Dad needing advice

(57 Posts)
Bouncybear Mon 17-Mar-14 09:12:17


I'm a Dad (non-resident parent). Some of my contact with my son is by Skype. Yesterday I found out that the ex has been recording my Skype, presumably waiting for me to trip up and use that against me.

I am not happy that the ex is recording Skype because it is an unreasonable invasion of my private conversation with my son. I feel harassed by her doing this. She said that unless I allow her to record the sessions, then I am not allowed to see my son on Skype.

Am I being unreasonable to tell you I don't want Skype recorded?

BertieBotts Mon 17-Mar-14 09:20:20

Is there a lot of history here? Only it seems bizarre to jump straight to "she's planning to use this against me". That would not be my first assumption at all.

Have you asked her why she is recording it, or can you think of any reason why she might - for example has there been any history of anything being said, even by accident, which shouldn't have been?

Is there a court order regarding contact at all?

dammitsue Mon 17-Mar-14 09:20:45

Yanbu. How does she imagine you will trip up??

Monetbyhimself Mon 17-Mar-14 09:22:07

What would she be trying to use against you and in what context ?

notthegirlnextdoor Mon 17-Mar-14 09:24:17

She can't use it as you haven't given her permission to record it. Or at least it was like that a few years ago when a family member went through a similar thing.

pictish Mon 17-Mar-14 09:24:34


AurorasDownTheRabbitHole Mon 17-Mar-14 09:24:37

YANBU it seems a bit strange to me. If the boot was on the other foot I'm sure your ex would be annoyed. However I agree with Bertie - Is there a lot of history? I wouldn't assume it was just to trip you up. Ask her honestly about it?
My mum and dad are still at war with each other (doing all they cam through me to get back at one another). I'm 22 btw. Find out whats going on and talk it through. Make it clear that it bothers you but be willing to compromise if her reasons are legit (not out to get you)

Bouncybear Mon 17-Mar-14 09:27:21

There is a history between us having an acrimonious break up and I feel she might be out to get me.

I can't see why she would be recording my private contact time with my son, unless she had something to gain. It's just a voice recording p, she said, not the video. So it's not like something my son can watch as a memory down the line - its for her purposes.

The worst I said when feeling a bit silly and emotional was 'Daddy loves you more than Mummy' - the ex said this was terrible and something she will show the court.

At the moment the arrangement is informal but I said I will now go to court. If I take it to court she might still insist on recording Skype. Will the court force me to accept Skype being recorded.

Monetbyhimself Mon 17-Mar-14 09:30:22

Daddy loves you more than mummy ?

You do realise the impact that sort of shite has on small children ? Ffs. Go to court. You'll get your arse handed to you on a plate.

AurorasDownTheRabbitHole Mon 17-Mar-14 09:30:27

Take it all to court. I'm sure it is against the law to record someone without their knowledge? I could be wrong ofc. I would put something permanent in place. Seek legal advice - she might be bluffing but it sounds like she is trying to collect evidence against you in your last post.

Bouncybear Mon 17-Mar-14 09:35:48

Monet I made a mistake.

If you think the courts are going to treat what I said really badly, then what's the point of fighting?

AurorasDownTheRabbitHole Mon 17-Mar-14 09:39:35

The point in fighting is YOUR SON. If you don't take this all to court your ex could hold it all against you for as long as she pleases. Is that what you want Bouncybear because it certainly sounds like your thinking of giving up. You made a stupid mistake - so what? As parents everyone does at some point. I would get legal advice. You admit you shouldn't have said that so you need to move forward with it all. If thats all your ex has against you then I would try to put something permanent in place. Think of your son in all of this. He needs you both.

LouiseSmith Mon 17-Mar-14 09:41:08

It was an unreasonable thing to say to your DS but people make mistakes.

Go to court. Good luck x

Sparklymommy Mon 17-Mar-14 09:42:46

I think if I were in your shoes I would accept her recording the Skype sessions. If it means you get that time with your son then I'd treat it as a necessary evil and be very careful not to say anything that might make things worse.

I would also work on making the relationship between you and your ex less acrimonious. Children pick up on that and it is not helpful. I thank my lucky stars that when my parents split up they managed to put myself and my brother first and although they had the odd disagreement (and obviously it wasnt easy to start with) they got on for us. So much so that they attended each others subsequent weddings and even went on holidays together for us kids. When my dad died five years ago my mum was one of the people most upset!

Monetbyhimself Mon 17-Mar-14 10:00:11

You made a mistake ? hmm One mistake which was recorded. How many more 'mistakes' have you made which weren't overheard? None that you'll admit to here I suspect.
A mistake is forgetting to pick up a pint of milk. Or not leaving the wheelie bin out on the correct day.

Bandying shite about loving a child most,with the sole intent of getting one up on your ex, confusing your child and potentially causing emotional damage is not a MISTAKE. She has every right to record you until you prove that you are not emotionally abusing your son.

And as for the 'poor me what's the point of fighting if I'm not going to win' crap? Get over yourself.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Mon 17-Mar-14 10:05:25

I'm not sure why you would say that to your DS. What was the context? Where did that thought spring from? You are in complete control of what comes out of your mouth, so I don't buy the 'it was a mistake' line. By saying what you did, you put your DS in the middle of your dispute with your ex.

Have you tried mediation? You'll have to go through that before you get to court anyway. I'd also recommend you look into a parenting course, one aimed at separated parents, to help you (both) understand that using your DS to score points against each other is damaging your child and his relationship with both his parents.

WilsonFrickett Mon 17-Mar-14 10:06:04

Tell her to record all she likes. All she will hear is a good father communicating regularly and appropriately with his son.

Oh and then be a good father communicating regularly and appropriately with his son.

MeepMeepVrooom Mon 17-Mar-14 10:06:25

Giving the benefit of the doubt that it was a one off that you said it and you realise what a shitty thing it is to say and that actually it could have a terrible affect on your child I'll leave that comment to the side.

I accept it's an invasion of privacy, however I don't really think there is anything you can do about it. The point in fighting is your son. Plain and simple. If you don't fight your son will grow up thinking you weren't interested. I presume that's not what you want for him.

Maybe you should start recording the skype sessions yourself too, it would mean that nothing could be taken out of context. Chances are your ex has been advised to do this by her solicitor. I know one of my friends was advised the same but didn't actually carry it through. Ultimately, if you have nothing to hide (apart from this one comment) does it really matter?

ILoveWooly Mon 17-Mar-14 10:06:25

The bare facts are -
What you said was wrong. You are the parent, it is your job to keep your emotions in check and remember your son matters more than anything.

Your Ex could easily say you knew the calls were being recorded and, although you didn't like it, you continued to use this form of contact.

Do you have other contact?

Thetallesttower Mon 17-Mar-14 10:08:19

I certainly make mistakes and say stupid or nasty things to my children, not often though, and certainly you were a twit to say that- why compare parents at all, that is not necessary.

You are in this situation now, I wouldn't mind being recorded myself as I don't think I have a lot to hide and generally have silly and fun conversations with my children on the phone.

Is all your contact through Skype or is some of it face to face? If nearly all of it is Skype then this is different, you may want to have difficult or awkward chats over the years you don't want recorded. If you use Skype to say hi and see each other in person I would be less fussed.

I am not sure that the pain of going to court is worth it just to establish a right not to record- even if it is legally justifiable. I mean the pain to your child- having your parents do this type of stuff must be very upsetting.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 17-Mar-14 10:14:28

was that dad loves you more than mummy

or dad love you more than mummy does? they are two different things.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 17-Mar-14 10:15:09

ie if divorced you are not going to love mummy much are you?

pictish Mon 17-Mar-14 10:22:42

"Daddy loves you more than Mummy" ffs hmm said a stupid thing...a manipulative and inappropriate thing, and in that moment made it all about you, at the expense of your son's security.

I don't know the ins and outs of where she stands legally in recording your conversations with your son, but she will be genuinely concerned about what other shit you're going to pedal out, using your son as a mouthpiece, and a tool to score points.
You may be confident you won't do it again and it was a one off, but she clearly isn't.

I suggest legal representation for both of you.

Bouncybear Mon 17-Mar-14 10:26:12

It feels unfair that she is recording me. I have no doubt she says the wrong things to him too at times. But those won't get recorded now, will they? It is very one sided.

I want to be there for my son. But the ex is pushing me away by insisting that she invades my private time with my son.

I am scared the court are going to hear the selected recording where I said the unwise comment and forget about all the rest of the positive things I have been saying and doing with my son. I am fighting for my son, but I also don't want to fight a battle I'm going to lose.

Pootrouble Mon 17-Mar-14 10:32:07

Parents say and do silly things. Speak to your solicitor and see what they advise and in future try and keep your emotions level! Let her record if she likes until she realises that she will record nothing but you being loving and kind towards your son. She will get bored of evidence collecting when there's nothing to collect.

WilsonFrickett Mon 17-Mar-14 10:33:02

Yeah, but it's not about you, is it? It's about what's in the best interests of your son. If having a full and continuing relationship with you is in his best interests, then you fight for that.

I have no patience for the 'can't fight a battle I'll lose' shit. Doesn't your son deserve your best efforts? Or is it more about poor you... Because it feels like you are looking for an excuse to duck out of this 'fight' to be honest.

Parenting is hard. The sooner you realise that and stop making it about your poor hurt feelings, the better you will do at it. And, I suspect, the better you'll get on with your X.

HauntedNoddyCar Mon 17-Mar-14 10:33:33

I don't think she can use recordings she has made without your consent in court. She could actually get into trouble for it and it wouldn't be admissible.

Why should you give your consent? I'd be very upset if someone recorded everything I say to my dc to pick holes in.

TillyTellTale Mon 17-Mar-14 10:35:15

Are you an MNer on a wind-up, doing a parody of a self-centred 'father'?

I want to be there for my son. But the ex is pushing me away by insisting that she invades my private time with my son

Seriously? What kind of parent would let being recorded "push" them away from having contact with their child? Be honest. If you're not there for your son now, it's because you're looking for excuses to back out and claim it's your ex's fault.

HowManyUsernamesAreThere Mon 17-Mar-14 10:36:11

As BlackeyedSusan said, you could argue on the context of the "daddy loves you more than mummy" business - ie, read literally, you love him more than you love his mother.

But that would be a bit silly.

Yes, in my opinion she's recording it to potentially use it against you some day. Why else would she, rather than perhaps just listening in sitting nearby?

But as others, such as Pootrouble (lovely name) say, have a word with your solicitor. Keep calm and hope she'll get bored.

MeepMeepVrooom Mon 17-Mar-14 10:39:51

Kind of more about your feelings than those of your son...

Is it not better for you and your son to know you did your very best to remain in his life than to pull the plug because you might lose? You might not, unless there is something major you're neglecting to mention it's unlikely you'll have zero contact. Any contact would be better than none surely?

I'm sorry to be harsh but don't allow your self pitty and pride to take over. Do you have direct contact? If not why not?

basgetti Mon 17-Mar-14 10:40:06

What was the context of this comment? It seems unlikely that a nasty remark like that would just be randomly slipped in to an otherwise positive and loving conversation.

jacks365 Mon 17-Mar-14 10:40:46

Legally she can't produce the recording in court but she can produce a transcript then on that the judge could request the recording.

Is this your only contact with your son?

crazykat Mon 17-Mar-14 10:41:10

If you're worried about her using that one thing and not the rest then you should record the Skype conversations. Then even if she could use it, you have evidence that it was a one off comment that you realise you shouldn't have made.

The point in fighting for your son is to prove to him that you care. Even if you do lose now, in future your son will be able to see that you did what you could. I very much doubt you would end up losing contact over one comment no matter how wrong it was. There are parents who deliberately turn their children against the NRP yet still get court ordered contact.

MsMischief Mon 17-Mar-14 10:41:45

I would be incandescent if someone was recording my conversations with my own child.

However if someone was pulling the 'Daddy loves you more than Mummy' shit I wouldn't want them damaging my child further. If I was in your child's mothers position then I would record you and use it against you. If you didn't say twaty things I imagine she wouldn't record you.

<pulls splinters out of arse>

As for not fighting in case you lose - get over yourself!

DoJo Mon 17-Mar-14 10:42:43

I am fighting for my son, but I also don't want to fight a battle I'm going to lose.

Why not? Isn't it worth it?

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Mon 17-Mar-14 10:45:22

No, no, no. Your ex isn't 'pushing you away from your son' you are making an active choice to back off. If you are making a choice to not have any part in your son's life, own that decision and don't bullshit about anyone else 'forcing you' to do anything. You are way too focused on what you imagine your ex might be saying, to defend your inappropriate comments, in order to justify your 'mistake'. Then trying to pin your choice to not do what is necessary to be a positive, active, part of your son's life on someone else.

You are coming across as a spineless, immature person, thinking that it's fine to do what you are choosing to do i.e. not bother with your son, just because you can't face up to criticism of your parenting? Why choose that option instead of seeking out a parenting course that would help you understand how to put your son 1st? Show your ex and any court that you understand the severity of your 'mistake(s)' and will make every effort going forward to ensure that your son's interests are at the heart of your parenting.

If there is one thing I deplore it's spineless parents who think it's fine to just walk away from their child rather than do whatever it takes to actually be a parent.

HowManyUsernamesAreThere Mon 17-Mar-14 10:45:58

Alright then. I don't think you're being unreasonable to ask for Skype to not be recorded. To me, it totally does say "I'm waiting for you to slip up with an off-remark and when you do I'll have evidence and I'll bury you in court". I can't think of any other reason why she'd be recording it.

However, your communication with your son must come first. Don't do anything to risk it. Have a word with your solicitor and, if he can get the Skype recording to stop, by all means.

I would also suggest that YOU record Skype as well. That way, if anything does go to court and the context gets muddled up, you've got your own clean recording.

Cabrinha Mon 17-Mar-14 10:50:00

Well if it's not a battle worth fighting, you're a poor excuse for a father.

I don't hold with this "mistake" stuff, either.
My ex is an arsehole, I haven't and wouldn't in a million years tell my child I love them more. In fact, when I've been told I am top of the love list (quite into lists at the moment!) I am scrupulous about saying brightly "what about daddy?!" to let my child add in "oh yes, and I love daddy number one too".


Frankly, I think I'd want to record my ex if he said that AND I felt I couldn't trust him not to pull that bullshit again.

Bouncybear Mon 17-Mar-14 10:51:44

I will fight to get contact order through courts. But I will insist that it is not recorded.

qazxc Mon 17-Mar-14 10:53:16

Ask your solicitor about it.
Meanwhile I would not let the fact she is recording conversations stop me from having contact with my son. Without you saying or doing anything out of place how can she use it against you?

TillyTellTale Mon 17-Mar-14 10:55:11

And there you go again: "insist". This is about what is best for your child, not what big male grown-up wants. You don't have a right to insist.

Your ex is completely right to record you by your own evidence. Get a grip, and be an actual parent.

Hint: that means prioritising your child.

MeepMeepVrooom Mon 17-Mar-14 10:55:51

You're not answering any of the questions so I suspect a whole lot more to this. You can insist all you like. Legally she isn't doing anything wrong providing she's told you its being recorded. Just checked with a solicitor at my work.

Monetbyhimself Mon 17-Mar-14 10:56:03

You lost the right to insist on anything when she overheard you emotionally abusing your child.
So own it, apologise for it and assure her that it will not happen again. And make sure it doesn't.

almondcake Mon 17-Mar-14 10:57:35

My view on Skype is that it is an online activity, and while my children are under my supervision, I should be able to monitor what they are doing online. I think a child would have a reasonable right to privacy on a phone call to a non resident parent, but on Skype another person could attempt to contact your son while he is on Skype to you, and a responsible person would monitor Internet use.

If a young child is in the mother's house, she is responsible for the child during that time and there is no private time/your time with the child just because they are online or on a phone. And the mother is not interrupting your calls. Your time with the child is when the child is physically with you and not her.

Quick question -

Why are you so bothered/ upset about being recorded?

Think it through. Why is this making you want to go to court? It sounds like you have an issue with the ex - but why would you let this affect your contact with your son?

Yes you might think she is playing games, but maybe she is doing it to protect your son from hurtful comments?

Also - what is she going to achieve by recording them?

If you are a good dad, who doesn't do tihngs he shouldn't, she won't have anything 'on you', nothing to use in court, and therefore won't have anything but a bunch of bloody useless recordings.

My advice - focus on your relationship with your son. Let her do whatever she wants to do unless it starts to conflict on time with your son. Then start fighting. But as long as you are having tims with your son and being able to maintain your relationship then why would you want to go to court?

WilsonFrickett Mon 17-Mar-14 11:02:29

The concept of 'private time' with a child is quite weird too. If you were together it wouldn't even exist really - DH and I do things separately with DS of course, but there's no 'private time' because we co-parent together. Your DS isn't a possession to be carved up between you... but that's an aside.

Bouncybear Mon 17-Mar-14 11:08:19

giantpurplepeopleeater I think your post sounds most reasonable.

I guess I could just go along with the recordings. Then she will just have some useless recordings.

TillyTellTale Mon 17-Mar-14 11:11:32

I was thinking that, Wilson. I naturally overhear most of what my husband or the grandparents say to the children, and vice versa. Only exceptions are when one of us is at work/out and the other is in sole charge.

The fact that I'm not interacting with them in complete isolation from any other relatives doesn't "push" me away from my children.

HowManyUsernamesAreThere Mon 17-Mar-14 11:12:34

Good God, "daddy loves you more than mummy" is amounting to emotional abuse now? Give me strength. Chances are, unless the topic creator is saying stuff like this all the time and acting really sweet and sickeningly good-natured, this will be in one ear and out the other for the child.

Yes, I think being recorded on Skype is unreasonable. I can't think of any other reason other than she wants to use whatever she hears to score points, as you said in "the ex said this was terrible and something she will show the court." She's basically said herself this is why she's doing it - to collect evidence to incriminate you. That being said, if you want to go down that route (or if nobody else will do anything), there shouldn't be anything wrong in you recording Skype as well, so nothing can be used out of context. Make sure that your ex knows.

Above everything though, don't risk your access.

Bouncy - I honestly think this is the right thing.

I have watched (with my recent ex) a couple get so caught up in fighting with each other, worried about what the other is doing, that they don't see how they bring their child into their disagreements and how much it affects him.

I'm not saying that is what you are doing.

But focus on what your son needs and what you want out of it - time and access to build/ continue a relationship with your son.

If you can get that without going to court then all the better! Court is horrible and it is difficult not to get subsumed in 'fighting' with the person you are trying to co-parent with.

The best thing you can do is to try and get along with your ex so that you can co-parent your son. If she tries stupid things to wind you up, or you feel she is 'out to get you' cover your arse by recording what happends yourself - but leave her to it. Why bring conflict?

If it helps any, I am in that exact situation. Whenever ex doesn't like something (like not being able to have DS at the drop of a hat) he gets all arsey and goes on about court blah blah blah. I just ignore it till it blows over. Which it eventually does. And it means we don't get in an endless round of fighting and he-says she says crap.

Jinty64 Mon 17-Mar-14 11:15:53

Do you have other contact with your child or is all contact via Skype?

Monetbyhimself Mon 17-Mar-14 11:16:28

Howmanyusernames. Yes. It IS considered to be emotionally abusive. The OP is hardly going to admit to any further incidences of similar but believe me, a court childrens officer AND social services take this sort of thing very seriously. The OP has been caught out on one occasion. Lets hope it's enough to make him stop and think about the impact his words have in his child.

LiberalLibertine Mon 17-Mar-14 11:22:57

Yes I would just swallow the recordings demand.

It's so hard to not get caught up in the point scoring, but take the high ground, concentrate on your son, and hopefully over time she will chill out.

Obviously, try not to say anything negative about your ex to your son, that's his mother.

caruthers Mon 17-Mar-14 12:02:27

I don't believe that you should have your talks recorded it sounds very controlling.

However you shouldn't be saying things like that to your child and you really need to take the higher ground ad be better than that as other posters have suggested.

I hope you have a full and fruitful contact arrangement with your child for many many years Op.

Echocave Mon 17-Mar-14 13:47:22

OP. You need to try to focus on doing the best for your son. That may mean swallowing your pride a bit. And battling it out in court even if you don't think you'll get the outcome you wish for.
Otherwise you may honestly lose meaningful contact with your son.
I say this because when my parents divorced in the 80s (and things were actually less easy for Dads on the whole than they are now), my Dad said he couldn't face court/watching my mother 'win' the children etc. unfortunately I as the eldest just thought he didn't care enough and my younger sibling felt they never really knew him. They remain pretty distant. Sad, as my Dad is a really nice bloke.

wouldbemedic Mon 17-Mar-14 14:21:02

I'd certainly be concerned enough to record your Skype sessions. What an awful thing to say. You don't seem to realise how awful, and your son is the one who suffered/is suffering. I appreciate you don't like being recorded, but if you're not saying anything to be ashamed of, I would just forget about it, given that you have said something very harmful in the past. Your ex will only care that her child isn't being damaged.

MoominIsWaitingToMeetHerMiniMe Mon 17-Mar-14 14:54:38

In terms of her using the 'bad' recordings against you, would it be worth you recording the conversations too? And then if she just uses the one bad example and doesn't show anyone all the good conversations, you've got evidence of good, reasonable conversations that you can use in your favour?

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