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

OptimisticPessimist Tue 11-Sep-12 08:02:54

Honestly? It sounds like he is trying to regain control over both you and the situation - I suspect his desired result is for you to panic that he will move away as he says and to agree to have contact on his terms to prevent it. Don't, because then you will have set a precedent and it will continue like this. If he moves away at this stage it will be far easier than if he does it in 4 or 5 years time.

My ex moved away 16 months ago, the kids were 7, almost 4 and 20 months at the time. He does call and speak to them once a week but that's the only contact they have. DS2 and DD are, frankly, unbothered. DS2 only has very vague memories, DD doesn't remember him at all and doesn't recognise his picture. They know they have a daddy and that he lives far away. For them it's the best result. DS1 is understandably more deeply affected.

I was angry at him for a long time, and angry that he could effectively do whatever he liked with no legal redress while still maintaining all his parental rights and the ability to gain contact with them at any time regardless of how he's behaved. I'm not angry any more - the period of time when we were split and he was still living locally was incredibly stressful for both me and DS1 because of XP's behaviour, and all 4 of us are now happier and more settled. I am sad that he obviously wasn't able to put the children first and behave reasonably and that has caused DS1 a lot of upset, but incredibly relieved that we no longer have to deal with his behaviour day-to-day. They have a great life, and a strong extended family on my side and also my FIL, more contact with XP would add nothing to their lives at all.

WRT residency, afaik you will be unable to get a residency order - the family courts operate a "no-order" principle meaning they will only make an order if it will change something. If you already have residency with no opposition from him they won't make a court order for it. Was he on the birth certificate?

I take it there is nothing legal already drawn up? I would speak to a solicitor about what to do. I was surprised at mine, they offer a drop in 10 minute session but when I said I needed longer than that they told me the first hour was free!

Obviously, in an ideal world, we would all like the father to be involved but it doesn't look like he is committed to that at all. It is sad and daunting but you can do it. My ex-h has messed me around for nearly 5 years now. Seeing the children then falling off the radar for months, erratic behaviour, etc. I've called a halt to it (that's the reason I saw a solicitor).

Good luck.

x-post with Optimistic (I am typing slow today!)

balia Tue 11-Sep-12 21:11:05

As a general question, I would always answer that difficult contact is better than totally absent - because I have seen my own daughter work through issues with her Dad, finding her peace with it, fully informed of what he was like through contact with him. The danger of no contact is that children can fantasise about the absent parent, or feel rejected.

In your case I'd say you need to draw very clear boundaries. Make it clear that an ongoing relationship with her Dad is what you think is best for your DD, you are happy to facilitate this, but be clear that it needs to be planned, organised and consistant. Mediation might be a way forward, suggest it. Think about what you would be happy with and what you think is in DD's best interest, and firmly and politely stick to it (within reason, obvs).

Seems to me he is trying to get a reaction out of you, don't give him one. Don't engage.

And go to the CSA. £5 a week for the next 18 years is over 4 and a half grand. That money is rightfully your DD's and I don't think it is OK for you to choose not to get it for her! Might come in handy one day.

queenofthepirates Tue 11-Sep-12 22:07:12

I'm going to go out on a limb here a bit and say, just how much can you cope with? Quite a lot I imagine (us single parents are a tough bunch) but if you are frequently finding yourself rearranging plans at the last minute because he's let you down, I think that the stress will do you no good.

He's a big boy, if he doesn't want contact, that's his decision, colossally wrong as it may be but nevertheless. It does give you the chance to meet 'a real man' as he stylises it and enjoy parenting with an equal partner. Or on your own.

Happylander Tue 11-Sep-12 22:30:52

I have a residency order granted this year and got it with no problem what so ever. It means I feel safe knowing he can't just take my child if he chooses. My ex has also said the same things your has and a residency order means I am free to take my child on holiday abroad without having to get his permission very important if going to the states etc and also rather important if he intends to move away as you might not be able to get written permission from him.

NicknameTaken Wed 12-Sep-12 11:39:09

> As a general question, I would always answer that difficult contact is better than totally absent - because I have seen my own daughter work through issues with her Dad, finding her peace with it, fully informed of what he was like through contact with him. The danger of no contact is that children can fantasise about the absent parent, or feel rejected.

Thanks for that, balia. I'm pondering the same question, as we're heading back to court and my solicitor is asking me to clarify whether I want to oppose all contact. I don't really think my ex is bad enough, although he is emotionally manipulative. Plus, I would be anxious about the situation of him have nothing left to lose. Short of us going into hiding, we pretty much have to find a way to co-exist. But I want to be absolutely sure that I am protecting my dd in the best way possible, and not be exposing her to harm of any kind.

Sorry for sidetrack, OP. There's no point opposing him moving away, if that's what he chooses to do. Frankly, you can't stop him. As Optimistic says, it sounds like it might be a manipulative tactic - he wants to see if you'll bend over backwards and give him everything his way just to keep him around. If you give in to that tactic, he'll keep threatening the same thing forever. Might as well call his bluff now. And if it's not a bluff - well, sadly, there's not much you can do about it.

mopsera Sun 16-Sep-12 21:26:58

Hi sori for delay in reply. All very useful responses. He just turned up and walked in a few days ago ( yes I know I must take the keys off him ) literally 30 mins after my mum left after a stay ( they do not get on ). We are staying at his mums again, so we all get a break. However he is still bringing up this stuff ' I will have j living with me one day..the child always goes to the parent with more resources..' etc etc semi threatening and putting some fear in my head.his contact is so erratic I'm tired of it and all the anti women crap / fear stuff, and also him trying to offset my daughter against me by encouraging her to oppose or resist me..i think I will see a c.a.b advisor. He has a past investigation by child protection- unfounded but maybe I could use that in court?

STIDW Mon 17-Sep-12 11:36:42

Based on evidence from psychiatrists and psychologists in courts the harm children suffer from losing a relationship with one of their natural parents is in most circumstances greater than the harm they suffer from inconsistent and irregular contact. However, you can't make a parent see a child and you shouldn't allow yourself to be bullied. It's your ex's decision if he doesn't want to see your child and if he doesn't you can do a lot to limit the harm.

It isn't possible to appease, negotiate or mediate with someone who is unreasonable. All you can do is look to your own behaviour such as establishing autonomy by setting emotional and physical boundaries. In these circumstances it may be better to negotiate through an independent third party (ie a solicitor) and at the moment you might qualify for legal aid.

As said above there is a no order principle and the courts will usually only make a residence order if it makes things better for children. A residence order won't stop someone determined from taking a child and conditions about travel arrangements can be attached to other court orders. The outcome of many residence order applications is shared residence which may not be what you intend. Either party can apply for a contact order and that might be a better way of setting boundaries than a residence order when contact is inconsistent and irregular.

Judges are well used to separated parents making allegations and counter-allegations against each other and unless independent professional evidence that children are suffering significant harm or are at risk of harm a judge will have difficulty in choosing between two versions of the same story. Therefore it's normally better to focus on the child and their welfare rather than raise spurious allegations which can't be substantiated.

lizzieoak Mon 17-Sep-12 15:01:14

For us it's certainly easier if they bugger off permanently! For the kids I think it's so difficult to say. Depends on the child's personality, on the absentee parent's personality, etc. My kids' dad is so very difficult (had to call the police this weekend as he would not get off my steps when asked) and all I can hope for is that he can serve as an example of how not to be.

Mumfortoddler Tue 18-Sep-12 00:27:01

Going through the same thing although my DS' father has had contact for past 2.7 years. He has spent whole time alternating between threats/aggression and abuse and begging me to come back with little regard for DS. DS has now started saying father is hitting him. I've spoken to social services and they won't even visit him!! Grrrr.... angry they say its civil courts. DS' father also not really kept up to speed with childs dev (stuff like he carried on feeding Raph for almost two years after he started solids). Anyone else out there in my situation? What did you do? Hes also started not turning up now with no explanation.

mopsera Mon 01-Oct-12 23:32:30

oh blimey thats heavy.im surprised social services arent intersted.sounds very like my ex; alternates between wanting us back and then aggression/ intimidation. if the child is being hit can you abstain all contact with a court order/ restraint order? i would stop all contact from here on unless via a 3rd party.

thedogsrolex Tue 02-Oct-12 21:18:40

Tough one, ds's dad has been on/off with him over the years and i've seen the damage that has caused. Dd's dad wasn't in her life for long and she hasn't seen him since. Both display signs of anger in different ways, and they are both driving me insane at the moment in different ways. My dad was an on/off bloke, got himself a new family, one adopted, one biological and has rarely seen me since. I love him to bits but sometimes I wish i'd never known him. Because if i'd never known him I wouldn't love him, and then he couldn't hurt me....as he still does. He sees me when he needs an alibi for his affairs, or to have his "secret" mail sent to my house. He's not a bad bloke as such, never hit me, never nasty to me...he's a liar and a user I know that. I have great memories of the stuff we did together on the odd occasion/s I saw him though and somehow that makes it worse. When I see him now (for him to collect his secret mail) he always tells me he loves me and gives me a hug.

Actually op, maybe you've just answered something i've been pondering on, the reason I can't tolerate on/off people.

What I cant advise on is a completely absent father...maybe if he had been one i'd have put him on a pedestal and felt even more hurt! Maybe i'd have grown up more secure and not cared. I don't know.

whatthewhatthebleep Wed 03-Oct-12 17:30:00

my DS is 12yrs old now...not had any contact from his DF for a year now...my DS now says if my dad doesn't care, why should I?

My DS has gone through long gaps of no contact at all, always hard and difficult between them both and just a really negative situ....I let it continue and allowed whatever contact DF wanted for the sake of my DS as I never wanted my son to blame me for not letting him see his dad....it's now his own decision and if his DF ever does bother to make contact or want to see him...I'm not sure he will get a positive response now....my DS barely mentions his DF and is happier and settled without his DF turning up, etc anymore...
It remains to be seen if they will have any kind of relationship as my DS gets older....I won't influence it either way.
I keep my opinions to myself but take no crap....DS knows his choices about his DF are his own to make and I'll support whatever he wants to do.

Having said this...we have suffered a lot of emotional abuse but never violence...violence is very different and I'd have called a halt long ago if there ever had been

girliefriend Wed 03-Oct-12 22:02:01

My dd has an absent father, she has never met him (she is 6yo). Yet I agree that to keep some contact generally is better than none.

My dd has been very distressed at various times about not having a dad and it really is heartbreaking. However I am sometimes glad that I don't have to worry about my dd being mucked about or let down.

mopsera Sun 07-Oct-12 07:32:55

thats all really helpful. now im nudging things towards clearer boundaries as i was really feeling invaded and vulnerable as he had had keys and used to just drive over and walk in ( luckily we are an hours drive away).now i have his keys, and he actually texted to say he was coming over last time,instead of just turning up -!as ever though, no discussion ! now im pushing for my dd to stay with him, as i want to start a new relation ship. as i realised the only way the ex would move on and stop trying it on with me would be when i was dating other men.i think he finally has got the message, and is taking daughter back for the day to his next time, with a view to her staying overnight eventually. i agree with 'whatthewhatthebleep' post; above, i will put up with the crap that he brings with him, so dd can have contact.just hope he doesnt start mind games, as she gets older, turning her against me, so she will want to live with him one day.

InTheNightGarden Sun 07-Oct-12 07:49:35

absent dad is far better!

tbh I couldn't care less who disagrees.... my dd is 17months, I split with her father when she was just 6months old because he was nasty, seeing other woman and became physically abusive aswell as emotionally. I'm now with a lovely man who treats dd and I wonderfully smile we're now expecting a lil boy of our own smile my ex didn't turn up on dds first Christmas, birthday, hospital appointments, when he has turned up he's been in a drunken/drugged up mess!!! he stalked me everywhere I went (he was arrested.. not charged!!!) he hadn't seen dd till yday for 5months and it was bliss!!! I stupidly put him on the birth certificate and so he has parental responsibility and has gained access though a contact centre... obviously supervised!! this started yday, dd didnt even know who he was!!!! I'm gutted.... I'd rather him totally walk away than keep walking in and out of my lil girls like some sort of hurricane!!!! so yea, if the mans useless and causing nothing more than drama... FUCK HIM!!!!! angry now.

SeveredEdMcDunnough Sun 07-Oct-12 08:00:12

I don't know. I am struggling with this at the moment - ds's father came back into his life after many years and when he's with ds, he is usually great. (except the time he turned up very drunk - we stopped him coming round or a few months after that)

This contact is very very controlled though, by him - it tends to be about once every month, at the most. And when I said I'd given ds a phone, he looked really worried that he might ring him up in between. He is seriously afraid of commitment.

Ds thinks he is great and gets very excited about seeing him but then I have to explain in the interim that no, he can't ring up daddy, daddy doesn't like to be bothered, and also that daddy will not be around if/when ds needs him in the future, because that's exactly what he did to his other children and he rarely sees them.

It's horriblewatching ds get so excited knowing he's likely to be let down thoroughly by this man at some point. Ex also has a drinking problem, and so is never very reliable or honest.

I wish sometimes I had never encouraged them to have contact again. I won't be encouraging it with my other child's father as he really doesn't seem to want to know, anyway, and I can't imagine it would be easy.

mopsera Sun 07-Oct-12 17:47:22

thats great to hear, inthenightgarden, thats really encouraging and gives me hope that i can do the same,despite having an arsehole around for the last 4 years. in some ways he 's a good dad, and dd loves seeing him but also has drink problem ( but lectures me about my shopping addiction! at the same time refusing to give me any regular maintenance so all the practical stuff falls down to me !) and has given me so much extra crap to deal with , allcompletely unnecessary drama & irritatingly creates drama or chaos at every opportunity.i can understand ur anger at having moved on to a better place all round he's still got access and rights, but he is always going to be the biological father, and as i realise now, the real father can never truly ' go away' we are tied forever thru dd, though i too want a healthy happy realtionship now, and to move on.

InTheNightGarden Wed 10-Oct-12 14:55:24

mopsera smile hope you manage to sort things out as amicably as possible smile just male sure your happy with any plans that are made smile

Meglet Wed 10-Oct-12 22:38:02

I prefer absent to difficult contact. I put my foot down with XP 3yrs ago and haven't regretted it. It wasn't worth the abuse and missed visits.

DS doesn't miss his father as he remembers what he was like and has never asked for him. DD was only 9 months at the time so I think we will need to talk about it in a year or so. I have never bad-mouthed their father I just say 'daddy was rather grumpy and not very good at being in a family' and so far we are pootling along ok.

Also, I wouldn't want 5yo DS to think it was acceptable to behave like his father did angry. Without such a negative influence I think there's a better chance he will grow up to be a decent bloke.

Shriek Thu 11-Oct-12 00:08:38

Anyone on here being completely slated as a mother by the ex and their partner to the dc, any ideas on how to manage it?

mopsera Thu 11-Oct-12 18:32:21

yes me. i will write when ex not in room

mopsera Thu 11-Oct-12 20:48:40

well, not exactly but dd has had alot of negative crap from dad, like mummy made daddy go away , , mummy has been horrible to daddy so he has to go home etc etc part of the reason i have to get away from him.

mopsera Thu 11-Oct-12 20:50:21

shriek how old is ur dc ? my dd is nrly 3 , so starting to understand things ; cant hide as much!

NicknameTaken Fri 12-Oct-12 09:39:27

Yes. I don't know what the right answer is. I've sent solicitor letters asking him to stop. I've raised it in court proceedings (which were instigated by him). I've explained to DD that Daddy says these things because he's angry at me. I've tried ignoring it. Ultimately I can't stop him, so my job is to help DD to cope with it. Although paying a hitman is tempting

Shriek Fri 12-Oct-12 18:44:19

yes Nickname, I think it is ultimately the only way to go. It is incredibly hard to hear the aggression of her coming from dc (can tell that the words have been planted! - and then there is conflict between us as a result, which I imagine might be a desired result to cause conflict between us, but at the end of the day it is only hurting dc to be caught up in the middle in this way). I have to learn to manage it and help dc to.

Mopsera dc is over 10 and able to 'get' it, but this depth of the motivation behind it, rather than taking it at face value and resenting me as a result and taking out the anger on me. IYSWIM. I feeel I have to be v. careful about saying too much, even on here amongst friends as I feel like i've entered the world of the Jeremy Kyle Show at the moment.

I'm still at the stage of trying to understand the anger and where the boundaries are so that I can be clear with dc about working out this v. complex stuff!!

oh! yeah, hitman, now there's an idea

Shriek Fri 12-Oct-12 18:47:47

ooops ".....the agression of his coming from dc (...."

Shriek Fri 12-Oct-12 19:18:38

in answer to the question I agree, overall almost any contact is better than the child not having contact. Isnt it true that even in abusive situations as long as the child is protected frojm any actual abuse the contact will be 'safely' maintained?

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 !

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.

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 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 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

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.

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! ?!

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.

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.

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???

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...

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

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

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!

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.


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 ;)

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."

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

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.

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.

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

hi yes resources, very important

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 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 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).

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.

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....

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!?

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