Am I over reacting?(16 Posts)
I'm looking for some thoughts about a couple of issues that have arisen with the dc's Dad over the weekend. As there's a loooong history of us disagreeing on parenting I just want to see whether others think these things are an issue worth taking further...
Staying contact used to be half holidays and one full weekend a month. This has gradually reduced and the DC now stay one night a month. Partly reduced as Ex-h started working, but he is now not working again and hasn't asked to increase again! I was pleased that it reduced as the dc (8, 6 & 4) don't get bathed and the girls hair doesn't get brushed so they were coming back a real state after 2-4 nights.
DS (8), was getting dressed this morning. Pulled his trousers up half way over his bottom and then said 'I won't wear my trousers like this cos I'll look like I want sex'. I was , and asked where he'd heard that (we do live in a roughish area so I thought it was probably from school). DS explained that his older half brother (12) had been wearing his jeans like that at the weekend, and his Dad had told him that prisoners in America wear their trousers like that to let other people know they want sex. DS was in the room and overheard the conversation.
DD1 (6), shared a bed with her oldest half brother (14) this weekend despite me repeatedly asking for this not to happen. Ex-h has a bunk bed + a single bed in the dc's room. This is for 5 dc (ex-h's boys who are 14 & 12, plus my 3). I asked at Christmas for my dds not to share with the older boys any more. I think that at 14, boys probably start having wet dreams, morning erections etc, and I don't think having a little girl in bed with them is a good idea. I've asked for the girls to share, and for ds to share with younger half brother, and also offered for my DC to take sleeping bags.
The DC have also told me that they went to the pub with their Dad on Saturday. Their version is that Ex-h was in one room drinking beer, and they were in a different room, with some other children ands adults they don't know,watching a DVD. DD (4), said she wanted to look for her Dad but that the grown ups she was with told her she had to stat with them. None of the DC seem sure who these people were, or whether their Dad knows them.
I rang Ex-h this morning...told him it was inappropriate to have the conversation about sex in front of DC, that I was unhappy about dd sharing a bed with HB again and asked who he'd left the DC with in the pub. His response (as per usual), was that I shouldn't ask the DC about what happens at his house as it's none of my business, that what he does with his children is fuck all to do with me, and that I'm hardly a perfect fucking parent am I. Also criticised me for leaving the DC with my sister and at a creche this week while I was working (I've worked 2 half days out of the whole half term).
So, am I over reacting? If not, what should I do now?
Sorry it's so long...just wanted to give all the info up front.
talk it thru with nspcc helpline . they may have ideas of how you can respond. also watch the PANTS videos with the DC make sure they clear on the rules - it's on nspcc website.
there may be some guidance on bed sharing - would it trigger child protection enquiry if she mentioned it at school? ask nspcc. as a one off it might not be an issue but if regular ?
the pub thing - sounds like some kind of organised thing where kids were in the other room with dvd...not a child protection issue or neglect in itself if kids were supervised. you could ask the pub what event it was?
i would also not be happy but there isnt much you can do i dont think until/unless dc report something major in terms of neglect...
His attitude to your concerns would worry me even more than what actually was happening.
Do you think if you stopped contact he would pursue it?
I doubt he'd pursue contact very hard. I need to be sure that stopping contact is the right thing for the children before I make that decision though.
Yep I totally agree (am in a similar situation with my exH and 2DC too)
Stopping a 6 year old girl from sleeping in a bed with a 14 year old boy and then being left with strangers in a pub ? Absolutely the right thing to do. The sleeping arrangements would 'never' be okayed by SS or a family court.
So, stop contact altogether, or stop staying contact or offerr supervised only....
I rang the nspcc last night and discussed it with an advisor. She confirmed that children's services/family court would not see dd sleeping with her big brother as appropriate or acceptable... particularly as there are obvious and easy alternatives.
I've texted Ex-h and said that the children will not be coming for staying contact until he comes up with an acceptable plan. No reply, so will wait and see what happens.
I think that sounds like a good approach for now, stopping overnight contact until a plan is made, and see where it goes from there.
Hopefully his silence is because he is making plans to see a solicitor - one who can tell him that the arrangements are ridiculous!
I started reading the no hair brushing and bathing and to a degree the trousers down the arse story and rolled my eyes because those things can and do happen in every.single. Household I know of with children in. My dd can go a week without a bath before me and my ex realise "uhh, I haven bathed her this week.. Have you?? " but then I got to the bed sharing and that rings huge alarm bells.
You need some legal advice rather than an in identified NSPCC volunteer. Get some as soon as possible. And focus on the right stuff. Talking about your children not having their hair brushed makes you sound a bit mad and discredits the real issues here.
Good luck x
One thing alone wouldn't be an issue...it's all of it stacking up.
Don't know how old your dd is, but I don't think it's fair to bring them back to me dirty and with long hair that hasn't been brushed for days. Each to their own I guess, but it's me that has to detangle 2 heads full of hair while they scream.
Who would you suggest I seek 'legal advice' from and what for? I refuse to waste money that I need to feed and clothe my children on solicitors...if there Dad wants to pursue the legal route, he can pay for it. It'll be the only contribution he's made in 5 years if he does
You can get a half hour free advice from any family solicitor and if you don't like them you can get more from a different one.
She's 7, btw. A good bit of conditioner will get those tangles out. Do you have a tangle teaser. Differing parenting ways are a pain but I'm just advising you to focus on the right things so as not to come across as unreasonable or looking for fault in everything.
On the hair thing - can you put their hair into a French plat and tell them to leave it in for the time they're at their dad's? I wouldn't be to fused by the trousers conversation and the pub thing is hard to be sure about. But do think that a14 year old boy shouldn't be sharing a bed with a 6 year old.
Do his older boys live with him full time or could you restrict access to times when they're not there on grounds of space?
I don't think you're overreacting, I do think there are some concerns there
The hair thing wouldn't bother me, my dd has bum length hair and one of the conditions of her keeping it long is that she had to learn to brush it herself and she has done so since she was 4. Obviously it's not always done perfectly but it's enough to cut down on the time I spend de-tangling it
When your dd shares a bed with her brother is it a one off type of thing or a more regular arrangement? If it's expected at every visit and she has no choice then I think that is very very unreasonable. If it's something she chooses and is happy with then I think it's not a problem every now and then, my teenage boys would be fine to share with their little sister
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