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Children's contact - need a new one, any advice?

(9 Posts)
theoptimist Wed 05-Aug-09 18:43:51

Hi all,Sorry this is long. But I can't work out what to do and it's taking over my mind...

My exH and I have had a good arrangement in terms of how time with our two kids is shared, since we separated 2 1/2 years ago. But, I was advised by the police yesterday that I should go via the courts, because the arrangement we had was allowing him to continue to be controlling. I was with the police because my partner reported him for assaulting me - which he did (again!).

My exH loves having the kids and is generally fine with them, although he doesn't get on with DD (very recently 6yrs) as well as he does DS (recently 8yrs), and often calls me (when he's meant to have the kids) to get me to collect her as "he's had enough of her". He has occasionally asked me to collect both kids, but it's mostly DD. He has also said a couple of times this year that he doesn't want DD staying with him until she learns to do this or that - like dress quicker. He says it in front of her and makes her cry. He also 'cuffs' (her word) her round the head when she annoys him and denies her stories, then gives DS a story, so she cries herself to sleep, etc.

I'm always there for my kids, so I don't mind. Plus I've got my baby DD2 now, so it's not like I have plans that will be ruined. So, I'm never annoyed at him wanting me to have them even at short notice.

But, because my ex has always been so controlling (and always right!) he tends to have a go at me a lot and try to tell me what to do with the kids when I have them. Also, the schedule is based around how it was when we were together, so he doesn't have them when it's his usual pub night, or his swimming club night, etc., so in some ways he treats me like his glorified babysitter, rather than their mother. He has never respected me, because of the factI come from a council estate as a child (calls me council scum!) although, I do have a professional job, am better educated than he is and have better paid job than he does! But still, he often refers to my upbringing and thinks I don't do things very well because of that.

Also, he arranges for the kids to go on journeys with other people and doesn't tell me, but I find out. And sharing of clothes causes rows, amongst so many other things. I manage to keep calm and just ignore it most of the time. But, then sometimes we end up in a row and he becomes physically aggressive (in front of the children). He criticised me for not giving the kids 'greens' for the tea the other day, which is rare for us, as we generally always cook healthy meals.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, the police think I should take the kids away for a few weeks (I would if I had the money) then go through the family courts to sort out contact. I'm wondering if there's anyone who can advise me of whether it would be worth doing that, and if so what would I offer my exH regarding contact whilst that's happening? what do other people do regarding access?

I've always felt sorry for absent fathers, especially those who wanted the relationship to work and didn't want to leave their children. My exH didn't want me by the way, but still, I want things to be fair, for the kids' sake.

I would happily have my kids 24/7 and actually I hate sharing them; I almost committed myself to a life-sentence of unhappiness with my exH so I didn't need to share the kids. Still, I want to do what's right. Oh and my DS wants to see both of us an equal amount of time, my DD isn't really too bothered. Any advice would help. My mind is constantly thinking about it.

My exH will be interviewed by the police tomorrow and I think he's receive a caution. He'll think he's right to do what he did - knowing him! But I expect he'll bear no grudges about being reported. I'm just not sure what to do. I didn't let him have the kids yesterday afternoon for the few hours he has them every Tue (before his pub night) and he's supposed to have them tomorrow afternoon and overnight.

I was going to suggest that my exH sort out the things that are causing him huge stress (Tax returns, VAT, etc.), things leading to huge fines as he's so overdue (like 5k each fine!) and in that time stop or reduce contact he has. Because without me to pick on, I worry he'll pick on our DD. My exH is so controlling and she's little rebel (anyone know of Horrid Henry), so they fall out a lot, my DS is like Perfect Peter!!

Sorry it's long. But it's doing my head in. Any advice would be appreciated.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Wed 05-Aug-09 18:46:34

I am a bit confused what the police are interviewing him for. Has he assaulted you very recently?

theoptimist Wed 05-Aug-09 18:50:22

yes,on Monday evening.

llareggub Wed 05-Aug-09 18:56:47

Is he likely to assault the children? If he is violent to you I'd hazard a guess that he would eventually do it to the children as well.

I have little advice I'm afraid and don't envy your position at all. I suspect in your shoes I would try to keep the courts out of it but try and involve some sort of mediator to address the relationship issues between your DD and ex. I'm not sure why resolving the contact issues would necessarily help the way he talks and relates to your DD.

allaboutme Wed 05-Aug-09 19:02:24

If he is physically assaulting you in front of the children, plus emotionally abusing your DD and 'cuffing' her (I assume you mean hitting her round the head) when the children are in his care, then I would listen to the police advice and stop him seeing them!
Let him go through the courts as recommended and possibly the outcome will be supervised contact which sounds like the ideal thing to maintain a relationship but without the abuse.

Please listen to the police advice, they wouldn't have advised something so drastic unless they have good reason to do so.

theoptimist Wed 05-Aug-09 19:09:45

My exH was cautioned this year for hitting a 6 year old boy around the head because he was closing the school gates, stopping people getting out. It annoyed my ex so much, that he shouted in the boy's face and as he said tapped him on the head. He was reported by the boys' parents and cautioned. My DD told me he does that to her, but I only found out last night. My ex thinks you should be allowed to discipline kids (i.e. as he had done) and thinks he should have been reported.
Police suggested court order to take control away from ex, as that's causing on-going rows, which lead to him being physical, especially at times when he's very stressed.

theoptimist Wed 05-Aug-09 19:10:49

sorry, thinks he shouldn't have been reported. He complains about society being too soft on kids now.

allaboutme Wed 05-Aug-09 19:15:38

If you found out last night that he is hitting your daughter round the head then you really should stop him seeing them until this is all resolved.
Go through the courts like the police suggest.
Tell your ex that you have found out what he has been doing and that police have advised you to stop contact. If he wants to see them he must go to the courts.
If he is so bothered about his pub night and swimming night etc and doesnt want to disrupt his life then he may not even bother!

theoptimist Wed 05-Aug-09 19:50:20

That's what I thought- that he shouldn't see the kids until it's resolved. Although my DS is a daddy's boy and struggles with the sharing as it is. My ex has always been very focused on our DS and no so much on our DD. Tho he's been getting closer to DD recently (well, when she's perfect!).

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