May 15, 2012 in Features

Focus on children not toxic parents

Kathy Mitchell
 

Dear Annie: My brother-in-law, “Travis,” has been in a relationship with his girlfriend, “Kristin,” for eight years. They now have two young children. Kristin has cheated on him too many times to count and continues to do so.

The problem is that Travis is so wrapped up in what Kristin is doing with various other men that both of them have put their children on the back burner. At the moment, the kids are living with Kristin’s parents. Kristin says the kids are the most important thing to her, but she definitely doesn’t show it.

Travis is being treated for depression due to his relationship, but, Annie, he is never going to change her into the woman he wants. He refuses to leave her, saying he wants to keep his “family” together, but they are hardly together as it is. I don’t see how this is good for the kids.

Travis isn’t innocent, either. He can’t keep a job because he would rather “baby-sit” Kristin. He is lazy and thinks the world owes him something. The two of them have tried counseling apart and together, but they never stick with it.

As a family, we don’t know what to do. We’ve talked to Travis until we are blue in the face. Why can’t he see that this is a toxic relationship? How do we get him to care more about his children instead of their poor excuse for a mother? – Worried Family

Dear Worried: Travis and Kristin have a co-dependent relationship that is going nowhere. And it will continue until one of them decides he or she has had enough. You cannot make this happen. Instead, please concentrate on those kids. Neither parent is fit to raise them. Are Kristin’s parents providing a stable home life? Can you spend more time with the children, taking them out on weekends? Your goal should not be to provide Travis with a better marriage. It should be to help care for those children so they can grow up to be more mature than their parents.


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