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Ex controlling 10 y/o’s Skype contact

(35 Posts)
Thenittygritty Wed 01-Apr-20 09:06:53

Hi everyone after some advice on this prickly topic..
Ex and I have agreed for our son to remain with her due to covid19 - government says it’s ok for children to see both parents but we have agreed it is best he stays put. She is the resident parent so this means I have already gone a month without direct contact and may do so for many more months, it’s awful but at least he’s safe!
My issue is that his mother/my ex is very controlling. Our son is bright and like most kids is a whizz at tech, but she insists on him using Skype on her phone (even though he has a tablet and a computer in his bedroom). I think at 10, he should be given the freedom to contact me whenever he wants (e.g send me a message or initiate a Skype call)
She also forces him to Skype me from outside because she doesn’t want me to see inside her house. I have no interest but I understand. But I think he should be allowed to Skype me from his own bedroom? Or am I wrong? If he was younger I’d understand her measures but he’s starting secondary school this September and I think she’s being very controlling about it. Also - I wait for him to Skype me, i never expect Skype calls late at night and we usually speak for 30mins max... so I’m pretty sure I’m not being a nuisance!
Should he be allowed to use it on his own device and should he be allowed to use it in his room at age 10 or am I totally wrong??

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KMoKMo Wed 01-Apr-20 09:12:38

Have you spoken to her about it? Were these the ‘rules’ before lockdown?
You need to have a conversation with her and see if she’ll allow him to contact you more.
If she doesn’t, ask to reinstate contact as per usual.

SarahInAccounts Wed 01-Apr-20 09:15:16

She's being very unreasonable and controlling.

Not sure what you can do to make her do what is best for your DC.

TeenPlusTwenties Wed 01-Apr-20 09:16:03

It is quite standard advice to not allow youngsters internet access in their bedrooms.
However not allowing to skype inside seems a bit OTT unless she has concerns you are a danger and doesn't want clues as to where you live.

Thenittygritty Wed 01-Apr-20 09:20:36

Pre lockdown she has never ever allowed Skype contact or phone contact, even though consent order says we can agree additional contact. Our order is teatimes, eow and half holidays but despite asking several times over the years if we can arrange for Skype if he’s going to go more than a week without contact due to my shifts, she’s ignored me (I’ve even offered to pay for a phone/tablet specifically for him to Skype me so it’s not affecting anything of “hers” that’s in the house or that she’s bought him - can be switched off when not Skyping)
I have considered that. I would rather he stay put as he’s safe and 0 risk of catching anything if he stays with one parent but it’s not fair he’s pushed outside in the cold to Skype me...at least with normal contact he Can see me in warmth!

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Thenittygritty Wed 01-Apr-20 09:23:05

He has full internet access in his bedroom for gaming etc and does YouTube videos from there so that argument is out the window, and Skyping outside means I’ve seen exactly where she lives (not that it’s a secret anyway) I understand her wanting her privacy but I think he should be allowed his personal space! Not like I’m going to request a house tour smile

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Inforthelonghaul Wed 01-Apr-20 10:17:34

That’s actually awful and really sad. Obviously we don’t know the full story but based on the little bit of info you’ve given us it’s very U.

My DD who is slightly younger is keeping in touch with her friends via WA and no way would i not let her though obviously no phones etc at bedtime.

Thenittygritty Wed 01-Apr-20 10:34:07

If I gave the full story we’d be here all day long - short version is she tried to replace me as dad with her new partner, was proven in court and via psychological assessment she was hostile and constantly placing obstacles to contact. The latest was (I posted under a different name recently) that I had wanted to start doing morning school runs occasionally e.g Monday morning after weekend contact because ex moved back to area and I’m now within 5 mins of his new school so this is now possible and she refuses so i attended mediation, she refuses to attend... I realise it sounds one sided but it’s the truth, I’ve never been demanding or pushy, always let her decide on holiday time etc and I work round her. I’ve only wanted to maintain contact with our son since she left. She’d be happier if I didn’t bother and just left her and her OH to raise our son.

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Thenittygritty Wed 01-Apr-20 10:47:48

Oh and DS finds his own ways to contact me anyway so not sure why she is determined to control his Skype contact so much...he installed a game he plays on my phone just so he can message me on it! It both breaks my heart and fills it with joy when he messages on the game to see what im up to/ask me to join his game/ tell me he’s uploaded a new YouTube video and asks me to watch. He’s such a lovely lad!

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NorthernSpirit Wed 01-Apr-20 10:52:48

This is my DSC mother..... my DSC are now 11 & 14.

Some examples of the mothers controlling behaviour.....

She would only allow calls on her mobile phone on loud speaker while she held the phone

No video calls

Calls only at 6:10pm. If the father rang 2 mins away earlier or later, phone would not be answered

When the children were 11 he bought them mobile phones and much of this has stopped. The mother has told the children not to text their dad (and the oldest who is brainwashed complies).

As the children get older they will figure it out for themselves and her control will lessen.

It’s a form of parental alienation. Look it up.

HugeAckmansWife Thu 02-Apr-20 09:32:45

If he is allowed all that tech and free Internet access in his room, if he played some music, would she know he'd called you? My two are a simar age and don't have their own devices. They can call / Skype their dad whenever via my phone and do the same for me when they are at his. There were some issues in the beginning, it was a nasty split (ow) and he didn't respect my wishes for her not to be present in calls etc but it sounds like in your case there's no good reason why he shouldn't call you as and when. Depends if you want to go back to court or just wait it out a few months until he's taking his phone to and from school and can just call you whenever.

Thenittygrittt Thu 02-Apr-20 10:22:34

@HugeAckmansWife she wouldn’t know, but DS is scared of her and I don’t really want to encourage him to keep secrets from her..if he does it on his own (like contacting me via his online game) that’s up to him but I wouldn’t want him being told off for something I’ve asked him to do.
I’m already in the process of applying for variation so that weekend contact ends with me dropping him off at school Monday morning like a normal dad (rather than him being picked up by his mum Sunday night) since she moved back to my area and as a result I’m now closer to his school than she is!
He doesn’t currently have a phone only a tablet and a computer, obviously I can’t buy him one without her consent or she would just refuse to let him use it and it would get sent back here (I have already offered to buy him one in the past and she ignored me)
Am now considering whether I can apply for enforcement together with variation or whether I should just apply for variation and add that he should be allowed to have Skype with me from his bedroom without Mum controlling it.
I’ve told her that either she allows Skype or we revert to our original Order (in line with government guidance and the statement released by the President of the Family Division - there’s no symptomatic family members, no current isolation occurring and no extremely vulnerable family in either household). I’ve told her either she allows him to Skype his dad or we will return to normal contact and if she refuses normal contact she will then be in breach without justification.
It sounds extreme but I’d much rather she just allowed him to Skype. I just can’t believe she thinks it’s ok for our son who has had regular normal contact for years to suddenly go months without face to face interaction. We’ve had two Skype calls in 5 weeks and both those he was forced outside to make them... just not fair on him.

Annaminna Wed 15-Apr-20 12:12:36

you wrote:
"Oh and DS finds his own ways to contact me anyway so not sure why she is determined to control his Skype contact so much..."

I would like to ask:
"Why are you so bothered about the Skype then if you have other ways to be in contact with your son?"
Are you sure, you don't push it only because your ex feels uncomfortable about that one? The only one, who you make feel uncomfortable with your insisted skype calls, is your own son. He is the one who is sitting outside when you get your skype call (not your ex).
Instead of making a big deal about this one specific contact channel (skype call) use those ways that isn't a problem to anyone.
Keep making those youtube videos for each other, chat over the game and be happy. Don't try to pick a fight if its no benefit to anyone anyway.

Thenittygritty Wed 15-Apr-20 19:31:16

@Annaminna are you for real?

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Thenittygritty Wed 15-Apr-20 19:36:33

@Annaminna
You think, that chatting over a child’s game is an ok substitute for face to face interaction ?
My point was, clearly our child wants to contact me as he does via the chat feature in the online game but needs to ask his mothers permission to Skype me and use her device to do so as she will not let him use Skype on his own device. As she is aware he contacts me via the online game, and posts publicly available YouTube videos from his room, why is she wanting to control and limit his Skype contact? Given that I’ve agreed for him to stay with her during the current pandemic.
Skype contact shouldn’t be a problem for anyone full stop. My ex being controlling over contact shouldn’t mean my sons only way to contact his dad is via a chat feature in an online game. Can’t believe you think that’s an ok substitute for contact hmm

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slipperywhensparticus Wed 15-Apr-20 19:37:04

I think anaminna is pointing out conflict for conflicts sake serves no one you talk to him anyway you Skype anyway all be it in the garden so why rock the boat ultimately your child will be the only one affected by this

midnightstar66 Wed 15-Apr-20 19:39:24

Dd is 10 a d age is freely able to video call or text her df at any time. She doesn't ever initiate as it's a bit out of sight out of mind for her but I agree and 10 he should have the means

Thenittygritty Wed 15-Apr-20 19:45:41

@Annaminna many, many separated parents are in the same situation as me currently and are making good use of Skype/FaceTime/zoom/whatsapp etc etc to facilitate contact without any issues whatsoever. The problem is not me wanting to ensure our son still has decent contact but an ex who has historically controlled contact and done her best to limit it..and still does..and all I’ve ever “pushed” for (as you see it) is a NORMAL set up as far as possible for our child. You make it sound like I’m expecting my ex to perform miracles. Reading your post I cannot help but assume you too are hostile to contact between your child(REN) and an ex or you wouldn’t think online chat in a kids game is acceptable form of contact to substitute real contact for nearly two months!! shockhmmconfused

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TheCanyon Wed 15-Apr-20 19:49:58

I disagree, skyping only from the garden is weird as fuck. My dds dad can contact her however and whenever he likes, my phone, dhs phone, dds ipad/phone, my younger dds ipad (not his) ... makes no difference to any of us. Are you sure it's her that wants ds outside and not him choosing to go out to avoid her?

It IS weird.

Thenittygritty Wed 15-Apr-20 19:50:12

@slipperywhensparticus it bothers me when our son is struggling to get signal, and upset that he can’t see me properly because it goes black/cuts out/goes blocky and shivering because it’s cold out. As I’ve said the only issue is his mothers attitude and there’s really no need for it. If he was happy Skyping in the garden I wouldn’t have a problem with it!
@midnightstar66 you sound like a sensible normal parent!

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Thenittygritty Wed 15-Apr-20 19:52:11

@TheCanyon sorry if I wasn’t clear in my post. It IS her wanting DS outside to Skype me. She will not allow him to Skype inside not even in his own room.

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YangShanPo Wed 15-Apr-20 20:09:37

I'd be a bit concerned about him making publically available YouTube videos at his age. He should set it to private family and friends only. He should be allowed to Skype you when he wants to though (within reason)and I would continue to push for this.

TheCanyon Wed 15-Apr-20 20:58:57

Yeah that is really shitty @Thenittygritty there's somethings I would rather no one see me doing and have spent many a time ninja crawling to avoid a naked facetime etc, but my ex who has seen warts and all, I have no secrets. Him and dd can crack on and we will facilitate that as much as possible no matter.

Thenittygritty Wed 15-Apr-20 21:07:02

@YangShanPo this is exactly my point. The entire online world is allowed to see inside his room thanks to his YouTube uploads (which I’m not happy with but she allows it) but he’s not allowed to skype his own Dad from his bedroom because then Dad sees his room hmm she is bonkers.

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slipperywhensparticus Wed 15-Apr-20 22:12:57

Completely off topic but where are you that its so cold it's been so warm lately my son had a nose bleed today 🤦‍♀️

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