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Ex refuses to co parent with me(92 Posts)
Me and my ex share a 6 year old daughter, we have been split since she was around 1 however remained on fairly good terms. However, the beginning of this year things came to head, years of him picking up our daughter late, not paying me child maintenance or when he ever does it being very late, speaking to me like a piece of shit and blaming every issue regarding our daughter on my parenting, he also on this particular day told me he wished he had our daughter with his partner rather than me. So I ended up losing my temper with him by shouting and swearing and he has never let it go.
He told me that day he was done with me and to never speak to him again and he meant it. To be honest since then it has been bliss, I have managed to drop off and collect daughter and just stay in the car and watch her go in with him. We haven't spoken at all apart from the odd text which is literally, "I'll pick daughter up at 5" "ok".
Anyways, within the past couple of weeks there has been a real obvious deterioration in my daughters behaviour. Not only that but when it's time to go to her dad (he has her 3 nights a week) she begs me not to send her and to stay with me, the past two nights she's been screaming down the phone wanting to come home.
I am obviously concerned about this behaviour and so I text him asking to discuss it and he has ignored me multiple times, he refuses to text, email, have a telephone conversation or face to face. I was on FaceTime with her earlier and he was in the background of the room and I could honestly feel the tension through the phone, it's horrible. He has said in the past "she only wants to go home because you are so laid back" which I agree, he is much stricter with her and she gets away with a lot more at my house.
My question is, WIBU to stop sending her to her dads until he has a discussion about this? I want to get to the bottom of it as it really upsets me thinking of her miserable at his house. I would like to ensure we're on the same page and parenting her the same, same rules etc at each house. If I am being unreasonable then what is the alternative? Do I just accept I will never be able to coparent with him? If so how do I stop the worry?
Thanks in advance
If there is no court order in place then you could cease and ask to go to mediation as it's clear DD is not happy about going and you would like to resolve it so that DD is happy to go again?
@RandomMess thanks, yeah I should have mentioned there is no court order in place, nothing is in writing.
He sounds an absolute peach. There’s no court order so I wouldn’t send her if she doesn’t want to go.
Have you tried saying you know you're laid back compared to him and asking him what his rules and routine are so you can make sure you're on the same page?
I guess you cant make him engage if he doesnt want to. Is your daughter able to articulate what she doesnt like about his house and why she doesn't want to go? If not you could always tell him you're worried about her and she wont talk to you and he wont so you're going to get a counsellor involved? Is there anyone that could act as an informal mediator between you? Would you consider going through his current partner for example?
@OoohTheStatsDontLie she just says she's bored there and that he makes her workout before he lets her eat breakfast, she says at night she misses me and cries till she falls asleep 😢 she also says my house is more fun and I know that's not good and that I should implement some new rules but I just don't want to be as strict as things are at his house either.
I wouldn't feel comfortable with his new partner mediating, nothing against her but I think she has her own opinion of me so I don't think she would be unbiased. One of our parents or a close family friend I suppose could. But once again, if he doesn't agree to it (which I doubt he will) then I don't know any other options.
She also sleeps in beside me at night which she does not want to change any time soon and at her dads she sleeps in her own room which I think is a huge part of it.
You could offer day time only but no overnights until she is ready... if he refuses then I guess that would mean stopping altogether though.
Could you work on her going to sleep on her own in her own bed in your home, I mean in a very slow and kind way?
I would encourage her to go, but still try some mediation. It must be confusing getting used to two homes but if she has been doing this since she is one sounds like there must be a new thing going on, is she picking up on tesion between you and him.
I would stop sending her until he agreed to speak to me and I could be sure my child was okay. I've seen your replies about strictness and perhaps you could do things differently and start working on moving her into her own room, yes - but still! I wouldn't send her back until I'd had a direct convo with ex. Children don't always tell us the full story straight away. Give her some time away from him and see if she shares more.
He sounds like a right tosser btw. Good luck with it all.
I wonder if it's more she's "not heard" not allowed to express her wants or sadness. No compassion or understanding from your ex?
I never co slept with mine but if their had been tears etc I would have compromised and let them sleep on a mattress in my room, settled them via gradual retreat. I am so sad for your little girl crying herself to sleep
I think it would be very cruel to try to stop the contact between your daughter and her father.
Your opinions on how to parent may be different, but neither of you should veto the other's contact. It's possible to see merit in both your parenting approaches.
I sympathise with you, OP. My ex is the same. Refuses to communicate at all. There is no easy solution, you have to accept you don't have total control. It gets easier as the dc get older.
The suggestion of a mediator is a good one if it can be achieved. My ex would not, but I still believe things might have improved if it had happened.
What is your daughter doing during the day either with you or her dad? Is she back in school?
My 6yr old has had some wild mood swings through all this 'homeschool' and now he's back in school has turned in to a right stroppy (overtired!) so and so.
@RandomMess I have tried sooo many times, last summer I got her room all decorated and let her pick out her own bed and bedding, wallpaper and pictures for her wall. I made it such a big deal that she's going to have this lovely new bedroom that is all her own and mum is just down the hall but she would wake up loads during night and cry herself to sleep. Have tried a few times since then and no luck, tried reward charts, making a huge fuss when she slept through the night (very rare) I kind of got to the point where I thought that she will sleep in her own room when she is ready. But I think I do need to start encouraging that again I agree. Will look into it!
@june2007 it is definitely a recent thing yeah, she used to love going to her dads. He has recently gotten a puppy and she says he gets grumpy because of the puppy so not sure if that. Also yeah I'm sure she is noticing the tension as we used to be cordial and have a chat when dropping off/picking up, now we don't even look at each other. Nothing has changed on my part, he is still welcome in my home to pop in and see her whenever he likes but he doesn't anymore and I am not welcome in his house anymore when up until January I would pop in for a cuppa.
I'd she was this upset then I wouldn't be sending her. I would offer him day times with her where you collect her in the afternoon/night. If he doesn't like that then his option would be to take you to court. But if he really cared about your daughters feelings, he wouldn't force her to do something she doesn't want to do.
I think the sleeping thing it's about working through what worries or scares about her being alone. Accepting that she may need to come in during the night but to start that she falls asleep in her own bed with you there or tidying upstairs checking in on her etc.
Perhaps Ex is grumpy because he and partner are not all rosy and lockdown atmosphere is not good in their house.
Look at it from his point of view. You were verbally abusive, so he has appropriately drawn some boundaries to prevent further arguments. He may be too scared to communicate with you in case you shout and swear again.
You would be incredibly unreasonable to stop contact.
Have you ever apologised for verbally abusing him? Maybe start by emailing him a sincere apology and a promise not to do it again if he agrees to communicate with you.
So it was ok for him to let DD down and speak to op as if she was a piece of shit and blame her for everything in front of their DD?
Did you miss the part where the ex spoke to her like shit, blamed any issues on her parenting and to top it off said he wished OP wasn't his daughter's mother?! Maybe HE should start by apologising for that first.
But noo OP, roll over, there's a good girl
Thank you everyone for advice and suggestions so far, they are all appreciated.
@LittleOwl153 during lockdown she was with her dad Monday to Thursday where they would do lots of workouts and school work, her dad is very into his fitness and doesn't let her have any breakfast until she has done her morning workout which is another thing I don't agree with and upsets her. They do play in between then and she does get down time.
At my house Thursday to Monday it's a lot more relaxed, we chill out a lot, play board games, do arts and crafts, go out cycles/walks etc, have movie nights and just spend time together chilling. Sometimes I'll sit and watch some tv and she'll watch the phone. There is a lot of downtime at my house. I workout every morning and encourage her to join in but she usually doesn't and I don't force her so instead we go a cycle, something she enjoys. I do quizzes with her online and sometimes do some maths and we read but once again it's all very relaxed.
@NamechangeOnceMore yes I have apologised to him, it was a one time thing, and I did apologise but at the same time I think he needed to hear it, I could have done it in a better way but he has been able to do what he wants for years with me biting my tongue. It is absolutely his right to draw boundaries, I have no qualms about that and have actually enjoyed not having any interaction as I feel less frustrated, my issue is the fact that there are some issues going on with our daughter and we basically share 50/50 custody yet he refuses to discuss these issues with me and come up with a solution for them.
He makes her work out before breakfast?!
@Mutedgrey yeah he makes her workout before breakfast, she's not allowed to eat before her workout as he believes it's better to fast for the workout. It has on occasion led to her skipping breakfast entirely and only having lunch and dinner. It concerns me.
@Mutedgrey obviously for an adult it is fine to workout on an empty stomach first thing in the morning but for a 6 year old I think it's madness. She absolutely dreads the workouts and sometimes asks me to ask him to not do them but texts go unanswered.
I’ve been in a similar but less vocal situation - my ex tends to be very passive aggressive about things and so makes it impossible to co parent.
She has one shit parent and one good parent. One of the best and most important things you can do as the good parent is to stand by her. If she doesn’t want to go, listen to her and don’t make her. I’ve been through a similar thing with my DD. Don’t make it about you and him, make it ONLY about her and what she wants. She’s old enough to have her own opinion on these matters, and you need to respect that opinion. Say to him “she doesn’t want to come to your house so I’m not going to make her”, rather than “I’m not sending her until you apologise” - and mean it.
There is nothing wrong with your house being more fun - probably what she means is that her dad’s house is fucking miserable so by comparison yours is fun. Why would you not want your house to be fun to a child?!
Life is weird for everyone at the moment. Children have less ways to express their feelings. Sleep issues are really common at the mo - let her stay in with you for a bit longer. This isn’t the time to try and crack issues like that. My DD (8) usually sleeps like the proverbial log in her own bed and she’s been up and down in the night recently, because life is all weird.
The exercise thing is cruel, she is a child she doesn't need to fast 🤬.
Can you get in touch with the school nurse and raise concerns about this behaviour. It would be very beneficial to get it on the record...
Presumably she used to get respite from him by being at school or is this a new pattern for lockdown?
I can't imagine forcing my children to skip a meal or exercise
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