When DC's not happy with contact arrangement but one parent won't budge.

(6 Posts)
RinseAndRepeat Thu 12-Sep-13 14:58:38

DSD 6 doesn't really like being at her mum's tbh.

The reason for that is largely because her mum acts like she doesn't really want her there either. It's supposed to be 50:50 but her mum often asks us to have DSD on her weekends and extra days through the week.

As a result DSD's behaviour when she's with her mum is getting worse and worse. Which means her mum ends up looking for excuses to have her less and less.

DPs suggested a couple if times that they change the arrangement so ex has DSD EOW. But she refuses.

DP told me last night that DSD often tells him she hates mummy, that mummy doesn't love her, that her mum is the worst mum in the world, etc.

The ex wants to meet with DP to talk about DSd's behaviour. The thing is, she's fine with us. She just gives her mum a hard time because she's understandably angry with her.

I told DP not to hold back and tell her the truth. DSD's behaviour Wong get better as long as her mum keeps pissing around with contact.

Anyone had any experience of telling the ex that their DC doesn't really want to see them as much?! I feel like it'd be really unfair to ask DSd to say who she'd rather live with. I think it'd be better if DP and his ex could work out a better arrangement so that DSD is not constantly subjected to rejection.

But how would you suggest we get the ex to budge? Would home truths work? The issue of her shirking time with DSD has been pussyfooted around up til now.

RinseAndRepeat Thu 12-Sep-13 14:59:33

*won't get better

theredhen Thu 12-Sep-13 18:00:53

I think if the mum is willing to work with you, then you need to be working on improving the relationship between mother and daughter. If you reduce the contact, dsd will still have to deal with her mother but will have big gaps in between times which might make her fears and upset worse. Inevitably I think she may refuse contact and then you may have a happier little girl on the surface day to day but I think she will not benefit from having no relationship with mum in the long term.

I think if the parenting is just "poor" rather than abusive, you should aim to help mum, and just as importantly help dsd to have a relationship with mum. She may grow up not liking her mum but I think it's important she learns to deal with it as long as she's obviously not in any danger.

Maybe different contact would help? Shorter periods more often?

Xalla Fri 13-Sep-13 06:26:28

My DH has my DSD 50/50. From what we can gather, her behaviour is very different at the two homes and I think it could possibly be somewhat 'normal' for children of blended families to be adjust their behaviour depending on which parent they're with and what kind of behaviours get the desired effect with each parent.

My DSD's Mum has called my DH on several occasions when he could hear DSD ranting and screaming in the background, yelling "I hate you" and other stuff we've honestly never heard when she's been at ours. Mum wanted my DH to intervene and speak to DSD who was clearly hysterical and my DH didn't have a clue what to do as the behaviour was so unfamiliar to him. Mum has tried to call meetings about DSD's 'tantrums' and DH has had to tell her, 'I'm sorry, but we don't have any experience of her having tantrums'. DSD is 7 and she genuinely hasn't had a tantrum that I've witnessed since she was a toddler / pre-schooler.

On the other hand, we have massive problems with DSD being dishonest, manipulative, unkind to her younger siblings / peers and more recently, stealing. Mum says she doesn't witness that kind of behaviour at her house. So DSD is obviously changing her behaviour depending on whichever home she's at. I think she knows tantrums / screaming would just result in her being put on the naughty step / sent to her room at our house whereas I suspect she gets away with the lying and stealing at her Mum's house. Until recently she's also not had any siblings at her Mum's house (Mum had a new baby a couple of months ago) so the things we have big problems with like sharing, being kind etc weren't an issue at Mum's house because all the toys / attention were solely for my DSD.

Personally I suspect this is one of the areas where 50/50 parenting may not be ideal for the child. My DSD moves between two completely different homes with completely different values and expectations and then has to adapt accordingly. I can't imagine that's particularly healthy in the long run...

The other thing I'd say is that in my experience, my DSD has gone through phases of mostly wanting to be with her Dad and phases of mostly wanting to be with her Mum. When she was younger, she wanted to be with her Dad and screamed about going back to Mums, we'd have to literally drop her inside Mum's front door wailing "Daaaaady". I think it was because we did more with her; there was a lot of TV watching at Mums whereas we lived on a farm and were always outside 'doing'. We were also more routine-based and I think that suits younger children. Now my DSD's older and she prefers the TV, fast food and late nights she gets at Mums. She doesn't scream about coming here (she's older now) but recently we've got a lot of "my Mum lets me" and "I wish I was at my Mum's house".

I'm not sure what your contact routine is (DH's is week on / week off) but I agree with theredhen that possibly trying shorter bursts might be better for your DSD; if Mum is struggling she's probably cope better with shorter contact stays.

I also agree that at 6, alienating a little girl from her Mum is probably going to be quite damaging in the long-term.

RinseAndRepeat Fri 13-Sep-13 10:03:51

Thanks both. I agree, from what I've seen 50:50 doesn't seem to work that well in practice even though it looks perfect on paper.

Having to switch between households and rules constantly must be exhausting. I think it's easier to get your head round being in a different place regularly if it's just for a couple of days at a time. But when two places are technically 'your home' I can imagine that neither place really ends up feeling like home.

I just can't see the mum agreeing to reduced contact (in theory anyway - in practice she only has her one weekend a month and two nights a week).

I think a big part of this is getting DP to recognise that just because he gets all this extra time with DSD ANC he's happy, it's not necessarily the best thing for DSD. Her relationship with her mum is really suffering. DP should be insisting that his ex honour her responsibilities IMO. Instead of enabling her to be a shit parent to DSD.

But that feels counter intuitive to him because it would mean turning down extra time with DSD.

Tuckshop Fri 13-Sep-13 11:01:06

The thing is you can't force a parent to be more involved or take more responsibility. He isn't responsible for his ex's relationship with her mum. All he can do us make sure he facilitates as much as possible.

It's a hard one and it really hurts on behalf of the children when you can see the impact of the behaviour of the other parent.

I think there is a place for raising it with the other parent but I think it needs to be done cautiously, as its not an easy thing to hear. I had to raise it with my ex and its taken a few conversations, and treading really carefully. And in my case the issue was also because of his partners behaviour.

I don't know yet if it will change things. It did initially but things son reverted to "normal" so I may well be raising it again. I had to try though for the girls' sake.

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