Reply to Is there a long term reward for being the hated, mean, involved, responsible ...

I feel you, Christopher! We have gone the rounds with my 13 year-old daughter and social media for more than a year. In our case, no matter what parental restrictions we set or how many talks we have about real-life consequences, she continuously finds a way to get around the system, open new accounts, and behave inappropriately online. I don’t think there’s an easy answer for you—there are so many complications in your situation. Is your 12 yo appropriate and safe on her social media accounts? If so, this might have to be a situation where you have to pick your battles. Maybe you don’t work to shut down her accounts, but maybe she doesn’t have access to them in your home until she’s the minimum required age, and you monitor her activity online to make sure she’s being safe while she’s with her mom. Remind the kids that you and her mother are different people with different rules in your different houses. It’s hard for all of you to adjust to that (and be honest with them that it’s hard for you too), but you’ve chosen your rules because you truly believe they will keep your kids healthy and safe, and that they will be better prepared for adulthood if they learn to follow them now. As much as you can, keep mom and her choices out of it. Try to show them it’s not about you not trusting THEM—it’s about you working together so they can be safe and successful in this world. Try to flip the script a bit! Instead of punishing them for bad grades or attendance, reward them for good grades and attendance! Before they come over, prepare by removing things that cause needless arguments and power struggles. Don’t keep soda in the house, set your internet to turn on and off at a certain time, etc. It’s so hard because you want to give them every opportunity you don’t want them to miss out on. While they’re away, you clearly take a lot of time to think about how to do that for them. But it’s also really important to meet them where they are. Maybe they really do need some down-time by the time they come see you. Maybe they really just want to spend “normal” time at home with you. Meet them halfway, and set the expectation that one family outing comes first, then you all get to come home and relax together. The more they see you as human, as someone who understands them and wants to see them learn and grow and be happy, the more time they’ll want to spend with you, and the more they’ll understand you and want to see you learn and grow and be happy too. 😊