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Ds contact with feckless dad?

(12 Posts)
lovelycuppateas Sat 18-Feb-17 08:10:27

I'm divorced with 2 sons, 15 and 10. My ex dh left 5 years ago and now lives with the 'ow'. I have a new partner of about 4.5 years who has lived with us for 2. He's lovely, very consistent and kind and we mainly all get on fine.

Issue is with my younger ds who has been behaving really badly at school. He's had problems ever since the breakdown of my marriage, to the extent that the school sent him for assessment for adhd, psychologist thogut issues were emotional, which I agree with. Recently he has run away from school on a couple of occasions - really upsetting and something is clearly bothering him that he can't articulate. He currently sees his dad twice a week for overnights.

Thing is, exh was away last year to work abroad, so kids only saw him once a fortnight. There was a marked improvement in ds's behaviour, he really settled at school, and although he missed his dad he hugely benefited from the consistency. I think that exh's house is chaotic, there are two adult kids and one teenager there already and my kids have to share a sofa bed in the sitting room when they go. Their dad is hugely self centred (eg when ds went missing from school he told me off for ringing him as he was very busy at work), and emotionally manipulative. He's never been able to set boundaries for behaviour and doesn't enforce bedtimes etc. He has also confided in ds2 (10 years old!) about problems with his relationship. His partner has reacted by becoming the disciplinarian, swearing and shouting at my older son, who no longer goes so often. My ds2 says he hates her. I try desperately to remain neutral and just listen rather than comment. I know it's important for him to have a relationship with his dad.

So, the question - should I limit overnights at his dad's? This will most likely result in harassment for me, but I'm fine about that, just need external opinion to give me the strength to go ahead with it!

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 18-Feb-17 08:29:59

There's a number of things going on here, not least of all his dad:-

"Their dad is hugely self centred (eg when ds went missing from school he told me off for ringing him as he was very busy at work), and emotionally manipulative. He's never been able to set boundaries for behaviour and doesn't enforce bedtimes etc. He has also confided in ds2 (10 years old!) about problems with his relationship. His partner has reacted by becoming the disciplinarian, swearing and shouting at my older son, who no longer goes so often. My ds2 says he hates her"

All these are extremely good reasons for your son to cease seeing his feckless biological father. He is a deadbeat dad living in chaos and your son has already been affected by his behaviours. Children should indeed have a relationship with their parents on separation but it only works out well if such parents are emotionally healthy. This man clearly is not.

And if this man really does want access I would start formalising all arrangements through the courts rather than continuing to use informal means.

I also wonder if your apparent neutrality by simply listening to him has been taken by this boy badly.

How recently has he run away from school and has this coincided with being due to visit his dad?. Is your son being bullied or otherwise threatened?.

lovelycuppateas Sat 18-Feb-17 08:40:16

Thank you - he ran away earlier this week and just before Christmas. This time was after an overnight at his dad's and last time after an argument about Christmas arrangements when his dad just refused to listen to what he wanted, saying everything was all set with his 'other' family.

I don't think he's being bullied or threatened but my experience with my exh was one of being so manipulated I didn't know up from down. Writing this, I know it must seem clear what I have to do - I think I'm fearful though as it's most likely that I will be presented to my sons as an evil vindictive out of control mother. I just need the confidence to go ahead, so your words are really helpfuk.

lovelycuppateas Sat 18-Feb-17 08:43:25

... or helpful, even

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 18-Feb-17 08:46:31

Sounds like his feckless father's behaviour is the root cause of his overall unhappiness.

I would cease all visits to him now let alone any overnight ones. The man is living in chaos. You were yourself manipulated by him when you were together and likely still are; these men do not let go of their victims easily.

Your sons live with you; they know what you are like and I think they will take your position rather than listen to their dad who would anyway describe you as an out of control mother. He is still punishing you all for leaving him. Men like your ex hate women, all of them. I would also read "Why does he do that?" written by Lundy Bancroft; your ex is in those pages.

MadMags Sat 18-Feb-17 08:50:39

I would stop the overnights.

Dad can see him for a couple of hours at McDonald's or something.

Contact is supposed to be for a child's benefit. There's no benefit here for your son.

lovelycuppateas Sat 18-Feb-17 08:52:04

Yep, it seems clear when you put it like that! I'll think about how to do this. I'm just not sure about the level of contact as the boys do love him and get on with him well. I don't want him out of their lives entirely, but just to see them less. I'll talk to ds today. It's a rubbish situation, I'm so sad about it. He left us btw - but of course it was my fault.

MadMags Sat 18-Feb-17 08:55:55

He sounds like a real prince among men!

I would approach it as ds needing more stability and consistency due to his emotional distress (quoting the psychologist).

And say that in the short term the overnignts will have to stop.

Offer a Saturday afternoon or something, for a couple of hours. If his house is that chaotic, it won't do him any harm to take ds out and focus on them alone!

lovelycuppateas Sat 18-Feb-17 09:01:26

I was thinking of presenting it as a short term thing initially and then to review. Allowing daytime contact is a good idea. I think he's told my son that he does have ADHD as ds is saying that he is disabled and so can't help his behaviour ar school, clearly not true as most of last year he managed really well. The more I write the more messed up it seems!

MadMags Sat 18-Feb-17 13:01:01

Hopefully the limited contact will limit his bullshit!

Good luck with it. And remember - you're doing right by your son, not punishing your ex (in case he tries to throw that at you).

lovelycuppateas Sat 18-Feb-17 14:56:51

Thank you.... he will undoubtedly throw that at me. It's great to get some backing on here (and my dsis has just said exactly the same thing in rl)

MadMags Sat 18-Feb-17 19:31:07

Best of luck!

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