phones, schools and changing residency

(82 Posts)
stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 06:25:10

DH pays for DSS fancy phone. It was his xmas present, well deserved for being v helpful with our 2 babies. He is tbh pretty rubbish at keeping it on whilst with us. Mostly DH keeps nagging him to keep it charged up and on, but as we are all v busy and doing something his phone is usually in his bag and doesn't come out until Sunday lunch when things get quieter and he gets ready to go.

They have an agreement that as DH pays the bill DSS should reply to DH's texts, his nan's texts and be ready to answer phone twice mid week on set days.

It works well, we had some teething probs a few years ago but DSS sticks by the rules. Except a week in Jan when DH couldn't reach him, so he texted his ex and she said she'd confiscated it. DH started to feel inner rage at not being asked or discussed with first. He does after all pay the bill. He bites his tongue, and replies could she discuss with him first next time.

Then on fri, after a v long day travelling, dSS asks to borrow DH phone so he can text his mum. He does, she replies prob not realising its DH phone at 1130pm she expects him to ring her on sat, with a real shitty sarcy comment and about 20 exclamation marks, and a if you don't you will lose your phone.

DH shows DSS in morning, inner rage boiling again. Its in DH name ffs how can she decide that? Its how DH and family stay in touch! But he does not reply to his ex.

DSS tries 3 times to call his mum and she doesn't answer. He spends all day worrying. She answers eventually in the evening.

If anyone remembers my other threads he lives miles and miles from his school. His phone is how he keeps in touch with his friends and us lot.

Anyway a week ago, The ex asked DH in a really shitty text to pay half of DSS passport so she and her DH could take him on hols. She told DH his half was £60 more expensive than it should be.

After much discussion I told DH not to reply (she likes to get him to engage in weird text battles by sending shitty goady texts like this). So instead DH sent her a cheque for half of the real cost and disengaged.

Now DH and I who have joint finances are thinking if she wants to take away DSS phone as punishment she should pay half the bill. She makes such a song and dance out of billing DH for half of everything. DH says if she does confiscate it again he will deduct half the bill from his CM.

Also it looks like DSS has won a significant part in his school play as has his sister. As he has to wait around for his mum to finish work every night he's obviously doing drama club to fill his time. he got himself a bit worked up about a sunday rehearsal, his mum doesn't know about it. We can take him, but she'd need to get him. DH said after taking DSS to his train that DSS seemed scared of his mum and he wants DH to ask her. He obviously has no idea how unlikely she is to agree to anything DH suggests.

I feel sorry for DSS, DH wanted him to go to a local secondary near his mums but she thought driving him on 2 hour journeys to school and back day in day out was better for him than being a latch key kid. Now he is liking his school and has lots of friends but no social life. His mum asked him after xmas if he wanted to move schools and he said no.

DSS told DH at NY he wanted us to move close to his school so he could live with us and see mum eow. We are going to do this, even if he changes his mind. He is such a good kid, very mature and helpful. He doesn't know about our plans because we don't want the ex to know. She would I fear pull him out of his school and move him near to them. If he stays where he is, he has a good school report and he gets to be near his friends and his elder siblings one who lives FT with his dad and the other 50/50. They always lived FT with mum until she moved. If we moved all his siblings (ours too) would be local to him. The only person he wouldn't be near is mum. BTW she chose to sell fmh instead of her dh home so she could move in with him and not other way around forcing this big move away.

Does anyone have any advice regarding phones and our moving house? Once we move and presuming DSS still wants to live with us how the hell do we achieve that for DSS?

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 06:57:06

Did your DH discuss the 'conditions of use' that he placed on the phone with his DS mum beforehand?

If he bought the phone for his DS independently, and then expected his DS mum to agree to its use in her home, then she's perfectly entitled to place rules on its use in her own home.
My DDs dad bought her a phone without discussing it with me and was furious when I insisted it remained in the kitchen when she was here; but he hadn't discussed it with me and I was not prepared to agree to it at that time.

Your DH and his ex obviously still have a high conflict relationship - but it does sound as if both of them are contributing to that.

NatashaBee Mon 10-Feb-14 07:23:06

I can see why you're fed up. But from the other side... DSD's mother used to pay for her phone and it was bloody annoying not being able to take it away/ impose conditions on her using it/ check her usage. It does sound like part of a bigger issue though.

Well the phone thing is difficult, it is what worked best for to ensure my teenager behaved, her phone was/is always attached to her and she would normally do anything not to lose it. However his mum if she is going to confiscate it should keep it on and let him talk to family when he is supposed to not just his friends, i can imagine my DD would have been thrilled if i wasn't allowed any control of it when she was younger, because her Dad paid for it. Apart from that it sounds like your DSS would prefer to live nearer his friends and as he gets older living so far away from his school is going to get much more problematic.

SavoyCabbage Mon 10-Feb-14 07:57:56

I think that you should remind him to get his phone out of his bag on a Friday night and charge it. I think that giving him a phone that his mother has no control over when she lives with him is unrealistic. It's the obvious way to punish a teen. It's their currency.

Perhaps her 'shitty' text messages to her own son an be read in a different way if you tried. I know when I imessage my daughter it could be read in another way.

Arranging for him to go to another school without telling him and planning to push forward with the plan even if he says he doesn't want to anymore is just awful. He might have just been trying to please you both by saying he would like to move schools as it is clear that you would like him to change. I can see why you think it would be best but it needs to be a move that he is involved with rather than something that happens to him without any control.

Reading what you wrote here, it sounds like you despise his mother so it is likely that this comes across to him even if it's to a far lesser degree. The boy is in a difficult position that is not of his own making. This could perhaps be lessened by saying things like 'get you phone out and charge it, you might want to speak to your mum later'.

No ideas on why she asked for more than the half a passport costs! Even is she was factoring in the overpriced photos.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 07:59:13

DH is not saying she cannot take it away, but he needs her to discuss it with him first. otherwise he is going to be punished twice for not being contactable. She does know that DSS is supposed to contact DH on it, that's why he has it. Otherwise there would be no phone contact.

FlyingBlind Mon 10-Feb-14 08:01:31

I'm guessing that your DSS is a bit older than my DSD's, but when their mum talked about moving away with them we did a bit of digging and found that because DP has parental responsibility Mum can't take the kids out of their school or enroll them in a new one without his permission. We wrote to the school to make sure they knew to notiy DP if mum started making any plans to move them without permission.Worth looking into maybe?

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 08:03:14

btw dss has had a phone paid for by DH for the last 4 years. Its just a fancy new upgrade.

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 08:22:58

The contact that your DH requires is very specific though, isn't it?
He must re

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 08:23:46

He must reply to texts, and be available to answer the phone at set times.

All while he's in his mothers care.

lostdad Mon 10-Feb-14 08:35:22

Phone contact is notoriously difficult to enforce - even if you have a court order. If it IS in a court order judges really don't want to get involved as it is so easy to mess around frustrate contact - i.e. the battery was dead, there was no signal, it was on silent, we didn't hear it, it wasn't me who sent the text message, etc. etc.

In reality I think you may have to bite the bullet here and choose your battles. You're not going to win this one if the ex is determined to cause problems.

With regard to residency though the answer is `it depends'. How old is your DSS? His age is important and the older he is the more determinative is opinion. If he is say 12, 13 or older it's pretty significant and if he is 14 or 15 it's pretty much decisive (although I have assisted with cases where the police have - incorrectly - taken children off parents and taken them to a resident parent). If he IS 14 or 15 there is a good chance that he could simply `vote with his feet' and that will be that (although if that happens expect knocks on the door from the police, dire threats of legal action and the like).

You say `changing residence' in your title too - do you mean residence in a legal sense? It doesn't anything in terms of quantum of contact to be honest. A residence order doesn't actually confer that much and PR is the thing here.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 09:27:03

Obviously if he is being punished by his mum by having the phone removed from him, DH is not going to expect DSS to reply to his texts or phone calls. But unless he knows that is why it is happening then we are going to assume he is not replying.

No offense but that was the condition of having a phone that DH pays for �20 a month. DSS knows this, he is happy, he often calls DH up anyway so there isn't much making him do something he doesn't want to do.

Why would DSS keep asking to renew the contract with upgrades if his dad's condition of contact was not acceptable to him.

He sees his son 2 nights out of 14. I don't think asking for two phone calls a week after school to see how he is getting on at school etc is asking too much. seeing as the ex wife wants DSS to phone him the saturday he is with us, I can't see how its only mums who can stipulate contact with threat of phone removal and not NRPs who pay for the bloody phone!

DH just thinks if the ex wants to demand DSS calls her on his phone then take the phone away as punishment without informing DH, they should split the costs 50/50. FFS we are even agreeing to go halves on a passport for her bloody holiday with him. Are we being so unreasonable?

DSS is 12, he has said 3 times since I have known him that he would like to live with us. At the moment we live in a 2 bed with 3 kids (when DSS is here) we are moving towards his school and hopefully getting a 3rd bedroom. We thought we'd leave it up to DSS to decide what to do as he becomes more independent. We don't have the energy or money to get involved in anymore legal battles I'm afraid. DH has PR they were married.

SavoyCabbage The only person wanting DSS to change schools is his mum. DH wanted him to start secondary local to his mum, as the school he is at now none of his primary friends go too. Now she is asking DSS if he wants to change school. DSS asked if we would move near his school. Also in my OP I said about the phone, Mostly DH keeps nagging him to keep it charged up and on so not really sure what more you think we should do??

DSS is well aware his mum and dad hate each other, his mother is a real bitch who involved DSS in the gritty details of their financial settlement. Told him packs of lies, and likes to get DSS to pass messages on by word of mouth rather than emailling/texting DH. She has also tried to blackmail us, had her DH threaten my DH with physical violence (with police involvement). I can't stand the woman personally, but never have either DH or I talked abouther negatively in front of DSS, and when DSS is here for the holidays we make sure he phones her at least once.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 09:32:25

Lostdad I think DSS wants us to move near his school so he can live with us and not travel 2 hours each way to school and home, and see his mum EOW. I don't understand what you mean by quantum of contact, to be honest DH is of the opinion that DSS is old enough to decide how often he sees us, or where he wants to live. He has no interest in starting a contact war with the ex to try and win as many nights as possible in some silly game. It's DSS life his choice.

I just wondered how you actually organise such a thing if it's what DSS wants to do. Do courts need to be involved if mum disagrees?

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 09:34:30

All that may be true, but your DH has agreed and placed conditions on his DS regarding his conduct and behaviour while he in his mums home. That is unreasonable. it is entirely up to his Mum how his mobile phone is managed when he's in her home. If she chooses to take it away, that is up to her.
If she prevents/forbids contact in any way between your DH and his DS, that is a totally different issue and something that should be dealt with between your DH and his DS Mum. I fully understand why his mum would be pissed off about your DHs handling of this.

Given her past behaviour, and the fact that your DH knows that his ex is unreasonable, why on earth has he given her this ammunition?

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 09:50:09

Sorry Frog, what has DH done wrong? Other than ask her to discuss with him when his phone has been taken away? His mum has known for years that DSS calls DH at about 2030 2 nights a week, I think it was even written in a contract agreement although I dont have it to hand. Sometimes he calls more, sometimes they text each other about football or TV or jokes. Should all that be run past mum for permission? If you dont suddenly hear from your child do you worry? Or should DH just assume mums taken the phone away. Should DH demand his ex doesnt make contact during EOW visits although she texts every night?

lostdad Mon 10-Feb-14 10:07:56

OP - all depends how old he is. If he's 14 or older, etc. and decides he's living with your DH as opposed to his mum it's going to be hard for a court to enforce a decision to the contrary.

How do you organise it if he's decided he wants to live with you?

Well - if he IS old enough (and remember until he's 16 EVERYTHING is up to date) he can move in with you and that's it. His mum, if she fancies her chances can take the matter to court to get an order with regard to residence and contact. If his moving in with you is a change in residence your DH will become the primary carer and can act as such.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 10:21:56

thanks Lostdad

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 10:28:27

mooster Did you DH ever discuss in advance with his DS Mum the provision and purchase of a fancy new smartphone, with the conditions he placed on its use?

Or did he decide that would be what happens unilaterally, with no consideration that in his DS Mums house, things may be different.

My DDs dad did this; bought her a data-enabled smartphone, paid for a contract, and then got arsy with me when I told him that our house rules meant that she couldn't use it in her room and it had to stay in family areas - so there would be no privacy for calls between him and DD using the phone he had supplied. Oh, and I reserve the right to look at her texts/messages at any time. He ranted about how I was blocking contact/interfering until I pointed out that we have a perfectly good landline, which DD can ask to use in the privacy of her own room at any time, and which he can call her in whenever he wants.

Your DH has tried to influence his DS behaviour while he is in his Mums care - that is unreasonable.

purpleroses Mon 10-Feb-14 10:32:47

I think your DH is putting a lot of pressure on DSS if he's threatening to take the phone away from him if doesn't answer it as agreed. Kids have busy lives and poor memories. When he's at his mum's he's engaged in that life - he shouldn't be pressured into always remembering to have his phone on him so his dad can call as agreed. Would be a bit more sympathetic if DSS was never answering texts or calls that his dad make to him but to insist that DSS could be punished for not responding (by having his phone confiscated) is a bit unreasonable.

And asking his mum to discuss taking the phoen off him with your DH first is also unrasonable and controlling of him. She is free to parent her DS in her own house as she likes, without having to consult your DH first. Was she consulted about your DH getting him a phone conditional on him being available to speak at times DH dictates? What if she wants him to be off playing football with his mates at that time, or in the shower? I think she probably sees the phone as an unreasonable imposition into her time with DSS.

Why does you DH need to be in such regular contact? Being a parent is about being there for your children when they need you not about enforcing that the speak to you when they're happy doing someting else. Parents aren't supposed to be the needy ones. His mum shouldn't be insisting on him phoning her either on the day he's with you.

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 10:33:34

...and I often don't hear from my DD during the week she's with her dad, why would I worry? I'll soon know if something has happened. She'll sometimes drop me a text (usually if she's forgotten something) or gives me a call if something exceptional has happened, and I'll drop her little snippets of news by text, but don't expect her to reply unless she wants to.

My DDs dad calls her at set times on set days when she's here - but that's for his benefit, not hers!

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 10:38:31

Frog he had a BlackBerry for 2 years prior his new iPhone. His mum got him a TV and tablet for Xmas so presumably she isn't bothered about internet/screen time. She would be the first to complain about the smartphone if she thought it inappropriate. I don't see why she can't take his TV or tablet from him instead?

No one saying she can't check what he's up to on his mobile, but she doesn't do that although DH does as his name is on the contract.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 10:42:33

Its dh rule he wants to know how school is going, his mum won't tell him. As far as dh is concerned if dss wants to have a fancy iPhone and only stay I'm contact during visits twice a month then dss can have a pay as you go brick from our spare drawer.

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 10:44:31

* I don't see why she can't take his TV or tablet from him instead?*

Because its her home, her son and she can choose to parent him however she considers is most appropriate!
Your DH, and certainly you, have no right to interfer or question her parenting choices - if your DH feels so strongly he can discuss them, mediate, or go to court.

The fact that your DH has withheld information from his DS mum about his welfare regarding his residency/schooling is an indication that your DH, as well as his ex, is still point-scoring rather than putting his DS first.

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 10:48:04

See, this is about what your DH wants (to keep in touch about school etc) not what your DSS wants/needs.

I'm not surprised there is conflict if your DH behaves like this - bribing a child to stay in touch and meet his Dads emotional needs by giving him a fancy phone and threaten to withdraw it if his DS doesn't do what his Dad wants.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 10:51:32

purpleroses please explain how it is OK for the ex to threaten to remove dss phone and yet dh who pays for phone expects dss to phone or answer on set times and is not allowed to follow through with consequences if dss doesn't get In touch for a week, but that's not happened for ages until mum took the phone away. Sometimes dss is tired and will text dh to say so, or they are out and next evening dss will call instead. The only person who has ever taken his phone away is his mum. Who didn't answer the phone the 3 times dss tried to call her on Saturday like she requested.

Beamur Mon 10-Feb-14 10:53:34

Sorry if I've missed you saying how old the DSS is - I think it is relevant to some of these issues.
The phone is a tricky one. I don't think you can enforce the Mum from confiscating it and insisting on contact at set times on set days when your DSS is there is a bit odd - is it because he would not be allowed to contact his Dad, or that your DSS wants to speak to his Dad at that times? If your DH is insisting on this and not the other way round he is being unreasonable. The needs of the children are what are important, not the adults in these situations.
My SC's have always been allowed to contact either parent if at the others house, so having control of this thankfully has not been an issue for us. But we don't expect to hear from the kids regularly when they're at their Mums unless there is something they needed or wanted to talk about - it wouldn't be unusual not to hear from them. It can be unsettling for kids at one parents house to be contacted needlessly by the other. Irritating for the parent too to have their ex hanging around in some form or other too.
Whilst I can see the benefit to your DSS in having a home nearer school, I think if you simply move and then announce your intentions for DSS to be resident with you and see Mum eow it is going to cause such a row. Despite the obvious acrimony in this relationship, could some way to discuss your intentions to move nearer the school and how you could support your DSS more by doing that be considered? I'd leave out the issue of residency for now.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 11:04:58

Frog you are wrong DSS had the choice at xmas to have a pay as you go and have the contract money as pocket money instead so he could do what he wants. He is 12 now at secondary school, DH wants to give him more autonomy. DSS decided he wanted the Iphone for xmas, DH said yes but with the same rules as before. No way is DH letting DSS have a smartphone for the amount they cost a month and never bloody hear from DSS. I'm sorry its a lot of money and I don't see why children should not be brought up to respect parents/grandparents who want to hear from their children/grandchildren. I was made to speak to my long distant relatives once a week on a Sunday it's no different. So what if DSS is meeting the emotional needs of his nan and dad, sometimes the emotional needs of others need to be thought about.

As I have said numerous times now, DSS usually is in contact more often than requested. He is asked to reply to his nan because she is worried and hardly sees him.


No his mum does not know about our move yet, because we have not found a buyer, because we have not found a mortgage, because we have not found a new home, because we don't know how long that takes, because we don't know if DSS will change his mind. And then when we have moved and settled and if DSS wants to live with us we will cross that bridge when we get to it. I am seeking general advice at this stage.

and we did 18 months ago via solicitor inform his ex that we were going to move once finances permits to a location that would make contact easier. So yes we will move near his school so that he can come to ours after school friday and go to school on a monday. We are not planning on doing anything to change contact only DSS. No f**king way am I consulting that woman on when/where we move to. We will let her know once we have exchanged, but it's none of her business.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 11:06:16

*meant to say nan is a worrier, and misses her grandson.

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 11:10:14

So what if DSS is meeting the emotional needs of his nan and dad, sometimes the emotional needs of others need to be thought about.

Its well documented that coercing a child into meeting the emotional needs of their parent is abusive. I'm not surprised his Mum is hostile if that is the way you and your DH behave.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 11:11:16

Beamur it came about that when DH was kicked out of the FMH he could not speak to his son who was only 7. They agreed via solicitor to contact on set days. I imagine that when DSS turned 8 that's why he got a phone, so DH did not have to ask his mum all the time for the phone. Now DSS is 12 and in yr 7, tbh I don't think DH has had to remind DSS about contact for months and months, certainly can't remember it being an issue until his mum took his phone away.

DSS is a strong willed character I am sure he would tell his dad if he thought his speak to me twice a week rule was too much for him. And you know I think DH would even say fair enough son, we'll cut it back if that was too much for DSS. But clearly it isnt.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 11:15:43

seriously Frog you are barking up the wrong tree. We are not paying for a flipping phone so DH can never reach DSS on it. But for the umpteenth time, the only reason the phone was confiscated is because his mum couldnt contact him on it.

I've got to be honest with you, I suffered abuse by my mother and it wasnt by being made to speak to relatives on the phone. To suggest that a dad who pays a lot of money for a phone for his son, who agrees to the condition to stay in contact twice a week so he can have the latest all singing/dancing model to impresss his friends with as child abuse is pretty f**king ridiculous.

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 11:27:36

So why is your solution, which is to dock pocket money because dad can't reach his son by phone, acceptable, but his Mums solution, to confiscate the phone if she can't get in touch, is unreasonable?

Does your DS Mum have a landline? How did your DH keep in touch when his DS was younger (before he had a mobile phone)? How long are the periods between contact? Does your DH have an independent relationship with his DS school? Why can't he receive regular (and more accurate) updates directly, rather than relying on his DS to make contact on schedule?

I can't get away from the fact that your DH believes it is OK to gift his son a highly desirable electronic device for Xmas, on the proviso that it is used to meet your DHs emotional needs. And that you think that is ok.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 11:42:14

Because taking away a phone impacts on whether his family can keep in touch. We do not have their landline and I doubt the ex would prefer dh ringing him up on it. As I have already said before its not that she can't confiscate but she needs to let dh know first. And if she wants to stipulate dss contact her on his phone why can't dh suggest they go 50/50 on the bill.

Clearly both dss parents think it acceptable to request dss contacts them on his phone at set times. You may disagree with their parenting choice, but its not abusive.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 11:47:08

Its dss choice though, he doesn't have to have one.

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 11:47:31

Has your DH asked his DS mum for the landline number? Do you know that his mum won't allow it?

I call my DD on her mobile sometimes - doesn't mean I agree with her Dads expectations regarding its use.

If you make little things like this such a battle, then the important things, like schooling, will inevitably end up in court as its going to be impossible for either of them to compromise.

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 11:49:48

Right. His choice.

"Here you are son, you can have this highly desirable, top-of-the-range smartphone with a contract that will make you the envy of your friends - on the condition that you use it to meet my needs, when I tell you to, even if that pisses your mother off"

Yeah, some choice.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 11:52:34

Contact is 2/14 and 2 phone call in the week. Its in the contract agreement fgs. Dh is in contact with hoy. But likes to ask dss how was maths etc, what you learning? We get a report but its just grades, everything else from school takes weeks to get. Do you never ask your child how was school today? Or do nrp not have that luxury?

Beamur Mon 10-Feb-14 11:56:25

Ok, fair enough, this arrangement suits you guys. I'll make no further comments on that.
What about looking at this another way, the confiscation of the phone is really an issue about contact, not possessions and you all still have quite a high conflict situation here.
What did your DSS do in order to warrant the confiscation of his phone? Maybe it also needs to be suggested to him that he needs to consider the wider effects of misbehaving (assuming it was reasonable for his Mum to discipline him) and that the phone issue causes bad feeling for all parties.
The other thing that occurs to me, is that if Mum is spoiling for a spat, then you are also playing into her hands by allowing the phone/contact to be so incendiary. I can understand wanting more frequent contact with a 7yr old, but maybe the frequency of that contact, if it were interrupted (by a situation that was your DSS's fault) for a 12 yr old should be less of a big deal. By allowing this to be so important you are creating something that the other party (Mum) can use to get at you as well as punish her son.
In simple terms, perhaps I'm saying pick your battles and is this really worth the aggro?

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 12:02:07

My DD is 50:50 - and, as I've already said, on her weeks with Dad, we often have no contact - and if we do, it is casual, as-hoc, not prescriptive!

I'll send a text - "how was your English test?" And if she wants to, she'll reply by text or a call - sometimes straight away, sometimes a couple if days later, sometimes not at all. She'll text/ring spontaneously sometimes - but sometimes not.

Your DSS knows that his Dad gave him the phone, and is willing to pay the contract, only for as long as he does things Dads way. If he doesn't, he loses pocket money, or is given a PAYG old phone, rather than the gift that his Dad chose for him. How must he feel about his dad, knowing that? All DCs are programmed to seek their parents approval.....

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 12:05:46

FROG It was actually like this:

DSS: Dad can I have an Iphone for xmas
DH: No you have a blackberry and the contract has not expired and besides I thought we were going pay as you go as you are 12 now you can manage your money/credit yourself?
DSS: Vodafone will upgrade for �4 pcm extra if we upgrade for xmas, PURLEEEEEAAASSE
DH: Well let me think about it.

2 weeks later

DSS: Dad can I have an Iphone for Xmas? PURLEEEAAASSSE!!!
DH: Ok I've thought about it, you've been good with the little ones, but you got to keep replying to nan and I still want to talk to you in the week to see how you are getting on. And if you run up any silly app charges it will be deducted from pocket money too. Dont forget it's in my name, I want to see what you're looking at on the internet. Dont go sending pictures of yourself naked etc etc.
DSS: Woohoo I am getting an Iphone for xmas!!

immediately posts on Facebook for all his friends to see - I'm getting an Iphone for xmas.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 12:07:25

Mum confiscated the phone because DSS did not call her on it!

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 12:12:22

Beamur DH has not said anything to ex other than can we discuss phone confiscation so i know if I dont hear from him. All other fumings have been between ourselves. DH does explain to dss he needs to contact his mum when she asks.

I just think its a cheek to try and extort �60 out of us for a childs passport which cost �46 on the pretense of it being 50/50 cost so they can take him abroad. yet we pay all of his phone bill.

OwlCapone Mon 10-Feb-14 12:13:43

Your DH sounds like a controlling arse TBH. He wants to control how the mother parents when in her own home. That is completely unreasonable.

purpleroses Mon 10-Feb-14 12:25:56

purpleroses please explain how it is OK for the ex to threaten to remove dss phone and yet dh who pays for phone expects dss to phone or answer on set times and is not allowed to follow through with consequences if dss doesn't get In touch for a week

Confiscating a phone is a perfectly reasonable punishment if a child is either misusing the phone or has done something wrong (eg been skyping late a night, not getting back at agreed time, skiving off school, etc)

But I don't think it's right to confiscate a phone - or to inflict any kind of punishment at all - for not answering a phone it at agreed times, I think is OTT and unreasonable for a 12 year old and does nothing to support him as he grows up.

You haven't said why DSS's mum confiscated his phone - so I can't really comment on whether that was a reasonable thing to have punished a child for.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 12:28:59

Purpleroses Mum confiscated the phone because DSS did not call her on it!

purpleroses Mon 10-Feb-14 12:30:03

OK - well she's as bad as your DH then!!

Poor DSS - can't they both just leave him alone to enjoy his time with whatever parent he's with? confused

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 12:30:14

so no one would expect the heads up from the other parent if a phone has been confiscated? thats controlling behaviour. wow.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 12:35:06

but dh has never confiscated the phone...

purpleroses Mon 10-Feb-14 12:36:26

I think their best way forward might be to try and come to some sort of truce where neither expect DSS to contact them when he's with the other parent, but both of them can confiscate the phone if they want during their own time with him.

What would be nice would be if they can move to an arrangement where DSS freely texts or calls either parent whenever he feels like it - without any pressure - and doesn't get made to feel guilty or at risk of losing his phone if he doesn't happen to feel like it.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 12:40:16

i think some time ago DH worked how much it cost him a day for the phone contract and if dss did not have a good reason for not being in touch and yes enjoying time with mum is a good reason, he would warn dss, please call me or why havent you called me, then if nothing back by next night he'd text you know the rules having a fancy phone is a privelege earned....

I dont know if DH has ever deducted said amount from pocket money usually the threat is enough.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 12:45:21

thanks purpleroses that is a good suggestion. I will put it to DH, I think he may agree to that. I think the passport thing has pissed us right off, and the fact we pay for his phone outright.
I think this is a situation you find yourself in when you have a formal contact agreement that includes phoning times.

Kaluki Mon 10-Feb-14 12:48:26

Oh my goodness! Your DH and his ex sound just like my DP and his ex. These poor kids sad
Telephone contact between a child and their NR parent should be ad hoc as and when either party feels the need to call (obviously within sensible times). It isn't right for a parent to issue punishments when a child doesn't speak to them. Do you know how horrible it is for a child to be told they have to speak to their mum or dad at a set time? It takes all the pleasure out of it.
My DP has to call his dc at the same time every night and is allowed 5 minutes max per child. It is the most stilted unnatural conversation and it makes me cringe to hear it. They have two phones - one to call their mum and one to call their dad. DSS had his 'dad' phone confiscated for trying to text his dad outside of the allotted time and now he has been bought a third phone to take to school and call his friends with his dad's number blocked so no 'unallowed contact can be made.
I shudder to think how these poor children will grow up caught in between the very people who should be putting their needs first and not using them as weapons in a never ending battle.

purpleroses Mon 10-Feb-14 12:50:52

I guess it is - but buying him a phone himself when there's a lot of conflict over phoning times seems to have resulted in poor DSS being dragged into a lot of the conflict. Whereas there is the potential for having a mobile (plus being a bit older and more independent) paving the way to a more relaxed schedule where there is less contact between visits, but that's OK. Does DSS use facebook or email much? They can be great ways of helping him keep in touch but in a way that fits in with his life.

Agree that a phone can be considered a privalege, but it ought to be conditional on basic standards of behaviour that you expect of DSS (helping with chores, doing homework, etc) rather than on something that impacts on his time with his other parent - and that she can choose to sabotage his ability to fulfil what DH has asked of him.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 12:55:04

Ive spoken to dh in the beginning the ex wanted dh to bugger off so she could install new dad at home. The new guy decided to threaten DH when he went to the front door of his own home to collect his son. Postcards, letters etc were all binned and dss never saw them. So DH saw a solicitor and got this agreement about phone contact at set times, along with 2/14 nights. He got dss a phone cos thats how the other father contacted the other children and the ex didnt want dh ringing her, in fact she got her solicitor to demand he didnt and get dss a phone instead.

That is how we are here today.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 13:22:40

To me it seems like DSS is getting older and its him who doesn't like the contact agreement that was set up for him on his behalf by his parents. I shall speak to DH, see what he thinks about relaxing the twice weekly phone contact, to a you contact when you want rule.

I can see what you are saying now, but I don't think DH is going to like the phone being confiscated from DSS by his mum without being pre-warned.

titchy Mon 10-Feb-14 13:37:30

If your dh doesn't like the fact that his ex can confiscate a present he bought his ds, then frankly he shouldn't have bought it.

If his ex bought their son something you and your dh considered inappropriate (a knife maybe) and dss brought it to your house I'd guess your dh would want to be able to confiscate it.

purpleroses Mon 10-Feb-14 13:43:36

I don't think there's really much he can do about her confiscating it though - no matter how much it annoys him.
But if you think she might be choosing to confiscate the phone specifically to obstruct your DH's agreed contact times then you might make her less likely to do that if they become more informal.
You might also want to be open to the possibility that she hasn't actually confiscated it as often as DSS claims - but that DSS uses that as a convenient excuse for when he's forgotten to charge it or have it on him.

theredhen Mon 10-Feb-14 13:43:46

So what's people's opinions of when the kids swear blind that mum hasn't confiscated or stopped them using their phones but they still don't answer calls or texts.

Do we give them a consequence for being disrespectful or just leave it?

The phones are on contract and we can see they regularly phone and text mum when at ours, which we are (mostly) happy with.

We can't ask their mum about what happens at her house, as she won't speak to us hmm

purpleroses Mon 10-Feb-14 13:52:51

I would be inclined to leave it tbh redhen - certainly for the pre-teens/younger teens. Either they're forgetful/don't have it with them or they find the texts/calls annoying or awkward - maybe because their mum disapproves. But I can't see what you gain either way by putting pressure on them to reply. I'd just text or phone less often if it doesn't appear wanted. That's surely how you'd like to teach them to respond to a friend who was ignoring their efforts at contact - to back off a bit rather than pleed or threaten consequences for lack of replies?

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 13:55:05

theredhen If they can txt/ring, but don't, then it's not something they need, is it?

Once they get old enough to initiate (or not) contact between visits, I'd leave them to it - drop them a txt, pic message or similar now and again to let them know you're thinking of them, and if they respond, then great - if not, and you have no reason to believe they are being prevented, then I'd leave it, tbh.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 14:25:38

clearly it seems that some parents feel that when a child does not reply to their texts/calls it is disrespectful. I see it this way too. I was made to stay in touch with relatives but at the same time I got to speak to my friends for hours on the landline (pre-mobile) and probably at some cost. I think it teaches children to respect other people's feelings and to ignore texts/calls is quite rude. And you know what I am glad I did because I forged a relationship with those relatives that lasted into adulthood and regular contact became a pleasure and not a chore. Its right up there with writing thank you notes for presents etc. No one is saying they should reply immediately within 5 minutes or even on the same day but to not reply, especially when in our case dad and nan give DSS a lot of money/treats etc I don't think it's too much of a hardship.

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 14:40:39

Thing is, if one parent expects their DC to stay in touch out of respect, but the other parent doesn't share that view, then the DCs contact out of duty can be very intrusive in family life.

I would never, ever stop my DD speaking to her Dad whenever she wants to, but his calls to her, at a set time on set days, ARE intrusive. I have to plan mealtime to ensure we're not at the table when he calls, I can't spontaneously suggest a shopping trip because "Dads going to call", and heaven forbid someone else should be using the phone at the time the call is due.

All this, because he thinks these calls are important. I disagree - but it's our family life that is disrupted. This isn't something that my DD benefits from, only her Dad does.

You are lucky that your DSS is old enough to make these calls himself. Would you penalise him if he was too young to make them himself and his Mum refused to prioritise helping him to call relatives?

anklebitersmum Mon 10-Feb-14 14:44:36

Maybe you need to step back and look at the situation from the outside.

You are not entitled to dictate how she chooses to parent in her own home. Frustrating? Yes. Can you do anything about it? No.

DSS has a phone which he clearly loves and that, like it or not, makes it a very easy 'disciplinary item' while at his Mum's-especially when she knows that he'll be in trouble from your side too so whatever poor behaviour led to it's confiscation gets a double punishment.

I think that your DH needs to have a calm, reasoned chat with his ex and ask that she notify him if DSS has had said phone taken-not least because if DSS is in trouble then surely Mum would want Dad to support her actions as opposed to usurp them?

On the contact front while phone is off-limits either Dad and DSS use Mum's landline for the call OR the phone needs to handed to DSS for the duration of the contact call. Which, if it's a genuine discipline issue surely won't be a problem as it fulfills the order, reinforces her authority in her own home and shows a united parental front.

Tell DSS that Dad's talking to Mum with view to a new plan and perhaps suggest to DSS that if he can't behave long enough to keep his phone for a week then maybe he's not old enough to have such a nice item just yet.

Might be that while the adults are being cross about the phone his behaviour, or lack there-of, is being overlooked and that's no accident wink

purpleroses Mon 10-Feb-14 15:13:49

I'm not sure it's quite the same as being made to stay in contact with other relatives though is it?
I might make my DC speak to granny on the phone once in a while or write them a thank you note but it's nothing like the scale of what's expected of your DSS. I couldn't imagine telling them they must respond to granny phoning them several times a week.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 15:55:02

Frog but both parents expect contact during each other's time. That is why the phone was confiscated by the ex. She told DH herself in a text. Just because you don't like that parenting style does not make it wrong for DH and his ex, they actually seem to agree on something, which is rare!

Your comment if he was too young is irrelevant because the stipulation he call came about when he turned 10 or 11 (can't remember which one) when DH said to DSS he could call at the time convenient to DSS or text him to say he was busy or ok, rather than DH call him rigidly at 8pm or whatever on those days.

DH expects his son to text his nan back when she sends him a 'how are you' texts once in a while. That's something he is probably more strict on.

As I've said I don't think DH would really have an issue moving contact to more adhoc as DSS is older. Its just evolved that way from the contact arrangement and past circumstances.

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 16:15:53

I've learnt from bitter experience that just because separated parents both seem to want the same thing, it doesn't mean that one will facilitate the DCs doing the very thing that they expect the other parent to facilitate.

Anyway, how do you know that your DPs exs motives for contact are the same as yours? She may want them to call not out of duty, or because she needs that emotionally, but for some other belief - maybe she doesn't want them to fall asleep without hearing her voice? She may think your DHs calls are a waste of time because he asks about school, and you may think that her reasons are ridiculous.

The reality is that phone calls have been a high-conflict issue in the past, and a compromise had been reached before Xmas. Your DPs choice to disrupt that by providing a new phone, and reiterating the rules for its use has disrupted that compromise - and now your DSS is caught up in the middle, being punished/threatened with punishment by both households.

stepmooster Mon 10-Feb-14 16:47:45

In all due respect you don't know this The reality is that phone calls have been a high-conflict issue in the past, and a compromise had been reached before Xmas. Your DPs choice to disrupt that by providing a new phone, and reiterating the rules for its use has disrupted that compromise - and now your DSS is caught up in the middle, being punished/threatened with punishment by both households

We are talking about conflict at the time of separation, we are talking about a child who is getting older and who is rebelling against contacting his mum during time with us and she is taking the phone away from him. This has nothing to do with Iphone, what DH has an issue with is not being made aware of the phone being confiscated. He isn't going to punish DSS if the phone has been confiscated because that is ridiculous.

If DSS did not want to contact DH twice or week, or in fact more than that if there is a game on or something, then he is not incapable of telling DH so. DH is not going to bully him into it, a compromise would be reached, but you can bet you DH wont be buying him fancy phones anymore.

DSS is a cocky so-and-so he isn't shy in airing his opinions and if this was really causing him grief he would say so.

Frogbyanothername Mon 10-Feb-14 16:54:53

stepmooster Your last post paints a very different picture from your first; but hey, I get the feeling you just wanted to sound off, so I'm sorry for getting involved.

purpleroses Mon 10-Feb-14 18:58:50

The arrangement for phone contact during the other parent's time may be something that your DH and his ex agreed on but it doesn't sound as if DSS himself has had much of a say.

The contact arrangements are supposed to be set up for his benefit so why don't your DH and his ex ask DSS what he would like in terms of phone contact?

Tuckshop Tue 11-Feb-14 11:16:38

It does come across to me as if your dp is trying to control his ex. She can do what she likes with sanctions in her own home. I wouldn't take a blind bit of notice of xh trying to tell me that I had to inform him before I dealt out a sanction! Even if it were that something he'd bought dd were confiscated.

What I don't get is why your dp doesn't just ring his son if he wants to keep in contact with him and know how he's getting on.

I'm afraid he does come across as wanting to tell everyone what to do then getting "inner rage" when they don't. Seems a rather disproportionate reaction to what's going to me.

stepmooster Thu 13-Feb-14 19:37:46

Not been back to read this in a while. Seems still some people who can't read this he thread properly. Although dh does ask dss to call him twice a week on set evenings at a time convenient to dss, his mum does exactly the same.

So if my dh is a controlling bastard then so is the ex, and people need to stop applying what happens in their lives to how these 2 parents have agreed how and when telephone contact takes place. The 3 of them have got used to it, bit like those children who follow access rotas to the letter. Even dh is not that strict, he has told dss he can come to ours as much or little as he likes, that a social life is important. Though I suspect he would still want to speak to dss on the phone twice a week.

If dss has a problem with this arrangement and yes not shy or afraid to challenge his father, I'm sure the twice weekly calls would cease, but dh won't be paying a monthly phone bill for an expensive smartphone.

purpleroses Thu 13-Feb-14 19:39:49

If your DSS was happy about phoning his dad so regularly why did he need bribing with an expensive smartphone?

stepmooster Thu 13-Feb-14 20:02:53

Err he didn't. Its been going on for 4 years. When he had the old phone dh told dss he wanted him to go pay as you go and use pocket money to buy his own credit and be in control of his own phone useage. Dss wanted dh to buy him an iPhone for Xmas extending the contract. Dh said he'd think about it and agreed but dss still had to reply to his nan and phone dad.

Its not bribing, its acknowledging that you don't get something for nothing. Dad isn't here to buy him a constant stream of techno gadgets. If phoning is a chore it comes with a reward. Dh did not intend for dss to have an iPhone for Xmas but dss worked on him for it.

Frogbyanothername Thu 13-Feb-14 20:11:24

So has the sanction (of having pocket money docked by Dad) for not making those calls always been in place - or has that been put in place since the iPhone purchase?

stepmooster Thu 13-Feb-14 21:32:57

Yes Frog, always. Although DH has never actually had to use it. The mere mention at the next time he's here is usually enough I.e. You didn't call me, and you didn't answer the phone. Remember what we said...

I don't understand how its important for children to see nrps on a regular basis, yet when distance prevents this being more often than desired, such as is in our case telephone contact is not seen as important? I know families schedule in skype calls why is getting dss to telephone any different?

We go to a lot of effort to include dss in everything we do and take the time to show interest in his schooling and after school activities. Dh is in contact with the school, but I get the impression dss enjoys his dad asking him questions and sounding enthusiastic and supportive. Its much better having this telephone contact, it makes things easier when he comes over. A lot can happen in a fortnight, and its easy for both to forget to mention stuff. When there has been no contact (holidays) it feels like we have to start afresh and get dss to open up again.

I wouldn't knock regular telephone contact, even if its scheduled. It works for us, in our circumstance of having a rather difficult ex who doesn't want to communicate with DH.

The only issue we had was paying for a phone, which the ex wants to get dss to phone her on, that she wants to confiscate. We don't mind this, just think she should split it 50/50. Its her 'thing' to ask for 50 of everything, so why can't we?

Frogbyanothername Fri 14-Feb-14 07:12:32

I wouldn't knock regular telephone contact, even if its scheduled

Threatening a sanction if a DC doesn't maintain contact is not scheduled, it's coerced.

stepmooster Fri 14-Feb-14 08:13:16

Well that's your opinion, clearly both dss parents feel differently on the matter and he is their child, and they know him better than anyone im going to respect their parenting decision.

The issue is not that the ex can take the phone away its whether she should contribute to its cost. Seeing as she expects dss to call her on it as well.

stepmooster Fri 14-Feb-14 08:16:23

And the twice weekly phone calls are part of the contact arrangement. Except instead of dh calling dss at 8pm on the button, dss and dh decided it would be better now dss is older if dss called dh on those evenings at a time convenient to him. So they are scheduled and always have been but take into account dss might have something else he'd rather do at 8pm.

purpleroses Fri 14-Feb-14 08:30:27

Can't DSS phone his dad on his mum's landline if he's had his phone confiscated? Or does she actively prevent him?

Dumpylump Fri 14-Feb-14 08:31:00

I have read the whole thread, although its a wee bit confusing in thing I would say is this though - if your dh bought the iPhone for his son as a Christmas present (whether that was because he bowed to pressure from his son or not) he cannot retrospectively ask his ex to pay towards it now. If he thought they should go 50/50 on it, because you consider that fairer, then it should have been discussed and agreed before the phone was ever given to his son.

stepmooster Fri 14-Feb-14 09:22:52

Purpleroses I am not sure. We shall have to ask DSS when he is next here.

Dumpylump You know I think you are right, as much as it is very annoying. I think that when the contract is due to expire DH needs to discuss with the ex whether she is happy to go 50/50 or let DSS have pay as you go which he can put his own money towards.

purpleroses Fri 14-Feb-14 10:03:49

When his contract expires you should shop around a bit - I've managed to get myself a sim only deal with unlimited data, and quite a lot of calls and texts (more than I'd use) for £5 a month, which is a lot less money. I bought a cheap smartphone for £104 which is brilliant.

I'd pay for a cheap contract and then expect DSS to put the money up for a fancy phone - or use birthday money, etc. Then there's less room for resentment over who's phone it is.

And yes definitely worth checking whether it really is the confiscated phone that prevents DSS contacting his dad, or whether that might just be a convenient excuse for forgetting.

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