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How do I suggest

(30 Posts)
Letitgoletitgo Fri 08-Jan-16 18:40:51

That he stops calling them?!

I have 2 dcs, aged 4 and 6. Their dad calls them almost every night either in my mob or via face time. The problem is they are just not interested in talking to him! No matter what, I end up having to put speaker phone on and end up attempting to facilitate a conversation as they simply don't listen or want to speak to him - usual thing is to say their day was great and that they've finished. I then end up having to tell them off for not speaking nicely to their dad, and it ruins my evening with them.

How can I suggest to him that maybe he doesn't need to call all the time, without sounding like a complete cow?! The calls are far more for him than them, they love their time with him but it really is out of sight, out of mind for them still.

I've tried us calling him rather than him us, to make sure they are sitting down, not distracted etc, prepped them before hand, but it still goes the same. He also still expects a call every night from them.

It feels like I get home from work to the kids at 4.30 and by 5.30 weve had the call from dad resulting in me having a go at them and then ruins my evening with them.

Any suggestions? How can I make him see that less frequent calls might be better?! Or how can I make the calls better and less stressful for me?!

Cabrinha Fri 08-Jan-16 19:55:32

Why on earth are you telling them off?!!
Poor things.
That's like telling a pre walker off for not working. They're simply not developmentally ready to do this yet!

Are you divorced or is their dad working away?

If divorced, time to learn to say no. Most kids don't have calls with the other parent during the other parent's contact time.

The fact that this can ruin your whole evening suggests there's more to this - because you're really getting too stressed over this. Is the stress because an ex is trying to dictate what you do?

1. Decide what you want, and do it - if that's no contact when with you, tell him
2. Just tell yourself to STOP telling them off. It's not fair.
3. If you want to do calls, maybe tell the kids that they have TWO minutes, and that's IT. No messing. That kind of reverse psychology sometimes works on mine. Egg timer it. 2 minutes, or say they can tell daddy ONE thing.
4. More appropriate if it's a working away thing - or you all WANT the phone contact, but I've read a lovely suggestion that dad FaceTime reads a story. No pressure on the kids then, to talk.

Cadburyhome Fri 08-Jan-16 20:06:47

I would speak to dad about it. If the kids aren't engaging in the conversation then he'll be aware of this. He might not want to suggest stopping the calls for fear of coming across like he doesn't care or want to be involved. He might be waiting for you to say it's ok, we don't need to keep it up and you won't be offended.

I would suggest just trying a couple of times a week, that way the kids will actually have something to talk about. Although in my experience when you ask kids how was their day at school, it's a dead end conversation. Maybe he needs to try a different tact- who's their favourite superhero this week or what is their best toy at the moment? Might yield better results.

lunar1 Fri 08-Jan-16 20:53:24

What about doing a couple of videos, just 30-60 seconds of them playing/chatting/eating/saying hello daddy? We do this for my inlaws who live abroad. Send them via watsapp, it wouldn't really take anything out of your day.

Sunbeam1112 Sat 09-Jan-16 12:35:29

When i first split up with ex he wated to be constant contact and son was 1 then. I ended up telling him stop. Firstly he couldnt or wouldnt communicate with him and secondly he was ruling my life. He only calls on his birthday quickly and he wanted to call christmas but he was seeing him later and didnt manage to get the time in seeing families. Eveninga are extremely busy times especially come in from work doing tea, bathing,homework etc.

lookluv Sat 09-Jan-16 12:40:10

Sorry - I am going to disagree completely.

Where do the rules that a child can not have/should not have contact with the other parent during their time come from. This separates the parents and their contact into blocks - you are a parent 24/7/365 - it does not stop to your children.

Where do you think it is right to put an egg timer on your childs ability to talk to their other parent, they can onyl tell him ONE thing - sorry to me that is wrong.

A phone call in the evening is nothing. My EX is useless, but he has done this since he left. Youngest DC was 4 and yes, the conversations were short and brief and I did wonder at the point of them. However, now 3 yrs on, the DCS note if he has not called and ask if he has forgotten about them and they now have proper conversations. It has been a gradual process but it works for them.

They learn, my 8 yr old now calls Dad as he watches something on the TV to discuss it with him and they can talk for 20 minutes - last week it was a footy match and who was playing badly. Slightly annoying to listen to a one sided conversation but the connection between him and his Dad was essential.

In my mind you have to take a step back and let the children dictate what they want to do.

Cabrinha Sat 09-Jan-16 12:52:41

lookluv it was me that said about saying ONE thing only, and you've taken my point the wrong way so I'll clear that up.

I did say in my post about reverse psychology, and the OP said the kids don't focus for long.

So my suggestion is not about refusing to let them chat. It's to make the call less stressful if you say "come on kids, time to call daddy - but it'll only be 5 minutes! Pick your thing to tell him! That would focus my 6yo and make it easy for everyone.

Some kids want daily calls - some don't. Mine doesn't - and that includes to me too. She knows she can call if she wants to, but she gets nothing from it.

Wdigin2this Sat 09-Jan-16 13:03:45

Children that young are never focussed on a telephone call, they aren't able to converse properly with a person not in the room with them! And asking how their school day was is pointless, they live in the here and now, your ex is expecting far too much from them! I'd just phone/text him and explain that this is how it is with 4 and 6 year olds, it will change as they get older. But in the meantime, he's going to have to accept, it's about the children not him, and twice weekly phone chats are enough for them to have any meaningful conversation with him!

Letitgoletitgo Sat 09-Jan-16 13:11:16

Thanks for the various responses. Their dad and I split nearly 4 years ago, so they have been doing the phonecall thing for a while now, but they just aren't interested in speaking to him really like this. They see him eow and love this time with him but they really just aren't old enough to do the phonecall thing yet. I'm sure he realises this but he continues to call every night and I end up being the one having to facilitate it all - telling them to sit down, no you can't do x because you need to speak to dad, dad has just asked you x, stop trying to press buttons on the phone, no you aren't too busy, etc etc etc.

Lookluv - I certainly don't have a problem with him having contact with them on "my time" and I would definitely never time them or let them only say one thing.... The problem seems to be in them finding even one thing to say! I just wish he would realise this and maybe call a bit less often or at least realise it is OK if they only speak for 5 minutes and it doesn't need to be a big drawn out half hr call every day where they don't know what to say and just get silly. If I tell him this though I'll end up being the one who "won't let him have contact with his kids " - can't win!

Letitgoletitgo Sat 09-Jan-16 13:14:52

And I don't call when he has them at the weekend - only if it is a whole holiday week, and u try to take my queues from them as to when they have nothing left to say. He unfortunately doesnt do the same and drags the calls out - we are now onto him saying "why don't you ask daddy how his day was if you can't think of anything else" - like they even care?!

Cabrinha Sat 09-Jan-16 13:15:04

But would you rather:
- be the one who tells him the calls aren't working
- be the one who shouts at your kids

I know which I'd pick flowers

Do you call them at his? How does he handle it?

Give the kids the phone, and tell the older one to hand it back when they're done. Leave them to it. If that doesn't work, that's his problem.

ChicagoMD Sat 09-Jan-16 13:16:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Cabrinha Sat 09-Jan-16 13:16:39

Cross post about them calling you!

Why do you bother trying to manage the call, telling them what to say? Just why? Are you afraid of him? It seems like it, with the comment about being the one to stop contact. It's been 4 years. Fuck what he thinks!

swingofthings Sat 09-Jan-16 14:05:02

Have you actually said anything to him at all about it? How is your relationship? It is surprising that he hasn't picked up on the fact that they don't want to speak to him every day and not himself felt it wasn't a really pleasant experience.

What doesn't help is that he calls just one hour after getting home, which is probably about 1/2 hour they have already told you about their day, and when they are established in their relaxing time at home before routine sets.

How old are your children? Is the oldest old enough to tell their dad themselves what would suit them best?

Rummikub Sat 09-Jan-16 14:13:50

I had this too. They're too young to have a phone conversation. We switched to FaceTime which worked better as it meant they could all just be silly (pulling faces, showing toys) without any chat. Mine are still mute on the phone, no point telling them off.

MrsJoyless Sat 09-Jan-16 14:46:47

Could he read them a story, while they follow along with the book?

Bananasinpyjamas1 Sun 10-Jan-16 13:37:23

Or just don't facilitate it. Turn the device on but just leave it. It is you who is trying to make it work, and it isn't. Just do housework in background and then if it doesn't work without you it'll be clear to DP.

I used to make my DC call his Dad, but he just didn't want to. But when he hit 10/11 he started to Skype, they sort it out between themselves now.

PaleBlueDottie Mon 11-Jan-16 11:06:30

I've noticed recently that with dd (5yrs) she tends to walk away from me when she is on the phone to her dad. I can still hear what she is saying but she seems to just want to talk to him without me being around. So I just leave her to it.

OP, can you leave the phone with your eldest - tell dad you are doing so and go off to make a cuppa or something similar? Then it's up to dad how the conversation goes?

Bluelilies Mon 11-Jan-16 11:19:41

Could you offer for him to give you a ring instead so you can fill him in on anything going on in their lives? Maybe not every day, but once or twice a week, so you can tell him anything significant about how they're getting on? My ex and I have never routinely phoned the kids for a chat, but when they were younger if he had them away on holiday for longer than usual and I was missing them, I used to call and ask him how they were getting on.

Kids their age aren't able to think about the last 24 hours and recall the most significant news to pass on, so the calls are pretty useless to them. I would try hard to pursuade him that he doesn't need to do that to be a great dad and that they love their weekends with him and that it's all fine without the calls. And if he still persists, then just leave the kids in the room with the phone on speaker phone and leave them to it, don't push them to speak if they don't want to.

Peach1886 Mon 11-Jan-16 14:53:47

The trouble is he may look forward to those calls all day, particularly if they are his main contact with his kids during the week - so saying they're more about him is probably right, but if that's all he gets between eow...I am married to a non resident dad, a good and loving dad, and when his kids were small his entire evening was based round a chat with them, and no amount of gentle pointing out that kids dont like talking on the phone, or live in the moment and dont remember their day helped with the disappointment when they didnt want to talk to him...he missed them terribly and it was his only way of trying to stay connected to their day to day lives, so he stuck to it. Not his fault, not theirs, just difficult all round...maybe try a quick text message or email when they're telling you something important "oh we have to tell dad this", and send random photos of them, just because, or postcards...then it breaks up the routine for them and him, and will hopefully ease things for you as well, as at the moment it sounds like no one is getting anything much out of it. HTH. XX

Letitgoletitgo Mon 11-Jan-16 15:15:03

Thanks for the help. I think I'll try just leaving them to it with the phone and see what happens.
I agree Peach, I'm sure he does look forward to those calls and I think one of the reasons I end up getting cross with the kids is because it obviously is important to him - it would be to me too. I do try to send photos or details of important things as soon as they happen - eg when ds first tooth came out took photo and said we'd send it to daddy.
Thanks all for the varied advice, I'm sure it'll get easier as they get older and more independent. X

FreshHorizons Mon 11-Jan-16 15:25:42

I would suggest that he reads them a story more interesting for them than chatting.

SavoyCabbage Mon 11-Jan-16 15:34:15

I've had similar problems when I lived abroad. My dd were not slightly interested in talking to their relations on FaceTime. They were living their 'real lives' instead.

We found games helped. It started when they were playing uno with their cousins. A game which does not lend itself to not being in the same room I have to say! Anyway, this led to other games. Battleships etc. as they got older they played words with friends. And some games on the 3 DS they could play together at the same time.

There is an app where you can draw something,together on two iPads.

SavoyCabbage Mon 11-Jan-16 15:35:36

The app is called 'drawing together'.

Friendlystories Mon 11-Jan-16 15:44:02

I think I would go with the leaving them to it strategy too, it's not like he's extended family who you might feel you need to ensure politeness from your kids for, he's their dad and if they're not very chatty you shouldn't need to apologise for them or try to correct it. If he mentions to you at some point that they don't seem very chatty maybe you could gently point out that not much changes day to day and maybe he'd prefer to try speaking to them every other day instead of daily so they have a bit more to tell him. I would definitely avoid trying to micromanage it though, it's just causing stress for you and between you and DC, let him manage his own relationship with them and if that means him struggling to get a conversation out of them until it dawns on him the daily calls aren't really working and he needs to try something different then so be it.

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