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To not let Dcs go away for weekend with their dad?

(25 Posts)
PersephoneSnape Thu 18-Sep-08 08:21:36

XP has gf who has holiday home on a Scottish island. Children are just getting back into routine of staying over at his house after he was arrested for hitting her. He’s an alcoholic, she drinks too much – They have a horrible volatile relationship, including occasional huge rows, sometimes when the children are there. 2 weeks ago she threw a glass at his head and he currently has a black eye. I am very reluctant to leave them there overnight at all, he now wants to take them away for a long weekend, when I had agreed that they go to his parents on that particular weekend. I’m very unhappy that the children might be in a situation where I can’t get at them to take them away.

Am I being unreasonable to say they can’t go away for a weekend with their dad?

Or, am I being unreasonable to allow him any contact at all when he’s drinking (he’s trying to stop at the moment, but he’s typically sneaky and partially truthful with regards to his alcohol intake )

I think I am probably going to say no to the weekend, but would like to hear opinions. I try really hard to let the children have a relationship with their dad, but I'm starting to feel like one of these 'nasty vindictive bitch' exes who won't let their kids see their dad.

any easy solutions?

lilymolly Thu 18-Sep-08 08:37:02

Oh I came on here to post "of course you are being unreasonable" but on second thoughts after reading your post- NO WAY WOULD I SEND THEM for the weekend

Not sure you should stop all contact though.

Will his parents be around?- maybe they will be the extra security you need over the weekend

spicemonster Thu 18-Sep-08 08:41:48

Can you talk to his parents? Do they know what he's like and would they be sympathetic to your POV?

PersephoneSnape Thu 18-Sep-08 08:45:52

they know what he's like - he was bailed to their house after the 'incident' that led to his arrest, but the gf intervened and made a statemnet on reconsideration that calling the police had been a 'mistake' hmm and he's been bound over until the new year.

He's never hurt the children, or me, but I am really worried that just because he hasn't so far, doesn't mean he won't. I would never have thought that he's hit a woman, but I've been prooved wrong on that.

He doesn't rerally get on with his parents to the extent that they would also be invited for the weekend - the flat is too small for XP and GF and 3 DCs, let alone grandparents as well.

Ronaldinhio Thu 18-Sep-08 08:58:11

YANBU
I'm really, really risk averse mostly because I wish someone had been on my behalf.
If you feel uncomfortable in any way go with your gut and keep the children with you.
You are wise enought to examine whether you are being a vindictive ex and act accordingly!

jammi Thu 18-Sep-08 09:08:00

Message withdrawn

newforold Thu 18-Sep-08 09:19:50

It's not just about whether or not he would hurt the children. His girlfriend sounds like a nut, the glass that she threw at your ex in front of the kids could have hit them if her aim was off.
What would be the excuse then?

What would happen if the girlfriend really loses it and goes for one of the kids? You know your ex but you don't know her.

My dd's father was also an alchoholic, he had mental health issues and was a drug user as well. His girlfriend at the time also drank and there was a lot of rowing and physical confrontation in the realtionship.
When we ended up in court (the first time) the judge ruled that the girlfriend should be barred from any contact as the two of them together were not providing an environment conducive to productive contact.

He also ruled that all future contact for dd's father should be supervised until he was clean and sober as although at that point he felt that my ex would not intentionally harm our child, he could unintentionally put her at risk simply by not being in a fit state to make rational decisions.
He went slightly further and also refused Parental Responsibility.

Unfortunately, a few months later my ex did harm my daughter and the courts ruled that there would be no further contact.
He subsequently went missing and hasn't been seen since.

I wouldn't say that your ex would do the same as mine did as i don't know him. However, i would ask you to consider putting in place supervised contact, perhaps at a contact centre so that your DC can at least have uninterrupted contact in a safe and calm environment where daddy can't drink and no one has fights with each other.

2beornot2be Thu 18-Sep-08 09:31:23

I wouldn't let them stay at his overnight let alone for a weekend away.

mehdismummy Thu 18-Sep-08 09:46:11

NO NO NO NO you are nbu

HonoriaGlossop Thu 18-Sep-08 10:26:36

YANBU. Perfectly reasonable not to put your kids in this situation. If he wants them for weekends he must address his alcohol problem, simple as that. Until then, no way IMO.

mumoverseas Thu 18-Sep-08 10:33:48

No, you are not being unreasonable. You have to put the children first and like you say, if they are somewhere that you can't get to them should the need arise, you can't/won't be satisfied that they will be safe. If he doesn't like it, his option is to make an application to the local County Court for a Contact Order and at the first appointment you can explain your reasons for refusing such a visit. If you are happy for him to have contact with them at his parents, or even his house that is easily accessible, that is well and good, but not under the circumstances he suggests. stick to your gut feeling. x

dingdong05 Thu 18-Sep-08 10:40:24

I agree with mumoverseas.
You've got to be honest with your ex about why you don't want them with him in such an isolated environment. He has a history and if he doesn't use it as a stimuli to sort himself out he can't expect you to ignore it too.
x

cory Thu 18-Sep-08 12:09:51

It's not just about whether he (or she) is going to hurt the children physically. They will be damaged if they have to watch (or overhear) violent scenes between the adults who are supposed to be protecting them. You have a right to shield them from that.

PersephoneSnape Thu 18-Sep-08 12:34:40

I've phoned him and told him that it's not on - agreed that he can have them overnight on saturday, but dd (13) has her mobile and will phone me if any problems. If there are any problems I'll consider an access order and accompianied access. It's very difficult to try and balance XP having access (and they do act reasonably 95% of the time when the children are there) and explaining to Dcs that this is not a reasonable adult relationship. I guess, at least, on the 'bright' side that some children have to put up with this behaviour all of the time, and no one looks out for them.

newforold - thank you for taking the time to write about your experiences. The glass throwing incident wasn't in front of the children, or I wouldn't be asking if I was being unreasonable, I'd be polishing my kitchen knives. ''

I guess I have to spend a lot of time explaining why Dad is like he is and why grown ups who say they love each other shouldn't hurt each other physically, let alone mentally. the children all 'knew' they were going away with dad and now I'll look like a bitch for not letting them go, but at least I'll be able to sleep that weekend. Dcs are 9, 10 & 13 btw, so should be able to grasp the concept that dad isn't well. it's how to phrase it so that it's apparent it's an illness rather than just plain weak stupidity, however tempting that might be.

thank you all, for comments. it's given me a lot to think about.

newforold Thu 18-Sep-08 15:34:41

Have you tried speaking to ALANON? They can give some pretty good leads as to where to start explaining things to the kids.

Best wishes. x x smile

motheroftwoboys Thu 18-Sep-08 15:53:36

I agree you are wise not to let the children go away with a practising alcoholic. YOu have that choice. However, you must keep telling the children that their dad is ill because he IS! One day, hopefully, he will be in recovery and will want to have a good relationship with the children so you won't to spoil that. My DH is a recovering alcoholic (clean and sober for 3 years now) Our DSs are now 17 and 16 and although we all went through hell for five or six years it is all over and you CAN get a normal life back again. I only got through it all be reminding myself that whatever awful things happened it was because of the drinking and that alone.

PersephoneSnape Thu 18-Sep-08 16:12:20

i know it's an illness and try to be sympathetic, but it does really irk me sometimes - he's been an alcoholic for around seven years i guess, been in and out of rehab six or seven times at least and i get rather fed up with making excuses for him all of the time, then coping with his over zealous uber-involved parenting when he's going through a 'good' period. DD (13)refuses point blank to get involved with al-teen -

I do know that at heart he's a good person and his behaviour isn't necessaruily his behaviour, but influenced by alcohol - and that it sometimes isn't as easy as just deciding to stop - I don't have that type of addictive personality myself - sometimes i get very rarrrrrgh! at him at not stopping - and want him to have a degree of personal responsibility that isn't excused by 'but i'm illlllllllll' because he's had so many chances and we're all a bit fed up with it.

theres a thread on MN somewhere for those affected by alcohol, who aren't alcoholics themselves? is there? then i feel like i should mind my business where/when it doesn't affect the children, because he's a grown up and if anyone should be copncerned about his drinking, it's his gf - i feel like i'm too involved and interfering in his choices, but then it affects the children so much.

motheroftwoboys Thu 18-Sep-08 16:35:25

It is SO hard! I know. I too am totally non addictive and find it difficult to understand but alanon did help. I now have to deal with him smoking - they have to do something wink and I HATE that but it is a lesser evil. The children will, no doubt, see things that they shouldn't see; outs did, but understanding their dad is ill and the "real" dad wouldn't behave like that does help. Most alcies seem to morph into another personality when they are drunk - almost like Jekyl and Hide - and it is scary. People who haven't lived with the situation woudl never believe quite awful it can be. Has your ex been going to AA after rehab or did he just come out thinking he would be ok?

PersephoneSnape Thu 18-Sep-08 16:43:11

he never went to AA and has never really followed up the 'detox' he's just thought he will be ok and drifted back into old self destructive ways. He doesn't like the wider picture side of the AA, as he doesn't believe in anything much (higher being, or cosmos type way) I'm at one-with-the-cosmos- me and believe in karma type, whereas he is a bit nihilistic, hates himself, self loathes etc and that leads to more drinking. I think he needs to find more personal acceptance before he canattempt to change his behaviour - but he just doesn't like himself because of what he perceives he has done to other people through his alcoholism - but thats not enough to make him stop.

complicated, isn't it. it's a thing that only he can choose to do for himself and no amount of badgering from me, his parents, gf or anyone else will make that decision for him. lord, but it's wearing.

loobeylou Thu 18-Sep-08 16:47:26

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO way should you let them go. You are their mum and worried (with good reason) about them being safe. Say no, then you can't ever live to regret having said yes against your better judgement. Violence in alcoholics tends to escalate. Just because (I am surprised that whoever oversees access in situations like this would allow them to go. Are the family courts involved? sorry, if thats not helpful/applicable, I don't know much about these things.)

PS is he getting any help with drink problem (sorry cant remember if original post mentioned this)

loobeylou Thu 18-Sep-08 16:51:22

don't know where half that sentence went

I meant to say just because he never has hit them doesn't mean he never would

trust your gut feeling

PersephoneSnape Thu 18-Sep-08 16:55:05

we don't have any formal access arrangement - which has worked ok, and if he wanted to press for access when i said no, then i'd be quite happy to go to court etc - When he was in court for hitting his gf, there doesn't seem to have been any reference to the children, although i got a call at my work from social services a few years ago because teh police had been called out to a domestic between them (i was absolutely livid) but there doesn't seem to have been any follow up by social services after the last incodentg , which is now puzzling me - I hadn't given it any thought.

PersephoneSnape Thu 18-Sep-08 16:59:26

incodentg = incident. apt that it should have 'cod' in it

motheroftwoboys Thu 18-Sep-08 17:04:10

Been there, seen it! grin so has he just been in detox or has he actually done detox followed by rehab? The former, in my opinion, is a waste of time (and money if you are paying for it!) Detox just relieves the physical symptons but you MUST have rehab to sort out/break down the mental issues which are tied in to alcoholism. Most rehabs are tied in to a 12 step programme and he would be in for 3 to 6 months. You ex sounds a typical alcie - hates himself, no doubt arrogant - thinks AA is not for him. My DH went to AA a couple of times before we was in rehab and same back saying it wasn't for him as they were all much worse then him! People use the higher being bit as an excuse. The HB can be anything and lots of people who aren't spiritual think of their HB as being the power of the group.

PersephoneSnape Sat 20-Sep-08 17:33:41

I doubt he'd even believe in that! yeah, he's detoxed a good few times, had rehab when he had a residential detox, but it didn't 'stick', so he's been in and out of detox ever since.

I'm fed up to the back teeth with it to be honest. His cpn has apparently told his mum that he shouldn't be around the children, his house is unsanitary and if the children are there overnight or social services will get involved! I'm meant to be going to London for a job interview on tuesday - the grandparenst are now coming over to stay with the children. They're very supportive, but it must be absolutely dreadful for them

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