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I'VE LOST MY KIDS!!
August 4, 2007
11:30 am
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Dear Santino,

I really owe you an apology.

I should not have gotten on your thread and blathered on about our son's crazy situation. I should have started my own thread.

It was pretty inconsiderate of me.

Hard to behave as an adult sometimes when "feelings" begin to overwhelm us.

August 5, 2007
12:20 am
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Moondawg
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As a son (with a sister) of divireced parents, oh, about 20 years ago, allow me to impart some of what I experienced from my perspective at a young age in a similar situation you face.

First, someone said never EVER bad mouth their mother in front of them. I will say it also... do not EVER bad mouth their mother in anyway in front of them. Not even so much as to say things like "I don't care how your mom does things" and such.

I do not know what your relationship is like with your ex, but something that will go a VERY long way to making your kids feel more comfortable and at ease with you is if they can see Mom being at ease and comfortable with you. Maybe that means a joint dinner every now and then, at one of your places or on neutral grounds. Or you coming in at her place when you pick them up and interacting with them in their home for a while, seeing their rooms, checking out the picture they made for the refrigerator, playing with the dog and enjoying a glass of tea at the coffee table while they gather their things up for the visitation.

I can honestly say that if my mother and father had been able to act comfortable and social around each other in front of me as a child following the divorce that it would have really helped me be comfortable when it came time to just be with dad. Instead, we were always packed and ready to go when dad got there for our weekend, dad came as far as the front porch, mom came as far as the living room and it was awkward and we we could tell the definitive change from being with mom to being with dad. There was no comfortable transition and because mom felt wierd around dad, WE felt wierd around dad.

It's hard stuff man, and agian I no not know what the situation with your ex is like. You and her are no longer, but as much as possible, you need to make your kids feel like you collectively are their parents, even if just in simple ways, not just that she is mom and you are dad and there is some boundry they have to cross every time they go from spending time with one or the other.

Some final thoughts, don't relax your standards, sounds like you are doing great things for structure and disciple with the kids. Maybe though, if they are making a mess, you should be part of making that mess with them, then help clean up with them as well. Make trade offs and compromises that are acceptable to you where you can that will make them feel a little more like when they are home like getting to stay up 30 minutes later if they were good about eating all their veggies and cleaning all their messes up.

I don't know man, I don't have kids, and don't envy your situation. However, I was a kid in your kids' situation once. Dad never did those things to erase that boundry between being with him and being with mom, and I never got comfortable being with him alone or even with my sister. I am 32 years old now, and I haven't seen or spoken to him since I was about 20. If I were to see him tomorrow, I would still feel awkward and uncomfortable. I can say honestly that if things had been the way I described them above it probably would not have turned out this way.

Best wishes Santino. Don't give up!

August 5, 2007
1:49 am
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Poignant post, Moondawg. It requires so much for divorced parents to be civil for the sake of the children sometimes.

Honestly, how well does anyone handle it? Cold and indifferent is a good insulation for pain. Faking friendly does not feel good either.

August 5, 2007
10:39 am
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mamacinnamon
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Moondawg: Very powerful post. I can say from my kids perspective, as they are grown now, that they felt a lot the same as you did. Those last 2 paragraphs were fantastic. Thank you for steppin up and sayin how you viewed things. More folks need to see and understand from the kids' points of view.

Santino: Yes, you are in a hard position here. I do want to echo the advice of "never bad mouth the other parent to the kids or in front of the kids". In all actuality it does make the child feel bad toward the parent doin the badmouthing. I worked in family law for 5 years and my boss told that to each and every parent that walked thru the doors. It really does work.

I agree that you should not change and become Mr. Goodtime Dad. The kids need stability right now and the dad they knew is the dad they love. If you remain the dad they knew, (w/ a few tweeks here and there) they will love you all the more coz you will become their rock. Being the rock in the family is not the best job, in fact it's thankless, but they will know who they can turn to for anything and everything. A fake parent a child will see thru in a heartbeat. I do agree tho w/ lettin loose some and as moondawk said, make the mess w/ them and then help them clean it up, but not as a rule of thumb, more as a fun event once in awhile that you "allowed" w/ prior consent. Not an every weekend food fight that takes ours to clean up. Here we do such fun things but it is more of "cleaner fun". Throw a pea but no spoon shooting anything liquid. Oh, and get a dog, great for cleaning up the floor before you mop it. lol.

In my divorce my evil-x remained the same evil sonofagun the entire childhood of my kids. He said to me he would screw them up and he did his best to do so. Always changing visitation, not showing, not bringing them home to the point the sheriff would have to go get them and he'd then say I didn't show up, etc. Real winner of a dad. But, the kids knew who was their rock. If they were grounded here he threw them a party there. If they were grounded there then they were grounded here and it didn't matter what their dad did the rules were the same here always. I will say he has accomplished some of what he set out to do but the kids come to me not to him. Well, if they want money my son goes to him, my daughter hasn't spoken to him in 8 years.

It is very hard to be a single parent. I can imagine even harder for the parent w/ the visitation, well maybe. I am divided on that one. But, you be who you are to those kids. If they tell you mom said this or that about you then you simply say, I'm sorry, you know who I am and it's sad she wants to act this way. That is not badmouthing. That is fact. Facts are ok as long as it is not sayin things like, "mom's a bitch and will always be one". See what I mean?

Hang in there. Wish I could say there is a book written to tell you have to deal w/ this, but you have the rest of us for that. ha ha. There are good folks here honestly. Keep posting and we'll help you best we can.

🙂

August 5, 2007
10:47 am
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mamacinnamon
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Oh, sorry, PS Santino:

She must give you your kids when the visitation schedule says she must. You can take the sheriff to obtain your kids if you have your paperwork w/ you. I used to have to do that to get my kids. If she does not let you have them a call to your attorney, who will call her attorney usually works. If not file her in contempt of court. There you have a right to stand. You love your kids and you want to see them. If she tells the kids you don't want to see them that is child abuse and should be dealt w/. Thru the attorneys. Less contact w/ her in a hostile atmosphere the better. Use the attorneys, that's what they are paid for. And stay on your attorney's butt to be certain he/she is doin their job.

One other thing... her not letting you see the kids is NO reason for not paying the child support. That is owed and unless she is not providing for the kids in a well manner then you must send that money. I do hope you are paying it thru the court. That way she cannot say you didn't pay it and you are kept accountable also. And IF the kids were to say they could not do this or that because you don't pay child support you can show them on paper where you do. That is not badmouthing if you show the kids you do pay; that is correcting a misunderstanding. Don't tell them their mom is a liar; say, I don't know why mom would tell you that coz see, here is my receipts. Get recepits from the court, or if you mail it in get a printout from them each year. Good idea for future records anyway.

I hear so much of "well if he doesn't pay his child support I'll just pull his visitation" or visa versa. Not true. If she wants to be in contempt of court that is fine; you don't. One has nothing to do w/ the other.

Ok, I'm off my soap box now. Hang in there it will work out. maybe awkward now and the kids are young, but when they are older (even at younger ages also) the kids know the score. You cannot fool the kids.

August 5, 2007
1:43 pm
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santino
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Brynnie, Mama, and Moondawg: Thank you so much for sharing your stories, it truelly helps.

I see my kids 2marrow, I have already spoken to my ex and set up a time when I was gonna be picking them up. If she tries anything like last week, I will go to a lawyer and let them deal with it. In a sense, this is her last chance to keep the courts out of it.

Thank you all for your stories, all eye openers and lessons to be learned. Thank you all!

August 5, 2007
1:43 pm
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santino
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Brynnie, Mama, and Moondawg: Thank you so much for sharing your stories, it truelly helps.

I see my kids 2marrow, I have already spoken to my ex and set up a time when I was gonna be picking them up. If she tries anything like last week, I will go to a lawyer and let them deal with it. In a sense, this is her last chance to keep the courts out of it.

Thank you all for your stories, all eye openers and lessons to be learned. Thank you all!

August 5, 2007
10:08 pm
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Hi Santino

Try everything you can to keep the courts out of this. The whole system feeds on situations like yours, and it's not pretty. Been there, am there, and would give just about anything not to be.

You're on talking terms with your ex- tell her Santino, that you're trying to figure out what happened- that the kids used to love to come with you and you realize that recently things have changed. Tell her, that you love them and want to see them, that everybody benefits if visitation goes well- tell her you realize that being a single mom is exhausting and that she deserves a break sometimes and you are there to make that happen. Tell her Santino, that you want the kids to come and enjoy being with you and for her to enjoy a much needed break. Tell her that this is what you want, and ask her to help you.

Don't write it in a letter or an e-mail as things in writing can be twisted and turned against you- certainly don't that.

Much of getting along/not getting along with an ex is swallowing pride. Always ask yourself, is this about pride? Is she being rude and pissing me off? Is she just being nasty? Is she pushing my buttons? Kuz if so, then take the high road. Be polite, ask for her help, NEVER threaten her. In other words "play nicee-nicee."

Getting a lawyer- last resort Santino kuz it's gonna be the final resort. See- the "friendship", the talking terms- they're gonna end when you get a lawyer and they're so important. You think you're seeing ugly now? OMG the games adults play-believe me Santino, you don't wanna be a part, and it only takes one person to force two into playing.

free

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