How to stop overnights and reduce contact?(22 Posts)
I'm new here so go easy on me!
My 10 year daughter wants to stop overnights at her dads. She is too scared to tell dad and whenever I say anything he says I'm making it up as my DD is too scared to tell the truth. She gets very upset before she goes and gets very stressed. She can't be herself she says and all her things are with me and feels comfortable here. For example she has just finished her 11 plus and I told her to take a break but she packs papers to do at her dad's just because he said he doesn't want her sitting around. I told her to take a break but she says no daddy will tell me off. She also does things like wears trousers to his house on contact day and wears a skirt to school everyday with me! She is obviously scared and not being herself.
My ex has a contact order for every other weekend and half the holidays. MY DD says it was fine when she was little but as she is growing up and she will be entering a highly academic school she doesn't want the extra stress. Also she is worried about books being here at my house etc.
I've approached her father nicely but he says I just don't her to see him and reduce contact as I want more Child support. It is not the case I just want my DD to be comfortable and settle into high school. Should I go to court? Will judges allow reduce contact? Is there any point?
I want her to see her father of course but shouldn't I do what she wants?
Please let me know of any experiences.
I think her reactions sound a bit worrying really. Sounds like you need some support. Is her school supportive? Could you approach them for advice? Or your GP might know who to approach for advice. The trouble is, I don't know that a court would change contact just based on what you're saying. You need to get to the bottom of what her worries are.
I agree with BlackDaisies- the way she is acting would worry me. Could you have a word with her teacher and ask if they have noticed any signs of stress/anxiety on her contact days? The thing about only wearing trousers on contact days is strange. Make sure she knows that she can come to you with all her worries- it sounds like she is doing so, but if you can get more concrete info about what's making her uncomfortable, that would help.
She is just scared. She says daddy is strict. She has two half siblings and sees them getting told off, punished and hit and doesnt want that happening to her. She is good as gold at dads.
Her teacher says she is very happy at school.
GP is no use.
So court will be no good?
Court would only change contact if he is seen to be a risk. When you say she sees her siblings getting hit, what does she mean? If she is witnessing things that scare her, then that might be a case for saying he is a risk. I wonder if it might be worth you ringing the NSPCC for advice. Mention what she has said, and about her wearing trousers. Have you asked her why she does that?
Also it won't be enough that she is telling you this. She would need to tell a third party. I think you need to get advice.
It sounds like a deeply unhealthy environment. I would definitely think about applying for a variation to the court order. Going down that road means that her voice should be heard through the court as given her age, her wishings and feelings will be taken into account.
She knows her dad is strict abut covering her legs-he is religious. The hitting part is not my business her step mum hits her own kids and I don't want to get involved.
Ok so there is no point going to court she will just have to suffer.
The scary part about court is contact continues until court date and will be worried sick that her father will be telling her off inbetween.
I do agree that you could make an application. But they will need to know exactly what you are "accusing" him of (which would be emotional abuse from what you're saying). Then they would want to know where you sought advice from, and what the outcome of that advice was. It would make your case stronger if you could show you acted on your concerns by seeking advice and support for your daughter.
I get what you say about not wanting to get involved, but I wouldn't want my children to be witnessing that and thinking it was ok. I get that you don't want to open a can of worms, but I think your daughter is telling you quite a lot here, and is putting her trust in you that you will support her. I do think you should tell someone and get support.
My 10 year DD was similar I talked to school they got her sessions with the counsellor. She then revealed the true problem to the counsellor and subsequently to the child protection officer. It was a no brainier then I took legal advice stopped contact and it is up to him to take me to court. Guess what he is not doing that.
She needs to talk to others beyond you.
school counseller we dont have that? Let alone at her high school?
My ex would fight he is always fighting with me and tells me constantly he has money and i dont to apply to court 1000 times. The judges love him too as he is doctor.
Im just a statistic to them.
Take a small step then. Tell yourself that you will approach either school/ nspcc helpline and talk about your concerns. Ask one of those people to recommend someone your daughter can talk to. If it's school you approach, do it in writing so you have a record of asking for help.
There should be somebody responsible for child protection at every school, usually the head teacher or a deputy. If your daughter feels at threat of violence then she could talk to that member of staff.
Its so tough as my ex will start abusing me then and stop child support. I think my daughter feels sad her half siblings have been put through independent school from 4 years of age but father always refused to do this for her. Again she asks and he ignores her.
Your ex won't need to know initially, if you're just asking for someone who can talk to and support your daughter. Do that first, and see what comes of that.
ROZ it is tough believe me u have had the screaming phone calls etc. but I am the adult I have to take it so DD doesn't have to.
Talk to someone else as everyone has suggested. The child protection officer at school was amazing she told me she would stand shoulder to shoulder with me in court if it came to that.
My own experience is that emotional abuse and pressure are not enough for a court to reduce contact, neither are the child's wishes and feelings at this age It seem to me that the positive wanting to see Daddy/Mummy is given far more weight than the negative.
NSPCC and children's services will tell you your primary duty is to protect your child but when you do their advice carries no weight with the courts as they "have only heard one side of the story".
Your best bet for help and support would be the school and also getting your lovely girl a counsellor who is well versed in such family matters...she is just about old enough for NHS individual counselling.
Hopefully this would give her both a voice and some strategies for coping, somewhere to voice her fears and concerns other than you. Having you as her mother who is always concerned to do the right thing is also a very powerful defence.
Good luck. Soon she will be old enough to decide for herself.
agree with getting your daughter to see a counsellor or teacher at school - ask school what they offer.
also gp can refer to family therapist.
you need to get to bottom of her anxieities about going to dad. before it does affect her schooling and gneeral well being .
she is trying to find excuses/reasons for not going eg her books but that wont hold water in court - eg she could have two ssets of books etc.
so she needs to talk to someone indepndent of you and ex and tell exactly what she is afraid of.
and no you dont need to put up with abuse from your ex to protect dd. pont speak on phone with him only text/email.
Thanks everyone. I never talk on hone i get email abuse! Too be honest its been ten years and I get stressed so I just give in to all demands so life is peaceful. I just don't like his arrogance and emotional abuse.
"I just give in to all demands so life is peaceful"
....I truly understand this but now maybe you need to show your girl how to say a reasonable no with strength but not aggression. Life skills like this need to be learnt for the sake of her future....she needs to know that she can stand up for herself and that you will stand up for her too.
But I do know how precious peace is, standing up to bullies does come at a price.
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