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Phonecalls when DC's are away

(15 Posts)
balia Tue 06-Nov-12 18:12:09

Hope no-one minds if I ask the same question here and on the step board, as I'm trying to get a range of views/opinions. DH is currently going through a court process and isn't sure what would be considered a reasonable amount of phonecalls (this would be to DSS's mum when he is with us).

What do people think about phone contact when DC's are with the other parent? What kind of arrangements have people got? Does it/should it change with age? Also is there a difference between phone contact on an ordinary weekend and say a holiday abroad?

peppapigpants Tue 06-Nov-12 18:53:15

DP's ex will not facilitate any phone contact with their DD. She is 3.5y. When she is with DP, he facilitates a daily phone call (DD has a PAYG mobile mum supplies for this purpose).

It's not fair, but he won't stoop to her level.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 06-Nov-12 19:31:22

DD is nearly 9 if ExP and I ask her each night does she want to call if she does she can if not that's okay.

balia Tue 06-Nov-12 19:58:23

Know what you mean, peppa, DH does not get any phone contact when DSS is with his Mum, and she takes away the mobile phone we bought for him. However, she insists on twice daily phonecalls when DSS is with us. DH wants it to be more child-led as you describe, Lonecat, but ex is having none of it!

DaydreamDolly Tue 06-Nov-12 20:00:24

It should definitely be child led. My exh calls our home phone every morning and if DD1 wants to speak to him she answers it. If she doesn't we let it ring out and he gets the message.

HoolioHallio Tue 06-Nov-12 21:11:42

Whatever the kids want. Ex bought eldest a phone and they will text throughout the day or Facetime. The younger ones don't really like talking on the phone and will often refuse to talk - just because they find it 'boring'.

I have a court order in place and Ex has to facilitate me having phone contact with the children at any time during his contact times with him.

Happylander Tue 06-Nov-12 21:19:17

Ex Skypes Mon and Friday and phones on a wednesday morning. He can call/skype any time outside of this really but needs to try and stick to a routine as that is what is best for DS. I mean he has to try and stick to these days as well as free to call outside of these times...not sure if I am making sense! However, there are days when he just does not want to sit their and chat and although I try and encourage him to speak to his dad I can't force it. So I think 2 or 3 times a week is enough for any child really.

When DS is with ex (one weekend a month!!) I just call when I feel like it on the Saturday and possibly the Sunday and will Skype if DS wants to. DS will either not say a word to me or be silly but he is only 3 this month.

I must say I find it very hard indeed especially with the skyping as I hate my Ex but DS prefers it and it is easier for him to communicate when he can see faces. Maybe the split is still too painful for her.

I would say if someone goes away contact should be dependent on where they go. I couldn't afford to call from abroad if I went and I wouldn't expect Ex to call either when he is on holiday but wouldn't stop him.

smokinaces Tue 06-Nov-12 21:24:39

Ours do nightly phone calls at 7pm to whoever they havent seen that day mostly their dad as they're with me 5-6 nights a week) Mostly they just say "bye and love you" but sometimes they chat about their day.

At the beginning i set caller ID up so if I didnt want to talk I answered putting it on loud speaker, giving to DS1 (3 at the time) and then hanging up after.

Now they mostly answer the phone themselves, but I chat a bit about health problems/school etc about the kids

IMO its been important to keep up daily contact on both side. When they go away for 3-4 nights with their Dad I ring nightly at 7, to ask how their day was and say goodnight.

Lookingatclouds Tue 06-Nov-12 22:59:49

I think in 2 years I have rung dd once when she was with her Dad, and that was because I was concerned about how she was coping with the changes that her Dad's new girlfriend and family moving in had brought about.

Otherwise I have maybe had a quick chat with her if I've rung him to arrange a drop off time or something like that.

She's with me the majority of the time and he doesn't make a regular phone call. I can recall maybe 2 or 3 times that he has rung specifically to talk to her. He's welcome to ring any time, she is welcome to ring him any time.

Other than that one time when I was worried about her, I honestly don't feel any need to speak to her on her Dad's weekends, or if she is with him for longer- and definitely wouldn't if she was on holiday with him either here or abroad.

bananaistheanswer Tue 06-Nov-12 23:33:22

When my DD 1st went to her dad's after we split, I would phone to talk to her etc. just whenever and ex was OK with it. I stopped doing that quite quickly as I couldn't get off the phone, usually with DD crying that she wanted me etc. I hated listening to her crying, felt guilty, and knew it was also spoiling things for ex while they spent time together. She was still v young at the time (3) so I just kept it to texts to ex to see how she was etc. Even now, I'm wary of phoning DD when she's with her dad as she can sometimes still turn on the tears so I only really phone if I have to. She went abroad with him last year, and it was torture tbh, but phone calls were too expensive so we stuck to texts again. DD had a ball and came back in one piece grin so I had no reason to fret (easier said than done).

I personally feel that too much phone contact can be a negative thing, unless it's what the child needs as opposed to wants. My DD would happily keep me on the phone for hours, talking about nothing in particular, on the times she's with her dad, meaning he wasn't getting the quality time with her and I wasn't getting much done on my rare child free moments. She sees him so infrequently that I don't think it's good for her to be thinking about me or talking to me etc.

I encourage her to call her dad but she rarely wants to do that. She 'facetimes' him when she's got something she wants to tell him but doesn't hang about too long. So, I guess my view is, of it's needed then yes, at set times etc. but overall my view is that unless it's vital, whatever it is you want to talk about can wait 'til you see the child again in person.

Balderdashandpiffle Wed 07-Nov-12 06:10:23

They can phone either parent whenever they want

Thinking about it know they're older they stay and see either parent whenever they want.

But we've always let them speak to either parent whenever.

Happylander Wed 07-Nov-12 11:15:48

I think it is dependent on age though as when they are very young you have to try and help the relationship along that they have with the NRP no matter how hard it is for you. I call my DS when he stays with anyone though and the rest of my family are the same with their offspring.

upanddown83 Thu 08-Nov-12 11:18:22

My dp's dsd 4yo stays with us at weekends and comes for tea on Tuesday evenings sometimes she will phone dp during the week to ask questions about her toys/books or to tell her dad about something that has happen eg getting a swimming badge or something new at school but this isn't regular because she doesn't really enjoy talking on the phone and will usually get bored half way through the conversation. When she is with us her mother would occasionally phone about drop off arrangements etc and will ask to speak to her sometimes dsd will talk others times she says 'tell mummy I'm busy colouring/playing' bless her busy life of a 4yo. So really dsd doesn't have regular contact by phone to either parent when with the other but it does happen at times as this the arrangement that suits her parents and she is happy when with both parents so doesn't feel the need to talk to the other parent.

ChasingSquirrels Fri 09-Nov-12 09:57:01

my boys are with their dad one weeknight a week (pick up & drop off via school) plus one 24 hr period at the weekend (alternate Fri/Sat and Sat/Sun) so in the normal course of events I (RP) see them daily and don't feel any need for phone contact. I don't think they do either, they don't contact me and I'm not aware that they have wanted to and been denied that.

For their dad, he sees them for (part of) 4 days every week. He doesn't contact them by phone when they are with me either, and they rarely (less than a handful of times in nearly 5 years) ask to call him. Before we split he was away a lot and didn't have phone contact with them then so I guess it isn't out of the usual. They are aware that they can call him, but I think because they do seem him regularly and phoning hasn't been part of their lives they just don't think to do so.

If either of us are away with them for say a week or more we facilitate phone contact with the other parent.

I think if they had less physical contact, say every other weekend, then I would be more likely to encourage them into phone contact in between.

ds1 (10y) has recently got an ipod and will now occasionally email me (and his grandma - she loves this) and message his dad which is nice, but I think both his dad and I are being careful not to "intrude" on the time with they are with the other parent too much.

It does change with age, as the parent stops needing to facilitate it so much and the child takes over.
With a smaller child they are less likely to talk on the phone (what they are doing in the present is much more interesting) and it is probably best to have pre-arranged times where they won't be busy and so will be more likely to talk.
With an older child, the child can make the contact, and with technology it can be in a multitude of ways (my partner's 14yo messages him on Viber quite a bit).

Fortyshadesofgreen Fri 09-Nov-12 14:10:39

Have sons 12 nights overnight out of 28 by Contact Order. In reality is more than that.

Speak to my eldest every night when he is not with me. He also has the ability to speak to his mum every night he is with us. Don't speak to youngest by arrangement on the phone as when seperated he was too young. Maybe have to revisit that now he is older.

However even the telephone calls are flashpoints, so that is liable to be a fight. Ex tried to reduce it from every night to one out of two / three nights. Not because my son wanted to but because she found it 'intrusive'. When he speaks to me from her house he is encouraged to stay in the same room as her when talking to me, the difference in him when he is in a room on his own talking on the phone to me is huge. When with us and calls his mum he goes into a different room. Ad hoc telephone / texting has been another flashpoint. Eldest has texted me 10-12 times on a Saturday re sport or something he is watching for example - contact always initiated by him in cases like this. Next weekend when he is with us, ex will text him to say 'have just driven past the house and waved' or 'just at Costa having a coffee' or 'look its snowing'.... seriously.... those have been real texts... also she has called in the middle of Sunday lunch and even at about 8.30am one Saturday morning when we had the boys for normal contact. Has also texted my eldest before 6am on several occassions to tell him she is on her way to work....thank god his phone is always on silent....

Have always made it 'child led'. Not something I demand if that makes sense.

Same approach on holidays - ask my son what he wants to do and make it clear he is on holiday and I know he will be out late and doing stuff. He is concrete that he wants to speak every night - some nights earlier or later depending what they are doing. Sometimes it becomes every other night on holiday, depending on what he is doing - but it should be child led.

I suppose like anything it comes down to the relationship between your DH and his ex about what they both perceive is best for the kids and reaching agreement.

Good luck !

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