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husbands ex unreasonable :(

(15 Posts)
stepmumLucy Mon 20-Jun-11 23:08:04

my husband has 2 children from a previous relationship...boy at 6 and girl at 5. they stay with us every fri and sat night and go back to their mum sunday at 4pm. we have had 2 years of ups and downs with her. at one point she stopped all contact for no reason. lately she has started making their 5 yr old girl wear crop tops....which have a label in them of age 11 to 12 years!! we both seriously disagree with this as we feel a 5 year old should not wear crop tops. they dont even fit her!!! she has been sending her over in them and we havent sent her back in them. she asked why and asked for them back and my hubby told her that a little girl shouldnt be wearing them. she responded with things like....shes growing up you need to accept it.....it gives her confidence....it has taken me a long time to build her confidence and wearing them makes her confident etc. she has no confidence issues at all, her teachers tell us she is the most popluar in class etc. she is a little girl and shoudlnt be wearing them for at least another 5 years!!! her mum just cant see our point and it is confusing the girl. her mum told her to tell us that she feels comfortable in them. my hubby asked her why she said that and she said "bcos mum told me to say it to you". its really getting to us bcos there isnt anything we can do about it. she upset the 6yr old friday by not lettin him bring any toys over because we would apparantly throw them away. he cried for ages and told us he knows we wont throw them away and he hates his mum. its so hard for us to see them upset we just dont know what to do. today she has demanded to know our address and says legally she has a right to know and will stop contact if we dont tell her. the children are due to come on holiday with us for a week in july....which she requested!! we had already booked to go and she asked us to take them....which we werent going to do bcos its still term time. so now the kids are gonna be devastated bcos she will stop contact and they wont be able to come on holiday. she just puts them through so much upset time and time again for no reason.

sorry for the loong story i just feel lost sad

nenevomito Tue 21-Jun-11 10:00:45

Hard though it is, while you can disagree with their Mum, you can't actually stop her from dressing the children how she wants to dress them when they are with them. What you can do is dress them appropriately when they are with you and send back the inappropriate stuff. They are school age and will spend most of their time in school uniform. On weekends they are with you, so most of the time they won't be wearing clothes like that. Buy them some good, age appropriate clothes and have them wear them when they are with you. Compliment them on how lovely they look etc and bolster the choice in that way. DO NOT mention or criticise the clothes that their Mum sends them in to the children as it puts them into the middle. That is a discussion that your DH has with his ex.

As for the toys, make sure they have a good stock of toys at your house to play with that are special. If there is something in particular that he likes to play with then have one at yours.

As for her wanting to know your address, you are right that she has no legal obligation to be told, but would you consider it for the children? Are you concerned about what she may do? That she will come around?

If she keeps stopping contact then try Families Need Fathers for advice on how to tackle it. Sadly it may come down to court.

prettyfly1 Tue 21-Jun-11 12:08:35

Advice given is good but I second the point made about tops. You may not agree with crop tops or mums choices but frankly YOU have no right to tell her that and criticising her parenting will do nowt but get her back up. I agree with you totally about innappropriate clothing but this isnt your child and keeping clothes is really going to inflame a bad situation. Have sensible clothes at yours, send any poor ones back, get toys of your own (if you are having the children that much you should do anyway)and do not engage in slagging mum off regardless of how upset the children get.

Families need fathers can really help and there are some great books on step parenting and boundaries. It is sooo hard to be part of raising a child and not get a say in things like clothing but for the sake of peace between your partner and his ex you both must learn to be more discreet with your battles and criticism. Rant and worry hear but dont have rows telling her you arent sending back clothes for her child that she bought - you are almost certainly right but you wont get on the good side of her that way.

Why wont you give her the address? You dont have to legally but I have to be honest if my kids were going away every weekend and I literally had no idea where I would be a bit freaked as well. Unless she is likely to harrass you and burn the place down, in which case seek legal advice, there really is no good reason to keep that info from her.

stepmumLucy Tue 21-Jun-11 16:32:27

thanks guys smile

i know i have no right to tell her my opinions on what the children wear....and i never do i leave it to my hubby to talk about it with her.....its just hard because she tells the little girl its me that will be telling her dad not to let me wear them. i wouldnt mind if it was true but i work late fridays and most weekends so im never there when they change for bed so it was my hubby that told me that she had been sending her over wearing crop tops and he wasnt happy so he has thrown them away. he didnt say anything to her because we know we cant control what they wear whilst they are with her. it was her that asked for them back and he told her he doesnt agree and has thrown them away. its hard because we then get questions from the little girl because she is confused. she told us she doesnt want to wear them but her mum makes her put them on everyday and shouts at her if she doesnt sad
the children have soooo many toys and clothes at ours.....the little boy wanted to bring a car over to show his dad because it was his favourite toy. she shouted at him and made him cry on the doorstep instead of just saying she would rather he left his toys there. she really just causes upset for them for no reason and then its us that have to pick up the pieces. we dont want them to hate her but thats all they say to us and we just dont have answers anymore. we dont want it to get to the point where they try to run away from home or anything.

we defiantely dont argue with her especially infront of the children because they dont need to see it but also she just isnt worth the effort!! but she always starts arguments infront of them bcos she thinks she will then get her own way. we always just walk away and tell her to ring us when she has calmed down to talk properly. however that gets her more annoyed but we arent the sort of people to stand in the street arguing esp with the kids present!!! we dont even talk about her whilst the children are there and they never speak about her when they are with us unless they are upset about something she has done to them...which is every week lately. they never have any posititve or happy things to say about her which is really sad.. she is pushing them away and we really dont want that to happen but there is no reasoning with her.

she has never asked for our address before but now she wants it and says she has the right altho she doesnt. we have had issues in the past with her sending her boyfriend (now ex) over to try to intimidate us when she cant get her own way. its always over petty things like her wanting us to have them extra nights...knowing full well my hubby leaves at 6 every morning for work and i work full time so cant get the children to school most mornings. we have always told her that if there is an emergency with one of the kids she will be the first to know and equally she has both our phone numbers and the childrens grandparents numbers incase she needs to get in touch with us.

she will threaten us with taking us to the csa for money....(we do pay her every month an agreed amount anyway).....she does this as a way to get her own way. all we say is go for it bcos they cant take any more money off us than what she already gets. we tell her to do it and she doesnt....we suspect bcos she is a benefit cheat (a whole other issue!!)

we took advice from a solicitor last year and sent her letters regarding stopping contact etc but at the time my hubby had been made redundant so got legal aid. there is no way we can afford court fees now he is back working but we would love to be able to do more. we would go for full custody if we thought we could get it bcos the kids say to us every week they want to live with us. it is emotionally draining us to see them so upset all the time. i spoke to the social services anonymously and they told me it sounds like mental abuse but they cant do anything.

i will try fathers need families thanks you for the suggestions.

really sorry for the big long essay!!!!!

NotaDisneyMum Wed 22-Jun-11 00:28:43

See if there is a Putting Children First course being run near you - it is brilliant and will help you both deal with those confrontational situations that this woman is trying to initiate.

Oh, and if your DH is better off paying child support via the CSA - he can request that to be set up himself, cos my ex-h did - she doesn't have to be the one to apply!

stepmumLucy Wed 22-Jun-11 09:30:03

he rang the csa and they told him that they cant make her accept payments via them...they were really unhelpful.

havent heard of putting children first courses but i will look into it thank you!

HRHMJOFMAGICJAMALAND Thu 23-Jun-11 09:05:59

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stepmumLucy Thu 23-Jun-11 09:45:57

yeah the children do get changed when they arrive...the clothes they come in smell, are dirty and never fit properly. they dont understand though so its hard to give a reason why we want them to change when they get to ours.

the thing with the extra nights is she asks us at last minute....however if we were to have them full time my shifts can work around it...but i cant change my shift the night before....which the kids mother knows. there have been issues in the past when she has took herself off to hospital over the weekend and the children have stayed with us for a few extra nights and it works great...luckily i have good employers!!! my hubby is self employed but working for a company so cant change his shifts....and if he has to take time off to collect them from school at an hours notice then he doesnt get paid....like alot of people we rely on every penny that we earn to pay our bills etc.
the only clothes ever to have been thrown away are the crop tops but that was my hubby who doesnt agree that his 5 year old daughter is being made to grow up too soon by her own mother. all their dirty (obv i wash them!!) ripped clothes go back to her in bags. annoying bcos we dress the children in nice clothes to go home in but they never come back!! it is costing us alot of money!!!

its comforting to know we are not the only people having to put up with situations like this. we think...and alot of people say to us that she only has the children to be able to claim benefits. a sad situation but we can only do our best for them but as they are getting older there are more questions from them that we struggle to answer without making their mum sound bad.

HRHMJOFMAGICJAMALAND Thu 23-Jun-11 10:09:02

Message withdrawn

stepmumLucy Thu 23-Jun-11 16:01:44

yeah i suppose we send them back in nice clothes in the hope she will get the message and let them wear them but it doesnt seem to make a difference sad

we have offered to have them stay with us temporarily when she has admitted to not coping but she says no. and we have offered to have them stay a few nights midweek too but she wont do that bcos if they are with us more nights than they are with her she cant claim her benefits.

sometimes it just feels like we are fighting a losing battle and its hard to send them back home again especially for my hubby, when we know they are unhappy there.

The only good thing is that all the childrens happy memories will be with us as there mum doesnt make any effort with them, altho we would prefer if they did fun things with her as well. We are in regualar contact with the school who are amazing and keep us informed in changes in their emotional well being but we still worry and wish she didnt make everything so hard!!

thank you for all the responses i am going to look into the suggested charities for support.

smile

Smum99 Thu 23-Jun-11 18:04:56

One thing I've learned is that it's best to just accept the mum will be who she is and nothing you say or do will change that. The best you can do for the children is to show them your values when they are with you. Ultimately they will grow up and make up their own minds - it will happen and if the mum is being uncaring they will vote with their feet.

Please don't be put off with applying for a contact order - it doesn't cost that much as you do not need to be represented by a solicitor and it's a straight forward process if your partner has had regular contact. Also I would go to the CSA yourselves, if your partner is self employed he will needs accounts (which he probably has already). Best thing we ever did was apply to CSA as DH's ex would feel she could threaten that, the assessment was lower which certainly stopped her complaining - even though DH was willing to continue to pay the higher amount. Also we eventually did get a court order - once again it stopped the power games the ex would play - it also reduced the communication DH had with her as the schedule was defined.That is a complete relief.

I wish I could say it gets easier - it doesn't but I think you learn to deal with it better

HRHMJOFMAGICJAMALAND Thu 23-Jun-11 18:24:10

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Pandygirl Thu 23-Jun-11 21:04:10

She sounds dreadful! But I wouldn't throw any clothes away, just put them in a bag and ask that she doesn't send them again. My SS's are sent in ripped, torn and too small clothes all the time - it's her way of letting DP know that he isn't paying enough support, god forbid she work full time for a living!
We went to the CSA because she constantly threatened, then got angry when we did! DP is trying to avoid going for a contact order, but contact gets messed about all the time (particularly holidays).
Good luck! I think we all need it!!!

Smum99 Sat 25-Jun-11 13:59:58

Pandygirl, We spent at least 7 years without a formal contact order but eventually accepted it had to happen. It has proven to be very sensible - contact is now defined and the debate isn't necessary. It doesn't remove 100% of the problems but it does eliminate the majority which is a complete relief.

The ex would now agree that it has worked however at the time she was highly emotive and felt DH was awful for "taking her to court". The reality was she had failed to agree to anything (sat in silence at mediation) so court was our only option. DH was reluctant (most reasonable people are as they feel they should be able to agree) however it's a straightforward process if no child welfare issues. In at 9am, in front of judge for less than 10 mins, time taken to write up order, signed by a judge, copies to each parent and it's done.

It does not have to be costly - we did have a barrister for the morning (£500) , who spoke on DH's behalf but in reflection it wasn't necessary as the judge asks questions and DH could have answered. Ours was straight forward, caring dad who just wanted regular and defined contact which for most people is the situation.I just wish we had did it years earlier, once we realised the messing about with contact was to to hurt the NRP and that the child did suffer it gave DH the focus to fix the problem.

ChocHobNob Sun 26-Jun-11 20:16:42

Smum99, did Mum agree to the contact times that were put in the order? Or was she against it and it was made straight away anyway?

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