I feel as if my ex and his wife are ruining my daughter. She says I’m a ‘prude’.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2013
I feel as if my ex and his wife are ruining my daughter. She says I’m a ‘prude’.
15
Thu, 08-29-2013 - 1:46am

Hi, I’ve lurked here off and on for years but have just finally joined because I’ve been having some issues with my daughter this summer and need advice.

I’ve always had the typical problems with her that any single mother would have --- dating the wrong kind of boy, wanting to stay out too late, wanting to wear inappropriate clothing, etc. But this summer she’s really gotten out of hand and I feel it is because of my ex and his wife. They are pretty unsavory characters IMHO, but they weren’t able to interfere in how I raised her until recently. They lived in California and therefore weren’t able to have any direct contact with her. But this past May they moved back here to central Ohio, not too far from where I live, and I feel that they have been a very negative influence on her. The problem is that she stays with them on the weekends now, and I can’t prevent that legally. And they seem to undo everything I’ve tried to instill in her.

For example, I’ve tried to teach her financial responsibility, and I was making good progress with her until they moved out here. She’s 17 and just started her senior year in high school, and she had a part time job and was fairly thrifty with what little money she made there. But my ex has lots of money and since they’ve been here they have spoiled her literally rotten. IMHO, I think they are trying to buy her love. Right after they got here they bought her a brand new sports car, I think it cost around $80,000, and they’ve given her a credit card with no restraints on the spending whatsoever. She will go to the mall with her friends and routinely will spend hundreds a day, sometimes over $1000, mostly on clothing, jewelry, and other trinkets. She has no financial discipline anymore at all, and of course she has quit her job. And she tells me she has no plans now to work until after she’s done with college, which won’t be until she’s at least 25 or so as she plans on becoming an attorney. In addition to this, they will let her have big parties at their house on the weekends, with scores of kids coming over, and if she goes out, they have no problem with her coming home well after 2am on a Friday or Saturday night. And then I have to hear my daughter tell me how ‘cool’ they are and how strict I am, when all I’m trying to do is teach her to be responsible.

But the worst change I’ve noticed in her is how she dresses. She’s always wanted to dress a bit girly like any other teenager, but her wardrobe had never been too big a problem for me. This was mainly because I had the power of the purse, I simply wouldn’t buy her anything too risque, but even with her own money she wouldn’t buy anything too slutty. This is because she’s always been very active in our church and has always been a committed Christian. She is a virgin and is saving herself for marriage, and she even brags about this to everyone. So we always saw eye to eye on the difference between a bit ‘sexy’ and ‘slutty’. She might have worn a bikini down at the pool and miniskirts to school, but they were always appropriate. The bikini was full coverage and her skirts came to at least mid thigh. But even though my ex and his wife claim to be Christians and are now attending our church, apparently her stepmom’s philosophy is ‘if you’ve got it, flaunt it’ and ‘it’s ok for boys to look as long as they don’t touch’. I mean, seriously, that’s what she tells me, and now my daughter is telling me the same thing when I complain about how she’s dressing. She has totally brainwashed my daughter and now both of them say I’m a ‘prude’, and that being a Christian doesn’t mean you can’t be sexy, as long as you don’t actually have sex. My daughter has even been using this line on me recently when I complain to her that she learned from her stepmom, ‘There is nothing dirty about being a little flirty.’ 

Now, while I can understand that point of view to a very small extent, I certainly think she’s taking it way too far. I mean, it’s embarrassing! I’m actually embarrassed to be out in public with her now! Her skirts this summer are so short they’re more like wide belts, if she raises her arms above her head you can almost see her underwear. And her tops are all very sexy as well --- crop tops, side slits, etc. I’ll go to the mall with her and it’s so embarrassing, everyone stares at her. But she doesn’t care. In fact, she brags about it. She says she likes teasing boys and watching them drool. When I ask her why, her only reply is ‘I don’t know. It’s just fun.’ She also bought this new sexy one piece swimsuit which she wears to the community pool. It’s basically two straps of cloth which barely cover her and it’s white and you can see right through it when it gets wet. I refuse to even go to the pool with her anymore because of it. I don’t even know how she gets away with wearing it, as it’s a family environment. The same is true for her school clothes. I would think they’d make her go home and change, but apparently things are more liberal now than when I was in school. The skirts she’s wearing to school are so short that I’m sure the boys are getting lots of ‘panty shots’ when it’s windy out. She even told me this is the case, but she’s happy about it. She’ll brag to me about all the boys that are constantly staring at her, she even tells me that some of the male teachers look at her. Last Friday, she even brought two boys over our house (I wasn’t home of course) and let them takes pictures and video of her in this short skirt and at one point she even gave them a ‘panty shot’. The one boy even posted the video to Flickr, but not only does she not care, she’s happy about it. She will brag to me that all the boys tell her she’s the sexiest girl at school, and that all the girls are jealous of her. She even showed up at church this past Sunday wearing this skirt, albeit with a more conservative top. I was so embarrassed! But my ex and his wife said I should just be happy that she wants to go to church in the first place.

The video was the last straw for me. Inviting boys over after school and letting them take inappropriate video and pictures of her to me reveals someone who is totally out of control. I even think she might get raped or something, I mean, you know how teen boys are. But when I complained to my ex’s wife about it she told me I was a ‘prude’ and that she saw nothing wrong with it, that I was making a big deal about nothing. And my brainwashed daughter basically parroted her remarks. She said they were ‘friends’ and she trusted them. But she won’t allow me to meet any of them. Here is the video this creep posted, so you can see what I’m talking about, and so you can see the kind of skirts she’s wearing to school.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/82505260@N05/sets/72157635231950395/

Am I missing something here? Am I a ‘prude’? I just feel that this is inappropriate behavior and attire for a 17yo girl, particularly to wear to school. And yes, I think it’s rather slutty to let boys take pictures like this. But the more I complain the more she threatens to move in with them, and I feel I will totally lose her if that happens. Legally, I have joint custody but I’m not sure what I can do in that area. I have little money for an attorney, but surely there’s something I can do.

Or do you think I’m overreacting like my daughter and my ex’s wife say? Am I really a ‘prude’? I don’t think so, but maybe I’m behind the times or something? I don’t know. All I know is that I feel like I’m losing my daughter and I don’t have their kind of money, so I feel so helpless and powerless right now.

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Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999

Is she a senior this year?  Unfortunately, regardless of your ex, she is going off to college in a year and she would be free to do (mostly) what she wanted once she got to school.  I would have a huge problem with this big turn around in character, but what you can do about it other than continue to do what you are doing, I am not sure honestly.  She will find out very quickly though that in the corporate world of law, that kind of dressing will not fly at all. 

I am sure others will have better suggestions than me, but hugs, it sounds like you are in for one heck of a year.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
I suspect trolls...we've had that before...
Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
yuck, and I was all excited that we actually had a poster so we could get some good conversation going. well phewy!
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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2013

Well, I was thinking there might be something I could do legally. I mean, doesn't this show poor parenting on their part?  And also, on a positive note, my ex's wife called me and told me that she finally agrees with me that that video is inappropriate. She just found out that one of the guys who did that video was *not* from her high school. It was a boy from school and his older brother, who is 21. Apparently, that's her only problem with the incident, but she's furious that one of the boys was 21 and hopefully this will help her to wake up and see all the problems associated with letting her dress like that. At any rate, she told me that her attorney told her that because of the age difference and the nature of the poses and the exposed panties, that she could call the police and press charges against this guy for 'child porn'. I'm not sure about that but at least I've found some common ground with her...

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Yes, if hte guy is 21, he can be charged with possessing child porn as well as distributing it. There are prosecutors out that that will file charges on it. I think its also a reminder to have a talk about those sorts of things with your daughter, does she want to destroy someone's life by having them put on the sex offender registry because of something she willingly posed for? And some prosecutors will charge them without the kid or girl in question pressing the charges, there have been plenty of cases where prosecutors will use it as a warning to others. Legally no, you really can't do anything. They are her parent and step parent, they are not putting her in harms way, they are not doing anything illegal. Immoral, well that is a judgment call. Poor parenting unfortunately is not illegal. He is her biological dad and if she wants to see and spend time with him, they have every right unless he is directly and inexplicitly putting her in danger.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
$80,000 sports car for a 17yo??? Pick up your pants--it's too late to save your shoes...
Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997

(actually in our area some people did do that when their kids turned 16 - it's crazy - one girl's dad owns the local Lambo dealership and she drove a different one in daily, not that they owned them but...)

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2013

Yes, Arryl, you are right about that. I finally talked to an attorney, he gave me a free consultation, and he said that legally there's nothing I can do at this point. Frown  I also think you are right about this 21 yo guy, but we're not absolutely sure yet. My ex's wife did report that video to the police and they said that legally it could probably be considered 'child porn' although they are still 'investigating'. From what she told me, I think by 'investigating' they mean consulting with the prosecutor's office. I have mixed feelings about that right now. I haven't met this guy, but I know his 17yo brother who was there with him and I once met his parents awhile ago, and I have to admit that they seemed like decent people. But again, I never met the older brother and he is 21, and I would think that at that age he would be aware of the inappropriateness of what he did, even if he wasn't aware of all the legal implications.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Unfortunately, when given the opportunity, kids, even 21 year olds, can get stupid really easily. And that is what you need to talk to your daughter about. She can say that she enjoys the attention, she can say that they can look but they can't touch, but she will never know for sure that a boy won't take it as a sign and go too far and force the issue. And while its still the boy's fault for not stopping if she says no, having an attitude like that is just not the way she wants things to happen. I know these are hard conversations to have and how to approach without sounding "like a prude", especially when she's got another set of parents coming at her with a different attitude, but you have to just concentrate on what values you want to instill in her while she is at your house. Hopefully as she grows and matures she'll understand where you are coming from in the end.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-08-2009

Dear Angie,

Gentle hugs and welcome to our corner of the village.

Your situation is a cluster of issues. I see several issues I would peruse here and try to resolve.

FIRST, would be with ex and his wife. One of two pieces of advice my mother gave me when I married and advice I passed on to our daughters when they married was, “Never ever let the kids find any daylight between you and their father. Always stay on the same page and work together.” I would try to have a CONVERSATION with ex and his wife, who is now also your daughters “stepmom,” about how things should be handled, so that the daughter finds a unified group of parents. NOTICE, I said have a CONVERSATION, not an argument. Approach it from the point of “we all want the very best for ‘OUR’ daughter.”

YES, I would include the stepmom. If for no other reason, as President Johnson crudely remarked about a cabinet pick, “I decided, I would rather have him peeing out of the tent, than peeing into the tent.” Seriously, she can be very helpful to you and your ex as a team member.

Does ex’s wife have children? Have any been teens? Does ex have other children or teens? This may be a situation where they don’t have experience and do not comprehend that teens need structure, not unfettered freedom to screw-up their lives.

SECOND, in that conversation, I would talk about the wisdom of pouring excessive amounts of money and gifts that will probably be far beyond what the poor slob she will marry will be able to provide. Marriages have enough stress without a bride who does not understand basic finances like budgeting and living within the earnings of the family.

Also, discuss the wisdom of a teen having uncontrolled amounts of money to buy recreational products that they can smoke in a bong, smoke in a glass pipe, snort from a glass straw, inject into their arm, swallow, etcetera. Google the name “Jack Whittaker, lottery winner” and read the true story of a man who woke up on Christmas morning 2002 to find that he had won a mere $93 million after taxes—everybody’s dream come true. But wait, this was a nightmare come true. Read the five page BloombergBusinessweek article for all the details. Print it off and hand it to ex and his wife. In short before Christmas morning 2004, Jack’s seventeen year old daughter and her boyfriend had both overdosed and were dead. She had unlimited and uncontrolled amounts of money. Jack’s only daughter, mother of the only grandchild, is now dead. The bodies of the granddaughter and daughter now occupy an above ground crept where Jack and his now divorced wife of 42 years will rest. Not that it matters to Jack any longer, but most of the money is long gone. File this under, “sadder stories have been told, but not many,” or “a cautionary tale to learn from and not duplicate.” Lottery winners are rare, but teens with too much money overdosing is quite common.

(As a side point, I have no problem believing your story about expensive gifts and free flowing money, as at the high school our kids granulated from a few years ago, there were students from households living below the poverty level on government assistance and kids driving late model sports cars, wearing the latest designer clothing to school and designer prom dresses with price tags in the thousands. Our daughters and their guys were not among those at either end.)

THIRD, not wanting your daughter to dress and act like a skank, stripper, or hooker, does not make you a “prude.” Daddy’s are usually more tuned into this issue than mothers. Furthermore, as others have alluded to, girls who do dress like a skank, stripper, or hooker, get treated like one. Not very desirable.

Unsupervised teens often get into serious trouble without being aware until it is toooooooooo late. Google “Steubenville rape convictions” about an alcohol fueled end of summer2012 party that ended in the rape of a young lady and the conviction of two idiot high school football players for rape. No winners in this story.

Google “Revenge porn” for what happens to silly girls who allow a boyfriend to video record them nude, fooling around (whatever that means nowadays), or having sex. Not pretty or cool for the girl? Some states are passing laws to make such postings criminal, but those laws may be struck down by the courts or unenforceable due to anonymous postings from a library computer.

FOURTH, your ex should call up the 21 year old young man and talk to him about age appropriate girls for him. Suggest that at 21 he can go to strip clubs (always bigger and better than high school girls) and some cities even have places where the men can go and for a reasonable price photograph nude models. Maybe your state allows 18 and up, which means his brother, Little Joe, can go with him in a few months.

Seriously, your ex should call the 21 year old and the younger brother and have a polite talk with them about treating other men’s daughters with the respect that they hope young men will treat their daughter(s) with in twenty or thirty years. A father to future fathers conversation about treating girls with respect. I would suggest via the telephone.

As for bringing the law into panty shots, I would be careful for several reasons. This puts your daughter through lots of stress that may not be best for her? Do you really want to hang “sex offender” or “accused sex offender” on this idiot, when it probably does not rise to that level?

FIFTH, continue to talk with your daughter, not at her, about such things as:

“Boys giving (false) love for getting (real) sex”—not a good deal for the girl. '

Date rape!

The Date Rape Drug!

Having her pictures passed around and made fun of behind her back.

Being labeled as a “skank” by her classmates is not good. Very Kimmy like though.

The list is endless.

I would also share with her in a joking manor and also with seriousness that at eighteen she can go to work at a strip club and ALL the patrons will have their eyes on her, but not with love or respect in their eyes. And that is also true when you dress provocatively at school and elsewhere. They are looking at you with the fool’s gold of “lust,” not the real gold of “love,” which we all covet.

By seventeen, the cake is pretty much baked. And as parents we have to stand back, hope for the best, and always be ready to help pick up the pieces if they screw-up big time. This includes you, ex, and his wife. Be partners in this.

From sixteen until I began to wise up at twenty-one, I was one really stupid little ?itch. Hubby was a male version of me; two very screwed-up people. We married at 24 and it took ten years for us to work our way through a jumbo jet of baggage from our teens and early twenties. Saying we were screw-ups is a gross understatement. Life is so good for us now. We are truly blessed. My point is that even screw-ups can recover to have wonderful lives. But hopefully you, your ex, and his wife will be able to avoid these wasted years for your daughter.

I hope this ramble of mine is helpful in some way.

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