Phonecalls to DC's when they are with the other parent

(18 Posts)
balia Tue 06-Nov-12 18:14:40

Hope no-one minds if I ask the same question here and on the LP board, as I'm trying to get a range of views/opinions. DH is currently going through a court process and isn't sure what would be considered a reasonable amount of phonecalls (this would be to DSS's mum when he is with us).

What do people think about phone contact when DC's are with the other parent? What kind of arrangements have people got? Does it/should it change with age? Also is there a difference between phone contact on an ordinary weekend and say a holiday abroad?

Mutt Tue 06-Nov-12 18:19:07

Surely the DC and their Mum can decide between them when they want to speak to each other?

Or if they're very little I'd expect once a day and more if DCs want to call and speak to her.

Latemates Tue 06-Nov-12 18:33:12

I think the children should be able to phone either parent at any time they wish within reason (ie not if they havent got their own way with other parent or not in the middle of a meal).
I dont think a child should be stopped from phoning if they want to.

However, it is common that a child can feel guilty or torn to phone a parent when they would rather be having fan with their other parent. I do not think either parent should make the child feel guilty for having fun or get sad if the child doesn't want to speak or go on about how much they miss them. phone calls should be lighthearted and support the childs relationship with both parents and not be used as a way to interrupt the childs time with the othe parent.

I think it depends on individual circumstances but once every few days unless child led should be ok.

On holiday signals can be more difficult and routines can change to fit the holiday and activities. so maybe less contact over the holiday would be ok. but again depends on the children.

purpleroses Tue 06-Nov-12 19:06:01

I've always allowed mine to ring their dad if they ask, and I'm sure he lets them ring me too, but they rarely do (and have been going overnight to him 2 nights a week since v young).

I've I'm away from them for more than the usual couple of nights I like to ring them - I miss them and like to hear how they are, and my ex is OK about me ringing every couple of days when they're away with him. But even then, it's rare that they actually ask to ring me, and often don't particularly want to talk to me when I ring. It's for my benefit really.

DP's kids almost never ring or are rung by either parent when they're with the other, unless there's some practical issue to sort out.

Genearlly I think if kids are happy where they are, they get on with things and don't think a lot about the parent they're not with. If the parent phones up too often then they're more likely to miss them. But if one parent is really anxious and finding it hard to be away from their child, it is nice to let them have some communication, possibly by text or something letting them know all is well.

purpleroses Tue 06-Nov-12 19:09:50

And to answer your other question - personally I do find it really hard when my DCs are abroad without me. Quite irrational as I'm sure their dad looks after them fine, but the distance just does make it hard. So I do ask him to at least text me each day to say they are well. It's not a big ask really, and he's OK about it (barring difficulties with lack of mobile signal, etc) I wouldn't ask this on a normal weekend.

balia Tue 06-Nov-12 19:55:32

I think the ideal situation would be just as you describe, Mutt. DSS and his Mum both have mobile phones, DSS is 10, so plenty old enough to take charge of when he rings/wants to talk to his Mum etc. To us that would be fairly normal. I think the reassuring texts would be a great idea, too, Purpleroses, DSS could do that himself, but there is an issue with texting to do with MH issues.

When DH first went to court to get contact, he agreed to facilitate calls twice a day to allay ex's 'anxiety'. This has been done faithfully for 8 years. But DSS is now 10, and it is really intrusive (she insists on exact times so often interrupts meals/trips out etc, she is often out and not answering mobile so he has to wait and keep trying etc). Obviously we want DSS to be able to talk to his Mum when he wants, but this isn't really about his needs.

Cafcass have recommended the calls be cut to once a day, and ex has kicked off massively. DH doesn't want her to have unnecessary stress, but then again, the calls are often upsetting for DSS, and he feels guilty about wanting to spend time with Dad.

It does seem, then, that twice a day is a bit excessive given the experiences people have related here.

Mutt Tue 06-Nov-12 21:11:19

That sounds ridiculous - insisting on two times a day even if it means your/his plans are disrupted.

Contact should always be about what is in the child's interests (with consideration of other parent's feelings of course as in the case of purpleroses' examples when she asks for reasonable reassurance that everything is ok).

Your DSS's Mum's demands seem to be all about her wants.

Once a day is a very reasonable compromise for her to call DSS, with DSS being able to contact her as and when he likes. As for her stipulating times of calls, I'd suggest you text her on the day, giving a time when it will be convenient to you for her to call him (give an hour's window for the sake of being reasonable) and if she decides to miss it there's nothing to stop her texting and checking he's ok later on.

Sounds like she needs to be careful - all this enforced contact could have a really negative impact on the poor kid. He'll either run for the hills as soon as he's old enough or spend his adult years trying to appease his demanding mother (in which case I pity his future wife).

pinguthepenguin Tue 06-Nov-12 21:24:43

On the flip side, my ex is incredibly hostile to telephone contact whilst my dd is with him. I was allowed to speak to her only twice in 15 days this summer. He doesn't call when he agrees to ( dd is only 5) and then refuses to help dd maintain the call with me, ie tell me what she has been up to/chat. Its very very hardsad

Twice a day is extreme. I have asked for every other day and I do ask for it to be a specific time ( near bedtime) because ex is very controlling and has me staring at the phone all day. I cannot wait until dd is free to speak to me whenever she wants.
I understand you don't want this level of intrusion into your lives though.

Morien Tue 06-Nov-12 21:28:32

My DP makes a point of never calling his DCs when they're at their mum's; I know he'd like to speak to them sometimes but he prefers just to let them get on with being with their mum. If he absolutely has to call his ex (rare) he'll ask to speak to his DCs once he's dealt with the reason for the call but it's always brief - they tend to sound quite uncomfortable.

DSCs are with us EOW, and their mum used to call DP sometimes for the flimsiest of reasons and then ask for DSS - usually at the weekend when I guess she was missing them more. This stopped about 6 months ago when DP's ex bought a mobile for DSD, then 7 (we felt she was a bit young but that's another issue). DSD never calls her mum on it - I just don't think it would occur to her - but her mum tends to call her at weekends, and poor DSD sounds just as uncomfortable as she does when DP speaks to her at her mum's. DP doesn't call DSD on her mobile. I think her mum texts her regularly when she's with us and I imagine she replies, but we just let her get on with it. (I feel affronted on behalf of DSS (4) and DSD (3) that their mum never seems to want to talk to them!)

sausagesandwich34 Tue 06-Nov-12 21:36:35

my ex never rings when the dcs are with me (he's more than welcome to) and the dcs don't ask

I get moaned at if I don't ring them alternate days when they are with me

he tells them to ring me sometimes when he has them if they get a swimming badge etc, but he gets them t ring me when I am working and can't take the call -which he knows, so they then get upset so I have explained to them now about only ringing in the day if it's an emergency

they understand that

colditz Tue 06-Nov-12 21:38:21

I'm happy with phone contact but it never happens.

NotaDisneyMum Tue 06-Nov-12 21:52:41

morien Having seen the level of sabotage that regular texts from the RP can do to the relationship between DCs and their NRP, I strongly suggest you put house rules in place that limit phone use by your 7 year old DSD.
My DSD was left conflicted, tearful, angry and ultimately alienated by the texts she received from her Mum while with DP - telling her how much she missed her, how it wasn't for long, how DSD should try and make the best of it and how sorry she was they DSD had to spend time with her Dad angry
Had DP known what was going on sooner, he would have limited DSD's mobile phone (that her mum supplied) use to family areas of the house, rather than allow unlimited access at all times if day and night.

I often say that it was the mobile phone that robbed DSD of 2 years relationship with her Dad sad

anklebitersmum Wed 07-Nov-12 12:40:11

I don't 'get' this once or twice a day phone call routine. Especially when they are older (5+).

If the child wants to call then that should be facilitated but why do RP's need to phone daily? That's not for the child, that's for them in my opinion hmm although I should probably point out that we have been where Notadisneymum has been with emotional bullying guilt calls.

If DSS wants to phone his Mum while he's here he can and on the flipside when DS has gone to his Dad's in the past I haven't called him. He's with his Dad, what's the problem? None and if there is he, or his Dad will call me.

If the NRP was ringing the RP twice daily, 7 days a week to speak to their child that that would be an issue for RP?

Kaluki Wed 07-Nov-12 13:21:02

Be wary of court ordered phone calls!
My DP' court order states one phone call to be made at the same time every night.
These calls are painful to hear - it is not a natural conversation it is forced. The kids don't hardly speak as they know their Mum is listening and DP ends up more upset then if he hadnt made the call! He often hears his dc calling their mums bf 'dad' in the background which I am sure she engineers.
When they are with us and she calls she tells them what toys she has bought them for when they get back which makes them look forward to going home.
The calls take place at the same time every night so whatever we are doing at 7pm everything stops for THE PHONE CALL!!!
My own dc have always been able to call their dad whenever they like and he can call them too.
I agree the phone calls should be for the dc not for the adults to play mind games!

SD rings when she wants to, usually to ask to record a tv programme or just say hi for a few minutes in the half the week the scs arent here. same if she wants to ring her mum when her and ss are here. they can if she wants to but dont frequently ask too.

balia Wed 07-Nov-12 15:35:49

So would people think it was reasonable for us to say that we will facilitate DSS phoning his Mum when he wants to, at least once a day? I'm so used to the control of DSS's mum over everything that seems like dizzying freedom!

Morien Wed 07-Nov-12 16:24:00

NADM ah, interesting. I have to confess that I was half hoping someone would react on what I said about the texting. I said we turn a blind eye but I don't like it at all. DSD sometimes shows me the texts she gets, not as bad as what you're talking about, but still verging on the manipulative IMO - about how much mummy loves her and how it's only 2 more days till they're together again, etc. It's hard because part of me thinks it's perfectly normal for a mother to tell her child how much she loves her and that she's looking forward to see...but the bells have been ringing in my head nevertheless. I think it might be time to implement your idea of confining phone use to communal areas - thanks.

Cloverhoney Thu 08-Nov-12 06:51:24

My DSD6 tends to call her parents if she spends more than about 5 nights away from either of them. She never asks - it's more of an informal arrangement that my DH has with her Mum. If either of them has DSD for longer than about 5 nights in a row, they will encourage her to call the other parent. Usually she's far too engrossed in whatever she's doing or too distracted by what her siblings are doing for the phone calls to last long - never more than 5 minutes!

My DSD's ex did the whole "how much do you miss me?", "how much do you love me", "I love you more than anything", "only 4 sleeps until we're together" stuff and DSD quite clearly found it awkward. She'd call Mum excited to tell her what she'd been up to only to be interrupted with "are you missing me?". She got quite upset by it this summer when she literally hadn't got a word in edgeways on one phone call and my DH ended up raising the issue with his ex, told her she was being selfish etc. It's better now.

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