What about the Kids?

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Thanks for that input, HelloSweety. It sounds like you have a wonderful dynamic set up with the three adults and one child.

I am thinking it's important to you not to ask your daughter to lie about whatever she knows. I admire that position -- and simultaneously have to ask: If the adults' poly connection is revealed to your daughter's classmates, do you worry that they might harass/bully her about it? Kids do sometimes have a bad way of singling out "the different one," and then declaring open season on that one. What will you do if that sort of situation arises?

With sincere respects and regards,
Kevin T.
 

RichardInTN

Member
I think it made sense. Due to all the mono-centric conditioning out there, most parents will be monogamous by conditioning and will pass that conditioning on to their children. It won't even occur to them to do otherwise.

And Richard ... I'm thinking that to the question, "Do mono parents teach their children about non-mono relationships?" your answer would be: "They should!"

Am I on the right track?
Absolutely they should. Everything should be taught (this doesn't just apply to the mono/poly question) and then the kids should be allowed to find their own path.
 

HelloSweety

New member
As much as I hate it. I have to say that kids will always find a reason to bully and single out other kids. It's extremely wrong, but it also seems to be a problem that is timeless. I hope that our home life won't ever cause my daughter to be singled out, but I do know that it is possible. We aren't "out" more do I think that we realy plan to be anytime soon. And even if we were out I wouldn't plan to be "out" at my child's school if for no other reason than becouse CPS is a real and terrifying thing. As for what I would do if my daughter was singled out? It would depend on what my options were at her school, as well as how severe the problem was. I was the singled out kid from a very young age. I do NOT want that for my daughter.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
This has been a topic I've been thinking about a lot for the past few months, in the fallout of my last relationship.

The Knight and I have a son who's almost 3, near the same age as PinkGirl and HipsterBoy's youngest. So during that crazy year, where I - and thus my son as well - was spending at least one night a week on the other side of town, he and the other little boy played a lot and now that this isn't the case, they miss each other, which is kind of heartbreaking. I sort of thought they were young enough that they'd adjust, but it's been since memorial day since they've seen each other and my son still refers to the other little boy as "my best friend X". Apparently the other little boy talks about my son, too, so PinkGirl and I have been talking about playdates. Ha.

This is part of a larger issue, though. I don't practice the style of poly where I ever really plan to add extra *parental* figures to my son's life. But I do practice the sort where I expect to have close friends in my life, both lovers and not, and for those people to be part of my son's life as well, and I don't think insulating him from my lovers is feasible or desired. So there's that.

As for being "out" about poly to my son and the rest of the world... it actually comes down to a philosophical point. If I believe that poly is an ethical way to live my life, why am I hiding it from my son? And if I believe it's something I need to hide, why am I doing it? I'm not talking about the details of my sex life, of course, I'm talking about the fact that there are people other than my husband who are important in my life. And yes, I will tell him I am poly at an age appropriate time in the context of the rest of sex education - I'm not going to hold up some standard of monogamy I don't actually believe in.

We live in a fairly liberal part of the country, which makes this easier - well, technically we live in a liberal enclave of an otherwise backwater state, but it will do. I intend on sending him to public school; religious/private school is not on the table for financial reasons though I think even if it was, I wouldn't send him to a place where they were teaching him ethical lessons I didn't believe in, no matter how good the education was otherwise. But that's a question of priorities that everyone has to answer for themselves.

As for NRE and attention to my son... well. I definitely haven't always passed THAT particular test with flying colors, but I think my personality is such that if it wasn't NRE/relationship concerns it would be something. I love my son, but I absolutely believe I need other interests in my life to maintain sanity, and I choose to prioritize those interests more than other people do. This is partially for myself, but also partially a deliberate choice in fostering independence in my son.
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
See ... There was an interest in this topic ...Nice job on moving this Kev


I started a reply to you as soon as you posted it but because of my life and schedule these active discussions are a real problem.

I'm going to post what I have so far :) so as to not get too far behind.
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
part 1

Re (from dingedheart):
Quote:
"Kev do you actually believe all the things you said here? It has the feel of a high school debate in which someone is given the side to defend."
No, I actually believe that stuff. It's not my style to take an assigned position in a formal debate. I'd make a terrible lawyer. Heck it's not my style to debate at all, but I guess I can be talked into discussing certain issues.
Good to know
....and I call bullshit on you being talked into discussing thing ...based on our prior conversation you love it :) ...and I think that's a good thing.

Re:
Quote:
"All of your assumptions as to bias and creditability are based on one simple article? Do you think that's fair?"
Dude, I was only given one article to discuss. Point me to whatever other articles you have in mind and I'll consider them. Seems pretty fair to me.

Dude the article was attached to her website with an extensive list of her degrees , books , articles, places she been published ...tv appearances, etc ....her practice.... and all her associates and their backgrounds and the like.
http://www.drkarenruskin.com/about/ ...and or http://www.drkarenruskin.com/articles/ or http://www.drkarenruskin.com/associates/ These were all contained in that article ...plus many other specific counseling topics and a link to her blog.


Re: counter-articles ... I'm too lazy to use Google to go looking for them. Your go-to guy for articles about poly is Alan7388 ... http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/ ... or even http://polyinthemedia.blogspot.com/2...poly-home.html
Ok first link ....nice article about Dan holly and Tom ...but kids are given 1 sentence...holly's kids from first marriage are grown
and they adopted another ..no age ...no gender nothing about parenting...
Actually the topic was ignored...gosh I hope the kid isn't too. I guess its bad to assume this from whats not said in an article :)


2nd link ....tara the poly activists talked about her approach to telling her kids about her lifestyle ....."This is who I am deal" .....she has 5 kids ...4 are grown and gone and theirs only a 15 yr left ...father or fathers aren't mentioned ...a nesting partner of 1 yr is mentioned. People might describe her as I hippie ....her living space may have been like a commune. the rest of the article talks nuts and bolts do's and dont's. Her kids might have the same view as jayde. I didnt see any poly therapists throwing their stamp on it but it seems to me like all good advice if you are going to out to your kids.


Re: Jayde ... I'll look at those new links momentarily; I'd like to address the rest of your post first. But I believe I've already conceded (in past posts/PM's) that Jayde's story is a prime example of polyamory handled absolutely the wrong way.

Hey ....she got comments from poly zealots ( assumption ) attacking her ....spoiled brat , whiner ...hormonal disgruntled teenager ... so not everyone thinks her parents handled things wrong or bad.

I though jayde's list of negatives some what matched topics Ruskin made ...and of course people are focused on the extreme nature. In this very blog Ry at the time wouldnt have thought her actions were damaging or remotely extreme ...and yet we have a problem. Whiny little 5 yr old ...what a pain in the ass hope they grow out it...can imagine what she going to be like as a teenager :)

Re:
Quote:
"Why can't the doctor ... (the doctor of 20 years in this field) be right ... and by be right I mean for the majority."
It's possible that she could. It's just that her mere say-so doesn't establish that as the fact. We are sort of in a state of affairs where we don't know what's true in the majority of cases, Dr. Ruskin's article notwithstanding.
who's "we " ?? I think thats her point ...she thinks ...has studied ...has read studies and the methodology of the studies to support saying that.

Again (as stated earlier), doctors (read: counselors) will tend to see more cases of people needing help than they will cases where people are doing fine. So I don't expect Dr. Ruskin to have been exposed to many cases of successful poly childrearing.
I think being a Dr might actual negate that line of logic. Just because a GP is treating a high volume of flu cases not everyone walking through has flu .....and that Everyone else out side his must be sick too becayse he sees no healthy people except his office staff.

The scenarios she described sound reasonable enough at first glance, and probably reflect actual cases she's seen. I don't mean to imply that all poly is good for the kids. Just giving my explanations as to why in *some* cases I think that it's harmless (if it's handled well).
At first glance ...what about second glance ???

I don't disagree that in some situations it might be harmless depending on all the players involved...to me that seems completely reasonable....but who could base a decision on that?

I'm not enough of an expert to venture percentages. There's nothing here that's stopping anyone from assuming that cases of successful poly childrearing are the exception rather than the rule.

I think the testimonials of the next generation might shed light on it. Ever talk with an adult who was raised in a commune ??? thats interesting ...

Re: your analogy to "alcoholic childrearing" ... could certainly be used, but I'd only agree with it to the extent that there are cases where poly is handled like (and has the same effects as) alcoholism. As mentioned previously, I know of some cases where poly was/is handled poorly, and some cases where it was/is handled well.
I'm confused ....what would be an example that you dont agree with ?

So again, the jury is out as to the real percentage ratio of successful-to-unsuccessful poly stories. I don't intend to try to clear up that mystery here. It's perfectly fine by me if you want to assert that most poly stories are failure stories. I'm selfishly content knowing that my own poly story is a success story (overall).

As the official greeter you know all the poly pitfalls, you know the failure rate (if not in actual numbers ) the comings and going of the enthusiastic that discovery poly . Everyone acknowledge how difficult it can be for committed partnered adults to process and handle ...why is it such a leap to think it could be equally if not harder for a child to deal with?

Where did I assert most poly stories are failures ?

Your own poly success story doesn't have kids in it ...so your slightly off topic from the article.


Re: http://www.mommyish.com/2013/11/14/t...orous-parents/ ... seems to be largely centered around the fact that Jayde no longer wants a "second mom." The best way to approach that, IMO, would be to ask Jayde (periodically) what she wants, and to negotiate for a game plan that Jayde feels okay about. It seems reasonable to me for "Mom #2" to take a step back and maintain a low profile.
I think the point is jayde or children might not get a choice on any of this. How many children get to negotiate the role of a parents partner ??? how often to they get to negotiate the time spent with a parent vs the parent spending time with new partner ???

Re:
Quote:
"I'm struggling with why they can't be normal?"
Don't know, but lots of parents fit the "abnormal" profile. What about gay parents who adopt a child? Why can't they be normal?

So you want to dismiss this too. Lots of kids wish they had normal parents ..Oh well.

So comparing other bad choices and other bad behavior by other parents is an argument for poly NOT screwing up kids ?

I'm pretty sure the mental health community has come up with the ideal parenting model ....a model that most of us fall far short of. Isn't it logical that the factor listed in the article run further against said model

Re:
Quote:
"My parental units wanted to scream their love from the top of the skyline and jump on couches like Tom Cruise, so everyone knows. We live right outside of Hollyweird, but they never stopped to consider if their need to be out of the closet would later affect me or my sibling."
Coming out of the closet is one thing; screaming your love from the top of the skyline is another. I think what's happening in Jayde's story is that Jayde's parents are trying to use her as a showpiece. Which is a kind of objectification.
To me it sounds like activism of 2 stages. Shape public opinion ...loud and proud. AND it demonstrates to the live in GF her importance ...above all the other casual partner ...I cant or wont marry you but I'll make this grand public statement to the embarrassment and expense of my daughter for you "true love " dont you think ?


Or they dont give a shit..... " say it with me they dont give a shit "
 

dingedheart

Well-known member
part 2

These discussions remind me a little of the parts of "Sex at Dawn" where the authors lament the evils of agriculture. If only humans had never discovered agriculture! We'd still be living happily today, hunting and gathering in small bands and sharing love and sex freely, rather than overpopulating the earth and hoarding partners in the name of monogamy.

So, too, could we say, if only humans had never discovered polyamory! We'd still be living normally today, maintaining our white picket fences and going to church on Sunday, rather than overpopulating our love lives with one new flame after another.

Well, the fact is, we did discover agriculture and now we're stuck with it. The magic wand that we could wave to make it go away doesn't exist. Instead of trying to turn back the clock, why can't we use our problem-solving skills to learn how to handle it better? Humans are starting to learn to share again, so that process is already underway.

So, too, we could say, polyamory was bound to be discovered; I know that just from how my own life played out. There's no magic wand to make it go away, and we could argue forever about whether it should go away. If it's here and we're stuck with it, then maybe the best use of our time would be to determine how and when it should be practiced. This forum gives us that opportunity.
So your point in bringing this up is ...Sorry deal ? Poly is here ....poly people have kids whether its a good thing or a bad thing.....oh well cant go back in time . "Cant make omelet with out breaking a few eggs." ...Cost of progress is that it ?

I'm very sorry for the pain polyamory has caused in various people's lives. I guess there will always crusaders who want everyone to see that we'd be better off without it. And maybe Polyamory.com could do a better job of warning people that polyamory's not for everyone (because it's not).

If you reread the first few paragraphs of the article she says pretty much the same thing. and in conclusion she says ....
"Do What You Want
I am not a judge nor a jury. Do what you want. You want many loves, because that is what feels right to you- go for it. Grown adults deciding they want many loves is their decision to make. The shame is when they hurt others in the process, that is the concerning part. This article is not that I am passing judgment, let me be clear. This article is specifically focused on my concern for the emotional health and wellness of children and how they are impacted by the decisions that their parents make. Children did not ask to be placed on this earth. It is our job to provide them with a stable home environment, one filled with love, acceptance, emotional safety, and where they do not have to experience loss/grief/and trauma placed upon them due to the breakups of relationships of their parents because of the choice to fulfill one’s desire to have more than one love relationship. The fear of ostracism is very real, we as adults would be wise to not place that burden on our children to fulfill our own hunger. Once you have children you are making a conscious decision that their needs are priority. "


Sounds to me like she doesnt care what happens among consenting adults ...she just looking out for the children.



The author is Dr. Karen Ruskin -- "a Marriage and Family Therapist/Relationship Expert for 20 years." Now it's possible she's traveled far and wide and (at the least) done extensive studies on a wide range of poly families, but if she has, she didn't mention the research. No technical data is given -- heck not even anecdotes.
I guess its like taking your car to the mechanic ....the expert with 20 years stands for itself ...do you ask for the technical service bulletin related to you cars issue? How many anecdotes would you need. would you believe a survey or study if it was contrary to what you believe ?


For that reason, I am guessing that whatever factual information she's using (aside any initial prejudices she may have had which may or may not have infected her with confirmation bias beforehand) is drawn from poly families (e.g. with children) visiting her in her office in various states of family crisis. Given doctor/patient privilege, she may not have felt at liberty to describe any actual stories. Therefore she simply outlines assertions of what she believes about poly based on what she's seen (and/or believes?).
OMG talk about prejudice and without basis of fact. please list one fact in any of this. ^


It would not surprise me if she has seen one poly-child-disaster after another, for the simple reason that happy poly families don't often turn to family therapists or relationship experts for help. They just stay at home (and go on trips together) and use their time to enjoy the happy lives that they have. If someone does go to see a therapist, it's because *something* is amiss. The person is experiencing some kind of internal distress, or someone/s in their family is experiencing distress, or people in their family are having a hard time getting along.
I think you made this argument above ...and I'll say it another way Dr flu example .... we KNOW that most people don't have flu, even if we're a doctor who spends several days with people with flu. Dr. Ruskin no doubt knows plenty of people outside of her practice, which also gives her some information as to whether there are hundreds, thousands of happy poly families that just never show up at her practice. She talks about the emails she gets in response to the articles and interviews she gives.

Given that seemingly reasonable assumption, I tend to conclude that Dr. Ruskin is probably working from a skewed data set. Even if she's supplemented her own experience with that of her colleagues, they, too, will have fallen prey to the same type of bias. They haven't seen the successful poly families with kids because those families generally won't feel the need to see a therapist.
Reasonable assumption ...Really ???? Again wild speculative without any basis in fact.


Now I guess you could argue that, "Yeah, but she should have been able to help some of the in-trouble poly families turn their situation around if poly can possibly be good for the kids." And that's true: It's possible. Although, it's also possible that if she had a bias in the first place, she may not have been as motivated as she would have needed to be to really help these families make poly childrearing work. She may not have done the research to find out how to make poly childrearing work, either because she felt certain such research would be futile (like research on how to teach kids how to grow wings or gills), or because poly doesn't yet have enough available supporting literature to enable such research, or both.
You're building on your own false premise ( bias ) ...and drawing conclusions on how or what she thinks .....which is impossible . This is just Flat WRONG

In any case, there is a fair chance that she just doesn't have a balanced base of knowledge to work from, despite her 20 years of experience. Heck, how often does she even see a poly family in her office? It's a fair question for me to ask.
How many have you seen that makes you an exert :) And what number would you need to see from her ...Im sure its way higher than your own number...right ???

Re: parents pretend they're doing poly for the good of their children, when actually they're only doing it to gratify themselves ... that's a fair statement. I've never heard of anyone saying, "Hey, let's do poly -- it'd be great for the kids!" I think it would be somewhat disingenuous for almost any parent to put it like that.

Although -- monogamous parents do things that aren't necessarily geared towards the benefit of the kids. Such as hiring a babysitter so that they (just the parents) can have a date night. Or leaving the kids with the grandparents so that the parents can go on some kind of a second honeymoon trip. Or, heck, even just having sex, period. No parent would say, "Yeah, I'm having sex mainly because it'll make the kids feel good." Maybe the kids will benefit indirectly but they are hardly the focal point of parental sex (unless you count TTC sex).
You mean you haven't heard the spin by poly parents....more love ...more adult supervision....diverse mentoring, etc ,etc ..win win ? I took it as a reply to that spin. What ? ...."Geared toward the benefit of the kids " spoken like a person who doesn't have kids. Many , most ...a high percentage of all decisions with in a family revolve around how said decision will effect specific child or "the " children /family < spouse included. Being poly Id figure you'd have a taste of that to a degree. The decisions you make and your GF make might effect her husband ...right/ There is a ripple effect in all this stuff. When I first kid was an infant my wife refused to go on a date with me ( dinner and a movie ) because there wasn't anyone she trusted to watch "her" child ...nuts right? and so thats the opposite ripple effect.
 
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dingedheart

Well-known member
part 3


Of course, parents generally do such "just for us adults" things in such a way as to be sure it won't be harmful to the kids, an important point I wouldn't want to gloss over. I only say that if the kids aren't harmed by it, then some "selfish adult pleasures" are okay.
One would hope but thats not always the case either ...pleanty of bad parents of all shapes sizes and lifestyles.

On a half-related note, parents don't always do what the kids would want, either. Sometimes a parent insists that a child clean his/her room or eat his/her vegetables. Sometimes a parent grounds a child, or sends that child to a "time out," if the child is out of line or out of control. Just establishing, while we're in the neighborhood, that a child doesn't always have to be pleased with the game plan in order for said game plan to be considered good for the child.
How is the related half or not. The inference here is poly or open relationships are good for said child or children even if he or she doesnt agree at the time ....like eating balanced meals...or personal hygiene.



Re:
Quote:
"I freely admit there are indeed some who are in a polyamorous relationship who truly believe it is grand -- while they are in it."
And I'm willing to bet my last dollar that I'm going to continue to be "in it" until I or one or both of my poly companions die/s. I guess I'm doomed to suffer from a delusion of grandness until then? Who's to say that all happiness isn't an illusion? What are the standards for determining who's really happy and who's just kidding themselves?

Clearly you feel attacked by that clipped sentence . Why didnt you continue with the full paragraph ?
here it is :


Isn’t Life Grand
I freely admit there are indeed some who are in a polyamorous relationship who truly believe it is grand – while they are in it. Certainly for the days, weeks, months, and for small numbers of people; years- there are aspects of polyamory that are indeed grand for them. But, yes, but… they openly admit it is not always grand as it is difficult to live a polyamorous lifestyle. In a polyamorous relationship, certain character traits are reported as necessity, of which include; patience, highly evolved communication skills, trust, open dialogue, mindfulness of what one is feeling and what one’s partner/partners’ are feeling, respect for one another, “rules” of each other’s needs and wants must be followed, a lack of jealousy is necessary otherwise it could get ugly, and more… Hmm, sounds like skills necessary for any relationship, for the most part. Right?

She's saying ... "They" ( the poly people ) say its difficult to live poly. She saying what people here on the forum say all the time .......she say what you said " poly is tough and not for everyone " . Hell I know I've said it....and I put a little twist on it. That success is very personality and situation dependent but that might go with out saying.
Re:
Quote:
"Certainly for the days, weeks, months, and for small numbers of people, years -- there are aspects of polyamory that are indeed grand for them."
What aspects are those? The only drawbacks I've experienced in my poly family are the same kind of drawbacks I experienced in my previous monogamous life. Those pesky little petty disagreements that sometimes crop up in daily life. Those first few years in the relationship, which tend to be difficult years. Afterwhich those involved learn how to get along with each other and work with each other's idiosyncrasies.
I guess everyone might have a personal view of whats grand ? What makes your poly relationship "grand " ? Now ask your housemates the same question .


One weakness in Dr. Ruskin's article is she tends (despite her early disclaimer) to stereotype polyamory -- as if most polyamorists are "revolving-door polyamorists" (NRE junkies?) -- people with new lovers cycling into and out of their lives all the time.

While such a poly style certainly exists and is fair game for critical observation, a rather different (and at least equally common, from what I've seen) setting is arranged for the children of, say, a closed, lifetime-committed V or triad -- if all three adults are truly consenting. If one of the adults consents with certain stipulations and another one of the adults stops observing those stipulations, then mutual consent is lost, discord among the adults follows, and that's bad for the kids. The kids may become the rope in a tug-o-war between opposing ideologies.

Are we hair splitting here ? Whats the exception and whats the rule ...and to quote Hillary Clinton What difference does it make ....if the revolving door style is proven to be harmful to children ???
 

KerryRen

New member
Dingedheart, could you attribute your quotes and perhaps name who you're speaking to? Because while I'm all up for long reading and lengthy discussion, your lack of citations are rendering your responses a bit confusing.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Part 1 of 5

Re (from RichardInTN):
"Everything should be taught (this doesn't just apply to the mono/poly question) and then the kids should be allowed to find their own path."

I like that philosophy.

@ HelloSweety ... your thoughts and concerns about bullying and being outed seem reasonable and well-balanced to me. I don't think there's any easy answers when it comes to a child's classmates finding out about the polyamory. After all, the child hirself could be the one who (regrettably) tells hir classmates. So what can we do? Hide our polyamory from our kids I suppose ... but that's not always easy to do.

@ icesong ... thank you for your post; I take it you might give poly a "mixed review" as it relates to your experience with the kids so far. I think you are in the process of learning the right balance to strike up with your kids.

--- ---
--- ---

For KerryRen and any others who might be confused ... what dingedheart and I are discussing here is largely centered around two things:

Re (from dingedheart):
"I call bullshit on you being talked into discussing things ... Based on our prior conversation you love it :) ... and I think that's a good thing."

I used to think I was vanilla, but now I suspect I am a bottom who enjoys humiliation. :) Whew! Is it just me or is it getting hotter in here? I think you must spank me Daddy, I've been a bad boy.

Re:
"Dude the article was attached to her website with an extensive list of her degrees, books, articles, places she been published ... TV appearances, etc. ... her practice ... and all her associates and their backgrounds and the like."

Maybe so -- but when someone presents me with one article, I assume that's the article they want me to tackle. If they want me to scour the author's site for more articles (and stuff) to tackle, they need to tell me so straight up. I'm not a mind-reader.

I have to say, I don't want to tackle *all* of Ruskin's articles -- in the interest of time and effort on my part, and in the interest of how much stuff people will be likely to be willing (and able, timewise) to read on this thread. So let's try to trim down the thread to just the key points. If there's one or two specific articles you want me to tackle, please direct me to them, and I'll give it a go.

Re: http://www.drkarenruskin.com/about/ ... looks like a nice plug for her credentials, and I can't say she doesn't have an impressive list of credentials. It's just that, she will still be subject to the tendency for stable/healthy families to live out their own lives without therapy, and for those who visit her office to be the individuals/families who are in trouble. That's what psychotherapists do. They help people who are in trouble. And this page doesn't say anything about how many poly people she (and her associates) have counseled. Perhaps there's a page that does?

Re: http://www.drkarenruskin.com/articles/ ... covers a wide range of topics, but just one about polyamory, and none about poly parenting. Polyamory: When Three Isn't A Crowd caught my eye; I'll look at it.

Re: http://www.drkarenruskin.com/associates/ ... gives a helpful summary of the services Dr. Ruskin's team offers. But it doesn't say anything about polyamory. I'm just sayin' ...

Re:
"These were all contained in that article ... plus many other specific counseling topics and a link to her blog."

Very nice. But in the interest of time (mine, yours, and everyone else's who's investing their time to read this thread), let's try to pick out the key (on-topic) points and I'll try to tackle those. I can't imagine tackling her whole blog. Would you be willing to go through her blog and pick out some specific points for me to tackle?

Re: Dan, Holly, and Tom ... I know a bit about that V and from what I know so far, the kids (two at home plus an out-of-state adult) are doing well. In fact, Holly homeschools and some of the neighboring kids take classes from her. All of the kids seem to have a positive experience in her home, and have remarked on how helpful and supportive Tom and Dan are.

Re:
"Hey ... [Jayde] got comments from poly zealots (assumption) attacking her ... spoiled brat, whiner ... hormonal disgruntled teenager ... so not everyone thinks her parents handled things wrong or bad."

I don't doubt that. But everyone I've seen on this forum so far (including me, you I presume, and FullofLove1052) agrees that Jayde's getting a raw deal -- by any standards, poly or mono. I don't know of anyone on Polyamory.com who thinks Jayde's parents are handling poly in the best way possible. Far from it.

Re:
"I thought Jayde's list of negatives somewhat matched topics Ruskin made ..."

Well that's a plus for Ruskin; it suggests that she is deriving much (all?) of her information from actual cases that she's familiar with. Though as I said, the healthy, less than the sick, are inclined to seek a physician ...

Re:
"In this very blog Ry at the time wouldn't have thought her actions were damaging or remotely extreme ... and yet we have a problem. Whiny little five-year-old ... What a pain in the ass, hope they grow out it ... Can imagine what she going to be like as a teenager :)"

I take it you are (at least in part) speaking of my June 10 post where I said: "If you don't do something to address the problem now, it could grow into a downright disaster by the time she gets into her teen years."

In case that's true, let me just say that I didn't intend that as a slam against FullofLove1052's daughter. What I meant is that said daughter was already damaged by the poly environment that she experienced. If the problem is left to fester it will only get worse -- and teenagers, more often than younger kids, tend to carry the added burdens of hormonal change and identity crisis. So yes, address that five-year-old child's pain right now. Don't wait until she's older and has even more on her plate.

On the other hand, if you mean that Ry dismissed her daughter's upset in earlier years and thought, "Mum knows best," then yes I'll grant you that's a mistake that she made. Parents make mistakes; polyamorists make mistakes. Lord knows poly parents make mistakes too. We live and learn, and try to make amends for any damage we inadvertently cause.

Does this demonstrate that "problem poly" can go undetected, for years? Of course it does. Sadly we can't prevent every poly horror story that will ever happen; we can only hope that Ry's (and Jayde's) experience will serve as a lesson to us all.

But then, we can't prevent every mono horror story that will ever happen either. Humanity is a work in progress and we have far, far to go, in many areas.

Does the existence of horror stories prove a relationship model intrinsically wrong? It does not. But I'll grant you that the frequency (and severity) of the horror stories has a bearing on how much skepticism we should direct at the relationship model in question.

Which is one of the reasons I started this thread. I *want* to know of the horror stories. I want to know of their frequency and severity. I am trying to learn about that.

But let's face it: Thus far, in this thread, most of those who have posted have spoken of a positive influence that poly arrangements seem to have on the kids. Not that "our little study here" is conclusive or foolproof, but it's the best I can do using the tools that I have. Please inform me of more horror stories (preferably kid-related horror stories) if you know of them.

In the meantime, I think it's fair for me to say that polyamory seems to help some kids, and hurt others. Just as monogamy seems to help some kids, and hurt others. The reasons for these various helps and hurts are probably complex, and not always related to the relationship model the adults are practicing.

[continued below]
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Part 2 of 5

[continued from above]

Kevin said:
We are sort of in a state of affairs where we don't know what's true in the majority of cases, Dr. Ruskin's article notwithstanding.

Dinged said:
"Who's 'we?'"

Kevin says:
Me and the mouse in my pocket. :)

No, "we" is me and you and everyone else I can think of, based on what I know so far. Dr. Ruskin's article does a great job of casting polyamory in a negative light, but it falls short in the area of providing citations leading to the actual studies she's done (or knows of) that give numerical, reproducible, peer-reviewed evidence about whether successful or unsuccessful poly childrearing is the norm. Granted, conducting such studies would be a tall order -- but the reality remains that "we" would need to see such studies before "we" could say with certainty which group (success or failure) is in the majority.

Re:
"I think that's her point ... She thinks ... has studied ... has read studies and the methodology of the studies to support saying that."

But where is the evidence of these studies? General credentials she has in droves. Specific citations pointing to the actual poly childrearing studies she's done are (so far) nowhere to be found. I call bullshit, and claim that she is only going by the cases that have come to her clinic for help. And if a case didn't need her help, it wouldn't be coming to her clinic. So "we" have to extrapolate that the data she can draw from her actual patients is going to be skewed by the general nature of what it means to be a patient. Has she ventured outside her clinic to interview regular polys on the street? Has she conducted internet studies that any polys with a computer could participate in? If she has, she hasn't mentioned them (that I know of).

Re:
"Just because a general practitioner is treating a high volume of flu cases, not everyone walking through has flu ... and not everyone else outside must be sick too because he sees no healthy people except his office staff."

Right, but physical health is considerably more readily observable than poly health. Most laypersons can look at each other and detect who's physically ill (such as with the flu). Most everyone (including, in all likelihood, our hypothetical general practioner) has friends and family with whom they converse and soon learn if someone's come down with a flu or whatever. In comparison, only some people are poly -- either a small number or a small number that have actually outed themselves. Most monogamous people probably only know of one or two polys (tops) amongst their friends and families, so said monogamous people can only observe a small group of poly people (outside the doctor's office).

It's entirely possible that Dr. Ruskin is acquainted with a few of her own friends or family who had a terrible experience with polyamory, and their experience has caused Dr. Ruskin to start out with a bad opinion about polyamory. I don't know that of course, but the fact remains that no one can just walk down the street and say, "Oh, I can tell by looking at that person that they do or don't have a healthy poly arrangement in their life." It takes a lot more digging to determine the general state of someone's (specific) poly health than it does someone's (general) physical health.

I mean even if we take something more "subtle" like cancer, extensive studies have been done on how much of the populace suffers from this or that form of disease. Polyamory, in comparison, is in its infancy in terms of how many studies have been done (on how well various people are faring in their poly endeavors). Not only has less expertise been brought to bear on polyamory (than say on cancer), but also, studies on poly will be harder to do (because how does a scientist quantify poly success?).

Kevin said:
The scenarios she described sound reasonable enough at first glance, and probably reflect actual cases she's seen.

Dinged said:
"At first glance ... What about second glance?"

Alright; at second glance we notice she hasn't provided citations, and we observe that she says, "Polyamory -- Not Healthy for Children." Why doesn't she say, "Not Always Healthy for Children," or even, "Seldom Healthy for Children?" By failing to do so, she has (perhaps inadvertently) implied that she knows polyamory is unhealthy for *all* children in *all* cases. And even if she hadn't implied that, we still don't have the needed citations to verify whatever she does assert -- not on that particular page in that particular article anyway. If you can find the needed citations somewhere, please let us know.

Re:
"I don't disagree that in some situations it might be harmless depending on all the players involved ... To me that seems completely reasonable ... but who could base a decision on that?"

Who's basing a decision on that? Seems to me that the jury's out as far as (what conclusions should be drawn or) what decisions should be made.

Re:
"Ever talk with an adult who was raised in a commune? That's interesting ..."

I haven't. Why, have you? Please share some of what they told you. (And I'll grant that some of polyamory happens in a commune setting, but far from all of it.)

Dinged said:
"Having seen poly disasters one after another should count for something. It could be analogous to be raised in a home with an alcoholic parent ... Kids make it out okay ... don't become alcoholic, go on to be happy and healthy adults ... However there may be many that suffer lifelong issues and problems, not the least of which is them being chemically dependent."

Kevin said:
Your analogy to "alcoholic childrearing" could certainly be used, but I'd only agree with it to the extent that there are cases where poly is handled like (and has the same effects as) alcoholism. As mentioned previously, I know of some cases where poly was/is handled poorly, and some cases where it was/is handled well.

Dinged said:
"I'm confused ... What would be an example that you don't agree with?"

Kevin says:
Oh my. Let me count the ways.

All of the above are cases where it looks to me like the kids (did or) are doing just fine. Maybe not even always perfect. But certainly up to the standards of any healthy monogamous household. Not quite the type of thing you could compare to an alcoholic home, is it?

Re:
"As the official greeter you know all the poly pitfalls, you know the failure rate (if not in actual numbers), the comings and goings of the enthusiastic that discovered poly."

Umm, not really. As pretty as the "official greeter" title looks by my avatar, it doesn't grant me special power to know the failure rate of poly (and of poly with kids). First of all, most intro posts are quite short and tell us little about the person's life. Second of all, I expect the intro's to tend towards the "Oh no I'm in trouble" type of posts. People doing poly happily and successfully will tend to have not as much interest in joining a poly forum. Their lives are already filled with the things they want to fill them with.

But if you must know, I kind of estimate that the majority of intro posts describe happy poly situations. Granted: Few of them describe kids in the equation, although those that do also tend towards descriptions of happy kids. Not all, but the majority.

But I don't take that too seriously. Usually people don't really get into the nuts and bolts of their lives (and their kids' lives) until they post in (this board or) the Poly Relationships Corner. And I don't as often get around to perusing that/those (two) board/s.

Re:
"Everyone acknowledged how difficult it can be for committed partnered adults to process and handle ... Why is it such a leap to think it could be equally if not harder for a child to deal with?"

I don't think it's a leap to think it could be equally if not harder for a child to deal with. However, I also observe that -- generally speaking -- children haven't been steeped in society's mono-centric programming for as long as adults have. Thus, it will not surprise me if children have an advantage in wrapping their minds around polyamory. So maybe for some kids the concept will be harder, but maybe for other kids the concept will be easier.

[continued below]
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Part 3 of 5

[continued from above]

Re:
"Where did I assert most poly stories are failures?"

Nowhere. I was just being proactive just in case. :)

Re:
"Your own poly success story doesn't have kids in it ... so you're slightly off-topic from the article."

I agree. I'm just the starter of the topic. I'm not the expert on the body of it. I'm an observer of what's being posted.

Re:
"I think the point is Jayde or children might not get a choice on any of this. How many children get to negotiate the role of a parent's partner? How often do they get to negotiate the time spent with a parent versus the parent spending time with new partner?"

I don't know. It's a legitimate question/concern which is one of the many important reasons for building this thread.

Jayde said:
"I'm struggling with why they can't be normal?"

Kevin said:
Don't know, but lots of parents fit the "abnormal" profile. What about gay parents who adopt a child? Why can't they be normal?

Dinged said:
"So you want to dismiss this too. Lots of kids wish they had normal parents ... Oh well."

Kevin says:
I don't mean to dismiss it. I just meant to point out that we need to discuss the wisdom of gay parents adopting if we're going to discuss the wisdom of poly parents similarly exposing their kids to the ramifications of their "abnormality."

Re:
"So comparing other bad choices and other bad behavior by other parents is an argument for poly *not* screwing up kids?"

But who says the same-sex couple that adopts is screwing up their adoptee? Who says "gay adoption" is a bad choice or bad behavior?

Re:
"I'm pretty sure the mental health community has come up with the ideal parenting model ... a model that most of us fall far short of. Isn't it logical that the factors listed in the article run further against said model?"

Would this be the same mental health community that used to consider homosexuality a mental illness? I tend to think that the mental health community will come around eventually with respect to good poly parenting practices.

Re:
"To me it sounds like activism of two stages. Shape public opinion ... loud and proud. *And* it demonstrates to the live-in girlfriend her importance ... above all the other casual partner ... I can't or won't marry you but I'll make this grand public statement to the embarrassment and expense of my daughter for you 'true love' -- don't you think?"

Sure that sounds about right. Long story short, they're objectifying their daughter. Their daughter isn't a human being, she's a showpiece to be used in validating the live-in girlfriend, and in validating their poly ideals to the world.

Re:
"Or they don't give a shit ... Say it with me: 'They don't give a shit.'"

As far as I can tell, they don't give a rat's ass. Close enough?

Kevin said:
Polyamory was bound to be discovered; I know that just from how my own life played out. There's no magic wand to make it go away, and we could argue forever about whether it should go away. If it's here and we're stuck with it, then maybe the best use of our time would be to determine how and when it should be practiced. This forum gives us that opportunity.

Dinged said:
"So your point in bringing this up is ... Sorry; deal? Poly is here ... Poly people have kids whether it's a good thing or a bad thing ... Oh well, can't go back in time? Can't make omelet with out breaking a few eggs? Cost of progress, is that it?"

Kevin says:
Dinged, I was trying to be diplomatic. Jeezh! Didja have to make me look like a big ol' meanie? A big ol' meanie-weenie? Okay, that's right, poly's here and maybe some would say it's queer. As long as it looks like it *can* be done right in *some* cases, can't we suppose it doesn't (yet) need to be wiped out (like smallpox) and instead figure out what the do's and don'ts are, and who should or shouldn't be practicing it? Seems like a reasonable game plan to me.

Re:
"Sounds to me like [Dr. Ruskin] doesn't care what happens among consenting adults ... She's just looking out for the children."

I think you're right and I don't mean to villainize her. I just don't know that she has the whole picture. I mean come on, look at the content of this thread so far. Some horror stories; mostly success stories. [shrug] Again, if there's more horror stories I should know about, please share ...

Re:
"I guess it's like taking your car to the mechanic ... The expert with 20 years stands for itself ... Do you ask for the technical service bulletin related to you car's issue? How many anecdotes would you need?"

For an oil change: none. For a new engine block: I might be inclined to seek out second opinions, internet articles, etc.

The point is, it depends how much is at stake. An engine block is cheap compared to a child.

And suppose I've just bought a new car? If I'm smart, I'll study up on how to take primo care of that car, to keep it in top-notch condition. In a similar vein, I don't want to wait til my child is "broken" before I start studying up; I want to learn as much as I can about good parenting right from the get-go -- especially if I'm going to be a poly parent. So Dr. Ruskin's article should be required reading -- but it should only be a small part of the entire body of required reading (for me -- the hypothetical parent).

Re:
"Would you believe a survey or study if it was contrary to what you believe?"

I would hope so, if the study or survey was done in a bona fide way. Factual; numerical; reproducible; peer-reviewed (and if a study about people, then based on a large number of people -- the larger the better, with a substantial control group).

Kevin said:
For that reason, I am guessing that whatever factual information she's using (aside any initial prejudices she may have had which may or may not have infected her with confirmation bias beforehand) is drawn from poly families (e.g. with children) visiting her in her office in various states of family crisis. Given doctor/patient privilege, she may not have felt at liberty to describe any actual stories. Therefore she simply outlines assertions of what she believes about poly based on what she's seen (and/or believes?).

Dinged said:
"OMG talk about prejudice and without basis of fact. Please list one fact in any of this."

Kevin says:
I can't. There are no facts in it. Only my guesses (which I indicated at the beginning of what I said there). Still, as guesses go, it seemed reasonable enough. Perhaps you and I will just have to agree to disagree on this point. Your guess (I'm guessing) is that she based her article on rigorous studies she did (which sadly weren't cited in her article -- not on that particular web page at least).

Re:
"Dr. Ruskin no doubt knows plenty of people outside of her practice, which also gives her some information as to whether there are hundreds, thousands of happy poly families that just never show up at her practice. She talks about the emails she gets in response to the articles and interviews she gives."

Perhaps we should introduce her to this thread. :) Not that she couldn't point out that only a "handful" of people have posted in this thread so far. But we're working on it. Hopefully there'll be more.

[continued below]
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Part 4 of 5

[continued from above]

Kevin said:
Given that seemingly reasonable assumption, I tend to conclude that Dr. Ruskin is probably working from a skewed data set. Even if she's supplemented her own experience with that of her colleagues, they, too, will have fallen prey to the same type of bias. They haven't seen the successful poly families with kids because those families generally won't feel the need to see a therapist.

Dinged said:
"Reasonable assumption ... Really? Again wild speculation without any basis in fact."

Kevin says:
Perhaps. Again we'll probably have to agree to disagree. The assumption (that successful poly families with kids generally won't feel the need to see a therapist) seems reasonable enough to me. Is an assumption a fact? No. But it's the best tool I can think of based on the information I have.

Re:
"You're building on your own false premise (bias) ... and drawing conclusions on how or what she thinks ... which is impossible. This is just flat *wrong.*"

[shrug] If it is, it is. I will admit that to me, Dr. Ruskin comes across as being a little dogmatic. But, then, Democrats will often accuse Republicans of dogmatic bias, while Republicans will often accuse Democrats of dogmatic bias. We are admittedly working from guesswork here, so perfect agreement won't be possible.

Kevin said:
In any case, there is a fair chance that she just doesn't have a balanced base of knowledge to work from, despite her 20 years of experience. Heck, how often does she even see a poly family in her office? It's a fair question for me to ask.

Dinged said:
"How many have you seen that makes you an expert? :)"

Kevin says:
Seen? Very few. Heard of and talked to? Quite a few though not in person. On the other hand, I don't actually consider myself to be an expert.

Re:
"And what number would you need to see from her ... I'm sure it's way higher than your own number ... right?"

Look, she makes some bold assertions in her article. She doesn't say, "I think this is bad for kids." She says, "I *know* this is *always* bad for kids." The bolder and more sweeping the assertion, the more appropriate it is to back it up with verifiable evidence (beyond general credentials).

If she's seen ten poly families with kids and they all failed while they clung to their poly life, I'd chalk that up to sick people being the ones who will tend to seek out a physician. If she's seen 100 poly families with kids and they all failed while they clung to their poly life, I'd start to seriously worry about the intrinsic nature of poly with respect to kids. Between those numbers I guess there's a slider that indicates how much I'd chalk up to the sick seeking the physician, versus the total number (with zero success stories) being too large to so easily dismiss.

Kevin said:
Re: parents pretend they're doing poly for the good of their children, when actually they're only doing it to gratify themselves ... that's a fair statement. I've never heard of anyone saying, "Hey, let's do poly -- it'd be great for the kids!" I think it would be somewhat disingenuous for almost any parent to put it like that.

Dinged said:
"You mean you haven't heard the spin by poly parents ... more love ... more adult supervision ... diverse mentoring, etc., etc. ... win-win?"

Kevin says:
I have, and I'll grant that many parents may say, "It's *okay* for us to be poly because the kids will actually benefit from it." But I doubt that many parents say, "The benefit to the kids is the main reason why we ought to become polyamorous." Most parents will at least be honest enough to admit that the main reason is their own (adult) inclinations.

I think we are in agreement that every choice we make has a ripple effect on the people around us, especially those close to us. So regardless of what our main reason is for taking a certain course of action, we should certainly consider its ripple effect before proceeding with that course.

Re:
"Plenty of bad parents of all shapes, sizes, and lifestyles."

Ain't that the truth.

Kevin said:
On a half-related note, parents don't always do what the kids would want, either. Sometimes a parent insists that a child clean his/her room or eat his/her vegetables. Sometimes a parent grounds a child, or sends that child to a "time out," if the child is out of line or out of control. Just establishing, while we're in the neighborhood, that a child doesn't always have to be pleased with the game plan in order for said game plan to be considered good for the child.

Dinged said:
"How is the 'related' half- or not? The inference here is poly or open relationships are good for said child or children even if he or she doesn't agree at the time ... like eating balanced meals ... or personal hygiene."

Kevin says:
It wasn't my intent to infer that poly is (always) good for *all* children. What I mean is, it's *conceivable* that (some) poly isn't harmful to the kids even if (at times) those kids don't think it's a good idea. Admittedly that's a slippery slope for me to slide down and I don't know where you draw the line. Poly or otherwise, all parents have to make judgment calls on which things the kids should decide for themselves, and which things the parents should decide for the kids. Parents don't always make the right call, unfortunately -- even good parents. [shrug] The best we can do is dialog about it and try to keep the errors down to a minimum.

Dr. Ruskin said:
"I freely admit there are indeed some who are in a polyamorous relationship who truly believe it is grand -- while they are in it."

Kevin said:
And I'm willing to bet my last dollar that I'm going to continue to be "in it" until I or one or both of my poly companions die/s. I guess I'm doomed to suffer from a delusion of grandness until then? Who's to say that all happiness isn't an illusion? What are the standards for determining who's really happy and who's just kidding themselves?

Dinged said:
"Clearly you feel attacked by that clipped sentence."

Kevin says:
Not attacked -- but demeaned indirectly. Since I am a polyamorist, I am probably like all the other polyamorists Dr. Ruskin has seemingly met: dishonest with themselves.

Re:
"Why didn't you continue with the full paragraph?"

I didn't feel the need to respond to the whole paragraph at the time. But I did continue with more of the paragraph -- after I replied to that first sentence. I didn't want to confuse my response to the first part of the paragraph with my response to the next part.

So here's the part I didn't respond to (at all) at the time:
"But, yes, but ... they openly admit it is not always grand as it is difficult to live a polyamorous lifestyle. In a polyamorous relationship, certain character traits are reported as necessity, of which include: patience, highly evolved communication skills, trust, open dialogue, mindfulness of what one is feeling and what one's partner/partners are feeling, respect for one another, 'rules' of each other's needs and wants must be followed, a lack of jealousy is necessary otherwise it could get ugly, and more ... Hmm, sounds like skills necessary for any relationship, for the most part. Right?"

And my response now (as it would have been then) is:
Right.

[continued below]
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Part 5 of 5

[continued from above]

I think we are in agreement that polyamory will tend to have different benefits for different people. What makes it agreeable for me probably isn't quite what makes it (grand and/or) agreeable for my housemates.

Kevin said:
One weakness in Dr. Ruskin's article is she tends (despite her early disclaimer) to stereotype polyamory -- as if most polyamorists are "revolving-door polyamorists" (NRE junkies?) -- people with new lovers cycling into and out of their lives all the time.

Dinged said:
"Are we hair-splitting here? What's the exception and what's the rule ... and to quote Hillary Clinton, What difference does it make ... if the revolving-door style is proven to be harmful to children?"

Kevin says:
Oh, it doesn't make that much difference, and I will admit to a little hair-splitting on that point. (But I did go on to address the revolving-door issues.)

--- ---
--- ---

Re: Polyamory: When Three Isn't A Crowd ... was written (October 26, 2013) by Emanuella Grinberg, not Karen Ruskin. Which is fine, but what does it (and Ruskin, wherever it quotes her) say about poly (and more importantly, about how poly affects the kids)?

Well one thing it (Billy Holder) says is, "It takes a lot of work and it's not for everybody."

Elisabeth Sheff, who wrote the book "The Polyamorists Next Door," does not consider herself a polyamorist. But her research led her to believe that polyamory is a "legitimate relationship style that can be tremendously rewarding for adults and provide excellent nurturing for children." In research and interviews with poly families, Sheff found that children ages five to eight didn't seem to care about how the adults related to each other, so long as they were taken care of. Overall, they seemed to fare well as long as they lived in stable, loving homes.

Making it work, she acknowledges, is "time-consuming, and potentially fraught with emotional booby traps." It can be rewarding for some "and a complete disaster for others."

Ah, and then Dr. Ruskin makes her appearance.

---

More often than not, non-monogamy leads to the demise of relationships, said Karen Ruskin, a Boston-area psychotherapist with more than two decades of experience in couples counseling. Instead of focusing on the primary relationship, partners are turning to others for fulfillment.

"Even if non-monogamy is consensual, it's still a distraction from dealing with each other," said Ruskin, author of "Dr. Karen's Marriage Manual."

"It all goes back to choice. Non-monogamy is choosing to be with someone else instead of being attentive to your spouse when the relationship is troubled."

Couples can establish rules and parameters to limit jealousy, she said. But in her experience working with couples, "those rules never end up working out for everyone."

"It has been shown to be damaging and destructive to a person as an individual, to the couple's relationship and the family unit as a whole."

---

Alas, Ruskin said little if anything here about the problems of poly childrearing -- just of the adult relations. But, I'll respond briefly to what she said.

Re:
More often than not, non-monogamy leads to the demise of relationships.

First of all, how does she know that? For someone so accomplished in her field, I wish she'd provide more citations about specific studies and the numbers. But maybe she did and Emanuella Grinberg didn't put it in the article. Oh well.

One reason non-monogamy may lead to the "demise of relationships" is because common monogamous wisdom defines a successful relationship as one that endures "til death do us part." But lots of polyamorists (and I think I agree) feel that not all relationships are meant to be lifelong. So if a boyfriend and girlfriend (or even husband and wife) break up, it may actually be a positive thing, a learning experience and a step up the stairs of their lives -- especially if it's an amicable break-up and they remain friends afterwards. Obviously, I couldn't say that about an "ugly break-up," though even those can be "necessary evils" for people trying to get past a dysfunctional relationship and move on with their lives.

Another reason may be that much more support (books, articles, life-choice friendly counselors, friends and relatives, etc.) tends to exist for treating ailing monogamous marriages than what tends to exist for treating ailing poly relationships. The situation is improving (e.g. with the advent of forums like Polyamory.com), but we've got a ways to go. It's hard for poly newbies to find a "road map" to show them how they're supposed to make it work.

And mono-centric conditioning probably makes it harder for people to wrap their minds around polyamory, so that even if they try to practice it, guilt and misgivings might get the best of them and then they'll decide they just can't do it anymore. And there's probably other reasons, but those are three off the top of my head.

So, what about poly relationships breaking up because they're handled poorly (e.g. with a lot of pseudo-enlightened selfishness)? Yeah I think that often happens too. Does jealousy often kill a poly relationship? It does, along with stuff like (impulsively-used) veto power.

Re:
"Even if non-monogamy is consensual, it's still a distraction from dealing with each other."

Yes -- sometimes.

And that's another reason why quite a few poly relationships crash and burn. But in all fairness, most of what I've seen on Polyamory.com (and Poly Percs) warns us not to let our "original relationship" die on the vine while we throw ourselves into a shiny new relationship. It warns is against the perils of NRE. Not everyone listens to those warnings, but those who do usually fare much better.

It's the same old mantra: Some people handle their poly relationships well; others, not so well. And some monogamous couples just don't have the basic tools to make poly work (e.g. if one of the spouses absolutely can't tolerate a spouse being poly, or if someone breaks the "poly rules" that the spouses have agreed upon).

Re:
"It all goes back to choice. Non-monogamy is choosing to be with someone else instead of being attentive to your spouse when the relationship is troubled."

Yes -- sometimes.

Which is why popular poly wisdom urges us to get our original relationship on firm footing before seeking out a new relationship. Not that everyone heeds that counsel, and there's a lot of pain involved in working a poly relationship with an ailing marriage at home -- though some poly arrangements do work out in spite of that rough beginning. But it's definitely easier (on everyone) if the marriage (or other original relationship) is tended to first.

Re:
Couples can establish rules and parameters to limit jealousy, she said. But in her experience working with couples, "those rules never end up working out for everyone."

Not for everyone, no.

Having said that, I'll note that rules (especially the rigid, non-negotiable kind) tend to be clumsy tools for dealing with jealousy. It usually works a lot better to engage in dialog, research, and introspection, and try to get at the root of what's causing the jealousy. This is something you do voluntarily, not because a rule is constraining you.

Re:
"It has been shown to be damaging and destructive to a person as an individual, to the couple's relationship and the family unit as a whole."

(By "it" I assume we mean polyamory.) It has been shown -- in how many cases? and in what percentage compared to the whole? Again I wish we had a citation to a specific study, with its statistical results.

My personal experience (mostly on poly forums) indicates a 50/50 failure rate (that of course being a very rough estimation on my part). But I take that to mean that in the whole world, the percentage of successful poly arrangements is probably much higher than 50. Poly forums, as we've mentioned, will have a tendency to attract the "problem cases."

---

The article touches briefly on the kids in poly homes. It says that Billy and Melissa Holder's nine-year-old daughter often calls Jeremy Mullins (their poly companion) her "other dad."

"I'm happy because there's more people to ask when I have problems," she said.

Melissa Holder had two sons from a previous relationship. The boys were 15 and 16 when the Holders sat them down and told them things were getting serious with Jeremy.

The younger son didn't take it well and moved in with relatives in Louisiana. He declined to be interviewed for this story. Her older son, Sebastion, learned to live with the situation. It was an adjustment at first, he said, but it helped that the family had moved into a bigger home where everyone had their own space.

Jeremy Mullins is "a generally cool guy," who suggests great books and talks with Sebastion about electronics, Sebastion said.

"It's like having a full house with someone else to talk to and help out with housework," said Sebastion, now 20 years old and stationed in South Korea as a combat medic in the United States Army.

The Holders said a family member reported them to Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services, alleging child abuse and prompting a weeks-long investigation. The Holders said it ended with no charges being laid and their daughter remaining in the home. Georgia's Division of Family and Children Services did not return multiple phone calls seeking comment.
 
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icesong

Moderator
Staff member
@ icesong ... thank you for your post; I take it you might give poly a "mixed review" as it relates to your experience with the kids so far. I think you are in the process of learning the right balance to strike up with your kids.

That's fair, though honestly I think that has more to do with me as a not-terribly-great parent who happens to be poly, not poly itself. This is of course something I'm working on, but I'm one of those clichéd poly types with a terrible family history. [/self-deprecating mode]
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Actually icesong, you are probably doing at least as well as the average parent. Self-deprecation is the key to parental wisdom, :)

By the way, I should probably proactively admit that Karen Ruskin doesn't operate in a total "good poly vacuum" if she receives (and reads) a lot of emails. The content of those emails could be a game changer in this discussion; if anyone finds a record of one or more of them, let me know. I scanned through the first page of her blog but didn't see anything there that looked like an email (much less a lot of emails).

Still, even if she gets 100 emails a day telling her how destructive poly's been towards various children, there's a bit of a mystery to solve. Why are we hearing so much positive news about poly parenting in this thread? Yes, a few cases are rather negative -- FullofLove1052's in particular, and Jayde's -- probably dingedheart's too though I should let him speak for himself. But when adding up the total number of people who've posted in this thread so far, a considerably larger number have mostly good news to report. Do the positive posts sound like they're coming from self-deluded parents? They don't sound like it to me but I know that's all a matter of opinion.

I suppose we need more testimony from adults who grew up in poly homes. Alas that's hard to come by because widespread poly is only beginning to take root. I suppose future generations will have much more access to that kind of testimony.

F.Y.I. ... on Polyamory.com, Jayde is first mentioned in http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?p=246625#post246625

I can't find the original link to Jayde's story but FullofLove1052 might have saved it somewhere ... [shrug]
 

LovingRadiance

Active member
KT! YOU FORGOT ME! LOL

We've raised 5 kids.
Maintained longer term care of more than 40 hours a week for 3 other children.

All are healthy, happy, sound and doing educationally excelling...

:)

(we are also very openly poly and very openly home schooling among other things)
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re:
"KT! YOU FORGOT ME! LOL"

[facepalm] D'oh! Sorry LR, you seem to have caught me not firing on all cylinders.

I was pretty sure your poly childraising experience was a success story, but it feels good to hear the official confirmation. Thanks.

Well basically, today's (five-post) "post" took all day to write (and I still haven't gave it a last scan). Certainly was a record for me, but, then, you can't post on a subject much more important than the well-being of our (I say "our" as in our world's, our society's) children.
 

FullofLove1052

New member
Oh, Kevin. Always Mr. Diplomatic. Or are you secretly a big meanie? ;)

I am definitely not trying to be a lesson. I am the exception. I screwed my child up. Regardless of contributing factors/parties, how, or even her age, I am the catalyst for every problem she has. I wish she was just whiny or being a pain in my arse. If my child's therapist was not as professional as she is, I am inclined to believe she would rip me in half. She did in a diplomatic way. I cannot blame poly directly. I blame myself and my selfishness. Point blank and quite simply, I should have committed to one relationship while parenting. Yes, good old-fashioned monogamy. It has been said that workaholics encounter the same problems. Tuh. At least with the hours I clocked at work, I was working towards something. What do I have to show from my relationship? I knew that my long work hours would not last forever. The tragic flaw? The second relationship probably would have continued for ages, and the damage would have only gotten worse. I have no idea how much worse. I am scared for my child now.

Silly me for thinking I could maintain a second primary relationship, work 12s/16s/24s on-site, be a hands on mum, be more than a part-time wife, run a household, and have energy for all of that, too. Perhaps I should have given up wanting to have a career. I was stretched too thin to be the kind of mother I needed to be. Excuses be damned. I was saturated, leaking, and drowning in the end. If my husband only saw me 15 minutes on some mornings, how much did my child really see me? All that time I wasted on that person should have been spent with my child. I was able to be my so-called poly self, but I had sacrifice time and my relationship with my child to be someone I want no part of today.

I am sure poly is a lovely thing for other children. I can only speak for the one that came out of my body, but said management, saturation, selfishness, and/or the other party did her in and helped cause a lifetime of damage. Damage that would not be present if I had been mono. That is not to say mono parents do not mess their children up either. Plenty do. 365 days a year.

Lesson learned.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re:
"Oh, Kevin. Always Mr. Diplomatic. Or are you secretly a big meanie?"

Both. :cool:

Heh: I think you may feel, about your experience with kids and poly -- all that wasted time? ... similar to how I feel about the decades I poured into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I won't pretend said church isn't good for a lot of people, but it was a disaster for me. So, what do I have to show for all those wasted years? Only that I learned my lesson (I hope).

But we can't live in the past (or the future for that matter). This moment, here and now, is the only moment we really have. So come on, don't rip yourself in half over mistakes that you made; your therapist already took care of that. How can your daughter forgive you if you can't forgive yourself? ... and it's through forgiveness that I think we will all find some healing.

I know I know, I'm preaching to the choir, right. Man if I were duly convicted for all the horrendous mistakes I've made in my lifetime ... [shudder]
 
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