Do you send your ex regular updates on how the children are doing?(24 Posts)
We're in the middle of a not-very-amicable divorce and I'm feeling more and more like I'm having to dance to his tune to keep it from getting any worse.
He has been demanding weekly updates on DD; what she's been up to, how she is etc (she's only 15 months so can't speak to him on the phone or anything). I don't particularly want to do this, mainly because I feel like I'm giving in to his demands and still allowing him to control me.
So what do you do? Am I being unreasonable to not want to do this?
I used to send XP the DC's nursery reports, he never asked for them. Not any more though as he refused to see the dc's at a contact centre.
If he knows how she's getting on and developing it can only be a good thing. Unless he's only doing it to control you and doesn't actually care how his DD is.
Hopefully it's because he misses her and will eventually shape up to be a good dad to her when they spend time together.
This is sometimes a dual edged sword - ex does not see DS and initially I found that any update I gave became a stick to beat me with - DS went through a rather tortured path to an ASD diagnosis and since ex left before he started to show signs, any information I gave to ex about the latest thoughts the medical profession had, was greeted with claims that I had a fertile imagination; anything about problems DS was having became me trying to use DS as a weapon in the separation.
So I would recommend offering copies of third party reports like nursery or writen medical reports.
After all if he is having contact he can come and see for himself that she is happy and healthy.
Thank you for replying. He wants to see her as often as possible (as we live 4 hours apart it's mercifully only every 2-3 weeks).
I'm looking after her full time so there's only me to do any reporting. I know what you mean when there's something wrong. DD had 2 tummy bugs in quick succession recently and I dreaded texting him every time she was sick because I knew he'd think I wasn't looking after her properly.
I would much rather just tell him if there's anything news-worthy and then he can see for himself that's she's happy and healthy when he visits.
I'm fairly certain he won't think that's enough...
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
Tbh how hard is it to send him a weekly report? I only have what you have said on this thread to go on but it sounds like he actually gives a toss. We would all be slating him if he showed no interest.
If you feel controlled by the request then do something on your terms. Email him once a week in a contact book format. Always the same format, very basic likes dislikes, has started to... Watch out for... Etc. You dont have to engage above this but he does have a right to know his child.
Forgot to add, if he abuses the info by trying to use it against you then he loses the right to it. Tell him this in advance to pre empt any controlling behaviour. Then you take the control over the situation.
This is the problem I'm having; how to do it on my terms so that I'm not doing exactly what he wants but also acknowledging that he's her father and therefore wants and deserves to know what's going on.
I could really piss him off by telling him we're now involved in our local Church (he scoffs at religion)
There needs to be a bit of give & take here. His desire to remain involved is admirable in the face of the distance between you and it really is best for DD if you can continue to include him.
But at the same time weekly reports is a bit OTT. You are not his subordinate nor at school.
What I'd suggest is seeing if you can both agree that as & when something interesting happens, you will text him. And that you will talk bigger decisions over with him like nurseries, schools etc. If you both have smartphones then get a messaging app like Whatsapp, LiveProfile which will allow you to send him camera photos free.
That way he will feel included still. It keeps him happy and longer term honestly it will be worth it.
All this is so much easier said than done though. I'm still feeling very emotional about all that happened in our relationship and I find any contact with him extremely hard.
I'm going to email him and remind him of our general weekly activities and tell him that I'll inform him of anything news-worthy as and when it happens. Hopefully he'll be ok with that.
Thank you for the advice.
Simple and factual record:
Monday: Went for a walk, DD enjoyed sitting on the grass and watch butterflies.
Tuesday: Had fun baking and tried strawberries for the first time
Wednesday: DD enjoyed watching her favourite programe in TV.
... and so on. So it is simple, and has nothing he can use to get back at you.
How about you agree on a weekly/twice weekly phonecall for updates, at a fixed time you have both set? But HE has to call. That way the onus is on him if he wants the update and you still have some control too.
If there is a major milestone eg walking, then you can be more flexible about telling him.
If he sticks to it, you should be able to tell if it's because he is genuinly interested rather than just trying to control you.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
The reason I suggested it is because I had the same thing with my ex.
We split up when DS was 2. He would call me at all times of the day demanding to speak to DS (who couldnt speak a word - late talker) and insist I updated him on everything is he has the right as his father. This is the man who would cancel access at the last minute (5 minutes before dropoff!) because of 'work' (ie social arrangements) and would just about manage to see him once a month.
It was all about control.
I took control by asking for the fixed phonecall twice a week at 6pm. He managed 3 in total! That was 2 years ago. It may have been due to me telling him EVERYTHING - from what DS wore, how he slept, every tantrum etc. He must have found it fascinating . So phonecalls tailed off and updates havent been mentioned again!
Also, OP can take calls on her mobile, so doesnt have to stay home.
but he is your dd's father and presumably he loves her and he misses her. Wouldn't you want a weekly report in the same situation? Have you thought about getting a webcam so he could read her a bedtime story on skype or something like that? You could fix the time if you were worries about him being controlling.
Fixed phone calls, bed time stories, skype cameras, etc are absolutely fantastic
... when the relationship between the parents is an amicable one.
When it is not, it's sheer torture, an instrument of control and something even the children themselves may get to dread. Unless, obviously, the children themselves are old enough to choose to keep this kind and level of contact.
IMO this child is too young and won't be interested herself. When AND if the child wants it, then so be it.
BTW, I have seen enough children messed up badly enough through forced telephone contact. Even one who started vomiting at the ring of the phone. Hence my opinion.
Forget about the effect on the resident/non resident parent at seeing their children that upset.
If you text him, text him good news... dd can walk x steps now. dd can say these "words" dd enjoyed the park. dd liked looking at the birds. dd picked some daisies in the garden... the sort of stuff that shows you are giving her good educational experiences and providing opportunities for her and that she is developing well.
Leo. There is unfortunately, in my experience, a fair bit of compromise involved in a break up involving kids if you want to move to a smoother path.
Compromise is perhaps the wrong word, but it can make things better if you can do something despite feeling you're being manipulated. Biting of one's tongue is fairly apt. Grinning through clenched teeth...
My XP whom I get on with fairly well now, sends me a text usually every night. Short and sweet, but at least I know my dd is safe and well. Usually it's along the lines of ' dd fine, had a good day in nursery, kaka is a bit off colour but she's fine, just tucked her up in bed.'
When I have dd to stay I return the favour with usually two updates a day.
I would reject the idea of weekly reports as it sounds like a real pain in the arse, but a daily text takes 30 seconds and may well placate your X. The compromise is I guess in saying ' yes I'll accommodate your request for updates about dd, but the way I'll do is up to me.'
... also personally I wouldn't remove all negative aspects. Children do of course get poorly, there is no ammunition in sharing this information. If your ex accuses you of bad parenting because your child has a runny tummy all it proves is he's being a cock.
And again, personally I'd just let any rantings go in one ear and out the other without any comment. don't rise to it.
Thank you for the further advice.
Still mulling things over, but it's good to hear what other people do
He needs to accept that when couple separate the intimate day to day contact and chat that happens between couples on what dc did today is no longer going to happen. You have separate lives and while you are prepared to update him on important things he can't except this.
Yes it must be deeply distressing for him and he must miss dd. But you have separated and part and parcel of that is learning to live apart. It is not your responsibility to inform him what dd does minute to minute but asure him you will keep him updated of anything important as and when necessary.
I suggest you get a contact book which is passed over at handover. Write a brief note in it each day and then put it in dd's bag at handover. Ask him to update it in a similar manner when he has dd.
He will get his updates - but you won't be forced to conversing with him daily. Put the occassional photo in if you like.
If you want to keep the book as a blog or set up a separate facebook account which only your ex has access too to put such items of news and pictures on then consider that if you use such things anyhow.
Bear in mind that you can look back at this book/blog in the future and it will be a keepsake for you/dd.
If he wants more contact, but is too far away for more frequent visits then ask him to record some stories onto CD for dd to listen too at bedtime. Or to record some on dvd/video clips so he can show her the book too as he reads the story.
Ask him to write to her inbetween contact (just short postcard type letters) and to occassionally send items such as stickers with the letters. Ask him if he has any other ideas on how to keep in touch. read these to her (assuming they are not essays) and put these in a scrap book for her to have when she is older. Tell your ex you are keeping a book of them for dd when she is older so he should stick to writing to her in these letters and not include details of anything relevant to you and him as dd's parents, contact issues etc.
The hardest thing to do is to separate the emotions you have and think about what is best in the long term for the child.
If the ex's motivations for asking for input weekly is to feel included and connected to their child because contact is limited then I don't feel it's unreasonable to provide an update but as others say make it on a basis that you feel comfortable with. i.e text or email.
The positive here is that the dad wants to be involved and that is in the long term best interests of the child. Of course it might be raw now but think about how life will be in 10 years, the best outcome is that the child and dad are comfortable around each other - having had the bonding stage in the early few years.
It might help to think that every update you provide is to help your dc have a good relationship with their absent parent, rather than a 'give' to the ex. Children who have good relationships with both parents are more likely to grow into emotionally healthy and happy individuals. I do speak from experience as my (now) teen was in this situation and she has articulated how critical it was to her to have that bond. The 'gives' I made over the years are now delivering the paybacks. I can also genuinely look back with pride and know I did everything to help DC know her dad...the peace of mind of knowing I did my utmost best as a parent, even through a separation process, is priceless.
Sometimes it is a case of short term pain for the longer term gain
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