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ds upset about going to his dads(17 Posts)
ds1 is 7. Separated from his dad since he was 3, due to hs abusive behaviour. Contact was sparse in 1st year (mainly through his mum) and now is about every other weekend, usually one overnight.
ds2 (5) has always been a bit hit and miss about going - mainly as I felt they had never really bonded.
I have had to be strict at times re time keeping and choping and changing of days. Mainly they jusy play computer games when they are there and never go out but no major complaint.
He made more of an effort when first met girlfriend but she then had their baby 9 months later and they now live togethe about 40 miles from us.
ds1 is unhappy about going as dad very strict, shouts, frightens them. ds1 is awake at 6 but is made to lie in bed in silence until at least 9. They are both terrifed about being naughty etc.
He was in tears for 30 minutes before going today and it was so upsetting. He wanted me to speak to his dad about the lying in bed in am and I gently mentioned it to say that could ds1 just play quiety in his room when he wakes. Ex denied any such issue.
I find it really hard to to distinguish when to worry about contact and when just to let it go. For the last few months they come home with lists of "complaints" ie made to eat all food even if takes hours, eating in their own (separate from dad, girlfriend and baby, no bedtime routine, doesn't listen to them, shouting), but wasn't sure if they had a list of complaints about me and was just what kids do.
He was so upset today - and dont know what I should do. Speaking to ex re joint parenting is a no go. Tried for years to communicate. It is is way or the highway.
Things were fine in early stages of his new relationship, now she has baby and no job I am worried he will drift back into how he was with me (ie awful and nasty)
Really feel sick about thought of ds's being unhappy but dont know if overreating.
I don't think I would be letting my children go if they were this unhappy
I don't think you're over-reacting and hope you can get this sorted
You are the only voice those poor boys have got, by the sounds of it. If you don't speak up for them, who will? They're clearly too frightened of him to do it themselves and if he has a history of abuse, then you more than anyone should empathise with how they're feeling.
I'd stop them going for a bit, at least until your ex is prepared to discuss the issue with you calmly. Sure, DCs relationships with their non-resident parent are important to promote, but I would argue not in a case like this if they're unhappy. Not for the time being, anyway.
Thanks -it is good to hear others perspective. If I ever try and speak to ex about it, he will either get angry and defensive or deny any problems (or blame it all of me for leaving him)
ds have supportive family on both sides so really just their dad that is the problem. They have a good relationship with his mum.
ds are away to his and due back tomorrow.
I will have to be strong - and try and tell him that ds's are not happy staying at his. He will of course think my whole aim will be to hurt him and not think it is for dc benefit.
Will suggest no overnights only daytime contact until things are sorted as it is the actual staying at his house that seems to be the problem. The meal times and bedtimes and ridiculous rules that they have to obey. I am a bit if a softie for hard to know if I am over reacting.
I am sure he has new partner convinved that I am loony crazy bitch who left him for no reason so will be resistence from there as well.
They were over the moon the other week when ex cancelled friday night so it was only one night and ds1 said to ds2 "imagine if it was no nights" so they obvioulsy hate going just now, but you hear of other dc who get fed up of going to NRP even when no problems - is this definately different?
What on earth does it say when 2 boys are begging their mum NOT to see someone, when that person cancels and they are 'over the moon', and the person is their dad?
You know what this monster is capable of. You know they are scared. You know they hate going there. You know that he IS abusive. Why on earth would you force these poor boys to go?
Stop it. You are the only decent parent they have. You are the only one that can protect them. They are begging for your help to resolve this as they can't.
He won't listen to you, never did do, 'it's his way or the highway' .
Love, you need to step up and be strong and protect your boys. At the end of the day, the least amount that two boys have with an abusive father as a role model, the better. You don't want them learning from him do you?
Oh and it genuinely doesn't matter wtf he thinks, his gf thinks or anyone thinks for that matter.
Your ONLY concern here is for your children.
It is not always as bad as this - it tends to go in cycles. ds1 can sometimes be really happy to see his dad and that can last months as well. The last few months havn't been as good but this is the first time that ds1 has been really upset.
Ex and his new partner have moved into their own home a few months ago (lived in separate homes before) and I suspect the recent down turn has been due to ex exerting his authority now his life and more stable and new girlfriend is not easily going to end it.
I was hoping that recent upset (until today) was the result of the upheveal for the dc of dads new house in new area.
But you are right I really have to sort this out for dc and limit contact until it is "safe" for them (if ever)
I'd be inclined to stop contact altogether and make him take you to court for a contact order. If you tell him they're not happy staying overnight I think he's likely to question and berate them about their choice and what they've been telling you.
He is treating his son the same way he treated you and he's still at it. This is at heart about power and control; this is what abuse is and he wants absolute over you still.
Your son should not be subjected to this at all; you after all separated from him due to his abusive behaviour. He will take it out on his children just as he took out all his crap on you; you seemingly thought he would act better. No.
He will soon start on his new partner soon enough as well.
You're these childrens' only advocate here; you need to stand up and be counted before any more emotional harm by your ex is caused to them. Stop being such a nice reasonable sap because he will only see you as a weakness to exploit.
I would not send him to your ex's any longer; if he wants contact (which I don't honestly think he seems all that bothered about given past history) then this needs to be formalised legally as of now. In view of the abuse I would bar all contact completely; they do not need such a negative role model in their lives.
Abusers do the nice/nasty cycle very well but it is a continuous cycle.
I agree you need to stop or limit contact, but I'd be wary about stopping it completely if you think he might go to court, as once you do that it takes the decision out of your hands - if overnight contact was granted and you wanted to stop it at a later time it would be very difficult to do this, for example. The courts do take children's wishes into account, but probably not at 5 and 7, unfortunately. It's a difficult situation, but unless the court system for access changes dramatically, I think it's important to be aware of these things and be prepared for a bit of a balancing act.
I go agree that the children should be listened to and this may take time to get to the underlying issues. How are they when they see their dad? Do they appear close and happy to see him?
I would suggest that you try to raise the concerns with your ex (before stopping contact) even if he won't do it face to face, use email and constructive language, proposing some of the changes i.e stay and play in room etc.
Sometimes they are happy to see their dad, usually they go without a fuss. ds2 rarely speaks about him in between visits but never has done. ds1 likes it when his dad watches him playing football etc but atm is not bothered.
ds1 asked what would dad say if he came round to collect them and they werent there, I reassured him that they would be there, but I think he meant if he wasnt there dad couldnt collect him - like his only power over his dad, but I might have misunderstood.
I need to be honest with ex and state that I am unhappy with various things and that boys are very upset at times.
I need to restart a diary detailing everything -havn't done for about a year as things were better.
If that doesn't go well over the next week then I need to be prepared to limit/stop contact. I dont know if he would go to court - if he felt he was losing face he might.
Does anyone have any recommendations to who is best professionally to discuss my concerns with and how serious they are?At a bad time before I contacted parentline who suggested that he had different parenting style to me and that was why I was upset.
Well - tries to speak to ex - he denied there was any problems and played down any concerns the boys had but at least he didn't get aggessive.
Any way dcs due to go for 24 hours a couple of weeks ago. ds1 very upset saying he doesn't want to go overnight etc. I discuss with ex and he agrees to cancel the overnight that weekend as a "one off" and I arranged to speak to him with dc to try and get to bottom of it all. Morning of access day comes and ds1 is very upset again saying that his dad shouts at him very loudly and directly in his face. This can happen when they drop food on the floor, talk when their dad is playing xbox or not finishing meals. He says he didn't want to go. I tried to reassure him that his dad had said that they were going to spend most of the day at their grans. Then when we were about to leave he developed nausea, headache, tummyache etc and said he couldn't go in car as he would be sick. Explain to ex that ds1 was unwell and he said to leave it that week. ds1 obviously then had a complete recovery.
Last weekend ex was busy but he is due to have them for 24 hours this weekend. I have clearly explained to ex via email and phone the dcs concersn. THey are asking not to go or only to go for the day (not overnight).
They have both been fine over the last 2 weeks.
Dicussing this with family etc they feels that maybe ds1 has leaned to get his own way and will become manipulative. I obviously knowing what ex is like believe ds1. But I am being " reassured " that their dad is just stricter than me and they are bored there (play or watch dad playing computer games all day)
The time ds1 didn't go before his dad didn't seem at all bothered ( and didn't offer to take ds2) but this weekend I know he will insist as he has plans to go somewhere with a group ( and will want dcs there ).
I don't know what to do as hearing conflicting views from different sources. I do not want to expose my children to maltreatment but don't know if I am allowing my ds (7) too much say.
problem is none of the issues there amount to serious welfare concerns - looks like different parenting styles. court is likely to grant overnights anyway... if his P is happy then it amoutns to your word and dc's words - and they too young ...unless they say the same things to expereinced family therapist/psychologist who can assert they yes are scared of him etc. if you go to court to try and cut or stop contact you would need far more evidence than your and dc word, unfortunately.
however, without a corurt order there is nothing to stop you saying no overnights for now til they happier.
also, take ds to GP and get ds to talk there about his "illnesses" which appear when he has to see dad. if he says to GP his worries then it would be recorded . you could also ask gp about family therapist referral? then possibly that eprson might speak to your ex ?
you going to need third party independent witnesess to the impact of ex's behaviour - ask school if they noticing anything?
keep a record/journal of the dates times and what dc say.
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