i am hoping someone will be able to help me. i am going through a divorce and i have two little boys with my ex-husband. he was mentally abusive while we were married and eventually i found the courage to leave. in the beginning he would see the kids whenever he wanted to and as everythign was very new, it upset the kids. eventually we fell into a pattern of two days a week (one in the week and one at the weekend). we always knew we were going to change it and in my mind this was going to be alternative weekends and one day on the week. the kidshave gotten used to the one day in the week nad one day at the weekend but recently my ex started saying he wanted the kids on random days. he didntlisten to me when i told him how much is disrupted them and went ahead anyway. this was two weeks ago and my eldest is still throwing tantrums and getting angry and arguing with me over eating his food when he had become really good with eating (he used to be quite awkward but i managed to get him into a good routine). my ex then said he is going to have them 2 days a week and one at the weekend and there was nothing i could do about it. he has parental responsibility so he can pick them up from nursery and school and there is nothingi can do about it. i know i wasnt the perfect wife but i never made him feel scared. i was always scared to talk in case i was abused and told i was stupid. my kids were all i had as he never bothered with them. it was commented on by so many people that i was always on my own and doing everything and on top of that i was told i was thick as s*** and a waste of space. my kids got me through it all and now i have to give up contact with them because of him knowing that they will be more upset and disrupted when they come back to me. i have only just qualified in my job and i am trying to make a good impression but most of the time i am in poeces and no good to anyone. i am at my wits end. he still bullies me and calls me thick and has no respect for the fact that i am the mother of his children.
is there anyway that i can stop him from having the children so much in the week? it upsets them and my eldest is starting to become withdrawn because of it. he will go and get them on wednesday and there is nothing i can do. surely that cant be it? i am their mother? dont i have any rights to protect my children from this kind of disruption?
Teacher, first of all I want to say take a deep breath and keep calm. It is clear that you are intimidated by your ex and I am sorry that you have been made to feel this way. You have my sympathy but you need to keep your feelings about your ex separate to the issue of contact.
Until either of you gets a contact order you both have the same rights of contact. Your ex has as much right to say he will see the kids 2 nights a week as you do to disagree. The children are young you said and, contrary to popular belief, younger kids adapt much better to change in my opinion. You say you had been planning to change the contact schedule anyway- would this not have been equally disruptive?
The new schedule has only been running for 2 weeks. The children could be unsettled for any number of reasons, including picking up on your unhappiness. Give it more time to settle down.
Regardless of how you feel about him, you are both the children''s parents and so it is far better that you agree contact between you. This does not mean that he decides and you agree, or you say no and he has to accept that.
I can not comment on contact orders or anything of that ilk, but am fully sympathetic re your feeling you are married to a bully. Excellent advice there, from Happy Again. ( great name btw, HA!) Just wanted to say, in here you will find lots of helpful and supportive people on this great site. I am sorry you have had the need, but just wanted to say keep posting: you are in the right place. Best of luck with it all, Teach.
I don''t know if I can be of any help (I am told I usually am not) but I will just say what I feel to be usually the right thing to do in such situations.
First of all, Teacher, try to not mix your own feelings about your ex with the contact arrangements. The way you feel about your ex and the way the children feel about their father might be quite different.
If I am not mistaken, he is right that the school, without being presented with a contact order, and since he has PR, they cannot deny him his children. You being their mother gives you no more rights as far as the school is concerned.
Now, having said that, any form of contact that is made should follow a pattern and be consistent. Picking them up from school whenever he sees fit is disruptive to the children and their routine. Everyone should know when contact is to be carried out and it should be consistent regarding days and times. Now, if something pops up and he needs to take them somewhere (a family birthday, free cinema tickets etc) once in a while for a few, it is another issue but again, the children should know in advance and the odd instant cannot become the norm.
You can explain this to him politely but firmly in an e-mail, saying that with homework and other activities it will be for the children''s best if they fall into a routine and keep it and even though he has the same rights as you do, as a parent he should put his children''s interest first.
If this doesn''t work, try mediation and if he refuses or he agrees but mediation fails then you might have to start considering a Contact Order. This way there will be set days of contact that you both have to follow and everyone (especially the children) will know what to expect and when.
Even though I am pro shared care, I find this erratic pattern of contact really harmful and I do not even understand how he can carry it on himself, taking into account homework, activities the children might have on certain days or other engagements.
thank you so much for the replies on here. it is so good to know that i am not on my own. i have a wonderful family and support network but none of them have gone through divorce so try and help me as much as they can but cant help like you guys can. so thank you.
i get very worried when my ex husband has the children. he has a very different way of bringing the kids up. he threatens to slap them if they dont eat or if they misbehave. if one child hits the other (as kids do) he thinks its ok for them to hit them back as he thinks he is teaching them to defend themselves. he rough houses with them which i understand but he hits them so hard and is then proud of how hard he has hit them as he thinks its ok for them to take that kind of hit and not cry. my youngest who is only 2 and half thinks this is how you play and so will hit other children and then doesnt understand why they get upset and wont play with him. he was even weight training with my 4 year old! and then bragging about how he does it. he doenst listen when i say its not right, just says that i am barking. he says he is stricter than i am and the kids behave better with him then they do with me. i know the kids need to see their dad but surely two nights a week is going to be disruptive to them. where is their routine?? it is different at both houses. i try and live by my routine but my kids are all over the place. its not fair on them or me. or is that me being selfish?
Those concerns are once again things you''d bring up at mediation. It doesen''t sound like to me talking face to face with no mediator will work. I don''t know if you qualify for legal aid if you do it''s free or if you don''t like in my case I think it was around 80-£12o a sesion.
Now mediation didn''t work with me but many others have tried and been successful, so I would defo give it a go. Also if you end up going court everyone here and even the court will of liked to seen mediation has already been tried.
Slapping children for me personally is wrong I think theres far better ways of discipling children, but it ofcourse does still happen and imo doesen''t make them a bad parent. Obviously it depends on the frequency of the slapping and how hard it is.
Teaching the children to fight and hit eachother is completely wrong i''d be very surprised and shcocked to see anyone else suggest otherwise.
Your defo in the right place though this site helped me alot and continues to do so
I feel for you and really sympathise with your predicament. I was in a similar boat when i first separated 2 years ago. Ex would just turn up and demand the kids whenever he liked, the kids would be in distress as they did not want to go with Dad but were forced to. There were awful scenes in the hallway of the children crying and my ex screaming obcsenites at me. Bloody awful and something i would never like to repeat.
I drew up a contact shedule with ex having kids overnight every other weekend - friday to Sunday and again on a wednesday night every wek. That seemed to work on the whole and gave the children much needed consistency and routine.
A contact order was eventually drawn up in court and we now share all holidays equally. Sharing your kids is one of the hardest things one can ever do esp if their so young and cannot properly articulate their feelings. I think you have a case to demand consistent contact and raise the points about his parenting with a legal bod. I''m not sure what you can do about that but it definitely looks wrong and certainly not in the best interests of the children.