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what would you do?

(19 Posts)
TimrousBeastie Mon 24-Oct-11 12:13:12

My dd and ds went to their dads last week (first time seeing him for a month).
We have a place where we meet up as I don't want him in my house (last time he refused to leave until he took photos of the house -got him out in the endsmile) I took them there after dinner as he told me he had no money to get them dinner and I also gave them breakfast and milk to make sure they had something to eat the next morning.

According to dd, when they got to his they went into his room and looked at the photos from a recent holiday and after this they watched top gear, then went to bed while daddy went into the living room (also discovered that they are sleeping on just sleeping bags with a duvet over the top- even though I gave him a blow up bed for them to sleep on). When they woke up in the morning ex told them that it wasn't morning yet, even though it was very light outside (according to dd), and they had to lie there for ages in silence as he gave them a row if they talked (they are 5 and 7 so hard to keep quiet).

When he got up they told him they were hungry, they reminded him that they had porridge. He said that that wasn't decent enough and told them to brush their teeth and get dressed. He then took them to mcdonalds, where they had their breakfast (not of the breakfast menu as they were too late- so they had burgers). I'm guessing they must of got this at round about 10.30/11 (they are usually up at 7/7.30). I phoned him just after 11 and he said they were there and i just presumed they were having an early lunch.

After mcdonalds they went to get him some beer then went back to his, where he told them they hadn't slept enough last night and needed to go for a nap so he sent them into his room again (where they had to be quiet again otherwise they would get a row). They were still in there "pretending to be sleeping" when their grandparents picked them up at 2ish.

Am I massively over reacting in thinking that this is utterly ridiculous??? I've asked on here for advice before (under a different name) and was told that what happens in my ex's house is none of my business but surely I can't ignore this?

He doesn't have p.r and there is no formal contact agreeent in place (we're in scotland, never married and both kids were born before may 2006) but I have had a lawyers letter from him asking for it as he believes its in the kids best interest. This is the latest in a long line of incidents which to me, suggests he doesn't know what best interests means.

He also doesn't give me any money -hes on the dole so it would only be £5 a week, however after a recent holiday I'm beginning to wonder if this is actually the case especially after saying he cannot afford to feed them but then he takes them to mcd's and then buys beer.

Ideally I would like to stop overnight contact as I believe he can't look after them, however,if I do this, I don't want this to somehow look bad against me. I don't intend to sign whatever needs signing to give him pr easily,so I guess this will end up in court. would you stop overnight access? will this go against me if i do?

I have no idea what to do, I've got an appointment with a lawyer in a couple of weeks which was the soonest I could get one. I would really appreciate other peoples input before its his contact night.


GypsyMoth Mon 24-Oct-11 12:16:53

Give them a row? What does that mean?

It sounds like you have interrogated them to get every detail?

GypsyMoth Mon 24-Oct-11 12:18:29

If he's having overnight and he has no PR and you are going to be difficult about giving it, you are going to come across very badly if this gets to court!

StaceymAloneForver Mon 24-Oct-11 12:19:49

do what is best for your childern, if he doesnt have a stable environment to have them overnight then he shouldn't have them overnight.

Also ask your children if they enjoy being there/would prefer to stay home, i knwo they are young but their views are important too. they may just prefer to see him for the day.

I hope this gets easier for you, it's a horrible situation. xxx

TimrousBeastie Mon 24-Oct-11 12:25:48

Give them a row was the words they used. I presume it to mean he would shout at them.

All I asked was did they eat all their porridge (the breakfast I sent with them) as I was surprised that ds had that and a mcdonalds as he is such a fussy eater and usually eats a small amounts. They brought up going to mcdonalds and after that I asked them. DD then told me about the day, their grandparents (ex's parents) were here at the time and their gran mentioned that they said the same thing to their grandad while they were at their house. I didn't interrogate them, dd just tells everyone everything and ds fills in the bits she misses outs.

GypsyMoth Mon 24-Oct-11 12:31:06

At 5 and 7 they should NOT be asked what they want to do!!

They are likely to behave differently around other people. Eat more/differently etc

You need to pick your battles carefully. For me it would be the sleeping/napping.

Agrees it with him. Ask if the blow up bed is ok as it appears it was unused. Mention they are too old for naps now and you find they sleep better at night without. Address the 'early' waking. Tell him he needs to give them a quiet activity etc

Go via CSA. Not your business what he spends his money on

GypsyMoth Mon 24-Oct-11 12:31:57

Agrees? Meant 'address'

StaceymAloneForver Mon 24-Oct-11 12:35:48

i think they are old enough to know if they are unhappy that is all

GypsyMoth Mon 24-Oct-11 12:43:11

Or pick up on their mothers angst over it all!!

Claragoesbumpsinthenight Mon 24-Oct-11 12:45:19

I think if he hadn't seen them in ages then he'd at least make an effort to make sure they had a good time. even just playing with them and any idiot knows that a 5 and 7 year old don't have naps.
It sound like a cop out to me- If he really wants to see them then he should get some proper arrangement worked out.

I think if he really wants to see them then he has to make an effort.they dont(i'm assuming) get treated like this at home so why should they be treated like this at their dads house.
At 5 and 7 they are old enough to decide if they want to go somewhere. Why make them visit a man who cant be arsed with them and gives them into trouble out of some sense of duty?

GypsyMoth Mon 24-Oct-11 12:46:28

Well sounds like this is heading to court......,, be prepared for a shock!

TimrousBeastie Mon 24-Oct-11 13:50:27

I want my kids to have their dad in their lives but the way he's acting at the minute, I can't see how anyone who treats them the way he did last week should have any say in how they are brought up.
I don't really talk about their dad in front of the kids, and while they were telling me the story I didn't say anything, they have made their own mind up about him and it certainly has not been under my influence. DD has always been a daddy's girl and does miss him and looks forward to seeing him, on the other hand ds never wants to go.

I know I have no right to say what he spends his money on but when I have to give him money/buy food for the kids to make sure they get fed while they are there surely I'm allowed to be pissed of at the fact that he says he can't afford to feed them but he can afford to buy beer?

I will address the sleeping arrangements though- I know one night a week sleeping on the ground isn't going to do them any harm but I would like to know what happened to the bed seeing as I paid for it.

Believe me, I don't want this to end up in court and I am very much aware of the fact that its more than likely he will end up with rights. But would you willingly send your children to someone that makes them lie in silence, doesn't feed them when they are hungry, who tells them that porridge isn't proper food and takes them to mcdonalds? this kind of behaviour isn't a one off either, it is most definitely the tip of the iceberg.

I would have no problems in giving him pr (in fact I did offer when we first split and he refused saying its just a bit of paper and worth nothing) if in my heart I could fully trust him to put the children first and believed that he knew what was in their best interests. However, his behaviour, especially over the last year, really has never shown that.

Also, in case my previous posts suggest otherwise, I don't want to stop access completely. I was just thinking instead of overnight, changing it to from school until bedtime- which when you look at the amount of time they spend sleeping, then then in a normal week get up and go to school, actually does give them more time with him.

STIDW Mon 24-Oct-11 13:59:21

Thing is there is often no absolute right or wrong about parenting issues, just parents with different attitudes doing different things. Lots of parents don't get children up particularly early at the weekend or feed them at regular times but the children survive perfectly satisfactorily. On the other hand some parents over parent and that may lead to emotional problems later in the life of a child. Different standards isn't a justification to stop contact unless there is evidence (such as the school or social services airing concerns) that children aren't surviving satisfactorily

Also you need to treat what children say with caution. They often say what they think separated parents want to hear or unwittingly contribute to disputes between the parents by saying something that is interpreted as evidence that the other parent is either denigrating them and/or isn't fit to care for the children. Responsible parents will listen to children and take account of their views but it is adults who make decisions. For example, parents might ask a child's opinion about moving house or changing schools but it is the parents who take the decision. Children should be listened to but it's important to understand the family dynamics and rationale behind what they say.

Rather than whipping up unnecessary conflict (there is very little more damaging to children's emotional health than conflict between separated parents) you could try to defuse the situation and work with your ex say by attempting mediation. That way he is more likely to listen to you. Good contact for children relies on parents working together and going to court tends to leave parents feeling resentful and resistant making that difficult, if not impossible. In the event you do end up in court evidence that you have tried to be reasonable means your concerns are again more likely to be listened to.

Please don't underestimate the importance courts attach to contact. It isn't necessary for a parent to have Parental Responsibilities and Rights (as it is called in Scotland) for a contact order to be granted and obtaining a court order for PRR is rarely more than a formality. YOu don't really want to waste time or money that could be better spent on your children going to court.

TimrousBeastie Mon 24-Oct-11 14:04:38

I've asked him for mediation and he refused- its basically got to be done his way or he won't contemplate anything. If I asked ex to change contact from overnight to after school (would have to make it sound more favourable for him though as in he's getting more time with the kids) and he agreed would that still look bad?

blackeyedsusan Mon 24-Oct-11 14:38:14

what have his parents said? do they think it is appropriate to sleep on the floor? perhaps they could negotiate between you.

STIDW Mon 24-Oct-11 14:59:48

Sometimes people who have refused mediation change their mind when they are invited by a neutral third party. You could initiate an appointment with a mediator, both parties attend the first meeting on their own so the mediator can explain the process. If it is appropriate the mediator can then invite your ex and to a first meeting on his own. Try googling Relationships Scotland.

MumblingAndBloodyRagDoll Mon 24-Oct-11 15:10:37

When you said that you had to send food, I thought "No way would I let my DC go there" food means he's not equipped to hav them in my opinion.

Do they have toys and books there?

TimrousBeastie Mon 24-Oct-11 17:13:18

I get on better with his parents then he does- they don't understand his actions regarding the kids and his mum has admitting of feeling ashamed of him. They have to stay out of it though- anytime they have mentioned his contact with the kids he ends up shouting at them and not talking to them for a while.

I'll google the relationship scotland site once the children are in bed.

They have nothing at their dads apart from pyjamas and they have mentioned a couple of boardgames so I'm guessing they are there aswell.

I think IloveTIFFANY is right though, I can't stop access without it looking very bad for me, regardless of how I feel about what they get up to when they are there.

DutchGirly Mon 24-Oct-11 19:56:51

I think that the sleeping and eating arrangements are unacceptable.

You provided him with breakfast and a blow up bed to make the stay as comfortable as possible for your children with minimal input needed from him and he can't manage to blow up the bed or make breakfast when the kids wake up hmm Does he sleep in a proper bed?

As he can afford holidays and beer, I think he is earning cash in hand somewhere and if I were you, I would contact the CSA.

If possible, can the kids stay at his parents so he can visit them there? I understand that you get on well with them and I think that this may be a suitable alternative. That way the children can see their grandparents and their dad and you don't have to worry that much. Go for mediation, he may be shamed into being a better dad via a third party and at least you won't look bad if it does go to court.

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