Communication book(17 Posts)
Hi all, do any of you have any experience with a communication/contact book.
Background: DP has recently been to court and now has a standard CAO, EOW, 1/2 hols etc. Had lots of problems in the run up and we haven't seen DSD (6) for over 6 months due to ExW deliberately withholding contact and basically turning our lovely DSD against DP. CAFCASS and court saw straight through her lies and false accusations and awarded us exactly what we requested. Contact begins next week on a gradual basis.
We've been advised to use a contact/communication book. I've googled and nothing is available. Was thinking of getting a big diary to note things in between ex and DP, and also which we can maybe decorate with DSD to show what we've done on our weekends with her. Has anyone had any luck with this. We can see it being very one sided as Ex actually changed her mobile number to avoid being contacted by us about seeing DSD. Do they work? Any advice would be really helpful.
I would see a communication book more as a dsd had a temperature today , calpol given at blah rather than a scrap book of what things you have done.
If Mum is hostile I would keep it very factual and to the point.
Fab thank you. I think we will get a seperate scrapbook for DSD. She's going to find this whole situation very difficult as Ex won't be encouraging her and has already persuaded her that she doesn't want to see her father at all. Think a seperate scrapbook would help her remember that she does have fun and always had with us.
Will get a small diary for contact with her mum.
My DH did this for several years when DSD was little. He did it by email every handover day and so did DSD's DM. It was basically an A4 template with sections for Health (e.g. last had Calpol at 08:00hrs, is on antibiotics for an ear infection etc), Behaviour (had a tantrum after school, seemed tired, so put her to bed half an hour earlier etc), School (has done homework, needs £1 for Comic Relief on Thursday etc), Contact (changes to schedule either wanted to make, pick up places / times etc) & Misc (have you got her pink trainers at yours, party invite in her school bag etc).
It worked well actually. Also meant everything was written down and saved in emails so there couldn't be any accusations of either parent forgetting to mention something.
If your DSD can read I'd definitely recommending doing this kind of thing by email rather than a book that goes between each house with the child.
Picking up on Romeo's point about EW discouraging her DD from visiting....why do people do this? Why would you use your DC as a weapon against your EX? I just don't get it, and I don't care who was at fault/who left who/who had an affair....you should want to make your DC's life as easy and comfortable as possible, in circumstances they didn't ask for, and are not of their making!
OK, rant over!!!!
widgin - I agree up to a point, the children are not a weapon. However, there are many different scenarios.
I spent 2 yrs, saying yeah Daddy time isn't it great, go and enjoy - to have two withdrawn unhappy kids return because of the situation and emotional abuse they suffered in their home.
I now say nothing and neither encourage or discourage, when they say can we go and see Dad, I say yes but as the time draws closer - all the bad things they know will happen whilst they are there are remembered and they now back out.
If I stop contact I am damned, if Do not encourage it I am damned, if I discourage it I am damned. I would just like my DCs to be happy in their fathers home.
We had a contact book, just a note book with info as mentioned above.If it's hostile with the ex then keep it factual.As dsd gets older she will be able to read it.
We also went to court and like you judge was very straightforward and awarded contact. The ex was furious and told dsd that she had been bullied in court. I hope it doesn't happen for you but we were totally unprepared for her lies and the affect on dsd.Th ex is always the victim despite her being the only one in court who was aggressive!
Just going back to motivations for stopping contact.Firstly the ex had a new husband and other children so DH didn't fit into the picture of her family life.She hated having to consider him in planning weekends.
Secondly she was desperately insecure about dsd and felt DH was loved more by dsd and lastly as her 2nd marriage crumpled she was very unhappy and lashed out at DH (and others as we later found out) by holding back on contact.She would argue over everything (ranting emails or calls late into the evening) and we learnt not to engage.That was very hard but was absolutely the right strategy.
Widgin - I couldn't agree more. It's horrific what some people do to their children. We worked so hard against the rubbish ex filled her head with. She would be a be upset when we collected but as soon as she was in the car with her little sister (our DD) she was a different child. The problems Ex had quoted have been witnessed by a grand total of 0 people other than her. We have regular contact with school etc. Can inifinite its going to be a long slog now especially after so long.
DSD loved spending time with us, had her one weekend, had a lovely weekend...then never saw her again. All blamed on DSD not wanting to see us. Who knows what's been said but we are not expecting this to be easy. Just wish ex could actually talk to DP. We just want to be able to email her instead of a old fashioned book, which rightly said, can be easily read by DSD.
Newname We don't have any doubts we will be back in court. Sad really. As that's money could be spent on the girls.
A scrapbook sounds like a really good idea as something personal for DSD!
We've had something similar, contact stopped for absolutely no reason for 3 months, DSD was told her daddy didnt want to see her and had moved country (live 10 mins down the road and was desperately applying for enforcement/ CAO) and some other really nasty, upsetting things were recorded by SS, luckily it was noted that they believed it wasn't coming from the child but the mother.
When contact started again we have had to deal with DSD being upset at pick up but going back to 'normal' when in the car but still suffering quite severe anxiety over trivial things. all the things she used to love doing with us (playing hairdressers, certain activities, going certain places) she didnt want to do any more. We eventually found out it was because 'mummy doesnt like me doing that'.
She would also constantly say that she had more fun with mummy and then ask us why? You could see her poor little brain working it all out, mummy says that I have more fun with her and I dont like doing this activity, when I do this activity I really like it and have fun, mummy doesnt do this activity with me... We would just say 'You have fun with both mummy and daddy and you do different things with both of us'
I understand it is hard for the RP to be 'fun' all the time and it is easier for the NRP to do more treat things and raise their game.
Im now thinking that if we had a scrapbook it might help remind her of all the fun things she does with us. Would you do it every weekend or when you do something particularly special (ie. keep it only for treat days and not just when you go to the park/bake cakes/paint etc) This would be something purely for DSD and not something that would be going back and forth across both houses.
1ofthosedays - The scrapbook would just stay with us. And I think we would let her read it in the car each week as we pick her up. I think we would do it every weekend. We tend to do something significant each weekend we have her anyway as we found she didn't worry about "mummy being sad because I'm not there" if she was busy.
Our cafcass report stated DSD not wanting to see daddy was her opinion not her mothers. But after 6m of her Mum telling her lies, it probably is her opinion poor thing.
We are jus so happy that judge saw through it all, awarded us exactly what we wanted and contact starts next week but know it's going to be a long slog. Want to make it as easy as possible for DSD.
I've also bought a "worry eater" on recommendation from a friend from Amazon. It's a teddy with a zip, and she can place her "worries" inside it and the teddy will "eat them" (ie we can get them out and address them without her knowing". I've also got some books to do with the whole situation and worries for her to read. DP is terrified for next week but hoping as soon as she realises daddy isn't angry at her as she's been told she will be absolutely fine and she can see her little sister.
We did find court useful as the ex was keen to stay the right side of the law but it's the emotional manipulation that she used with SD that was so unexpected.An example, she described court as her being bullied by dh, literally describing physical restraints until she was forced to agree.Sd told us later that she knew her dad wouldn't do that but why would her mum lie?
Very hard to explain to a young child as we don't understand it either!
The contact order worked well for us, as it reduced the need for discussion however when the ex had an affair and went off with a friend's husband she started to mess us around so we prepared to go back to court.Interestingly the ex is now a step mum herself and has a very hard time herself.
RomeoDone can you recommend the books please?
DSD is only 4 but we are currently in court proceedings and are expecting more trouble. DSD has already said that 'mummy's judge decides who she gets to see'. Drives us crazy as we try and tell her that 'mummy and daddy make the decisions about DSD'
Why on earth would you talk about court/judge with your 4 yo!! No matter how nasty the proceedings get, you should protect your child from all of that, even if you disagree with the decision (imo)
A 'worry eater' sounds really good as well, although as DSD is 4 she wouldn't be able to physically write down her worries. Could help with the anxiety? We dont know how to put her mind at ease with things like swimming lessons/dance lessons etc, Mummy says that she cant go but she enjoys going! She doesnt want to bring home certificates, badges, medals to her mum to show off her accomplishments in these areas because mummy doesnt like her going.
(she doesnt do any extra activities like these with her DM, even though DP has offered to pay and help with lifts)
Also RomeoDone I would recommend that once contact starts again and DSD seems settled with your family again, inviting SS/CAFCASS to visit and observe contact. This is what helped with our case, contact was started during proceedings and although the initial report said that DSD was saying that she didnt want to see her DF, the SW gave oral evidence after observing contact that she believes the child was coached and influenced by her DM.
DP was persistent and very stubborn when talking to SS to arrange a visit. SW mentioned how much more relaxed DSD was with him then with DM (probably because she hadnt been told what she could/couldnt say)
This is the Worry Eater doll. My friend who recommended it only has a young child (I think she is 4 too). He gets her to draw pictures instead of writing and they can try and interpret them and address them in a child friendly way. They swap the pictures for sweeties so she sees it as a good thing.
The books I've got are Mum and Dad Glue and Huge bag of worries. Hoping they will help reiterate what we are saying to her.
DPs first meet is supervised via cafcass then the rest is all unsupervised. Which we are glad about as CAFCASS will be able to see hopefully she is absolutely fine with her Dad.
All the best with the restarting of contact Romeo I hope it only gets better for your family from here on in.
Just wanted to say thank you for the book recommendations and the worry doll link. DSD who started school last month is a real worrier about things so maybe these could help her too. Its worth a try at least
Not a problem at all! Hope they help too. I know the worry doll works really well with my friends DD. They've been able to work through a lot of problems caused by her DM through it.
Fingers crossed for everyone having contact/worry problems.
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