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How much do you tell your XH about your DCs?

(93 Posts)
duffybeatmetoit Thu 22-Nov-12 22:04:32

Dh left earlier this year. He speaks to DD on the phone but rarely to me. He occasionally texts but just about contact arrangements. DD has just started school and is pretty tired when he rings her so she doesn't generally say much to him. He doesn't ask me any questions about how she is getting on or what she is doing. I have given him dates for parent's evenings and other events, he told me he would try to come to parent's evening when I gave him the date but didn't mention it again or ask what the teacher had said.

I tell him some things on contact visits just to stimulate conversation between him and DD, but he doesn't initiate anything. Should I be giving him a rundown of her activities or accept that he's not sufficiently interested to ask how she's doing?

RedHelenB Sat 24-Nov-12 07:25:54

Sympathise with the glory hunter bit!!

IneedAgoldenNickname Sat 24-Nov-12 10:01:12

Why would I insist on 50/50 when I don't agree that that's what's best for my children?

I normally tell their Dad when ours parents evening, or anything he can come to, assembly/parents night at cubs etc. he never comes.
Obviously if the boys were hospitalised I'd tell him, but everyday coughs and colds, no. He also never asks.

pinguthepenguin Sat 24-Nov-12 10:25:11

I can't win with my dd's dad on this front. I tell him stuff and he doesn't respond or thank me for giving him the information, and if I don't bother he gives me hell.
Also- he blames me for absolutely everything under the sun. If I didn't hear about a school assembly until the night before, he says I deliberately told him late knowing he wouldn't be able to attend. According to him, I keep his copy of dd's school letters and throw them in the bin. If I tell him about an event at school, but not the finer details such as that dd was going to a 'fairy' or whatever, he says I withheld that information as well. If I order him (and PAY) for a set of school photos he says they weren't the ones he wanted and that I denied him a choice. If I tell him to keep in touch with the school himself - he says they are also obstructive. I cannot fucking win. Seriously.

Also- this obsession about 50-50 is awful.. If it's right for your DC- great. The last thing I would do however is go into a parenting forum and say that is the position every separated parent should be starting from, because when you do that, you argument loses credibility and becomes about what the parent wants or think is their right to have. A child is not a possession to split right down the middle angry

amarylisnightandday Sat 24-Nov-12 10:30:35

Exp works abroad for weeks at a time - I can really see 50 50 working for us! shudders. It's all v well being idealistic but ex is simply not competent enough to manage dd for long periods and I wouldn't trust him. When she is older perhaps I would consider it.

OptimisticPessimist Sat 24-Nov-12 13:41:02

I agree about the obsession with 50/50 pingu, along with the assumption that if you happen to believe that a presumption of 50/50 is not best for children (or even if you don't believe it's right in your own case) that you're controlling and don't believe in your XP's rights to parent and therefore cannot expect anything from him, that you're sexist etc etc. The one I always find strangest is the accusation that disagreeing with 50/50 means you see your child as your possession - personally I find insisting on 50/50 with no thought to individual circumstances is far more indicative of seeing a child as a possession.

I don't think 50/50 would be the right thing for my children were their father still here, nor do I particularly agree with the "two homes" model. I would have hated it as a child, and certainly as an adult I would hate to have "two homes" and live 50% of the time in each so I've no idea why people think children are any different.

NotaDisneyMum Sat 24-Nov-12 14:21:43

I think that's the point - you would have hated it as a child, but others thrived in that situation, just as it works for some DCs and not others.

What I believe is possessive is when one parent restricts the contact that their child has with their other parent using the argument that they themselves wouldn't like to be back and forward between homes so why should the DCs. DCs do not always share their parents preferences, opinions or emotions - and may be quite comfortable with a situation that their parent would dislike, or vica-versa.

If one parent wants to take an active, equal role in their DCs life then the DC's should be given the opportunity for that to happen - not denied it purely because the other parent wouldn't like being in the DCs position.
I think it's something that should be at least attempted. The EOW model is implemented in many cases with no consideration in advance as to whether or not it will suit the DCs, so why is that used as a reason not to try a more equally shared parenting model?

OptimisticPessimist Sat 24-Nov-12 16:01:12

That was the point I was (clearly badly!) trying to make NADM - I don't agree with people suggesting that 50/50 should be the starting point for all children (as nongender posted in this thread - that if you care for your children you would insist on 50/50) because while it works fine for some, for others it wouldn't and might actually be detrimental. Equally, as you say EOW doesn't suit all children.

I just don't see why I should be accused of not caring for my children's interests or of seeing them as possessions just because I happen to disagree with a currently popular idea of what is "best".

NotaDisneyMum Sat 24-Nov-12 16:31:04

optimist I didn't say you don't care because you wouldn't be comfortable with 50:50 - but I would question your motives if you restricted your child's access to their other parent and insisted on a contact arrangement that you would be comfortable with if you were in your DCs place rather than thinking of your DCs as independent from yourself wink

OptimisticPessimist Sat 24-Nov-12 16:53:11

No nongender said that wink

I didn't mean that I wouldn't agree to 50/50 solely because I would have hated it, it was more of an explanation of my wariness of 50/50 being used as a stating point iyswim. I don't think 50/50 is wrong, I'm sure that it is the best thing for some children just as I'm equally sure that EOW or similar is the best for others. I don't think there should be any model prescribed as the "starting point".

As it is my DC's contact arrangements are out of my hands - they don't see their father and actually, that's the best thing for them. It took me a long time to see it because I was so angry on their behalf for him having dropped them so easily when it suited him and also for myself at being left to carry everything alone. It's not what I would have chosen when we split or what is currently thought of as "best", but it is what's best for them based on them, their father and our situation. Every child, every parent and every situation is different and I don't think that insisting on 50/50 (from either the side of the RP insisting the other parent should have 50/50 or the NRP insisting they want 50/50 - I'm using RP/NRP for brevity, I hope you understand what I mean) is any sort of reliable indicator about how much someone cares about the child (again, referring to nongender's post).

pinguthepenguin Sat 24-Nov-12 17:09:04

Agree totally with optimistic- agreeing with 50-50 parenting models should NOT be used the barometer by which we judge how selfless or selfish a parent is. And frankly, I see no harm whatsoever in pointing out that an adult would hate to have their lives split in two, so why do we think it's ok for kids. That is absolutely not a red herring or a straw man, it's a valid point to make. I think we need to be more realistic about the casualties of a break up. If you don't agree that 50 50 is right for your child, it doesn't mean you are 'restricting access to the other parentsad

NotaDisneyMum Sat 24-Nov-12 18:09:28

Is having two homes more damaging than the loss of daily contact with one parent? It may be to some DCs but not others - but parents won't know until they try it.

If a DC wants to see more of their NRP, and the NRP is willing to provide shared care (and there are no welfare issues of course) then surely it should be tried? No matter how the RP thinks they would feel themselves in that situation, if they refuse to at least try an arrangement that allows more contact then they are enforcing their own feelings onto their DCs. I can't see the difference between that and preventing a DC from attending swimming or drama lessons because it is an activity the parent would not enjoy.

I'm not suggesting that its easy to establish a DCs wishes as they often state a preference for the arrangement that they consider to be most fair - but in situations where parenting has been equally shared prior to a split, it seems just as reasonable to present a child with a similar situation, all be it in different homes, and see how well they settle - rather than giving them time to adapt to a scenario where they see significantly less of one parent. In my own case, I had to make a choice when I split with my DDs dad - do I limit her contact with him to EOW and deal with her distress, or see how she settles in a 50:50 arrangement? At the moment, the social 'norm' seems to be the former - even my solicitor was horrified when I told her I wanted to try the latter smile

Pingu Some RP do restrict access on the basis of how they themselves would feel though - my DSC were withheld from any contact with their Dad because their mum said that she didn't have any contact with her own Dad when her parents separated and she didn't want to, so her own DCs didn't need to see their Dad anymore sad. I don't see any difference between that and limiting a DCs contact to EOW for the same reason.

madam1mim Sat 24-Nov-12 18:42:24

I agree that if both parents were equal in childcare prior to split as well as no welfare issues then 50/50 may work. But i struggle to understand how this can firm a stable upbringing for a child?being shipped from one home to the other every 3.5 days must be quite unsettling abduction can surely only work if there us excellent ccommunication between parents which is unlikely as theres a reason why you broke up in the first place!

madam1mim Sat 24-Nov-12 18:43:37

*form and *and (must turn off predictive text)

pinguthepenguin Sat 24-Nov-12 18:49:06

Disney, my post wasn't directed at you personally, more of a general point within the discussion. I think though, there's a massive difference in trying to prevent contact completely ( your DP's ex sounds foul btw) and suggesting an EOW pattern. Truly, I don't see them as the same at all unless I've missed your point.
From my pov I just resent the notion that unless you concede 50-50 as the panacea of separated parenting, you are somehow guilty of obstruction or seeing yourself as the superior parent. If a child is old enough to voice their opinions about wanting a 50-50 arrangement and they are organic opinions (rather than spoon fed) then I wholeheartedly agree they should be listened to. In the cases of much younger children however, or cases where the child is clearly torn, I don't believe it should be the default position at all. As I said, I think we need to be more realistic about the casualties of break ups. We sometimes make difficult decisions on behalf of our children because we don't believe a course of action is right for them. If a parent believes that splitting a child's life right down the middle is not right for them, and therefore decides that an EOW/midweek visit pattern is better for them, I see this as one of those examples where a decision is made on behalf of our children because we believe it to be in their interests.
Notwithstanding of course, the fact that there are parents who make decisions like this for less than altruistic reasons, as in the case of your dp's ex.

OptimisticPessimist Sat 24-Nov-12 18:50:54

Personally I think yes, two homes is more damaging. That's my opinion which is equally as valid as yours and no more right or wrong. My children would have been more distressed by 50/50 in separate homes than they have been by having no contact (aside from phone calls) with their dad. Clearly the opposite is the case for your DD so it's great that you have been able to come to the best arrangement to suit her.

Arguing that 50/50 works for some children so it should be the model used where possible is like me arguing that no-contact works best for some children so that should be the first option in all cases. There is no right or wrong answer. Just because someone has a different opinion it doesn't mean that they are selfish or controlling.

OptimisticPessimist Sat 24-Nov-12 18:51:56

Pingu, you said it so much better than me grin

pinguthepenguin Sat 24-Nov-12 18:56:38


Wankarella Sat 24-Nov-12 18:57:52

Absolutely nothing!! I don't speak to him, I detests that abusiveman and he kinda walked out on his children and they don't like him much just now either, of course if the children say a bad word about him I stick up for him - only because I don't want them to grow up thinking 'my mum made me hate my Dad' he does an good job of that all by himself, the prat!

He phoned one of their schools the other week, we moved house, so he lost
some control poor bastard man, his words were 'is my child still at this school?'.... not 'how is my child?' angry sorry the thought of this man makes me swear lots!.... blush

Wankarella Sat 24-Nov-12 19:00:30

ex used to often arrange to collect dc, then not turn up, arrange parents evening and not turn up, arrange Christmas day/present etc then not turn up...meh!! Leave us alone you yucky man!

NotaDisneyMum Sat 24-Nov-12 19:04:14

Ah - I agree with you both smile

My concern is that, at present, EOW is the default position and most socially accepted -as proven by my solicitors reaction and is oft quoted on MN threads as 'the norm', whereas each case should be considered on its merits and there should be no default position, regardless of the beliefs of the parents involved smile

My DP wanted to apply for 50:50 shared care of his DCs when he went to court, he knew it worked for DD and thought I'd support him - I spent a long time explaining why, imo, it would not be right for his DCs wink

OptimisticPessimist Sat 24-Nov-12 19:14:37

Yes I agree - my concern is that often (as seen in nongender's post which this discussion stemmed from and also from the more extreme father's rights groups like F4J) the suggested solution to this is to legislate for assumed 50/50, meaning that parents like myself and Pingu with genuine, child-centred reasons for not wanting to do it would be seen as obstructive iyswim.

Peterpan101 Sat 24-Nov-12 19:32:26

All of you read what you are writing and THINK.....are you doing the best for your children??

I am an EH and I have been shutout of my daughters life by my EW from the day I left. I have had to fight for every morsel of information about DD (not from EW as this would be classed as harassment by her). There will be large areas of DD childhood that will for ever be lost to me because of EW hate.

EW is a child care professional and until the split put her career ahead of her time with her child and considered me the default parent when it suited her. Post split I am begrudgingly given 1 day a week (court action still progressing to get more).

If at the end of 5, 9, 15 years your EH is still not pulling his weight and taking interest then on your assumptions. But until then, for your children's welfare try, try and try again to be a good co-parent. Your children will thank you for the effort YOU have made.

Wankarella Sat 24-Nov-12 19:33:54

I can safely say - I AM

mine was offered contact via a contact centre, he refused, I cannot drag him....

Wankarella Sat 24-Nov-12 19:35:26

Did you like to hit your children and take no notice of them and suggest they were aborted - if your answer is no, I would say we are not all living the same life!

OptimisticPessimist Sat 24-Nov-12 19:43:50

Yes Peter I am doing the very best I can for my children. Sadly, their father (who hasn't seen them for 18m after moving 400 miles to live with a woman he met online) hasn't done so and still isn't. It's not my job to try and make him be a better parent.

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