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A story of two parents, three children and an impending court case.(15 Posts)
Not a question as such, just a situation for people to comment on (and maybe a bit of encouragement!).
I am a father of a four-year-old girl who lives with me, and my ex is the mother of a five-year-old boy who lives with her (the children are both from our previous partners). My ex and I started dating early last year but have very different parenting techniques. She controls every aspect of her son's life, with timetabled activities, a controlled diet, and sleeping in the same bed, but with no discipline. I don't plan things and my daughter and I just go with the flow, but I do have discipline.
This started to become a problem as my ex started to insist that her method was the only correct way to parent, but this was contradicted by what she saw as my daughter out-performing her son. My daughter is bilingual, does well in school, can swim, cycles, etc, and soon my ex had transferred her son to a bilingual school, sent him to swimming lessons and bought him a bike. Whereas I had taken everyone on holiday and arranged for my ex and her son to visit and stay at my house on several occasions, my ex started to exclude my daughter by banning her from her house and not even inviting us to her son's birthday party.
My ex then told me she was pregnant. She did not allow me to go to the first scan, then arranged for her son to go to the second, which the doctors would not allow, so I went instead. Then I found out that she had arranged for someone else to be at the birth, and she refused to discuss the baby's name with me. The relationship ended basically because I would not conform to her ideas of controlling mine and my daughter's life like she did with her son.
I managed to spend quite a bit of time with the baby after he was born as they kept him in hospital for six days. During my daughter's visits, my ex promised her lots of involvement such as taking the baby to her school, visiting us and staying over at our house. But after leaving the hospital, she banned my daughter from ever seeing her son again, then stopped both me and my daughter from seeing the baby a week or so later. This was followed by a message saying that she had chosen a name and had registered the baby, and that all future communication should go via her solicitor. It later transpired that her son had chosen the baby's name before he was born and she and her family had kept it a secret from us.
My daughter had a pretty rough upbringing until she came to live with me at the age of two. She still has a lot of insecurities and the sad thing is that my ex knows how to trigger these through broken promises and exclusion. My daughter was recently referred to a child hospital for psychological treatment because of the situation. I am sure my ex's son is also confused and upset as he got on with us very well.
Her solicitor now basically relays my ex's instructions to arrange contact and then cancel it shortly before it happens, so we've not see the baby for quite a while. My ex won't go to mediation and wouldn't even accept mine and my family's Christmas presents for the baby.
I went to court over my daughter, although there were more serious problems there hence the change of residency, and so am familiar with the processes. I can get parental responsibility, my name on the Birth Certificate, and set up contact all via the courts, although it will take a bit of time. Its just sad that it has to be this way, and that my daughter has to suffer in the meantime, all because my ex wants to control everything. I suppose the irony is that a contact order will take her control away for the time my son is with me, and maybe that is something she will struggle with for years to come?
I don't have anything useful to say, but here are some for you.
My DH didn't have contact with his daughter until she was 11 months old, due to his ex-wife. After going through the courts, he got shared contact and now his DD lives with us full time and is a happy and healthy 5 year old - although she can have "wobbly moments" about her early life.
Wishing you, your daughter & your little baby all the best
What are her reasons for you not to see your baby? What has she told her solicitors?
I suppose the irony is that a contact order will take her control away for the time my son is with me, and maybe that is something she will struggle with for years to come?
TBH this reads like a hypothetical case study.
What kind of encouragement do you want?
Your exe's behaviour seems very extreme, for a relationship that ended over parenting styles. She actually sounds toxic for your dd.
Given the way she kept you away from the scan etc, are you sure the baby is actually yours?
At what stage did you introduce your vulnerable daughter to this unstable woman? The only exposure this woman has had and has to your DD is the exposure you sanction, so stop it.
The truth is you had a brief relationship with someone who has 'issues' and during your brief relationship she became pregnant. You now have a son together which, given his mother's issues, is going to be difficult to co parent with. A contact order isn't going to magic away your Ex's control issues, so buckle up its going to be a very turbulent ride.
You are about to embark on a co-parenting relationship with a difficult person and so you are going to have to accept that how you jointly parent your son is going to be very different to how you parent your daughter because with DD, you call the parenting shots.
There's very little self reflection in your OP, you paint yourself as the victim when in truth, there were enough red flags that should have alerted you to the problems ahead. Accept your part in this situation and understand that a power struggle with this woman will not benefit your son or your relationship with your son. However hard it is for you, it's going to be a lot harder for your son and prioritising his needs will sometimes come at your expense. It doesn't mean you have to become a doormat but you will have to choose your battles very carefully.
I'm a bit confused by the timeline - you have a 4 year old daughter now. She could could swim, cycle and was doing well in school which resulted in your ex trying to emulate this this with her own child. Your ex then conceived and delivered a baby, which all began a year ago.
Was your daughter really attending school at 3? As well as swimming, speaking 2 languages and swimming? I have had four three year olds now and they've all been chatty and great swimmers (we live in Australia, where a lot of kids are like little fishes) but none of them have attended school or ridden a bike without training wheels at that age.
Your ex has instructed a solicitor which seems sensible. I'm sure she is aware that if you are awarded any contact then she will not be able to 'control' it.
Your OP is startlingly lacking in any self-reflection and your timescales don't make any sense hence its impossible to take your view of the relationship as the definitive one.
Her decision to appoint a solicitor is definitely the best approach.
My dd who is 19 now attended full time school at the age of 3. She was in a nursery class at her school, alongside several other kids. Her hours were 8:45-3:30 and it was private school. She was bilingual at that point as well. So in UK that is not an unusual scenario.
What I find sad is that OP introduced his dd to his GF so soon. I know it can be hard as it takes a lot of hard work to be a single parent and try to negotiate a serious relationship. I am SP myself and even for my teenager kids it was over 6 months before they met my BF. For smaller kids it should be closer to a year as it is likely that you would bee seeing your GF less often to get to know each other.
That's in the past and now you have to brace yourself for a long haul and obviously you should be very careful what your DD knows and manage her expectations according to your circumstances.
It was your fault to start serious relationship so soon. You have to make sure from now on you will protect your DD from anything like that happening to her again.
Sorry - I re read - you MET last year. Which means that your precocious, bike-riding, bilingual school - attending then 3 year old impressed your ex so much that she changed her own parenting style to emulate yours. Which must have taken a few months, maximum because after that she was pregnant and disengaged from you.
My first thought was also that the baby isn't yours.
My second was that you need to keep your dd out of this mess.
Thanks for the positive message WyfOfBathe. I actually didn't see my daughter very often until she was 18 months but now she lives with me and is doing well so I know these things get better over time.
To answer uhoh2016's question, I genuinely have no idea what the reasons are for us to not see the baby. Her solicitor tells me contact has been arranged then cancels it shortly before it happens. His last email said that his client does this so that each side of the baby's family is treated fairly. It makes no sense!
For Manumission, well, maybe not encouragement but a discussion? It is a real scenario.
To answer Blu, I'm not sure this is all that extreme as there are plenty of parents out there who act in similar ways after separating. The problem is that my daughter has a right to know her brother (and vice versa) and that her brother, being a baby, can't really be away from his mother at the moment. But, yes, I don't really intend for there to be much of a relationship between my daughter and my ex. As for whether the baby is mine, probably - My ex did not put me on the birth certificate but the baby does have my surname.
To Isetan, we had been dating for a few months before my ex asked if the children could meet. Unknown to me, she was maybe a month or two pregnant at the time. Things were going well and it didn't seem an issue. I don't exactly 'sanction' the exposure of my daughter to my ex, as my ex and her brother are kind of inseparable at the moment.
I am not worried about how difficult it may be to co-parent, I know my rights and can always go back to court if I fundamentally disagree with something. My concern is my two children knowing each other.
As for me being the victim. I can honestly say that I have not been abusive, threatening, aggressive, etc. I never raised my voice in anger and never sworn at my ex. Not even my ex or her solicitor has accused me of anything. We had two major arguments, but neither resulted in the lack of contact. What I didn't mention was my ex's father, who didn't like me from the beginning and is just as controlling. I am sure he is the one instructing the solicitor and not my ex.
For nolongersurprised (good username!). I think we start early in the UK, my daughter was in a bilingual school shortly after turning three, and is active so swimming and cycling not a problem. I don't think this is too unusual for children here and I think my ex was more jealous than trying to emulate my parenting style. Changing schools is very unusual, particularly from single language to bilingual.
For APlaceOnTheCouch, I appreciated that timelines don't make much sense. The relationship lasted just under a year and she was pregnant within three months. Our kids met maybe a month or two after this. The difference in parenting issues and the control were four or five months into the pregnancy, and we separated a few weeks before the birth. We were cut off when my son was a month old. Don't really want to give specific dates!
For antimatter, yes, I did wait a while but maybe longer next time. I think this would not have been such an issue for my daughter as we always portrayed ourselves as 'friends', but my ex did a couple of cruel things before cutting off my daughter which triggered her problems. The thing is that anyone could do that, knowingly or not, to her but it is something to be aware of in the future.
For bibbitybobbityyhat's comments. I don't know if the baby is mine, but assume he is for now. My daughter knows she has a brother, so not so easy to keep her out of it really but, yes, I don't think she should have much to do with my ex.
And, for myoriginal3, I did start my orginal post with "Not a question..." so, no, there isn't a question!
Sounds like a nightmare. Get the overnights pinned down in court asap
I assume OP is in Wales given the ease of gaining places at bilingual schools.
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