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He won't give back the children

(137 Posts)
Witchofthenorth Wed 11-Oct-17 07:29:38

Hi all, this might be long so apologies but I don’t want to drip feed.

STBXH has contact with the children once a fortnight for a whole weekend. This time though he asked if he could have them for the week as it’s school holidays here, which was no problem. I don’t have issue with him seeing the kids whenever he likes, within reason due to school and things. We live 50 miles away from him and the kids schools are in a different local authority.

Anyway, last week, the kids were off and I was working for a few days. I left my very capable 14, nearly 15yr old son and 13 year old daughter in charge of their younger siblings who are 9 and 6.

The older two have been left alone before and have had some times where they have looked after the younger two prior to this. When I’ve had to go to the shops or doctors appointments and such. So this wasn’t something sprung on them but it was for longer than before.

They know what to do in an emergency, have neighbours they can go to and had my number if they needed. I would have came home immediately if I had to. I also left some chores for them, hoovering, load the dishwasher and my oldest had the grass to cut.

Last night STBXH called me and went mad down the phone, in front of my older two, who I have since found out are a bit shook up at how their father spoke to me, shouting the odds about how it was wrong of me to leave them, the older two should only be on their own for minutes, not hours and the younger two shouldn’t be looked after by their older siblings. I am a bad mother, the kids don’t have a life, they should be playing and that I was neglectful in leaving them and I should have them taken from me.

He has now said that the kids are staying with him next week and the week after (schools go back Monday) and I’m terrified he won’t bring them back. He said he is going to fight for custody and I am so scared. I want my children back. I was speaking to my oldest and he wants to come home but is scared to tell his father. I have told STBXH that the kids come back Friday as planned but I don’t think he is moving on his decision.

Need some hand holding please. I don’t think I was wrong in what I did but I am now doubting myself. My kids are good kids, sensible and level headed. I’ve been trying to teach the how to become functioning adults (the older two anyway) and in some respects I treat then as young adults, teaching them to cook, use an iron, use the washing machine etc. He doesn’t see any of this and wants them to be wrapped in cotton wool forever.

What the fuck am I going to do?

PurpleDaisies Wed 11-Oct-17 07:32:54

It sounds like you need legal advice as a matter of long were your older children looking after the younger ones alone for?

MrsBertBibby Wed 11-Oct-17 07:38:42

You need legal advice. I'm assuming you are outside the UK!

I have to say, I wouldn't leave teens in charge of a 6 year old all day.

Witchofthenorth Wed 11-Oct-17 07:44:22

I am getting some legal advice just now and it look is like I am going to have to go for a residency order. They were in charge for the day, I’m prepared to be told I was wrong, although I felt confident about it. It’s not anything different than I had to do when I was my sons age. Looking after 3 younger siblings. I left the house at 9 and my partner came home from work at 5.

TiesThatBindMe Wed 11-Oct-17 07:44:28

What do you normally do for childcare when you're working?

Witchofthenorth Wed 11-Oct-17 07:46:00

I normally don’t work through the week. I normally work during school hours or at weekends when they are with their father. If I do work outside of school hours, my mum comes through to get the younger two to school. My older two leave earlier then them.

Witchofthenorth Wed 11-Oct-17 07:47:35

Mrsbert, I am in the UK

Desmondo2016 Wed 11-Oct-17 07:49:05

Categorically a 13 and 14 year old really aren't responsible enough to be in charge of young children all day. I'm flabbergasted that you though that was ok. I must admit I think I would also have reacted like your exh (apart from the in front the kids bit). You had better get a solicitor and get things formalised between you now , but also you had better readdress your work/childcare situation.

TiesThatBindMe Wed 11-Oct-17 07:51:10

Sounds like the kids weren't happy about the arrangement and told their Dad. That doesn't bode well for you. How is their Dad going to get them to school next week?

Witchofthenorth Wed 11-Oct-17 07:53:37

He isn’t, he is keeping them off school.

TiesThatBindMe Wed 11-Oct-17 07:56:37

Well he can't keep them off school.

MrsBertBibby Wed 11-Oct-17 07:57:11

Which bit? England?

Witchofthenorth Wed 11-Oct-17 07:58:14

I have told him that, but he says he is going to phone the school and tell them they are with him.
I’m in Scotland MrsBert

TinklyLittleLaugh Wed 11-Oct-17 08:00:35

Is he working? Who is looking after them while he is working? I'd be going round and getting them: he can't just keep them off school.

His attitude is disgusting: leave you with all the childcare, then moan that it isn't to your liking.

Mumof56 Wed 11-Oct-17 08:00:52

Lawn mowers are dangerous. I don't think it is a chore for a 14 year old to do unsupervised. Aside from that, leaving your older children to supervise the younger ones as unpaid babysitters is not fair. It is thier school holidays and time to enjoy themselves, not to be loaded with responsability of minding younger ones. Your child care arrangements need to be sorted.

You ex was wrong to ad read it the way he did. As a pp said, your children probably complained to him and he reacted. Is there a reason why he couldn't do childcare for the week instead of your older children?

Get legal advice. He is wrong to prevent the children from returning.

dazedandconfuse Wed 11-Oct-17 08:07:12

I don't understand why everyone is kicking off about you leaving your kids alone with your teen. It's not like you leave them all the time and it's perfectly legal. I'm sorry about your situation you definitely don't need people kicking off about other stuff when you're obviously worried already. But in my opinion there was absolutely no reason to kick off about you leaving your kids alone when there was a responsible teenager. You know your kids.

RainyApril Wed 11-Oct-17 08:08:16

I think you placed too much responsibility on your 14yo. How could he cut the grass and also watch the 6yo?

It is a shame your ex couldn't have spoken to you sensibly rather than shouting the odds in front of dc, but I can see why he saw red.

It is quite obvious that your dc must have complained about it, but now feel guilty for causing trouble and so are trying to appease both of you.

I assume you tried telling him that it was a one-off and wouldn't happen again?

He can't keep the children, or keep them off school. I think he probably knows that and is making idle threats, but you need legal advice in the meantime.

Worriedrose Wed 11-Oct-17 08:10:42

Two teenagers looking after 2 younger kids doesn't seem that bad to me!
It would be normal in many other society's, and it's not illegal here.

The OP. Knows her children and knows what they are capable of. If she felt they were ok then they probably were.

He can't keep 4 children out of school for a week.
Contact a solicitor asap and the school

Witchofthenorth Wed 11-Oct-17 08:11:49

He is working, his partner doesn’t work so she would be looking after them, they also have three other children in their house.

I know it is their holidays, and it wasn’t all week. It was a couple of days. One day being longer than the other. The do relax on their holidays and this isn’t something I do on a regular basis. I work very part time, normally only one day a week for the very reason that I don’t have any other childcare. However, I also need to make money and I worked extra this time.

I have asked previously over the years for him to help me out with childcare and he has always said he couldn’t do I don’t ask anymore. However he tells me that had I asked this time he would have not gone to his work hmm. Something he has always said a categoric no to before.

Missingstreetlife Wed 11-Oct-17 08:12:53

There is no legal age you have to be before you are left alone, or in charge of younger sibs. Baby sitters often about 14 but all day is perhaps quite a long time. Presumably you would have picked up if problems were occurring or children unsettled, and made other plans. Did your kids tell dad in passing or were they fed up and moaning?
If social services get involved they will want to be sure older kids are sensible and confident and younger ones safe, no difficult behaviour or medication to be given, also everyone happy with arrangement. If they had your number and know a neighbour to call then you should be fine.
Your ex is jumping the gun, if he is concerned, now or in future he should discuss with you and try to come to some agreement. Perhaps he is anxious about how kids are since he left but is doing it wrong!
He cannot keep them out of school for this. Legal advice god idea, do you have residence order? Good luck.

Worriedrose Wed 11-Oct-17 08:14:48

So he's got 7 kids in the house and his poor girlfriend is going to have to look after them all. Do they all have their own bedrooms?

Well this isnt going to last...

He's clearly just punishing you and being a dick
Get the legal advice anyway, but I really just see it as an empty threat.

LadyLapsang Wed 11-Oct-17 08:15:29

Quite apart from the safety issue, it's no holiday for your eldest two looking after their younger siblings and doing housework. Many of us did it in the '60s and '70s, but it doesn't make it right today. He, however, is not helping the situation by keeping the children away from school - is he doing that with the intention of taking them away on holiday?

Wheelerdeeler Wed 11-Oct-17 08:15:29

I'm easy going enough about kids being home alone but the younger two were too young and the older two should not have been left responsible for them

Admit you are wrong and show you have arranged other childcare for future situations.

Witchofthenorth Wed 11-Oct-17 08:17:08

If there had been a problem I would have came home immediately.
The older one wasn’t cutting the grass and keeping an eye on the 6yr old as my very sensible 13 yr old daughter was also there.
There are no special needs, no medication to be given, plenty food available, neighbours on call and they were and have always been well versed on what to do in an emergency.

I’m worried about the kids, their school, how they are emotionally. I don’t want them to feel backed into a corner which is what I think is happening.

Witchofthenorth Wed 11-Oct-17 08:19:46

I know and have contacts with the social work department and am going to be speaking to them today. I am very prepared for them to come an assess my home, me and my children if it puts his mind at rest. I am also prepared to be told I am wrong.

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