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DS (4.5) doesn't like going to his dad's and has said he doesn't want to go there anymore(11 Posts)
Sorry, this is a bit of a long rant.
I was there with him today for a few hours (normally I just drop him off) and I was horrified. The house was freezing, ex has central heating but has never used it since it was put in a few years ago. He just has a tiny gas fire in the living room and uses that, but we were trying to play in DS's room and I looked at the temp and it was 11.5C inside. My hands were numb. Eventually ex grumpily put the heating on when I asked many times but I know full well when I am not there it will never be switched on again.
Ex is also a hoarder and the whole house and back garden is filled to overflowing with tools, things he finds in skips and random stuff so you can no longer get to the trampoline or swing, which are both overrun with weeds and creepers etc anyway. He will only feed DS what DS wants to eat so he eats no fruit or veg on the days he is there from 11am to 6pm. DS refuses to stay overnight there, has tried it but never slept and came home irritable and cross.
I have struggled with this issue for the whole of DS's life since he was born and today I feel like I am just fed up with it. Ex was emotionally and financially abusive, he is almost pathologically miserly and tight with money, and I think he is probably a bit aspergers. When DS is there ex is constantly trying to get on with various DIY projects or hobbies and he never plays with DS, it's like he doesn't now HOW to do imaginative play or really interact with him properly.
Now today DS has said (not for the first time either) that he doesn't like going to Daddy's and he doesn't want to go there anymore. Normally I would laugh this off, he is only a kid and you can't take a 4 year old at face value and re-arrange contact just because they have a strop, right? But I can see how miserable he is and I am sick of tiptoeing around ex trying to do things by the book with 50/50 contact when he is just a crap parent. DS is a bit scared of him as ex talks loudly and patronisingly to him and I would happily never take DS there again, I know he would be happier. I just would feel so guilty as I know ex loves DS even though he's not a good parent.
I don't know what to do but am contemplating not letting DS go there alone and cutting right down, perhaps to a few hours once a week accompanied by me so he can still see his Dad. Am I evil? So conflicted over this but I am reaching the end of my tether with seeing DS unhappy.
I wouldn't let my DS go round there as it seems unsafe with all the tools and hording.
Ah that sounds really, really difficult for you and your son. Would it be possible for your ex to see your son at yours? Or meet somewhere other than his house?
Personally I would be worried about my son in the circumstances you describe (hoarding/ freezing house etc) so at the very least I would seek advice about how best to change things. Maybe speak with a third party there, and talk about how unsuitable his house is as a place to visit?
I would just make sure that you take him yourself and stay there. If it is not to far, perhaps an hour or 2 once a week will be enough. At least you can never be accused of keeping your DS away from his dad.
Your sons needs are most important not trying to do the right thing by your Ex. He is the adult, if he wants to be a better parent, he needs to step up.
(I can see why he is your Ex)
Thanks guys. I am going to maintain contact so that it is clear I am not standing in the way of him seeing DS, but will reduce it massively and keep it supervised, and if he asks will explain why.
Really nervous about telling him.
Good luck OP - you are totally doing the right thing. Would mediation be able to help ? It might be useful to have a third party to act as a go between so that you can get him to 'hear' your concerns.
Concentrate on the important stuff like dangerous levels of hoarding and freezing cold as well as dc's distress.
But try to avoid saying stuff like "tiny bit Aspergers " it's nasty offensive and it that context comes across like its an insult.
Subject I'm touchy on as I have Aspergers and I'm a damn good parent its not an excuse for being abusive to people.
How does your dc react to seeing his dad but out of dads home?
Is there a court order in place? If not, stop contact on the grounds of it being harmful for DS, seek advice from your solicitor and/or social services and let the wretched man launch legal action. Also, if you have evidence of XP's abuse of you ie you ever had to call the police on him, that will help you as well. If XP does proceed with legal action you can ask for contact to be supervised on the grounds of the unsafe house and the poor care DS is given.
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So I explained the situation to XP when I got back on Weds, and said I would bring DS round to XP's mums a few doors down from him and maybe DS could see XP while there for a few hours. XP reacted on the phone by saying he 'always knew this was coming' and that he had 'been waiting for this'. He kept saying 'you don't need to explain, you don't need to explain' and that it was my and DS's choice clearly, but he also didn't seem bothered when I mentioned he could get the house sorted, saying that it didn't matter that it was unheated as he takes him out a lot.
Anyway, took DS round today and called for XP on the way, DS saying all the way there that he doesn't want to see his dad, and starting to cry when we were outside his house. XP comes out, takes one look at DS and tries to talk to him but DS turns away and won't look at him or talk to him/be touched. XP says bitterly he won't accompany us as there is no point in upsetting DS, and then shoots me a look of pure hatred and malice, the kind he used to use when I was with him and stood up to him occasionally, which means 'I will make you pay if you continue to flout my authority'. So feel a bit scared now.
Have arranged to take DS directly to see XP's mum the Monday after next, which she seemed happy with. Unsure whether I should phone XP again and suggest he comes along too - surely DS will react the same way as today and XP will just get angrier and angrier as he seems to believe I have poisoned his son against him?! But if I don't make any effort to ensure contact he may get nasty too. Gah!
Ex does not seem very stable to me. If you decide to refuse access, and he takes you to court, you could tell court about the hoarding (fire hazard, I would think, as well as sign of a person with issues), the lack of heating, and the weeds and hazards in the yard. Then an inspection of his place could be done.
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