whcih is better; difficult contact or totally absent dad?

(55 Posts)
mopsera Tue 11-Sep-12 06:33:56

my ex and i have had a very fraught 4 year relationship, we seperated a year ago and he moved out. my daughter is 2.1/2 He is a drinker off/on, impulsive, inconsistent, erratic, feiry, abusive, mysogynist! who resents me having any control has changed his mind over and over re; how to deal with the contact.he hasnt offered me any long term financial commitment.i manage on benefits at present.

mainly we bumbled along with alterating between his place/ mine , to enable contact as daughter still bf . got to point of 'almost' her staying overnight with him which im ready for, for him to change it /cancel. then a week ago it was 'shared care; then an over night ( he cancelled) then he was staying here; now he says he doesnt want to be around as he needs to 'be a real man' not a doormat. And my daughter can see him 'when she's older' and he might be moving away ( to where he always wanted to get back to in cotswolds). ???? no contact better than another 18 years of stress/ control/ arguments? !! its a releif but also very daunting.

also should i seek court order to ensure legally i have rights of residency just to be legit.? im not pursuing csa for money as he's on benefits and i would only get a fiver as week, i would rather no-hassle /break contact

Shriek Mon 22-Oct-12 11:46:09

agreed meglet, so definitely wouldn't let anyone care in that situation. Wish it didn't affect the child but sadly it does, and cannot know or control whether ex is drinking, and also this is not just anyone we''re talking about here, its the father. The father being completely irrelevant you understand, but to the child the father means needing to be wanted/loved/accepted, etc. A child not finding out for themselves and making their own decisions about contact with them can be viewed as rejection which is extremely damaging. If the father is a drinker then the child will have to learn how to cope with that, which might be not to see them, etc., but ultimately their decision not the decision of anyone else unless child in real danger? I know that its damaging also to witness 'out of character' behaviour as Niome says, so is being raged at and being scared by their anger, but others can put all that into context for a child and show them other ways to deal with it, whereas absent altogether - well all those questions, what does it mean to their psychy - I need to go back and review that research as the evidence now seems to be swinging around.

Blimey! How is a mum supposed to do the right thing anymore!?

Niome Sun 21-Oct-12 08:19:49

Meglet..totally agree with you....having the label of being a parent doesn't automatically give you a ticket to see your children......parents don't have any rights over their children....they have responsibilities.....children have a voice and sound be listened to. Seeing 'a father drunk and out of character' is a form of abuse and you have done the right thing to protect your children. Abuse is not just directed at the children....it is indirect too....through witnessessing it. This is just as harmful. It's good that you are able to see the rest of the family....

Meglet Sat 20-Oct-12 18:22:18

I'm with because on this.

"If you had a friend who had drink problems or behavioural issues would you let them look after your kid unsupervised?"

Just because someone is a father it doesn't mean they get to see their kids come regardless of how they behave. I actually count the dc's lucky as they never see their hopeless father, they are never messed around or see him as a bad influence. He had almost a year to sort himself out and he didn't so I drew a line under it. I felt the dc's would be vulnerable to his attitude and behaviour if they were to see him regularly.

And yes to, grandfathers, uncles, brothers etc being good male role models. 5yo DS doesn't get to see bad male role models now.

I suppose we are lucky as XP never bothered to fight for contact though, God knows what would happen if he appeared out of nowhere. He wouldn't be seeing them if I had my way.

Shriek Fri 19-Oct-12 13:48:55

oh hell!

We don't know the details (well I don't) but that does seem at face value to be completely ludicrous that children wanting oto be with the mom get taken away from her. Oh Gawd!!!! Who cares about the children then? As they will suffer terribly being away from their mother (even if she's not the best of moms).

yummymommy1 Fri 19-Oct-12 13:10:50

yuh huh how about the recent news story on the welsh lady with the spanish husband? he got custody of the kids despite then saying they wanted to live with thier mommy.she disappeared with them before social workers came to take them back, now they have been found. they live in a gated complex with barred windows. whats that all about? !!

Shriek Thu 18-Oct-12 23:16:00

To all, have you looked at the 'abusive relationship' thread?

I still haven't had change to follow the [research paper?] link, but needs serious contemplation I think, as 'people' don't actually know it seems, and neither do the courts seem to be acting in best interests of dcs on an individual basis. Only follow the legislation rulings. I need to understand this much better and will come back and look a tthe link properlyl

yummymommy1 Thu 18-Oct-12 15:55:24

hi yes resources, very important

mopsera Thu 18-Oct-12 10:21:29

oh and we are moving hopefully back to another town and will have a garden...eventually, and the chnace to make friends at last.

mopsera Thu 18-Oct-12 10:18:57

thats interesting, all of the comments above.it is VERY frustrating, i agree shriek, when we as mums put in so much hard work to create stability and security, and then ex's can walk in and destabilise you and ur dc so quickly and easily. i feel im constantly battling with an erratic control freak who likes playing mind games with weak and vulnerable women, and whatsreally really infuriating is i allowed him to push me out of a town i loved ( ok it was a 2nd floor flat but i would happily move back in retrospect) into moving to a very small remote village where i have no freinds, family, transport or anything to do ie resources ( ok a 30 yr old playground and a tea room where children arent welcome dont really count, the only place we can relax is one pub where they are ok with kids, and a local national trust house/ park)thats it!...why oh why. i think the best we can do is biuld up out resources.

Shriek Tue 16-Oct-12 23:31:27

short reply as short nites long days and on pda..will read inf ull all the above stuff tomoz..for now so appreciate all words of advice here because

because Tue 16-Oct-12 01:50:28

Also I agree totally with this;

"Look, there are a huge majority of non resident parents that will be there ready to put the needs of their children beyond their own no matter what, those are the ones who won't walk off your children when they are busy, bored or wanting to enjoy their freedom. But there are other ones that very early on start showing signs of not caring enough, that they are not really committed to the children and that theywould feel better if they didn'thave the children in their lives. If your ex us one of the latter, let him go, he is not going to turn into "caring dad" and the journey to his freedom could be a very distressing journey to you and your child."

because Tue 16-Oct-12 01:27:57

You need to get legal advice if you haven't already. I don't know where you are based but in Scotland if the father is on the birth cert then it is really difficult to remove parental rights, I think you have to prove no contact and no way of contacting the father for over a year (financial contribution counts as contact) or danger to child etc - hard to prove.

What can be done is a minute of agreement for your seperation and you can have a paragraph about how you are the decision making parent who will consult him if need be and whatever visit arrangements you want (eg none til older then supervised). He has to sign this as well and it is binding but still open to challenge later on. Then you would have a better idea of where you stand.

I have an athens password for research but if you don't have access to pubmed and the like you can still google and get some papers to read in full, they may be slightly older though with the newer available as abstracts. I also read up on attachment theory and have done a lot of work on early brain development.

apt.rcpsych.org/content/13/2/79.full

This is one to start you off but I must point out that only you can do what's best for your child and you have to follow your head as well as your heart. You know whether your child is safe or not, you know if you would tolerate this behaviour around your child from anyone else or if this person is getting a free pass simply because he is a relative. When it comes to courts you need a good family solicitor and if that's where you think things are headed then start talking to a couple and get some advice then choose one you can work with and clearly explain your concerns. Courts care about the law not the latest psychological research.

A common element in past research is comparing single parents to nuclear families and then throwing in a bit of attachment disorder for good measure. This was not always done honestly and was presented in a political manner. The most obvious negative is that single parents can be less well off than couples but as single parents start to outnumber nuclear families the guidelines are being redrawn. There are now children raised by either sex single parents, gay couples, split couples, fwb and single parents who used donors. These kids will be just fine as long as the people who do raise them don't mess with their heads and scare them on a regular basis.

Attachment in a nutshell;
(stolen from a cheesy usa site)

Attachment behavior —Any behavior that an infant uses to seek and maintain contact with and elicit a response from the caregiver. These behaviors include crying, searching, grasping, following, smiling, reaching, and vocalizing.

Insecure attachment —Develops when a primary caregiver does not consistently respond in ways that are warm, affectionate, and sensitive to a baby's needs.

Secure attachment —Usually develops when the primary caregiver is sensitive to the infant's behavior and is emotionally and physically available to the child.

Children should not be denied a family member imo but should be protected from instability during extremely vital early developmental years and if that instability is coming from a family member then it needs to be managed. Grandpas, uncles and friends can be male role models too!

Hope that helps, dismounting my high horse now ;)

Shriek Mon 15-Oct-12 22:39:50

agree nickname 'yeah he's losing out - but you can't tell him that!' (as in, I don't think he'll ever realise what he's missing out on and what he's denying his dcs - the possibility of a good father figure - but he is leaving the door open for another to step in!).

because thanks for the info; I assume the courts still base their judgements on older research of better to have some contact even in fairly dire circumstances than to not have atall? or is that changing do you know, in reaction to these more recent findings? can you point in the direction of particular research on this - would be interested to check it out?

I am VERY worried for my dc at the moment as all over the place due to ex playing such awful games and messing with head. dc has finally come out and expressed all the pent up stuff to him, but convinced he must hate because of it sad its really all too much for dcs to make sense of. Tried sooooo hard this end to facilitate everything for good relations but everything always viewed as being inflicted upon him (even though dictated by dc contact wishes) only ever seen as me telling, etc. Fed up of stupid childish idiot (want to say soo much more but extremely bad language and will keep for shouting out loud here!)

I would so love to have another male figure around regularly (although there are other father's around in her life, but more here than out there IYSWIM), to give the impression of a bloody straightforward and generous natured male who has time and maturity to protect, and doesn't play ridiculous FW games that pander to childish adults' needs instead of putting dc first. I worry about having any other males inside my house (dc's house) as things are so unstable outside the house I think its important to keep stability here and not have to share me with anyone else?! (but really not sure if doing the right thing there) DC always said it doesn't matter father getting partner, but different if I did! I'm sure that won't always last, but for the moment it really does matter. I imagine if there was a row here between me and partner, dc would not be able to manage that too.

just ridiculous the hurt is causing dc after the split!

NicknameTaken Mon 15-Oct-12 10:48:10

Not marvellously witty, but something like "His loss - they're great!" might strike the right note.

Athendof Sun 14-Oct-12 21:42:50

My one liner is "yeah, but everyone fom his teachers to the mums if their friends have said he look more settled, happy and content since his dad is not in the picture" which unfortunately, is true...

because Sun 14-Oct-12 21:37:05

what does upset me more is when people in my life who think my ex is a total nightmare still go on about 'what a shame' it is that he can't be bothered with his kids. I say good riddance but does any one have any snappy one liners to deal with that?

People I hardly even know think it is ok to ask 'and what about their dad' in front of the dc ffs and that is after I have clearly stated that I am lp. How does one phrase "none of your effing business" in an acceptable and polite manner and where do people get off asking???

because Sun 14-Oct-12 20:19:52

I have done a lot of research on this and found a more modern approach is that in fact the psychological damage inflicted on a child by having an ambivalent parent during childhood is actually far more damaging than if that parent is absent. Children need a stable home life - it doesn't matter who is in that life as long as there is consistency, stability and the child feels safe. For the same reasons it is better to be a single parent with a stable home life than to have kids living with parents who are in an unstable relationship.

If you had a friend who had drink problems or behavioural issues would you let them look after your kid unsupervised?

Not trying to be mean or judgemental just making the point that some people aren't cut out for parenthood and it is our job to keep kids safe.

Athendof Sun 14-Oct-12 17:42:10

I got a resident order because exh was always threatening to change the contact arrangements, DS was totally bewildered at the thought of spending more time with his dad but too afraid to complain about it.

At the end of the day, all those claims that he wanted to see more of his son were just threats he did to scare me into submission/stopping the fight for the assets. As soon as the order was out we never saw him again, even whrn the order also gave him rights to a substancial amount of contact.

He also claimed to want more contact and to meed for the fmh to be sold so he could get a small flat were overnight contact with DS could be resumed. He managed to convince the convince tge court with his sincere wish to stay in his son life, the house was put on sale to give him some money for the deposit of the flat which he used to get a huge house in the most expensive part of the city. Now he has the space, but despite his claims, he still keep ignoring every single offer/ opportunity to see his son, always blaming me of course, no matter what he is always the victim.

He doesn't see DS, ring him etc. but he sends letters to DS twice a month where he wax lyrical to Ds about his new family, the fantastic holidays he is having and above all, on how wonderful his stepson is.

I insisted for ages on contact to take place in the understanding that that was the right thing to do, until I saw my son so destroyed by such contact that I realised I was allowing that contact out of plain cowardice.

Look, there are a huge majority of non resident parents that will be there ready to put the needs of their children beyond their own no matter what, those are the ones who won't walk off your children when they are busy, bored or wanting to enjoy their freedom. But there are other ones that very early on start showing signs of not caring enough, that they are not really committed to the children and that theywould feel better if they didn'thave the children in their lives. If your ex us one of the latter, let him go, he is not going to turn into "caring dad" and the journey to his freedom could be a very distressing journey to you and your child.

So, leave the door open, in case he wants to see them, but don'tturn yourselfbackwards to enable contact, if he is going to have a relationship with his children, he is the one responsible to build it up.

mopsera Sun 14-Oct-12 14:41:46

yes, crazyhatlady.have to admit i rather enviuosly think back to people i met when pregnant who had met 1. a drummer 2. a scaffolder ( ie pregnant thru a one night stand totally unplanned )3. a newish partner who then met someone else while they were pregnant...and how they were totally alone thru it all, and i wish sometimes that had been me. but then the dad has been there thru alot, especially my first year which was hard as im an older mum and got really tired. i do wonder if i would have done better alone, sometimes without someone who is an emotional rollercoaster, and has also had his own complex messed up family to deal with too, and even though he's moved out im still struggling .when he does decided to help , usually after a week he shows up and gives me a break, its a lifeline.my dd loves her dad, but i think long term it will be good if he can move on to a new relationship , and stop hassling me , then dd can stay with him alone when she's ready and the boundaries will be clearer,. i suppose we'll never know, like the film sliding doors, how it 'could have been' we just try to make the best of the way its turned out! ?!

crazyhatlady Sat 13-Oct-12 19:47:34

I thank my lucky stars ds's 'dad' is an absent one. I really feel for all you ladies dealing with nightmare exes and for the children who are confused or constantly disappointed. My ex walked out before ds was born so he has never known any different. He is lucky enough to have a wonderful dad substitute in my dad who he spends several days a week with whilst I'm at work. He's only ever asked about his dad once over a year ago and is a very happy, secure little boy. I couldn't bear it if he was sat waiting at the window for a daddy who let's him down all the time. So for now absent dad is better. I salute all the ladies who go to great efforts to maintain contact with difficult dads, it must be very stressful and wearing.

Shriek Sat 13-Oct-12 10:06:05

you're absolutely right. All the things that they do show themselves up for how pathetic they are.

'enough rope', an' all that

mopsera Sat 13-Oct-12 04:46:57

yes, exactly.if we all behaved rationally and maturely the dc wellbeing would override all game playing etc. i see him as a child too. i have changed all my passwords : again, except on here and havent worked it out yet! he got into my email a/c &hunted for something incriminating, tho i have deleted most emails knowing at any point this could happen.then he copy and pasted a personal email between and an ex ( who is a very good freind now) and sent it to everyone on my address book. what a twat. its only served to increase thier belief he is crazy. now i must change my password !

Shriek Sat 13-Oct-12 01:19:17

oh god! getting into your accounts???! no privacy and all respect gone sad

how to you know all this stuff that 'he's' done? Does she tell you freely that he's undermining you?

My dc after demonstrating a great deal of distress which is normally done by picking fights with me, and I just stay calm realising the bad feelings need to come out and then dc will speak, but feels its betraying him. The whole thing is depressing for dc sad and is not considered when all game plaing goes on. both the NRP and his new GF think its ok to competely rip me apart in front on dc, and that won't hurt dc?!?!?! uh!? hello???!!! how thick is that??? Trying to undermine a key relationship for a child.

I hope you will stop listening to him, I dont now. I know that he is lying and simply following his own selfish engrandisement at the expense of a child, VERY PATHETIC whose the adult and who the child here???

mopsera Fri 12-Oct-12 22:10:02

haha hitman, well, i wont comment as i need to change my password on here as he has been getting into all my accounts recently.

mopsera Fri 12-Oct-12 22:08:19

hi. i guess. its very tricky, a fine line between giving dd the contact she needs ( & i can rly see and understand having missed my dad when i was a child ), and him using the dd as a weapon against me . isnt it hard!!!! he had already 'started to put me down' in front of her, making out mummy as a bit of a joke, (eg look theres fat/silly mummy etc ) even encouarging dd to hit me, all as a'joke' of course, but it was already undermining her respect for me...& direct anger at me 'mummys being horrible to daddy and he has to go away'. overall i feel like hes trying to control me/ her ( doesnt want me to move on and have a new relationship either, despite pointing out my faults relentlessly to me, freinds, family since he met me ). i feel like a puppet on a string, and i hate it !

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