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What do you do when Daddy's a twat?

(17 Posts)
colditz Fri 21-Aug-09 15:57:06

I have just drastically cut my ex's access to the childcren, following reports that they aren't being cared for properly.

Now he is moving into a friend's house where the children can have their own bedroom.

I'm not, tbh, hugely impressed that it has taken him 2.5 years to find a house where the children can sleep overnight in an unshared room, but I am pleased he has eventually done it.

Thing is, after what I have been told from the last people he lived with, he didn't do a great deal of quality looking after them there, so what is to say he will do it when they are at his new house?

I'm talking shit meals (bowl of super noodles for main meal, not washing their clothes and plonking them in front of the tv.

So what I have decided is that I need to SEE this new arrangement before I can commit to allowing the children to sleep there overnight. I need to SEE food in the fridge, I need to SEE that they have toys to play with and activities planned, and I need to SEE that the house is unsqualid enough or them to stay there.

I am also intending to give my 6 year old a mobile phone purely for time spent with his dad, so he can ring me and I can ring him.

They WANT to "have sleepovers at Daddy's" or I wouldn't even entertain the idea.

But am I mad to even consider this?

colditz Fri 21-Aug-09 16:35:53

cheeky bump

colditz Fri 21-Aug-09 17:51:42

.....

GypsyMoth Fri 21-Aug-09 17:59:46

all i can say is if it was going through court,then you'd have no rights to view the house.his contact time is his. food in the fridge etc is none of your concern. we all parent differently and if there are no welfare issues (social services will not pounce cos he feeds them supernoodles)then its up to him. he is a parent too.....the dc don't belong to you,half his concern etc....

actually,i'd be more concerned about WHO he is sharing with and their habits!! do you know them?

colditz Fri 21-Aug-09 18:33:14

Vaguely. But as you say, I have no legal right to interfere (I do know this).

I do have a moral duty to my children though.

GypsyMoth Fri 21-Aug-09 19:01:12

well how will the exreact to you nosing around?
suppose you could try being excited for him and get in the place that way.

no,knowing someone vaguely would scare me,tho if it was a girlfriend,you still no rights to check out her place. but i would worry about recreational drug use,skoming in the house,safety and the persons habits!! house sharing makes it difficult to keep the place suitable for children if the other people arent used to kids.

colditz Fri 21-Aug-09 19:10:43

Well, that's what I mean. Each and every time I drop the children off I want to see where they will be sleeping and what they will be eating. And "I'll sort it out later" isn't going to cut it.

i know he has the right to raise the children as he sees fit, but in my eyes what he sees fit isn't necessarily what I see fit.

The ex says the housemate is fine with the children staying over, and that they will have their own room etc. I can't see how I can stop him having the children there overnight without pushing him into taking me to court and getting every other weekend. I don't want him to have them for more than 1 night at a time and I will be picking them up at 12 noon the day after.

I'm very fed up of him, tbh. I wish I could just leave them in a nice 2 bedroomed flat for a weekend with him, but in 2.5 years he has never felt the necessity of having somewhere for them to sleep. He originally used this as an excuse to come to my house all the time but since he has a girlfriend he doesn't want to come to my house, is insisting they have to go to his, and doesn't seem to have made adequate arrangements.

I genuinely don't know what the best thing to do is.

Superduperloopthelooper Fri 21-Aug-09 20:31:54

I think that you are justifiably fed up with being the responsible primary carer. You really don't want to be dragged down the court route if you can help it though...

Can you go for an initial look round to suss things out. If the dc are only there from, say, midday Sat to midday Sun the dodgy diet could be overlooked to some degree. Does he actually know what they will eat? I know that my exh doesn't, I have to make suggestions (eg: 'he had spag bol last night so maybe something like fish fingers for tea?'). Also, the same goes for activities - could you suggest a dvd from the library / trip to the park / swimming / bike riding? Maybe he just needs a push (shove?!) in the right direction?

Tbh, if he is not truly a risk to the dc then you have to trust him. If your son is able to get hold of you if need's be then that is a positive.

If you can manage to find some kind of middle ground with him and show willing you might find that he is more forthcoming with you and that you are able to be more involved with the arrangements, at least during the early visits. It is very hard to manage feelings of concern and to let someone you don't entirely trust take on the care of your dc but he needs to do this, otherwise he will never be any more capable.

Can you discuss your concerns with him in a non-confrontational way and hope that he sees where you are coming from? Ultimately, you need time to yourself too, this could be a turning point for all of you...

smile

mmrred Sat 22-Aug-09 12:57:58

I suppose if you put him in the position where he had no choice but to go down the court route a Cafcass officer MIGHT go to the house as check it out...but unless it is a derelict squat it's pretty unlikely that overnight contact would not be ordered.

As you say, you have a moral duty to the kids and that includes promoting contact with their Dad.

It will get easier after you've done it a few times and even if they don't get the same 'standard of care' regard it as a camping trip. Good Luck

GypsyMoth Sat 22-Aug-09 13:00:02

a positive with cafcass involvement is that he might get sent on a 'parenting course'....maybe he needs a bit of advice,which coming from you,he takes the wrong way.

ridingjoker Sat 22-Aug-09 17:29:28

i think the dodgy diet for such a short time window could be overlooked. perhaps you could hint to ds to ask for fish fingers/pasta/pizza for his dinner on that evening. and if he's giving ex a request he is more likely to fulfil it than you requesting he give ds that.

as for shared arrangements..... is there a likelihood of drugs/parties regular every wkd? or is the person he's sharing with responsible or in long term stable relationship.... upside to this is there could be a responsible female girlfriend of the person he is sharing with who could helpfully suggest things.

you never know. this could be the making of there relationship.

thing is..... he's already realised he has to do something.

he's took the first step by getting somewhere he can afford which has a seperate room for dc.

give him a chance to prove he can be a responsible father.

GypsyMoth Sat 22-Aug-09 17:36:21

took him almost 2 i/2 years to get suitable accomadation though!!! how much of a chance does he need here...

ridingjoker Sat 22-Aug-09 17:43:50

fine... burn him at the stake.... ok.... so took him a while to get his arse in gear. but he obviously previously never realised it was that big an issue to access was reduced.

and what has he done......... quickly sorted out accomodation that is better suited.

we all know how useless men can be at sorting there affairs unless given kick up backside.

he's been given his swift boot to the nuts.

now let him at least TRY and see how he goes. keep an eye, perhaps offer to drop off first few times to see what the place is like.

GypsyMoth Sat 22-Aug-09 17:46:59

not all men are useless at doing the best for their children....not all.

not sure if it IS better suited though,something op is trying to find out!!

terrier141 Mon 24-Aug-09 07:32:25

In my experience the concerns of the mother are seen as far less importnat that the rights of the father when it comes to court. It seems that unless there is actual real hard evidence of abuse/neglect then fathers (and I imagine absent mothers too) can pretty much do what they like with their contact time. I went through court to try to prevent my exh getting overnight access - he has a drink problem, self harms and has huge mental health issues (I have since found out that his new wife also shares these problems and that there have been child protection referrals made to social services re;her children)- Cafcass were shit and didnt believe a word I said (until they eventually got hold of his doctors records). Basically he ended up with LESS contact (his choice), but 2 overnights a fortnight!
Also I bought the kids a phone (just for the access) but he takes it off them and will only allow me to ring them at a specified time - therefore if there was something happening they couldnt let me know - he also listens to our conversations!
Good luck - its not an easy situation when you want to protect your kids and its outside your control.

oldraver Mon 24-Aug-09 13:07:59

I think you have to let go, you cant control him like that. I would be concerned as to who he was sharing with but leave the rest or you will just stress to much over it

notevenamousie Mon 24-Aug-09 19:18:29

It's so hard when you don't have a right to what you feel you need.

Try and look round, try and decide if they are safe, try and protect them. You have to live with yourself at the end of the day and you have to feel and believe you have done right by your children. If he does take you to court - then you will deal with that then.

The mobile phone sounds a good idea. I think you have to let them go, take it visit by visit, and if it is terrible, then let a court decide - that is what they are there for.

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