So, they lied to their dad on Father's Day. They never said sorry. Still haven't, even though they're with us this week.
We let them do a ton of stuff, sign them up for things they love, and organize all kinds of things with their friends. But thanks to actions on Father's Day, they were grounded for their first week of summer with us. My saying previously was that only cats get grounded in our house (when they fight), but now we've had to move past that. Our grounding isn't ridiculous, though. The kids' mom, when she grounds, takes away the only things the kids do in their house. They're basically left with their room and cut out of family activities, and I think that's pretty cruel. I told my youngest stepdaughter once that we would never do the same as their mom because punishments are too harsh and cut the kid out of family life and routine.
This, on the other hand, is literally a grounding in which they're doing TONS of fun stuff still, but just can't do a sleep over or play date at a friends house. We had planned for them to go to Vacation Bible School every morning and then get picked up by friends or dropped off at friends' houses most afternoons. But instead, they ruined Father's Day for their Dad so we took the afternoon stuff away, meaning they'd get to go to work with me instead. It hasn't been so terrible at all, since they've been able to still go to one of the most fun things all year everyday, plus other church events with tons of people and best friends. And I arranged to have one of their favorite babysitters over yesterday, which they loved because she took them out. We never give them boring weeks, ever. That's just unnecessary. Even if they're not thankful.
But they're asking to go to friends houses now that it's the end of the week. Yet my husband realized- they still haven't even said sorry for what they did on Father's Day. Not once. So they're starting to make comments about their friends longingly, and he is going to have to sit down and tell them not a chance. Not only do we let them see their friends constantly and set up all kinds of events and activities for them and the friends, with their parents even, they never say thank you. They don't get it. We go the extra mile in arranging playdates, sleepovers, and lots of activities to allow them to associate with their peers more and be more rounded and positive, and active, than what they're being taught in their other family: Judgement, rudeness, criticism of others, desire to do less and fester.
But I'm not sure they even realize that their mom hardly ever does anything, and that they expect such things from us. Their friends have started to call my husband and I for playdates and not their mom. More than once now, when a friend has asked to see one of the kids to my husband and I, they'd expressed disappointment, like a failed attempt, when we've said that they're with their mom that week. So, even their friends get it. (Or, it has something to do with the weirdness, negativity, and overt Satanism at the other house that we can tell other parents are now finally picking up on.)
Somehow, this "grounding" of minor proportions will turn into "cruelty". Their mom yells, screams, throws, severely punishes (and other extreme antics). But somehow us taking away sleepovers during one week, while also doing special activities every single day (including a half-birthday celebration at a nice restaurant and another made-up "special occasion" another night) and letting them play with friends everyday at VBS with games and crafts, will somehow turn into unusual cruelty and punishment. Somehow, whatever Dad does with Stepmom is worse than anything Mom does that makes them cry in fear before they even see her.
And that's our reality. We just accept it now. We try to fight it with the kids by explaining and comparing, aka logic, but I'm sure many of you know how that goes with kids. Throw in manipulation and fear, and it has even less impact.
Oh, summer. Thanks mediator for giving us every other week with the kids this summer, but before we know it...Everything will be forgotten.