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Dear Chump Lady, OW gives my kid ‘Grand Theft Auto’

Dear Chump Lady,

I’ve been divorced from my narcissistic ex-husband for almost a year. He married the OW three weeks after. In that time he has probably seen our 15-year-old son a handful of times, even though he lives less than 2 miles away.

My son has been asking for Grand Theft Auto 5; I read the reviews like a good mom and decided no, he does not need to play this, The reviews say not for anyone under 18. It is full of filth objectifying women not to mention the violence and language. Anyway, I thought he was okay with it — he said his friends weren’t allowed to have it either.

Fast forward to NOW, literally I am shaking as I write this — he has been invited to go over to watch a football game on TV. He had made a Facebook account on my old iPad; I look at it occasionally when he has plans with them to see what is going on. Really — I am so over him and have been for years. I was one of those spouses who stayed in it for the kids and to honor my vows. As an aside, we have two kids in college — my son doesn’t speak to him, and daughter has very little to do with him.

But I digress — I saw on FB messages where he asked his step-mother to buy it for him, and she said sure! She bought one of the versions for her son when he was 16 so it must be okay. If your mom finds it, she is going to be PISSED! But it is not like there is any fucking going on.”

OMG! How do you handle this???? She said she was always the “cool mom” doing this stuff for her kids’ friends and never got caught. She almost sounded giddy at the thought of doing this behind my back.

I don’t think this is her decision to make. The ex is staying out of it of course according to her. There’s a lot I could expose about him, not that it would matter — he’s the roof over her head, her medical insurance, her trips every 6 weeks to see her grandchild. He is her savior, Knight in Shining Armor — you name it. He rescued her from poverty and bankruptcy so he is perfect in her eyes. They only knew each other about 3 months before he bought her a $12,000 engagement ring. He told her he was divorced when they met on He asked our son, 14 at the time, to lie for him if she happened to ask him if we were divorced already. (This was when she lived out of state and he took son to meet her).

I am just sick over this turn of events. I don’t want to keep them apart, but I haven’t encouraged ex to reach out either because of the awful influence he is.

CL – please work your magic to make this sound good. My thoughts are a jumbled mess right now. Thank you.


Happy at last

(Or at least I thought I was.)

Dear Happy,

Boy I’m torn on which way to digress here — my revulsion at violent video games (my teenage son plays them too) — or my extreme annoyance at the cult of the Cool Parent. Did I miss something in the previous generations? My mother would no sooner buy me a wildly inappropriate anything as a teenager than she would wear white after Labor Day. My father freaked out at nail polish. My mother once inquired about a dress  (a turtleneck dress, chumps, cut slightly above the knee, which I wore when I was 23 years old and much, much thinner) why was I dressed as a streetwalker?

My grandmother (my mother’s mother) had entire rooms of furniture that were completely off limits to minors. “Grandma’s pretty. Don’t TOUCH.” They held elaborate cocktail parties. I was allowed to pass a bowl of mixed nuts around and look winsome, and then disappear and soothe myself of my boredom. (A book usually.)

There was Adult Space and there was Kid Space. I was very clear where I was in the pecking order. I conformed to their world, until I got old enough to get the hell away and have my own life. I sat at the kid’s table. I endured Methodist handbell choir and sleepaway camp and a thousand other things that Were Not My Idea. No one entertained me. No one catered to my interests. Go outside and play. Scram!

Adults had boundaries. They were a bit scary. And by the time I was in college,  I would’ve rather chewed off my arm then live back with my parents again. And I’m sure they felt the same. They mortified me.

And here’s the thing — my parents are very nice people. I especially appreciate them now that I have a teenager of my own. But they were never my FRIENDS, they were my parents. They told me what to do, how to do it, and if I didn’t like it, suck up and deal. I can make the rules when I pay the mortgage. It not a democracy.

I say these own things to my 16 year old son. “It’s not a democracy.” “You don’t like it? Too bad.” “Wherever you left it.” When he gets stroppy, I explain the hierarchy. You don’t speak to your mother like that.

Oh, I’m soft and squishy and give in a lot too — I don’t want to misrepresent myself. But the point is — my kid is ready to leave the nest. Why? Because I’m not his friend. We’re not equals. I love him, I’m his mom, but I’m not chasing after him for kibbles. If you do this parent thing right, they launch, and become independent. We’re not going to smoke dope together, party, and play video games. He’s not ever going to live in my basement so help me God.

Something happened with our generation of parenting. The pendulum swung way the other way. It became cool to be enmeshed with your kid. To be their “friend.” To negotiate everything. To not be seen as the Authority. We have a whole generation of these perpetual adolescent parent friends.  Cool moms and dads. (Or as someone here so brilliantly puts it, “Uncle Daddy.”)

I think chumps usually find themselves the heavy in parenting. Discipline is such a drag. The cheater gets to be the Fun Parent. They extract kibbles at your expense. They undermine. They try to get the kids to join the pick me dance. They want the kid to choose them over the other parent. “It’s you and me against the square parent chump over there. You want me to buy you alcohol underage? Okay! You want to skip school? Okay!”

Whatever Makes You Happy.

I wonder if a lot of cheaters weren’t parented this way. My precious sugarkins. The Rules Don’t Apply to You.

OW is, of course, setting a DREADFUL example. She knows what the rules are at your house, and yes, she’s enjoying thumbing her nose at them.

And here’s the shit sandwich — she can do that because it’s her and narcissist dad’s house. They can do any stupid, irresponsible, ridiculous thing they want to do so long as it doesn’t put your kid in imminent harm. You don’t control what goes on at that house.

So short answer to your question? Your son can play that stupid, violent game at their house. That shit isn’t welcome in YOUR house. Your house, YOUR RULES. He doesn’t like it? Too bad, so sad.

I know this feels hugely unjust. There you are doing all the HARD WORK of parenting, the daily slog, and those idiots never check in, never do any of the heavy lifting, but they’re totally happy to swoop in and undermine you for shits and giggles. OW is buying cheap popularity — for the price of one violent video game.

Stay the course, Happy. You’re the mom. Keep living your values. If you want to confront your son (and let him know you can see his FaceBook page), express your displeasure to your son, but acknowledge that you do not control what his father and OW do.

Teenagers are going to take the path of least resistance. Of course they want the easy, permissive parent. For awhile, anyway. But take the long view — you’re the parent he’s going to respect. You’re the parent who has his back and acts like a grown up. You’re the parent modeling the right things to him.

Karma? Some day he’ll have a teenager of his own.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • My son is 17, and knows full well that even if he asked for Grand Theft Auto, the answer would be no. I wouldn’t allow that filth in my home. My ex, on the other hand, wouldn’t get it for son either, not because of violence, but because ex is obsessed with what he calls “potty talk.” Yet ex insisted son watch a video ex had made about himself having a threesome. Strange priorities, my ex.

    Unfortunately, as CL said, your ex and his dizzy bitch of a wife can set the rules in their own home, as long as they aren’t endangering your son. Bite your tongue, say nothing, but make it clear to your son that just because he gets to play inappropriate games at his father’s house doesn’t mean that’s what goes at home. He will probably bitch and moan, but he should get it. He needs at least one stable, grounded parent, even if he doesn’t appreciate that right now.

    I hate those parents who want to be the cool, fun, Disneyland parent. They are doing no favors to their child, but that doesn’t matter to them. They use their own children for kibble.

  • That whore THRIVES on undermining you. Remember? That’s how she got to where she is today.

    That said, I would resist every urge to throw down over this one. Every spasm of anger you emit is a WIN for her and the ex. And, you’re sure to upset your kid. Do NOT let her play you like a puppeteer!

    I, too, would FLIP OUT if exH and the twat troll were being Disney parents. I’m lucky that this hasn’t happened. So, I completely understand the horror you must be feeling.

    If you’re not an alcoholic and have nowhere to drive, have a beer right now. Get over it. And when your kid comes HOME, welcome him home and be sweet to him, for you are his mom, and nobody will replace you in that role.

    He DOES respect you, believe it or not, and he likely adores you. YOU will be remembered as the one who taught him manners and responsibility–who helped him exercise his character. How awesome is THAT?!

    I have seen friends go nutso on their kids over something that the ex and whatever hag he’s sleeping with currently are doing. And that is completely counter-productive. So let it go. I promise you that this violent video game will not turn your kid into a monster. What WILL freak him out is watching his mom lose her shit over a video game that all his friends play–and he will know it’s not even about the video game, it’s about your loss of control.

    Let it gooooooo, let it gooooooooooooooooo. Trust me. Trust your kid.

    Have fun with him in a way that his Uncle Dad won’t–spend time with him. That is so much more rewarding than a lonely video game.

    • You make a good point that I left out in my tirade against permissive parenting — if you take the bait and freak out about this — it’s kibbles to the freaks. They get to push your buttons AND win the popularity contest. Now that you’re out of the picture, there’s no one to triangulate with and they miss you. Gee, your son will work nicely.

      You’re totally right — only winning move is to let go, and keep things clean on your side of the street.

  • Great advice, CL. I don’t know where common sense has gone. I can’t tell you the number of “parent buddies” I’ve had to deal with over the years in education. The kid is failing, and Mom and Dad wring their hands: “Whatever are we to DOOOOOOOOOO?” The teacher suggests: “Take away his car. Don’t let him play video games. Tell him that he’ll be forced to quit his part-time job so that he no longer has fun money.”

    But oh no. They can’t do THAT! Then Junior will get mad! He won’t like them anymore! Oh no, there must be an easier way…

    I want to round up all of these parents and tell them that I hope they enjoy having these kids live in their basements, eating them out of house and home while they don’t lift a finger to do much more than operate the video game console or the TV remote. That’s exactly where the kids of “parent buddies” are headed. I know– I’ve seen it myself.

    Happy, listen to CL. Please ignore that idiot OW, make sure that Grand Theft Auto (which my XWH LOVED playing before we had kids… if that tells you anything about the mindset of an adult who enjoys that game) never comes into your house, and tell him that you are disappointed in his choice– and that said choice had better not influence his behavior in any way (disrespect toward women, foul language, etc.). I don’t think that there’s anything wrong in letting your kid know that you are aware that he’s gone behind your back and is playing that foul game. It may not appear to make a difference to him, but believe me– knowing that one of his parents actually has standards that he’s expected to follow will make a difference in the years to come.

    • I love your advice to tell him you’re disappointed in his choice, I believe kids really hear things like that. Whoever is the parent that actually talks to them- that’s the parent with influence. Kids know who cares about them. Remember that they listen and learn, even though it may take years for them to admit it!

  • Sorry I think CL issued one here.
    It isn’t ONLY that the OW gave the kid the grand theft, but that the kid ASKED for it. He knows what the rules are, just like maybe his dad knew what the marriage rules were…it is a shit sandwich that happy has to eat if he goes over and plays GTA. It is a whole other level that her son in a way, betrayed her .
    If she accepts it, and is sweet to the kid…isn’t that a pick me dance and isn’t she clumping to eat it?

    Tell the kid You feel betrayed, that going behind your back is not OK and is one of the reasons you and his dad divorced. If he prefers to take after dear old dad where the rules just don’t apply to you…then go there and live with him , because I am not a chump and don’t accept being screwed.

    Well, maybe not the last sentence, but Happy, I felt that your pain is doubled and your terrible terrible pain is only partly the OWs cause.

    Otherwise, I agree with the parents are not friends rant from CL.

    • I didn’t lean on the kid because it’s the nature of teenagers to push the boundaries. My son would like to go sky diving (over my dead body). Kids want to do any number of stupid things — it’s the job of the parent to point out Why It’s Bad For You. And administer “Vitamin N” — NO.

      My husband just added “It’s like being mad at a cat for chasing birds.”

      • Mmm, I agree with CL.

        Furthermore, I would go to great lengths to NOT compare natural teen behavior–boundary-pushing–with xH’s behavior. That is completely unfair. I daresay you risk influencing that boy to believe that he is destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. Better to point out how DIFFERENT they are.

        It is off-limits always to compare kids to their coward parents. NEVER say, or get close to saying, “You’re like your father [or mother, as the case may be.]”

        I would adopt more of a confident “My house, my rules” attitude. It is ok to express disappointment that the father has different rules (or none), that HIS lack of responsibility is not good role-modeling, that irresponsibility leads to regret, and that you’re hoping for a better life for your son through better decision-making. It is advisable to explain why you make the rules you make. I fully realize that this will be met with compulsory eye-rolling, but that is a teen for ya. (Trust me, they ARE listening.) I would be brief, but state that you disapprove of the objectification of women (and men) in the video games, that your values preclude the celebration of rape culture and theft and violence against men and women, and you don’t care to have that ugly influence in your home. I would avoid be brief and clear and even so your kid doesn’t stop listening altogether.

        Just my $0.02.

  • Thank you CL and fellow chumps. I was so upset when I wrote this I did forget a minor detail: There is no PS3 at Uncle Daddy’s house: Son might enjoy going over there more if there was. No, OW was going to buy it for him to sneak into our house. OW said “your mom will be really pissed if she finds out, I don’t really care about her but it’s your dad that will get the brunt of the yelling.” FYI – I only yelled back – he got as good as he gave. Anyway – I texted OW and NXH and very politely said that I suspected Son may ask one of them to buy the game since he really let my “no way, absolutely not” go way too easy. I asked them to please respect my decision on this and to read the parental warning if they had any doubt. OW texts back – Uncle Daddy has yet to comment on the subject – “He already asked us, and we said no; the content was not appropriate.” Really? Really? Anyway, he stayed until 6:30 pm and when I got home about 9:00 I heard the tv in his room, and he wasn’t very happy when I spoke to him. I’m not trusting that he didn’t get it: we’ll have that talk and I’ll check his room tomorrow evening when he’s at Pep Band. Uggghhhh! My other two were so easy at this age!

    • If I were you, I’d take the necessary cables for the PS3 with me whenever I went out so that he couldn’t play it when you’re not around. 🙂

      I’m hoping that your email to the OW and the XWH served as an “Oops, busted!” Hopefully, now they they know you’re on to them, they either didn’t get him the game or don’t plan on getting it for him anymore.

      • An easier way to keep a kid from using any electronic device (that has to be plugged in that is) is get a small padlock, and just attached it to one of the prongs on the plug. Kind of hard to plug em in that way. 😉

    • It just gets worse – what a jerk.

      I like honesty and openness and it might not work here, but I would favor telling your son you talked to the liar and what she said. See what he says. Then let him know that you know she told him something else.

      Then don’t say anything more about her. Talk about trust and not going behind people’s backs. Ask him what happened in the end. Later look for the game – if he has it you toss it and take away privileges for a while.

      Don’t go on about her, but talk about honesty and be honest and he will get the message.

      Also as much as he may try to get his way now, nobody when they are grown looks back with approval at the alley cat who helped them lie to a parent with normal reasonable rules. He already knows that what she is doing is wrong he is just young enough to take advantage of it anyway.

  • Actually I think you should drag your kid over the coals on this. He went behind your back to get something he knew you disapproved of and he lied to you. You can not trust him. You are disappointed in him. (I would guess that you might be worried he is following in his dad’s footsteps. I don’t think so; teens do this stuff.)

    OW is despicable. Nobody should encourage kids to lie to their parents like that. She showed her morals when she slept with your hubby and this is a continuation of that.

    The funny thing is it seems like she is still competing with you. Odd that.

  • What a contemptible piece of shit that female is. She definitely IS triangulating, as CL predicted. She’s effectively telling your son that you are crazy, and it’s the three of them against you, but that you will take it out on her poor, angel husband.

    Avoid giving her the drama she thrives on, however. Just be matter-of-a-fact, and outline a clear rational consequence to him. If you find the game in your home, the PS3 goes bye-bye.

    No more yelling at OW, either. That’s my advice.

    • I agree with this idea. You don’t have to tell him how you found out, just that you did, and that you are not pleased that he went behind your back and played you against his father. You’re not stupid and you ARE, in fact, paying attention. (Don’t mention the facebook or talking to the OW.)

      Then lay down the law. If that game comes into your house, the PS3 goes up on Ebay, and no he does not get the money.

      He’ll get pissy. He’ll throw a teenaged-version of a fit. He’ll probably whine to OW and cheater daddy about how mean you are. But guess what? He’ll get over it. He’s 15. He will survive.

      I remember trying to sneak into movies behind my mom’s back and she always found out. I got so irritated at her. I complained to friends, people on the internet, anyone who would listen. She was the meanest of mean!!!

      I’m still here. I survived. So will your son.

      As mad as he may get, this will also let him know that dishonesty like that has consequences. He can’t go behind your back like his dad did and get away with it. It may suck to have to be the disciplinarian compared to Uncle Daddy and Aunty Whores-Around, but when he becomes an adult like your other children, he will see the difference between the two dishonest fuck-ups and the parent that didn’t take shit and modeled responsibility.

  • Ok everyone, I know this is off topic, but my son and I were having a conversation about facebook spying. He says there is an ap that you can buy that tells you whos been looking at your page. I’ve heard of it but read that it was a scam and the ap actually does not work. Any information to shed some light?? Thanks

    • In my opinion it is not spying to look at public content on Facebook. If you do not want someone to see it, do not put it up.

      The difficult questions are if someone leaves their account open or their password up and you look at it. Or if you know their password. Then it is spying but the question is how much privacy should a kid have. Also you could tell them that you want to have their password and know what is going on – then it is not spying.

  • Happy,

    I think you handled this extremely well and am speculating that he was pouting because she chickened out and reneged on sending the game home with him after she got your text.

    In your shoes I wouldn’t let the child know anything about having seen his FB page; you don’t want to divulge any sources that may provide useful future information that would call for diversionary tactics.

    If he brings up the text get this empathetic look and tone and say something along these lines, “I was your age once, and know that teens can get persistent sometimes about doing things they are not yet mature enough to be able to handle. I wanted them to be in the loop on this, so they could be prepared to be conscientious parents, too….just in case you tried to play both ends to the middle. You will eventually be self-supporting and independent. At that time you get to make your own decisions. Until then we, as your parents, are going to assist you in learning how to make good age appropriate choices.” If he wants to whine or argue get that empathetic tone again and inform him that, “Yes, this is a bummer, but I love you too much to argue.” (Then go about your business and don’t engage.)

    This makes you come across as a wise (almost mind reading) and firm but gracious Mom doing her duty, while not being critical of the other two or introducing any element of drama. And if he is questioned on the other end and repeats it as you stated it, she and he will lose their ammunition for making you look like the buzz-kill a-hole.

    You put the ball back in their court, the chess game is at “check”…and if the video game doesn’t find it’s way to your house the chess game goes to “check mate” on this match.

    There is an old adage in psyc warfare, “Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.” There is a lot of wisdom in that when children of divorce must go between homes where there is a wide variance in parental standards. Narcissists can be manipulated if some thought is given to how to do it. Why? Because they are so freakin’ vain. If you “kill” those two with graciousness and inclusiveness about these serious decisions while planning diversionary moves way ahead of them, you stand a better chance of out manipulating them. Your probably don’t like being manipulative, but in this case manipulation is necessary to protect your child. Outright conflict with these two will only blow up in your face. Always try to reserve a slight air of wise, benign mystery with kids. They may not tend to push the limits as far because they never know precisely what all you know….what with you being a “mind reader” and all.

    PS. Yep, it is smart to discreetly monitor his room when you have someone like that OW triangulating from the other side. Because if the game shows up, it’s going to be “back to the drawing board” for yet another approach to the solution.

    At this website there are some wonderful resources I used in my work: If you click around on it and look, you will find lots of free strategies for how parents can teach children responsibility in a calm and smart way.

    • This got posted before I was able to finish mine XD

      I think this is also a good option to approach before taking his gaming system. Maybe try something like this first, and if the game comes into your home anyway, then take the PS3. Give him the chance to make the right decision and see what happens.

  • Happy at Last,
    First of all congratulations for being rid of your cheater.
    I have twin boys, and I’m with CL…..I grew up in a different world with boundaries. I did the same with my sons. No they didn’t have cell phones until they went to college. If we went to a fair and my husband and I let them roam off, we gave them one of our phones so we could contact them and vise versa. They only used the internet in the living room and so forth.
    One perfect example. When they were 13 they went to spend the night at a friends house. The parents were going to rent a movie for the boys to watch. One of my sons said weren’t sure they were allowed to watch it and should give me a call and they did.

    Anyway, about your dilemma. I would let your son know that you know he has access to that awful game (I wouldn’t necessarily let him know your source….let’s perpetuate that “My Mom must have eyes in the back of her head” myth) and tell him you disapprove and why and then let him know you can’t control what goes on over there but you are not surprised she would give him something so inappropriate “considering the source”, in what ever words you want to imply that her judgement in that area reflects her actions in others. He’s old enough….I’m sure he knows what happened and he will get your drift. I’m certain he will observe more from the OW that will cement and grow that seed of questioning her character.

  • Happy:

    I have a lot to say, but partly because I’m a gamer.

    First, I’ll say that I agree with everyone that OW and XH have been extremely shitty. They know you don’t approve, and they also know that your son can play ONLY at YOUR house. This breaks the “Your house, your rules; their house, their rules” agreement. If there were a PS3 at your XH’s, then you’d have to drink that beer and let it go.

    But OW is deliberately trying to stir up shit. She’s trying to get your son into trouble with you, and then she can become the cool Step Mom, while you’re just the crazy lady.

    I advise co-opting the gaming hobby.

    Truth be told, parents should spend time playing games with their children. Children spend more time playing video games than they do watching television, so it’s important for you, as a parent, to understand what they’re doing and the kind of content they’re consuming. Playing together also helps your child start to understand the content more, and why some content is unacceptable/inappropriate.

    There’s also a lot of social pressure. Your son will initially need to guide you in the mechanics of how to play as well as how games are structured. It’s one thing to tell mom how to use a gamepad and another to tell her that it’s better strategically to toss a grenade in the school than go around the school. It’s even worse to tell mom that blowing away the hooker was “fun.” 😉

    There’s nothing like mom taking an interest in gaming to kill the desire to play GTA, since it’s just too embarrassing. And if he wonders why the interest now, well, lots of grown-ups play games. The average age of gamers is 37, and more and more women are playing online games (about 42%, according to one survey).

    I don’t think playing violent video games makes children into desensitized monsters. I played through Far Cry 2, which is a descent into Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, and a profoundly disturbing experience. However, I think that if that kind of adult content is being played, there also needs to be some kind of adult conversation about it to put the content into perspective.

    So, with respect to your situation, Happy, I think that you could dip your toes in the gaming waters–at least enough to start to have meaningful conversations with your son about games and gaming. You don’t want him to have secrets from you on this matter, and that extends to having games he plays in secret.

    And it helps to strengthen the “Your house, your rules” boundary that the OW and XH are trying to subvert.

    • Happy,
      kb has a point. The more involved you are in his hobby, the better your odds of making sure he has appropriate detachment from the content of some games and realizes that they are only games and not reality. Wish I’d thought of adding this strategy to my own answer! Good luck with this. Just know that the OW power struggles with you are going to continue on some level, and be prepared to deal cleverly and effectively.

      • And I will say that I think you have the right to censor the games you want played in your house, but it’s a tread lightly sort of thing because games are a HUGE part of kids’ lives these days. If he’s not going to sneak it at your house, he’ll sneak it someplace else, and the point is to promote openness.

        This is what OW and XH fail at in so many ways. They are used to deception and secrets. In a healthy family, people respect privacy but don’t have secrets. That they’re trying to get your son to be complicit in deceiving you is evil on so many levels.

        By dabbling in gaming, even if only for a couple of hours per week, you allow your son to talk with you meaningfully about games, about their content, about the lines between game and real life. That’s open communication, not that furtive shit that OW and XH encourage.

        • Again, kb scores with the rationale behind the need for involvement. She also said something that caught my eye because it is something I’ve given some thought to. It seems that many people but especially men (and please don’t thing me a man basher because I know for a fact there are many honest and earnest ones) equate secrecy and privacy. They truly do not seem to know the difference. My X’s family appeared to be the Brady Bunch to the public (and wanted it that way…appearances and all), but they were very compartmentalized people because former MIL wanted it that way. She was one of those smiling PA control freak, puppet masters who pulled everyone’s strings complete via subtle (and carefully planned to be defensible) triangulation of her own children. These people swept anything that remotely smacked of tension or conflict under the rug. Making “nice” always trumped being truthful and working out differences among themselves. She had to be in control, and it would be buried. (They literally pole vaulted the huge piles of “elephant shit” in the room.) Her euphemism for conflict was “confusion.” I grew to hate hearing that word come out of her mouth when she was in manipulation mode. But I digress…the point I am trying to make is that children need to learn the distinct difference between privacy and secrecy and they don’t do it unless they get good direct instruction in and modeling of the concepts.

  • CL, I don’t think this is about the cult of the Cool Parent. This is something much weirder than that. OW for some reason feels competitive with Happy. Or maybe she is trying to defend her actions. Anyhow I don’t think this is just I was the Cool Parent for the neighborhood, I think it’s some desire to win that has been frustrated by the fact that happy is actually happy without the rotten fish OW landed.

    • One way of competing with Happy (I agree the OW is competing) is being the Cool Parent to OW’s Permissive Parent (aka the “cool” one). Being favorite mom for the neighborhood, Likable Parent, is not the same IMO as being a Cool Parent. CPs, to me, are immature, indulgent, don’t do the heavy lifting.

  • You guys are awesome and got this nailed on every level. This blog, CL, and all of you are better than any therapy that money can buy; you have been there, done that, and we all have the tee shirt to prove it (unfortunately). Thanks to everyone that responded! I feel that I am in a much better place if (or when) something like this happens again. Thank you!

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