship? The children only knew I was a part of the household and was an adult they could trust.
 
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bookbug

New member
Kind of the opposite of this convo, but I just read an article in Psychology Today called "Childolotry." The point was two-fold. That many parents today are so prioritizing their children, giving them 100% of their attention, that the relationship between the parents dies from lack of nourishment - which is ultimately not good for the children. And that because the children are almost over-nurtured and coddled they never really learn to be self-reliant adults.

I think the message is seek the middle ground.
 

Dagferi

Well-known member
My kids are THRIVING in a poly home.

They love Murf and he them. They have gained a whole family who care about them.

I will answer in full detail when I get back to my other home tomorrow and my computer. It is fair to difficult to make a huge post via my phone.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Thanks Dagferi, and that's encouraging news about how your kids are doing.

Re: childolotry ... on some subconscious level I think I hoped someone would introduce this idea, the idea that prioritizing the kids 100% of the time actually doesn't necessarily work, and that there is a fine balanace between spending enough quality time with each child and spending too much. Monogamous parents (as much as anyone) need nannies or babysitters to look after the kids while they (the parents) engage in date nights and nurture their original adult relationship. Otherwise the parents risk losing the closeness they had with each other, which then becomes a dysfunctional example for the kids. The question of whether one or more poly partners can be added to the equation has to do with whether that fine balance can still be maintained with everyone, kids and adults.

And, while I know FullofLove1052 is hitting herself for thinking "Mum knows best" when her daughter was one or two, the tricky reality is that parents have a responsibility to exercise judgment for their child in areas where the child isn't yet experienced enough to make the call on their own. Even though parents make mistakes, they must/should still wear the mantle of authority and differentiate between their child's wants and needs. Learning to delay gratification is an important lesson for any child. So, "Not right now, son, Daddy has to work," or, "Not tonight honey, Mommy and Daddy are going on a date," are (I think) parts of what a child will hear in a well-balanced household. The trick is determining how much is too often for the child to hear those kinds of things.

Somewhat off-topic is, should parents maintain hobbies while they're raising their kids? Does that fill a valid role in the family dynamic; is it a good example for the kids ... or does it show a damaging selfishness on the part of the parent who's (at that moment) neither nurturing any relationships nor working (doing chores or holding down a job) for the family?

On a tangential note, this thread is increasingly inspiring me to encourage us all to watch (or re-watch) the old 1979 film "Kramer versus Kramer." Besides being a really good movie overall, it also confronts us with some tough questions about how adults should handle their priorities, both with each other and with the children in their lives. I mean there's a scene where the guy's son (rather accidentally) meets a woman the guy's dating possibly for one night only. What a classic scene. Did the guy royally screw up in exposing his son to that?

I for one am learning a lot from our discussion here; I really appreciate everyone's input.
 

FullofLove1052

New member
While poly may have been the interest that kept you from giving the time to your daughter that she needed and deserved, it happens in mono households too. If the parents have too many commitments or are too self-absorbed the same thing can happen. A lot of kids feel a disconnect with their workaholic parents - those that miss every event in the child's life because of work, and never spend time with them because they are too busy. Or look at the ultra wealthy whose children are raised by nannies.

The point is when parents consistently prioritize anything over the kids, it is not going to bode well for the parent - child relationship.

Absolutely. Something tells me my child would have been a little more accommodating if I had been gone just because of work. She understood that sometimes parents have to work long(er) hours, and she accepted that. Working enables us to take care of her, and it is something that must be done. No issue on that front. She knows that there is a difference between me working to help take care of her and me being gone because of another person, selfishness, or a choice. This is where me being a workaholic falls short. Case and point. I knew I was working too much, so I scaled back to only working four days a week and not working past 3 PM last year. She took notice and asked me why I could do that for my job but not when it came to me spending time with her?

As far as the choice of school and being out, maybe some parents do not think about that kind of thing. All I can figure is they wanted to reinforce the notion that this third partner was an equal as they were and would be actively involved in her schooling. I support the idea, but I disagree with how they presented it. It is like someone cooking your favourite meal, finding the lid of a trash bin, dumping it on there, and handing it to you. Not nearly as appealing as it was on the plate, right? Shoving it in people's faces is what makes it intolerable. High school can be painful enough. Why complicate it with a selfish agenda? I see no purpose that them being out at her school served. It is just like at my son's nursery. Do his teachers really give a flying fig about my polyamorist past? I highly doubt it.

Some schools probably do not care. The Catholics? I believe they might. I have read more news stories about religious--mostly Catholic--schools instilling morality clauses, expecting their employees and sometimes students to sign, and terminating/asking the students to leave if they violate the clauses. The most messed up one was the one where the teacher had IVF, and she was fired for that. IVF does not affect her teaching abilities, and if she was not telling her students to do it, I am not understanding why her job was terminated. The other case was the one where they did not want the teachers using artificial birth control or to engage in same sex relationships because both went against the church's teachings. I know religious institutions are accommodating to a certain extent, but I do believe a certain level of respect needs to be present, if a parent or parents elect to enrol their child in a certain type of school. I suppose practising a wee bit of discretion is unfair to the other partners/parents, and it makes things "unfair." However, the child's school is not about the parents and their wants.
 
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