No, this is not a grammar lecture (though if you don’t know the difference between your and you’re, and there, they’re, and their, we probably cannot be friends). I am speaking today about possessive pronouns. Possessive being the prominent word here.
As we mentioned when discussing step-parents, your child(ren) is/are not the immaculate conception. They are not your children alone. They have at least two parents (unless the dirty socks on the bathroom floor were the last straw and he swims with the fishes) and possibly as many as four parents (well, there are dynamics where there could be more than four, but that’s a whole seminar).
Make an effort to call them “our children” or “the children“. Many of you may think this doesn’t matter. While it is a small thing, I will tell you that if you thought to be considerate even in your pronoun use, you’d have a lot less trouble with your ex because you would be infinitely more considerate in every other aspect of your co-parenting.
Let’s talk about the legal aspect. [Disclaimer: I’m not an attorney and I do not know family law statutes/local rules for your area.] What I have seen though: The quickest way to piss off a Judge is to withhold visitation from their other parent. Withholding visitation is when you decide the other parent doesn’t know what they are doing, and therefore cannot see their child. If you don’t want the kids, this is the quickest way to lose custody. But I digress….. The second easiest way? To spend all your time in Court/Mediation/Magistrate’s Hearings, talking about “my child(ren)“. They are not your children. They are our children or the children. It makes you sound possessive and that you think the other parent is inferior. Judges hate that. It’s their job to make sure that children get to have both parents. If they think you are impeding that, they will remove you from the equation.
When I talk to strangers do I say my girls? Absolutely. Usually because we are swapping parenting stories. When a teacher rambles about doing a “sticker book” after my daughter just pummeled another student, do I think, “they are going to light you on fire and dance around you under the harvest moon because I know my kid and you’re screwed if you think stickers is going to help”? You bet. All that being said, please please please do not speak to your children’s other parent and say my kids. It makes you an asshole. I won’t even do that when speaking to the girls step-mother. They are not my kids because I am not raising them alone. It’s rude and disrespectful. He cleans up vomit at 3:00AM….they are not just my girls.
This goes for anyone who says “my mom”, “my dad”, my sister” or “my brother” to another family member. It means you are insecure and you need to claim ownership. Since peeing on their leg is generally frowned upon, you need to find another way to feel secure.
Unless you want to come across like the seagulls in Finding Nemo, yelling “mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine”, learn the word our. You are good parent but you are not the only one. Please remember that.