hi all, new to this. I've 2 kids, aged 13 and 11. I've not been with their mum for almost 10years. I feel recently things have slowly gotten worse. I feel as if they treat me more like an older brother or uncle and not a father and only see me as a bank or mode of transport to take them places. I try my best for them but there times they go home and tell her stuff from my house, like saying they weren't allowed to go to the park, which was a lie. they also said they were scared to ask me for money but I'm sure that's come from their mum. I pay her money every week, always go half on school uniform and take them on days out when I can. and she has a history of lying frequently. I think they seem to think if theres something happens at my house, they can go and tell her and she will solve it. like a time my daughter didn't like the time I told her to go to bed during their overnight stay, and she texted her mum, and then she phoned my to say the bedtime was 2 early! I don't share my opinions on how their mum parents them, even though theres stuff I don't agree with.. sorry I know that's a bit waffley, but any advice would be helpful!
Your children are growing up and entering a new era, adolescence, secondary school, peer pressure and possibly having an awareness of social media etc. It can be difficult for parents at this stage in childrens' lives as it is a transition period from childhood to adulthood. and they "test" the water to see how far they can push the boundaries. Unfortunately if both parents are not "singing from the same hymn sheet" it can be made more difficult to handle which is the situation you appear to be in.
Communication face to face is a necessity in my opinion, a neglected skill, it always has been and is getting worse. Have you considered negotiating which would lead to a compromize with your children regarding issues which arise at this stage of their development?
It may work what I suggest, it may not, worth a try I think.
I would have one rule only for the children and that is "be sensible" and I would ask them, "is what you are asking or wanting to do, sensible? Talk together about whether it is or not.
I would converse with them face to face with regard to any requests you make of them which they object to and vice versa.
Encourage them to openly talk to you without interrupting them and being judgemental or critical. Listen to what they have to say. When it is their turn to listen to you give your reasons why you think something should or should not be done based on what is sensible, fair and reasonable and encourage them to put their opposing points to you based on the same. Discuss the issue.
You may well find you are at one end of the spectrum and they are at the other, this is where discussion and negotiating comes in. If you think what they are asking for is sensible, fair and reasonable you can then become more flexible in your decision making. They too could become more accepting of the contrary view you may take to them by understanding how and why you arrived at your decision.
To compromize and meet each other half way if appropriate would be a good result. Added to which if the children are involved in the decision making they may be more inclined to refrain from contacting Mother to get her support.
Regarding the Mother, the children are going to talk to her and tell her things and if children can play parents off against one another they will. Unfortunately it is easier for them to achieve this when you have two parents with different parenting skills. I personally would pay no heed to this and I would maintain a strong bond with your children and negotiate when appropriate which will teach them how to communicate and compromize.
As for being a taxi service and bank, I think most of us have been there. I remember my child at adolescence went through a period of not wanting to be seen walking down the road with me. All these peculiarities are part of growing up and the period doesn't last forever.