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Suggestions please - managing phone communication during contact visit

(2 Posts)
NotaDisneyMum Sun 10-Jul-11 22:05:06

My DSS7 has a bit of "baggage" when it comes to phone calls from his mum when he's staying with DP and I.

His mum likes to (actually she insists on, despite DP asking to discuss it) maintain daily phone contact with DSS when she can, but because she works an irregular shift pattern, she has emphasised to DSS how important it is that he talks to her when she calls him here (no matter what he is doing) because otherwise, he may not get to speak to her, as she will be working.

As a result, DSS has become very twitchy when the phone rings here - and has gone as far as to interrupt calls that are for other people, thinking that they are his mum. As I run a business from home, this is proving quite tricky to handle.

We wouldn't mind so much if it was a 5 minute "what have you been doing, love you" type of call, but unfortunately, his mum uses these calls to emphasis how much she is missing him, and often, to tell him something that he is missing out on because he's not with her. He blows kisses and hugs the phone during the calls, and is quite withdrawn and quiet for a while afterwards. I don't know if it is his mums intention, but it is horrible to see him so worried about her when he should be enjoying his time with his dad!

We've tried all sorts of approaches; turning the phone ringer off, pre-empting her calls by encouraging DSS to call her; we've really run out of ideas. Currently, we give him the privacy to take calls from his mum in his bedroom and he can be talking to her for 20/30 minutes at a time, each day, on each of the four days every other week when he is here. Other weekends, she may not call at all and doesn't answer the phone if DSS calls her because of her work commitments.

This week, DP picked DSS up from school on Thursday, DSS mum was outside the school on Friday morning to see him when DP dropped him off, and his mum phoned him on Friday after school when he was getting ready to leave for football practice.

We have two weeks of contact time scheduled for the summer holidays, and we are trying to find a way of managing the phone contact between them to minimise the distress/anxiety to DSS. Obviously, we understand that that he will want/need to talk to his mum during that time, as it is a longer period away from her, but don't want him worried about missing her calls or feeling guilty because he is having fun with us and his mum is missing him while he's here. We also feel that some of this is about her needs, not DSS's, and are trying to work out how to address it.

Any suggestions?

brdgrl Sun 10-Jul-11 23:40:13

even if she has irregular shifts, she must get a schedule ahead of time?

maybe if you put it to her in terms of "it is so important for you to have that contact with DSS, and he gets really anxious when he doesn't know when to expect the call. Because we are going to be pretty active over the holidays, and because we don't want him to miss a call if we are out or if someone else is on the phone, can we try to schedule the call times?" If you are clear with her that you are not trying to stop her from speaking to him, and if you really try to work with the times she gives you, maybe she - and he - will relax a bit about it?

another idea - this doesn't address the other issues, but maybe would help, logistically - could you get a cheap pay-as-you-go phone ONLY for use when she rings? I realize you'd still have to be careful to let that get out of control, and am not suggesting he actually HAVE a mobile phone at that age...but if you kept the phone still and just handed it over to him when she rang, at least then it would not be interering with your work and the rest of the family's phone time...?

I'd also be inclined, myself, to just carry on with whatever you are all doing, and if he misses a call - oh well. He might actually get less anxious about it over time, and you can't make the whole family slave to a telephone.

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