Our daughter’s involved in hockey and loves it. The sport lasts six months in our American city.
I’ve always participated in it and continue to play. I coach my daughter's team and love it. My husband helps with the team though he’s never played hockey.
However, he resents every minute that we spend on the sport.
We went through a bad period in recent years with his adult son, and he’s never bounced back from that.
He’s somehow equating time that we spend on hockey, with this bad time. He’s now refusing to help on the ice and stepping back increasingly from helping.
He says that after this season, he's moving on to other sports that interest him. He's already refusing to attend the year-end banquet.
But I expect him as a team member to be there!
Am I wrong to be upset that he's withdrawing his support of us? He seems to be punishing the team for his own selfishness.
Or, am I the one being selfish by expecting him to participate and love it as I do? I see it as a way that our entire family can participate together in our daughter's sport.
Divided on Ice
The positives are that you’re a sporty family, which is great for health and fitness for all ages. And that hockey bolsters your mother-daughter bond.
The negatives are 1) that your insistence on his equal participation is self-serving; 2) that you dismiss the emotional toll on him regarding his father-son relationship by blaming him for feeling it.
He’s not “punishing” you and your daughter. Perhaps he feels sad/guilty about not having had a similar bond with his son.
Meanwhile, he doesn’t love hockey, is tired of it, but does have other sports interests.
Do you intend to participate in his sports?
Lighten up. Get enthused about his interests, too. Be a team member with him, and show understanding, and maybe he’ll show up at the banquet for your daughter.
My partner has one child, and I have three. We used to have all four kids every other week. They all went to the same school. So we had our time all together.
Recently, his ex moved to the next town. Now his son’s in a different school.
With our work schedules and my stepson’s school schedule, we only get him on weekends when my husband’s off and there’s no school.
We’re all having such a hard time with this.
My husband’s experiencing guilt about not having enough time with his son, and that he’s with my kids more.
I don't know how to help. He’s depressed. I love him and his son, and our kids love each other.
A Tough Change
His ex was entitled to move. That said, if the town isn’t too far away, you could both look into what it’d take for his son to return to the school near you (travel time, who’d pick him up and drive him home on his week with his mom, etc.)
If that doesn’t work, the boy’s needs count most. His father’s affecting everyone’s attitude with his unnecessary guilt.
He didn’t create this situation. He’s likely making his son feel guilt too, which is unfair.
He should negotiate with his ex that his son now spends more vacations, long weekends, and days off school with all of you.
However, if the boy’s very upset by the change, his parents should discuss with his school if any accommodation or counselling’s needed.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who lost her dog when her boyfriend let it escape from his truck while he was buying beer (Oct. 7):
Reader #1– “Though your advice was accurate, I think you should have pointed out that her boyfriend was, in addition to his other faults, an irresponsible pet owner.
“A dog running free will poop anywhere and that leaves the rest of the neighbourhood responsible for cleaning up after the dog.
“As a homeowner who occasionally has to clean up dog poop from someone else's dog (we don't have one), I think you should’ve commented on this aspect of their relationship, too.”
Reader #2 – “Her boyfriend’s priority was obviously the beer. Who lets a dog run loose downtown?
“She should dump this jerk ASAP. That could have been a child he’d neglect while getting beer.
“This guy's too irresponsible and self-centred to be in a relationship.”
Tip of the day:
Family cohesion is based on mutual respect more than everyone being involved in all the same interests.