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phoning dad

(22 Posts)
GetAllTheThings Fri 26-Oct-12 12:40:14

Hello.

I have a slight dilemma. My dd is increasingly telling me she misses me and gets upset when I drop her back at her mothers because she knows I'll leave shortly after that. It's heartbreaking for both of us but there is a distance between homes that can't really be resolved so I'm on the alt w/e routine.

I've tried phoning in the week, but her mum always usually says dd doesn't want to come to the phone. I think this is likely the case sometimes, but not all the time. I've heard her little voice in the background now and again asking if it's daddy on the phone, but it doesn't get passed on to her.

Also despite being on good terms with XP, it's not her I want to phone up and chat to.

How do you deal with phone conversations between your young dc and their other parent ? My dd is 4.

It's crossed my mind to get dd a mobile that comes out after diner or something like that. I'm sure I've seen mobiles for young children that just have three buttons, you assign a number to each button ( i.e. 'mum, 'dad' and 'gran' )

Does that sound bonkers ?

LlamaLover Fri 26-Oct-12 12:47:55

Hi.

My 2 year old son sees his Dad on Skype. Works well.

Maybe set up that you call on a Wednesday night at 6pm (or whenever) every week. Then if your daugther wants to talk to you, she can. If she wants to show you her latest toy (or bogey!) she can. If she's not interested then you'll be able to see that and can log off early.

The only potential downside is that your ex might not want your ugly mug 'in' her house, so to speak! smile. I just set up DS in highchair in front of Mac and get on with other stuff.

Worth a go?

freemanbatch Fri 26-Oct-12 12:53:57

I wouldn't just buy a phone for your daughter without talking her her mum first, I wouldn't buy one for my daughter and expect her to take it to her dads without asking him about it first because it would feel like trying to force my presence into her time with him and I would hate him to do that to me. We will at some point have to talk about it though and in a way it is a good idea if both parents agree to it.

Your ex may well be happy to agree to it or it may be that you could organise a set time when you call so your daughter knows you'll be calling and you're not 'interrupting' anything.

Does your daughter ever ring you? I ask because my kids rang their dad one day not long after the split and it was obvious to them and to me that they were disturbing him and he was carrying on with something whilst talking to them, they've never asked to ring him again and they've said no when I suggested ringing or when he rings here to talk to them.

I hope you find a solution that works for everyone smile

GetAllTheThings Fri 26-Oct-12 13:00:22

Yes, I wouldn't dream of getting her a phone without talking to her mother about it first.

Skype could work I guess, I just thought a mobile might be better as dd can then choose if she want to call me or not.

OptimisticPessimist Fri 26-Oct-12 15:52:09

The only contact mine have with their dad is by phone. We have a set time for it once a week (his choice of frequency). Eldest DS talks freely but the younger two (3 and 5) I sit on my knee and prompt as best I can. DS2 (5) very often speaks very little or not at all (he is like this generally as part of his personality, very quiet and doesn't say much) but DD is generally quite chatty to say that she has no real clue who he is (he left a few months before she was 2). I would say she maybe talks for 5 or 10 minutes before she starts getting silly.

I wouldn't get a mobile phone tbh, I would speak to your ex about agreeing a rough time when you can call your DD which is mutually convenient and at a time when your DD is likely to be open to talking. At 4, even if she had a phone to call you with she is still subject to her mother's wishes - if your XP won't facilitate unscheduled phone calls now I can't see it improving with a mobile although it may be something to re-examine when your DD is 10 or 11. Would definitely broach Skype too - the kids do this with my parents and it's much better for them than a phone call tbh. I wouldn't agree to Skype with my ex, but you say you and your XP are on good terms so she might very well agree to do it.

Sassybeast Fri 26-Oct-12 16:48:05

I think at age 4, Skype might be a better option. My little ones hate talking on the phone and inevitably get distracted and wander off, whereas on Skype you can be more interactive.

Eldest Facetimes her dad all the time - the only 'rule' we have is that she warns me first after the little monkey came wandering into my bathroom on FT whilst I was on the flippin loo!!!!!!

mydishwasherneverstops Fri 26-Oct-12 20:12:24

My two (youngest 3) speak to their dad on Skype once a week in a regular time slot. It works well and they look forward to it. They do lots of singing, stories, games and interactive things together. Plus the call is timed around a meal so their dad is guaranteed at least 15min of their attention as they love their food, so are going nowhere. Very occasionally they speak on the phone but their attention span is limited for this, so it's a very short conversation. I would prefer not to have the intrusion of my exh into my home but I can see the great benefits of the call for our dc, so do whatever I can to facilitate it.

bananaistheanswer Fri 26-Oct-12 20:36:26

My ex has an iPhone, I have one too so our DD 'facetimes' with her dad when she wants to speak to him. I think it's a really good way for them to talk, but I wouldn't go as far as buying a 4yr old an iPhone. If that's not something you can do with your ex's phone then Skype would as good/same thing.

GetAllTheThings Fri 26-Oct-12 20:50:13

Ahh. That's a good idea. dd has inherited the iPhone 3 after her mum got an iPhone4......

Thanks for the suggestions / replies < thumbs up emoticon >

MagicHouse Sat 27-Oct-12 22:14:11

I think you should try to be as matter of fact about the drop offs as you can. At 4 she will be picking up on your feeling that "it's heartbreaking for both of us", and her loyalty for you will mean she doesn't want you to be upset. The reality is that she's probably fine about 2 minutes after you have left and you need to focus on that. Sorry if that's harsh!

I've had that advice directed at me in the past when my dd used to become very upset when picked up by her dad. I've worked really hard to be matter of fact about it (of course it upset me) and things have really improved.

MagicHouse Sat 27-Oct-12 22:22:43

Sorry - just re-read my post and I do realise it sounds a bit harsh. I really can empathise with worrying about your DD missing you. But I do think if you try to be positive about everything, if you know she's happy at her mum's, it will help.

I remember a friend a few years back who used to talk about how his daughter (then aged about 4) would sit in the car crying when he arrived back at her mum's house, and he would be saying things like "don't you want to go back?" etc It struck me even then (pre my own divorce) that he wasn't helping her at all by getting involved in the conversation about how sad she was, and how she was also probably picking up on his feelings about dropping her off and saying what she wanted him to hear.

I'm not sure if that's anything like your situation?

As for the phoning, maybe agree on set times and stick to it? Though in my experience, my dd hated talking on the phone (both to me and her dad) and both of us stopped after a while.

Grockle Sat 27-Oct-12 22:42:53

I agree with being matter of fact about drop offs. I know it is difficult for both of you.

Re phone calls... DS's father calls him constantly. There is a time difference & he seems to have little idea of what happens after school (e.g. pick up from childminder, rush home, quick dinner, read school book/ do homework, go to swimming/ Beavers etc, then home for a quick snack and bed). Phoning every night when DS is in the middle of all that or so late that he is in bed is pointless and pisses me off. We did try to agree Wednesday evenings & Sundays but as he's got older, DS has made his own decisions - he asks to call his Dad when he feels like it (and I ask him if he wants to & respect it if he says no). I would NEVER not pass the phone to him if his Dad called. In fact, our court documents state that I mustn't.

I think 4 is a little young for a phone. At that age, DS wasn't really interested in talking to his Dad on the phone. We did use Skype from time to time. Now, he's got an iPod Touch so can text/ email/ Facetime his Dad. It gives him a little more independence & seems to work well. DS is 7.

duffybeatmetoit Sat 27-Oct-12 22:46:33

My 4 yo DD is very reluctant to speak to her dad on the phone. He doesn't stick to a time so she has often got into an activity and so it often disrupts what she is doing and she doesn't want to stop to speak to him. We have tried getting her to ring him but with mixed success.

I think a lot of it might be to do with her expressing her feelings. Speaking or not speaking is about the only control she has over the situation. If she's having a day when she is upset about him moving away she is less likely to speak.

I try my best to get her to speak but if she doesn't want to speak I can't push it in case it makes the situation worse. Do you spend much time talking to her mum? If you two spend little or no time talking to each other that DD is aware of that might also influence whether she speaks to you given how loyal children tend to be. My XH doesn't speak to me which DD has picked up on so I think there is a bit of if you don't speak to my mum, I'm not speaking to you either.

Keep trying, I'm sure the fact that she knows you have been ringing will make a difference in the end.

duffybeatmetoit Sat 27-Oct-12 22:56:48

Another thought - can you send texts via her mum's phone? My DD will often send a "text" when she won't phone. My phone has the ability to dictate a message so she can say what she wants into the phone. The translation is pretty random and she finds that very funny which encourages her to use that method of communication.

BertieBotts Sat 27-Oct-12 23:08:04

YY you need to be matter of fact about drop offs. Don't make it a big emotional affair.

Speak to your ex about times to phone DD, rather than just phoning to speak to her. It's best if you can do this when DD isn't present, for example via email. IMO at 4 every other weekend is pretty far apart and it would be nice to have some extra contact in-between times, for you and her. If you're on good terms with your ex this should be fine, perhaps if you arrange a certain night or two of the week (or day, Thursday on the first week and Tuesday on the next) for skype-calls and then to just pass on to XP that DD is welcome to phone you at any time.

I wouldn't buy her a mobile because I think at 4 she is too young and also they have no concept of time - DS is 4 and he will talk to someone on the phone and then immediately want to phone everyone else we know or call them back repeatedly which isn't really practical! If DD has to ask her mum to call you then that will allow her to police the phone use while also making it clear that you're available to DD at any time that she needs or wants to speak to you. XP might also find it an intrusion into her life if you're calling too (although I can see you don't mean it that way) - especially if the split was recent. I think that she SHOULD put this aside and put your relationship with your DD first, but I can also see why she might do it (and you can't change her reactions/behaviour).

It's not exactly the same situation but my DP is working abroad at the moment and DS regularly speaks to him on Skype and they have a great time on there, he's often giggling away in hysterics! It's really handy too if DS is upset or struggling with something and sometimes he will talk to DP about it when he won't talk to me. Sometimes too he tells some awful tales about me grin half true and half not! These are both things that are easy to handle when you're in a relationship with the person (and I find helpful, because it feels like DP is sharing the hard parts even though he can't be here) but might be difficult when it's an ex-partner situation. I suppose that's something you'd just have to talk about with XP and make it clear that you know when DD is just expressing something and when she's exaggerating with her wonderful four year old imagination grin

Athendof Sun 28-Oct-12 18:36:07

Agree about matter of fact drop offs, she needs to know that in the same way she win't get a choice on going to school or not, she cannot change the contact arrangements because they are there and are si for a goid reason.

Don't blame the mum for the lack of telephone contact, at that afe they tell you one day that they really miss you but tgen don't want to talk on the phone if they are busy playing, watching TV or distracted with other things.

I know a couple who have spent years in court wrt residence and contact. It normally goes like this: girl makes a fuss about hating to see one of the parents, the parent who hears the complaints goes to court and spends thousands of pounds to protect the child. The other parent, who doesn't know what the child has said rightly fights back. Child enjoys Disney parenting for the weeks that follows. Mum or dad loose at court and child enjoying celebrations with the parent who won at court, next day she is back at home with the parent that lost crying she cannot bear spending time with the other parent. And the cycle starts again.

My advice, the best you can do for your DD is to ensure you and her mum keep communicating and present a united front when bringing her up. If you both are in good terms keeping a healthy relationship with the children is much easier.

And really, a phone at that age is likely to bring more problems than benefits.

GetAllTheThings Sun 28-Oct-12 19:22:24

smile. I am very matter of fact about drop offs. Honest. When dd said she didn't want to go I just said, 'oh come on sweet heart mummy is waiting for you'.. Really I don't let dd dwell on it or get sad infront of her. But she is increacingly saying this to me.

It's not a major prob...

Sorry just running a bath for dd, will return after I've read her a bedtime story....

Athendof Sun 28-Oct-12 21:44:04

I'm afraid that I have not read the full thread, but when you do the drop off do you stay for a while? Or is it just a quick good bye at the door? And another important question (no need to answer here but consider the possibility): when she is with you, does she gets what she wants most of the time if she gets upset/insists for long enough?

GetAllTheThings Mon 29-Oct-12 12:46:18

Athendof Yes I do stay for while on picks ups and drop offs. Usually around half an hour, sometimes longer.

When she's at mine, well yes and no, I wouldn't say she gets what she wants most of the time. some of the time yes. But I don't cave in if the tears start, I'm fairly attuned to genuine tears and fake ones.

savemefromrickets Mon 29-Oct-12 12:56:44

Another vote for FaceTime here, it's really helped DS talk to his dad who lives a far distance away, he loves being able to show hjm things (often stuff I'd rather he didn't show but there you go)!!!

Athendof Mon 29-Oct-12 19:30:43

I thought that was the case, my ex has also the same problem with his son, and I remember reading in one of the books that it was not a good idea to stay because it is confusing for the children (the book is Putting Children First, by Karen Goodall from the Separated Families association).

With my ex it was like this, at the age his son was your DD's age we were not even allowed to put the word mum and house together without the child bursting into tears. I havr no doubt whatsoever that his Mum is a good mum who loves him very much but, he used to do it because there were some results: my ex would take him to his mum's house, the child wouldn't want him to leave, then my ex would agree to stay to give him a bath, then he would cry again sobhe would agree to a story and then the child will still get in tears asking them to get back together, which obviously was not going to happen. Sometimes a quick good bye is kinder on the children, imo the kid was getting upset because he could see some results which made him believe that someway or another the poor little thing believed that he had some power to change the outcome of things. I understand that in the case of your Dd things have not got to these extremes though, but watch out for any signs.

One of the things that you may also need to consider is that at some point your ex will find a new partner and getting into the house for half an hour may end up being a bit uncomfortable, so is easier just to keep the things simple from the get go.

GetAllTheThings Tue 06-Nov-12 14:56:19

Athendof

Thanks for the response. Yes that kind of rings true. Trouble is after travelling all the way to XPs I generally need a rest before heading back again, and I always felt it was good for dd to see her mum and dad getting on ( and not giving her all the attention ) , so I usually stay for 30 mins or so.

She had a melt down yesterday after I stayed for diner. All fine till I said I was off home and then she was in tears, only this time she was crying and telling me to go :-(

Maybe as you said she thought she could influence the situation and broke down when I was off home.

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