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Stopping contact - where would I stand?(11 Posts)
This will be long, so please bear with me.
I met my youngest daughter's father when the oldest was two years old. He and his family took her on as their own.
When youngest daughter was born, Ex-H became abusive and controlling. Eventually, this abuse started being directed at the oldest child and we left.
He now sees only the youngest (who is 8 and a half).
This weekend, youngest was invited to a family gathering with him. Oldest was not.
Youngest took oldest's i-pod charger with her. She'd broken her own and they'd been sharing oldests. Youngest had been told not to take the charger, but took it anyway.
Oldest, who is 13, sent her a message about this.
There was the usual sibling squabbling along the lines of "If you get a new charger, I will cut it up." "Well I will tear up all your posters if you do that" "Do it I will tear up your head" etc. Usual kids stuff, not desirable but not especially worrying.
Then it took a turn for the nasty from youngest's side. Messages that stand out as particularly nasty are -
You are just jealous because I am here having a good time with my FAMILY (her emphasis), enjoying good food and you're just laid on the sofa watching anime like the friendless saddo you really are
You're the worst sister ever. You are a fat, ugly monster and everyone hates you. I wish you had never been born, you fat, ugly loser!!!! I've tried multiple times to be nice to you because you are my HALF sister, but you're just a horrible, horrible person, you moddy cow. Just DIE already.
I'm supposed to believe that an 8 year old with mild learning difficulties wrote this
Oldest has an eating disorder, anxiety and depression and recieves treatment for this.
She eventually responded by threatening self harm. At which point I noticed her mood and investigated, found the messages and took her device away.
It took youngest three hours to alert an adult to oldest's threats.
I contacted Ex-H about it, who focused on oldest threatening to cut up youngest's charger The device was not removed from youngest, nor was the gifted charger (she broke oldest's while she was there) removed from her. She was told by one of Ex-H's family that she does not have to share this charger and oldest is not allowed to touch it.
As a result of this, I believe contact is no longer in her best interests.
Am I within my rights to stop it? There is no court order in place.
Er no, I do not think this is a valid reason to cut contact with your childs father. Sorry if this is not what you want to hear.
The issue sounds like it is between your dc, unless you can prove exh has anything to do with it.
I would certainly be pulling them both up on how they have been messaging eachother (not that i think an 8 year old should have a phone, but maybe this is just to contact you when she is with her dad).
Court order or not, if you do withold contact, then your exh can apply to court for a court order and will probably get it, therefore you will have to release your dd anyway. Stopping contact is surely just going to disrupt things and cause more upset IMO.
Buy a new charger so they have one each
No reason to stop dd going for contact that I can see.
Have older one speak to her therapist about it. Strategies to deal with her sibling.
Talk to both about making stupid threats .
Also you can't put responsibility on an eight year old to report older dd self harm threats.
Maybe you need to monitor older dd more but ask her therapist for advice ?
Well I'd be bollocking both of them - normal sibling squabbling is one thing but they were both out and out nasty pieces of work to each other. I'm sure it's very convenient to blame it on your ex but you absolutely need to address the relationship between them and not just consider it normal sibling rivalry. It sounds like there's a huge amount of built up resentment between them.
She doesn't have a phone. She has an i-pod with a message app she is supposed to be supervised when using.
I don't think ex-h was behind the messages. There are cousins (15 and 17) I suspect at best they were telling youngest what to say, at worst they were actually sending the messages. The language, spelling and general tone is too unlike youngest to have been her, IYSWIM? She started off calling oldest a "stupid alian potatoo head" that is youngest.
I don't hold youngest responsible for oldest but she would usually alert an adult to oldest struggling or threatening self-harm.
She changes so much when she's with his family She is normally such a loving, gentle child.
I have spoken to them both, although once it turned nasty oldest was ignoring or replying *please can you just tell me if you have my charger so I can stop looking if it isn't here.
I still pulled them both up on the threatening to cut up the charger, tear up posters etc while making it very clear that youngest took things too far.
I bought new chargers this morning. It's on-going issue. They are not expected to share one between them long term. Youngest is not careful with hers. They start off with one each and spare. Youngest breaks hers, gets spare, breaks spare, oldest offers to share. I replace all three as soon as possible.
I might just stop youngest taking any devices with her?
Ypu said she us sn 8 year old with mild ld
So you need to speak to her at her level.
Hard for her if she is being egged on by older cousins but you don't have control over that
Just reinforce messages abput how you expect t her to behavewhen at home.
Is there no ipad charger in ex s house? Just send her with ipod and no charger
Ex-H has an i charger, but youngest is not allowed to use it because she will break it. Cousins all have i-things so have several chargers between them.
They gave youngest one to bring home, with her name written on it and told her she wasn't allowed to let oldest use it. I made her leave it ast Ex-H's and bought three new ones this morning, under the usual 'all wires are to share rule' we have in our house.
My issue is not so much her taking the charger. She does that often but we'd normally have a spare knocking about. This time they'd all been lost or broken.
My issue is the level of vitriol she comes out with when she is there and the effect this has on oldest.
Obviously I have no control over the cousins or the level of supervision youngest is given when using her i-pod during contact, so can ony deal with it after the fact.
It seems stopping contact, as much as I would like to, is an overreaction. Would it be wise to stop her taking her i-pod to contact to stop this nastiness before it starts? She wouldn't be happy about it. She uses the messenger app to keep in touch with me and cousins on our side.
I am sure she doesn't understand the impact of what she is saying if she is emotionally like a younger child.
So you need to just keep teaching her.
Don't tske her voice away tho she may need to tell you something while there more so if ex is on abusive side
I think both of your children need to think how they communicate through media.
I think I would certainly stop youngest taking it to next contact...She has to responsible for what she writes even if coerced.
At 8.5 that is an awful lot of responsibility to inform someone she thinks sister may be going to self harm.. this is unfair and something I think you need to discuss with oldest how she can ask for support when she needs it.
I think this is a sibling issue that needs addressing between the 2 of them
Could you tell the oldest that you think the youngest cousins might be sending mean messages when she's there, and negotiate with the oldest so that you monitor what messages she gets from the youngest during that time?
I think you'd struggle legally if you stopped contact for this and your ex took you to court.
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