Hello Fellow Caregivers:
With the increase in the amount of divorced/separated families I feel that many of you have been in a similar situation to myself. I am employed for the male parent whom has the child Monday-Friday on a full time basis. However the child goes on overnights with the female parent 3 days per week (one weekday and 2 full weekends per month). The male parent is extremely easy going and does not do well with arguments or confrontations. The female parent loathes me (the caregiver) and loves confrontations. She often makes huge deals out of minor issues and is extremely pushy (she will not give up until she gets her way). She often bullies the male parent into giving her additional access or enforcing rules/regulations for the caregiving staff (even though she is not the employer of this staff).
Most recently, she has decided to both allow and encourage the child (toddler) to "boss around" the caregiver as well as trained her to "tattle" when the caregiver uses the internet or telephone. The male parent (the caregivers employer) allows the caregiver to use such devices, however, the female parent (who is NOT the EMPLOYER) bullies the male parent to see the negative light of free time for the caregiver or downtime.
The result of this situation is:
* The female parent is using the male parent's "timidness" to gain control over his caregiver.
* The male parent is non verbal on the subject and thus appears to the female parent as a "pushover" and as if he doesn't care either way.
* The male parent makes the caregiver feel that he is not on their "side" and that they would agree with their ex over their "teammate" (the caregiver).
* The male parent feels that he is being pulled in both directions and just wants the most "drama free solution" which is to let the female parent and caregiver carry on as they wish.
* The child is confused in what is a rule in one household isn't in another, and has no limitations or rules when with the female parent. It is resulting in a negative attitude toward the caregiver, as to which rules to follow.
* The caregiver feels "what is the point" of trying to implement rules/structure as soon as the child leaves the household because they once again revert back to their mother's rules.
* The female parent is getting extreme in her "new rules" and freedoms, for example: she has "re-introduced" the bottle to an almost four year old child! Just to spite the caregiver. When the father learns of this information, he says NOTHING to the female parent and allows it to carry on even though he doesn't agree with it, just to avoid conflict. The female parent has stated she has done so to frustrate the caregiver and to prove that she is more powerful than the caregiver.
What do you recommend I do? In your suggestions please note, the male parent tends to avoid conflict and will not verbally address this issue with the female parent. The female parent/caregiver do not have a relationship due to the female parents hatred toward her. The child fully understands how to use manipulation tactics in this situation, and does so on a regular basis. I am at a loss!
- Concerned Caregiver