ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.

phone calls EVERY Night?

(54 Posts)

we have week on week off residency for DSD (8). We've had this arrangement for over 3 years now and DSD seems happy. When DH and his ex seperated, they would call each other every night so DSD could speak to whichever parent she wasn't with. DSD was 2.8 at this point.

recently DSD has said thaty she doesn't really want/need to call her Mum every night she's here. Not sure if she's said the same about us, but if she has that's no problem. Her mum called and got really ranty at me (DH was out) last week when DSD had left a message on her home phone, but had refused to call her Mum on the mobile. I got an earful that it wasn't my place to stop her from calling her hmm

anyway, DH suggested to her that maybe DSD should call when she wants to (both us and her Mum) but a minimum of 2x a week. Her Mum reacted really badly and accused DH of trying to take DSD away from her. Obviously the daily calls will continue for now, but does anyone have any ideas? Are daily calls the norm?

wannabestressfree Fri 09-Mar-12 12:39:48

I started off like that but slowly watered it down. I think to start with its to compensate the fact that if they still lived together you would of course see/speak to them everyday. I don't think what your DSD has said is unreasonable and now I talk to my boys every few days if they are with their dad for the week and not at all at the weekend.

At the end of the day I trust him, he is their father and I know he wouldn't stop them ringing if they wanted to. Maybe have set days. Every other to begin with. As for her mum the reaction could be for a variety of reasons, maybe give her time to think things over and be seen to be doing the same - tell dsd you will ring/ speak in a couple of days.

Hope this helps. Its a minefield I know. And I speak as the mum in this scenario. Sometimes i am a bit frosty to my ex and partner over things they suggest but I generally come round.

TobyLerone Fri 09-Mar-12 12:44:32

I think it's difficult.

My XH insists on the DC calling him every night he doesn't see them. They seem happy to, but it really bugs me! And I think that there will come a time when they just don't want to call him every night. I don't ever ask them to call me when they're with their dad. But if I thought that they had wanted to and that it had been made difficult for them to do so, I'd give him/his partner an earful too.

I think your stepdaughter is old enough that if she doesn't want to call her mum every night, she should tell her. You and DH don't really need to be involved any further than that.

it is an odd thing, her Mum absolutely insists (according to DSD) that she calls us every night. I'm happy to let DSD take the lead on it, but if her Mum barks at her the way she did me, I can understand why DSD might not have the conversation with her. We'll back off then. I think we were going to anyway tbh. Compared to the other issues we/DSD need to resolve this is teeny.

TobyLerone Fri 09-Mar-12 12:58:37

Keeping out of it is probably the best way. At least then her mum can't blame you/DH for it.

There's nothing that pisses me off more than XH/his partner trying to control what my children do with relation to me. If it's something the children genuinely want, then of course I'll agree to it. If it's something I feel forced into by XH, or that it seems that XH has had a controlling influence on, I'm inclined to dig my heels in.

true. Would it be ok to tell DSD that she can call her Mum whenever she likes and leave it with her? I am just aware that we will receive angry texts and calls if she doesn't call.

TobyLerone Fri 09-Mar-12 13:28:41

It's hard to put myself in this situation as I'm not a step-parent. But considering how I might react as the mum, that would be ok with me.

I'd suggest that your DH has a word with her mum, and tells her that it has been made very clear to DSD that she can call her mum any time she wants to. I also think that it might be an idea to tell her that DSD shouldn't be guilt-tripped into calling, or made to feel bad if she doesn't call. He could tell her that you/he will ask DSD every evening whether she wants to call, but that you won't force her to. And he probably ought to tell her that angry texts will be ignored and angry calls will be terminated. I wouldn't allow my XH to speak to my DP like crap.

I know what it's like to have a controlling ex like DSD's mum. And I also know how difficult it is to adjust to another woman having a hand in bringing up my children, and how hard it is to quell my need to control what happens in their house WRT my children.

You're in a difficult situation, OP!

Toby believe me this is small stuff! Thanks for your fantastic advice. Perspective is a wonderful thing smile

BOMsback Fri 09-Mar-12 13:39:50

We started with daily calls from DD to my ex and myself (when she was old enough to talk anyway!) but at around 3/4 she started to get irratable around call time and at 4 years old she articulated that when she doesn't call she forgets about missing the other parent but when she hears their voice she feels sad and it spoils her day. So my ex and I told her she could just call when she wanted to instead. She will generally call her dad once in the week (only sees him on a Weds) and once over every other weekend for both of us. She doesn't call me on a Wednesday when she's with her Dad.

I think that's fairly normal.

DSD (12) never calls her dad unless she needs something. It's always been that same since he and her mother seperated 5/6 years ago. He calls her maybe once a week (she was with us for half the week anyway until a few months back) Her mother has always called about 2 or 3 times a day when DSD is with us. Frankly I think it is a huge factor in her ploy to disregard and disrespect DSD and DH's relationship. She would call constantly and talk about what she was doing, how long it was before they saw each other again, how much they missed each other, giggle and shreak over private "in" jokes. A half hour long conversation that starts at DSD's bedtime is a regular thing.
On the other hand, she will NEVER answer the phone to DSD if she calls her. Because Mummy needs a rest.. hmm

Anyway, my story may not be that relevant and I went off on a bit of a tangent but in short - no, daily calls aren't necessary. Unless it works for the child in which case, great.

Sounds like Mum needs to focus a bit more on what is right for her child rather than herself. I think we all need a bit of a reminder about this at times - particularly when we are happy with the status quo and it changes.

BOMsback Fri 09-Mar-12 13:42:46

And if the mother continues to force her to call you - just make it a short conversation!

BOMsback Fri 09-Mar-12 13:47:04

Why can't people just behave like adults???!?!!!!!!!

Well that's another thing with the calls to Mum, they only seem to talk about what Mum has done/is doing and what they will be doing when she goes back/that she has a surprise for her when she gets back etc. I've never said anything but DH said to me after DSD mentioned reducing calls that they never talk about what DSD has been doing. Sad really.

BOM your story is VERY relevant and similar smile

Well in our case, DH is evil and controlling and I am (and I quote) a stupid bitch to put up with him and pathetic for trying to steal my daughter hmm

TobyLerone Fri 09-Mar-12 14:03:24

You can't underestimate what their (your DH and his XW's) relationship was like when they were together, though. For all you know, he may well have been controlling towards her and therefore she might think you're stupid for putting up with him.

I know for certain that while my XH was physically and emotionally abusive and controlling when we were married, he denies it all now and the entire blame for us splitting up rests with me. He's told his new partner (and his family, all of our mutual friends and the children angry) a completely fabricated story about us splitting, which makes him out to be hard done-by and the wronged party and me to be the evil bitch.

Knowing what he's really like, I can't help but think that his new partner is stupid for being with him, but I'd never voice as much to her or anyone else. She probably doesn't even know that there was even a mention of him being the way he was to me. I do think she must be a bit stupid for seeing the way he treats me now (ie the same as when we were married, apart from the hitting) and for alarm bells not to be ringing for her. But I think she just enjoys watching it and colluding with him, tbh.

Anyway, it's easy to underestimate her emotional issues with your DH. I'm not suggesting he was anything other than a wonderful husband, but you only know his side of the story.

Or maybe I'm projecting grin

BOMsback Fri 09-Mar-12 14:13:26

Ha! I love that these people think we would want their children - enough problems with our own grin

I am fortunate that my ex puts DD's happiness first so when she articulated exactly why she wasn't happy with the calls we both immediately wanted what was best for our child a foreign concept to some.

BOMsback Fri 09-Mar-12 14:15:40

Toby that's why we have to think of what is best for the children... If the child is saying they don't need to call mum and dad every day and it is making them sad, Wiping out any emotion to do with whether or not the husband was controlling or not, what is the best thing to do in that circumstance FOR THE CHILD?

I agree Toby, DH has admitted that he treated her badly at times. He has apologised to her, outlining all the things he is aware he did wrong and has offered to listen/read any other issues she wanted to raise. No response.

I know myself that he isn't perfect and when he gets stressed he gets nitpicky and tries to control

THINGS around him. It would be nice though if she
could accept that she perhaps could have acted better at times too. DH knows that she had an affair with one of his colleagues, even after they divorced she still wouldn't admit it, hey ho

Perhaps she is having trouble accepting that DSD doesn't NEED to talk to her everyday?

BOMsback Fri 09-Mar-12 14:20:29

Yes, I think that is the case particularly if she has made her daughter the centre of her universe. It's hard for all of us to let go of our children as they become more independant and even harder for those of us with children sharing their time with the other parent - but you have to just grow up and deal with it for the sake of your children.

hattifattner Fri 09-Mar-12 14:27:01

Maybe she should buy DD a cheapy PAYG phone, or even a tesco 7.50 contract, and then she can call her whenever she likes without you having to be a middleman.

If your DD is anything like my kids....they'll lose the phone, leave it off charge, put it on silent.....

But then its not your responsibility.

TobyLerone Fri 09-Mar-12 14:28:51

If the child is saying they don't need to call mum and dad every day and it is making them sad, Wiping out any emotion to do with whether or not the husband was controlling or not, what is the best thing to do in that circumstance FOR THE CHILD?

That is exactly what I have said all along.

I only really posted the last stuff as it's possible that MsInga (sorry for talking about you like you're not here!) hadn't been able to empathise with the mum. It's such a hard situation for everyone to be in, and sometimes it's easy for separated parents to get too wrapped up in resentment and one-upmanship and forget what is actually important.

And I absolutely agree that it must be very hard for her to accept that DSD doesn't need/want to talk to her every day any more. It also sounds exactly like your DSD's mum is the same, BOM, reading this:

She would call constantly and talk about what she was doing, how long it was before they saw each other again, how much they missed each other, giggle and shreak over private "in" jokes.

Perhaps she just feels like she needs to stay 'connected' to her DD while she's not with her. God knows I've had to stop myself from doing the same sometimes. The feeling that our children are having fun with someone we dislike intensely is so hard to deal with.

Jodie33 Fri 09-Mar-12 14:29:54

sometimes kids dnt want to talk on the phone at all! (depending how old they are!)

My DS lives with me and goes to his daddys 1 wknd every fortnight. his dad insists he speaks to him as 2wks is a long time. fair enough. He rings on set days tues n thurs every wk.

I think thats enough. Sometimes they wouldnt have much to say if talking everyday. but when its left to every couple of days the conversation is more interesting nand they have things to tell each other.

NotaDisneyMum Fri 09-Mar-12 15:01:54

I would never, ever recommend that a DSC is given a mobile phone for maintaining contact with a parent - especially a parent who has given any indication that they expect/need the DC to remain in contact to a schedule of the parents choosing.

The pressure on the child to reply to texts, respond to calls, and keep their parent 'up to date' with events can cause untold emotional damage to the child and split the fragile blended family environment that the DC is a part of sad

We have had problems with phone contact with all the DCs. With DSD and her mum a mobile was used to actively alienate her while she was with DP, DSS was so anxious about calls from her that he started intercepting every call assuming it was her, and my DD is expected to keep in contact with her Dad to a military-style schedule; it got to thesaurus where timechecks via txt were involved !!!!!!

For young children, a set schedule arranged between the parents may be necessary to ensure that the parent being called is available - but after that, adhoc calls, child led and encouraged by the parent the child is with, seem the most appropriate to meet the needs of the child. Sadly, in many cases, calls seem to be about the needs of the parent sad

BOMsback Fri 09-Mar-12 15:06:21

Toby you are so right. It is really hard. But most of us do it anyway (you and I for example).

BOMsback Fri 09-Mar-12 15:07:53

Ha NADM - is your autocorrect playing up? thesaurus ? wink

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now