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to feel I'm wasting my time being a good parent because exH is the opposite?

(39 Posts)
PuffyPigeon Sun 23-Mar-14 21:52:44

Dd is 7, exH and I have been separated since I was pregnant. Since September we arranged he'd collect dd from school on her weekends with him. He does so but doesn't do homework, spellings or reading book, nor empty or clean her lunch bag. Her spelling test is on Mondays and she gets 6/6 when she's been with me and usually 2/6 when she's been with him. Simple homework which would usually take 5 mins takes up to 45 because she is whingey and sulky about having to do it on a Sunday evening. She cries if I say we won't do it as she doesn't want to be the odd one out at school.

Every time he's returned her he's forgotten at least one thing - like her school shoes or coat - and sometimes her entire uniform. It's too expensive to have double everything.

I emailed him a couple of months ago now asking him to ensure he returns all belongings, empties and cleans lunchbox (it's had to be replaced a few times as he leaves it to congeal in hot car) and does homework etc. I also Pointed out that dd is becoming overweight and could he please watch what she eats there, without making her conscious of the fact. She mentioned a few times that she helps herself from his cupboards, had eaten a multipack of crisps etc.

Since then he's taken to weighing her on the Friday, telling her she's lost weight then allowing her to eat what she likes for 'a treat.' Today she had a fry up for breakfast, crisps and chocolate mid-morning, a large adult meal with milkshake from McDonalds for lunch and cake and fizzy drink before returning. Every day she's with him is similar. Cue tonight her refusing a meal she'd usually enjoy because it's too healthy and crashing and being unable to do her homework because of all the sugar. I know the next few days will be filled with her whining for food because she's been so full over the weekend and tbh, I'm thoroughly fed up of doing all the hard work for him to undo it, to the detriment of dd.

He thinks that because he only has her eow her eating won't impact her weight if she eats healthily when with me. He doesn't get that he's teaching her awful food habits, not to mention the fact that he lets her watch tv/play computer games the majority of the time to the point where she's so lazy that even getting her to walk to school is a battle.

Aibu to feel that every good thing I do for dd is undermined by him and that theres nothing I can do about it?

EverythingsDozy Sun 23-Mar-14 21:59:57

You are doing a good job! She NEEDS you to be a good parent if he is lousy!
Your title asks if you are wasting your time being a good parent but just think of the alternative. You become just as useless as him and your DD suffers? I know you don't want that!
I know it's frustrating and I know you will keep telling XH all the things you do and he will ignore. Some people don't ever change.
I think perhaps explaining to your DD why you do what you do. She is getting to the age where she should be old enough to understand.

deakymom Sun 23-Mar-14 22:05:03

agreed you need to talk to your dd explain everything and see where it takes you really what else can you do? you have spoken to the immature one it has achieved nothing really......the only other though i have is get a doctor/school nurse onside with a "helpful" note to him detailing the foods she can eat? (maybe too much?)

Pinkcustardpurplecustard Sun 23-Mar-14 22:30:47

I wouldn't worry about trying to do homework with a 7 year old. Maybe at a push she could write the spellings out once the morning of the test as they will then be fresh in her memory. You can talk to the school and explain that her homework won't be done when with ex.

I don't think you can have much say about her lack of excersise with her Dad. You can make up for this midweek.

The food is really a worry issue though. I would ask your ex not to weigh her as she will get a food complex if he carries on. He is setting her up with a tricky relationship with food as an adult - over eating junk, obsessively weighing herself and yoyoing weight wise. She is not going to thank him in the long term and will lay the blame for her eating problems at his feet. He's playing Disney dad now but she will see through it.

Things you can do. Educate your DD about food. Find some child friendly documentaries about food - the benefits of a healthy diet and what sugar/salt/bad fats do to a persons body long term. Help her understand that one treat a day with dad is enough. Concentrate on being healthy and not weight.

Involve the health visitor or school nurse. Give her/him a list of what DD is eating and let the HV talk to your ex.

Find some factual information on the net (or leaflets) and give them to him to read

I think you need to choose your battles and just work on the food problem.

Pinkcustardpurplecustard Sun 23-Mar-14 22:31:42

Send her with a packed lunch maybe? You really shouldn't have to but it is an option.

Pinkcustardpurplecustard Sun 23-Mar-14 22:40:57

You could ask DD specifically to have a healthy option when he takes her to McDonald's. Look at the menu on line with her and discuss the pros and cons of the food and drinks available. Maybe she could try different healthy options over a number of weeks.

The fry up could possibly be ok depending on what's involved and how it's cooked.

The cake, fizzy drink, milkshake, crisps are all rubbish. Can you ask her to choose one treat only. Maybe send her with some fruit and healthy nice treats. Or one of those fruit lolly makers so she can make and freeze her own treats.

It's such a shame he's so irresponsible and irrational.

joanofarchitrave Sun 23-Mar-14 22:43:27

I'd agree about doing the homework in the morning before school when she isn't so tired.

I'd actually advise gritting your teeth and backing off about the food. It sounds as if your ex is deliberately ramping up the 'unsuitable' foods he is providing in response to your comments, which is just beyond childish but suggests that the less you say about it, the sooner things will settle again.

I think your dd desperately needs you to be the 'bad cop' here, which I get really angry about but I think you are going to have to. It is going to have to be you that pins a smile on your face and gives her small portions of healthy food without saying anything but 'mmm sounds great' when she says what she has been eating at your x's. You are going to have to keep chivvying her to walk to school and play football with her (or find someone to play with her). Could you buy a tiny trampoline, or a really cheap bike? Because it sounds as if your xh will promptly buy a HUGE trampoline and a mountain bike, to outdo you.

PuffyPigeon Sun 23-Mar-14 22:49:42

Dd won't make healthy choices for herself. He makes her feel she's 'deprived' here. He is overweight himself so you'd think he'd want to avoid dd being the same. Dd is tired on a Monday morning as she has no routine at his so homework and spellings then is still impossible. She gets upset if she doesn't do well in her spellings so gets upset if I say we don't have time and gets upset if I say we must do them - I can't win.

She does exercise here but doesn't enjoy it like she used to because being bigger makes her feel unfit. I've explained how much sugar/salt is in what he gets her at McDs, she doesn't care.

Purplepoodle Sun 23-Mar-14 22:57:05

Just keep doing what your doing. You cant control her dad just minimise the damage. Could u get dd to change when she gets to her dads and put shoes/uniform all in one bag. What about some for of activity on a sat/sun like swimming lessons, dance class, football so she has to do some activity on her dads weekends.

PuffyPigeon Sun 23-Mar-14 23:01:30

Tried that. He won't take her to any activities or let me do so at weekends. Was considering saying he can collect dd on a Sat morning instead so I can ensure she has everything she needs and homework etc done ready for Monday. Plus that reduces one meal of junk food.

Loopylouu Mon 24-Mar-14 06:49:18

Jesus, this is my ex husband and my son down to a tee.

No advice as I have never been able to stop it. It drives me insane. Ds comes back from fri to sun EOW visits looking visably fatter and when he has him half the holidays he comes back at least a stone heavier (he was with exh for three weeks last summer holidays and came back almost two stone heavier and none of his school clothes fit.

Consequently, when ds is with me, the fun is sucked out if everything . No ice cream at the park, no odd treat of a pizza out somwhere, all normal things families do as I am constantly on a damage limitation over ds weight.

He will do no homework either, which means I end up in a battle at 8pm every other Sunday night.

It's a horrible situation and I really feel for you.

Jinty64 Mon 24-Mar-14 07:25:17

If you can agree that he should collect her on a Saturday morning that would solve quite a lot of your problems.

I really think he needs to stop weighing her. That is certainly not doing her any good.

If he insists on having her from school on the Friday then could you meet them at the school gates to collect her things. Could you have a word with her teacher and explain about the homework. You could ask if you could have it given out on the Thursday giving you time to do it before the weekend. If you can't meet them could she have a school lunch every other Friday or take her packed lunch in a disposable bag.

You shouldn't have to do these things but I doubt he will change. I think you just have to remain her advocate and keep things as healthy as you can when she is with you.

JohnnyBarthes Mon 24-Mar-14 07:35:25

2 stones in 3 weeks? shock

Loopylouu Mon 24-Mar-14 07:43:58


Ds gains wieght very fast (as do I if I don't control things) especially when fed crap constantly. His fathers idea of a healthy meal is a huge plate of pasta, sauce and cheese larger than an adult potion. Add into that lots if McDonalds and other junk and ds gains weight fast, epecially as he has a very healthy diet here with me. Now he's 11 and starting to hit puberty it's worse.

When he came home from his three weeks with ex dh last summer, he couldn't pull his normal jeans that he was wearing before he left over his knees.

A weekend away will sometimes see a 5lb wight gain.

Took him to be weighed at the dr the day before he left and the day he got back as ex h is trying to blame me for wight gain. It was 4lbs shy of 2 stone.

His father is morbidly obese.

PuffyPigeon Mon 24-Mar-14 13:28:31

Snap Loopy, dds dad is morbidly obese too. I hate having to say no to anything unhealthy all the time, I think it should be everything in moderation but if I'm giving her moderate amounts and he's giving her tons that equals a very overweight dd. However I feel like me making her eat healthily makes her crave the junk more and stuff herself even more so when she's there.

Jinty he won't agree to changing it to Saturday collection but contact isn't court ordered so technically I can change it. If he then takes me to court I could ask the judge to make it a condition of the order that he does homework with her, returns all belongings and hopefully watches her diet as it's impacting her health.

TeenAndTween Mon 24-Mar-14 13:44:52

Homework: Ask the school to extend the time they allow for homework in general. eg set on Wed to be in on Mon. Then at least you can ensure it gets done. There will be other parents having similar issues, but if no one mentions it to the school it won't get sorted.

Missing Items: Any chance he can collect her from your house 1 hr after school finishes on Fri? Then she can be changed into casual clothes etc (and even maybe have done HW?).

Lunch box. Maybe have school dinners on a Fri?

Loopylouu Mon 24-Mar-14 13:48:02

puffy it's so hard, isn't it?

I'd love to take ds for a cake after school occasionally, or treat him to an ice cream at the park, or have the odd takeaway but I can't. He does crave shit as he doesn't get it here, but what can I do?

His father just won't listen to any criticism.

PuffyPigeon Mon 24-Mar-14 13:52:23

She has SN so standing out is a big deal for her hence not wanting school dinners or different rules for homework. Yes he could collect her from me instead of school and will take that step if he 'forgets' everything again but he won't be happy and would probably take me to court over it. It seems ridiculous that I have to have my day dictated by collecting dd from school just to get her changed because her father is apparently incapable.

PuffyPigeon Mon 24-Mar-14 13:54:59

Loopy it really is. Can practically see her salivating when other kids have treats and feel rubbish that she can't have any on my watch. I think her father thinks food is a route he can use to get dd to live there in a fewuyears and the way she craves junk I worry that it'll work.

IslaValargeone Mon 24-Mar-14 13:57:13

loopy 2 stones in 3 weeks?
That's nearly 90,000 extra calories.
Has your GP done any tests on your ds?

DoJo Mon 24-Mar-14 13:57:46

Just want to echo others that it is even more important for you to carry on being a great parent to counteract the poor messages your ex is giving to your daughter.

I know it seems like a thankless task, that you don't get any of the fun because you are limiting the damage he is doing, that you are always having to be the strict one etc, but your daughter will thank you for it in the long run and you have to stay firm for her sake.

I wish you the best - I think you need to carry on re-enforcing good habits and modelling healthy behaviour when your daughter is with you and focus on the fact that she will be learning most from you. Her dad may be fun, but she is getting to an age where she will realise that life isn't all about doing what you want to so you will reap the rewards of your influence.

Loopylouu Mon 24-Mar-14 14:03:08

isla he lost it fairly quickly as it was mainly due to bloating from a the carbs. I can easily gain a stone in a week and go from a side ten to a fourteen if I really let my diet slip, so poor ds has it from me.

The amounts ex h feeds him is disgusting. I try to teach him good habbits, by he's 11 - what 11 year old would turn down entire weekends sat in front of an Xbox with all the junk food they could eat if they had the chance?

IslaValargeone Mon 24-Mar-14 14:11:15

Oh right ok.
Sorry I wasn't having a go or anything.
Yes I can imagine, an 11 year old boy's idea of heaven is Xbox and junk food.

Loopylouu Mon 24-Mar-14 14:16:11

No it's fine, it's hard to contemplate that much weight gain so fast , but some unlucky buggers are just made that way!

I'm hoping ds gets better as he gets older and interested in girls etc, it's heartbreaking to see him come home and not be able to wear anything but jogging bottoms for two weeks.

rookiemater Mon 24-Mar-14 18:32:48

puffypigeon I have been thinking about your thread since I read it this morning.

Your ex sounds so incredibly lazy, it's hard to believe he's even bothered about maintaining contact. Does your DD get any benefits - other than unlimited junk food and screen time - from being with him? Does he genuinely love her? As what he is doing sounds perilously close to neglect, with a bit of emotional abuse thrown in by the whole weighing thing, is he doing it to wind you up or is he incredibly stupid?

Is there anyone that your ex listens to that you could talk to about your concerns - his DM or anyone he is likely to listen to, that you could try to bring these things up with in the first instance?

If there isn't anyone who could mediate I'd definitely cut contact down to start on Saturday - loads of benefits, one less junk meal for DD, you get to maintain uniform and not have to buy new lunch boxes every month, she gets to bed at a reasonable time and does her homework.

If he kicks off, well let him take it further ( not that he is likely too as he sounds so lazy). I'd start involving the professionals - so ask the teacher about the homework thing, see what suggestions he/she can come up with - if nothing else, it clearly shows who's parenting and who is not. Talk to the HV or doctor about your DD's weight - assuming of course that she is genuinely overweight according to the charts, and see what they recommend.

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