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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-03-2012, 06:14 AM
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Hi All,

“Missing Mommy” looking for input, advice, or available resources on how to deal with that issue (children are 4)

A brief summary of my situation -

-I'm the second husband of my ex
-My ex has 2 children (now 11 and 8) from that marriage
-At time of our marriage my ex's 2 children lived full time with us and we ended up having twins.
-We separated Feb 2011 - my step children went to live with their dad, the twins remained with me (they were 2˝ years old)
-Mother made no attempt to contact 2 older children
-Brief attempt at reconciliation which ended poorly May 2011 which resulted in absolutely no contact from my ex until Aug 2011 (angry text messages)
-Sporadic angry text messages and voicemails were received,
-Unable to co-parent in a civil manner, I (with professional third party counsel) deemed a phone/text relationship between preschool age children and mom would not be beneficial.
- January 2012 an accidental phone call to mom while the kids were playing with my phone resulted in a brief, pleasant call between mom and twins (3˝ years old) although the kids did not understand they were speaking to their mom.
-Angry texts continued until Apr 2012.
-April 2012 I learned that my ex was pregnant (baby daddy #3) and was due sometime late 2012
-June 2012 ex-husband #1 (father of 2 older children) files custody application (mother had zero contact with both older children, including missing 3 birthdays).
-Sept 2012 twin (4 years old) begin junior kindergarten
-Mid November 2012, my children made first positive inquiry about their mother since May 2011 and ask if I know where their mom is. I advised she was in Ottawa, their follow up question was if I knew her phone number (tried the number – out of service) and told them no I didn’t know their mom’s phone number.
-This past week mother has lost all parental rights to oldest daughter (CAS involved)
-Further the court hears that ex and baby daddy #3 have relocated to Alberta from Ontario (**rumour** – relocation was to avoid CAS apprehension of new baby).

**Hindsight is 20/20 - yes, I realize there were warning signs and concerns regarding Mommy’s parenting skills**

Over the past year it’s apparent that my step children have mental health difficulties stemming from some parental abandonment issues, etc. I want to avoid a similar scenario with the twins…

With the current news that my ex has left the province to start another family, making no effort advise the 4 children left in Ontario of her departure, I’m at a loss how to deal with “Mommy questions”.

My boys are 4, they are very inquisitive and I’m sure the school environment has stimulated their little minds to ask “where is Mommy” We live outside of Ottawa, I have an appointment with the local children’s mental health program but that date isn’t until the new year.’
I want my boys to remember their mom positively but at the same time I don’t want to lie to them.
My explanation for “Where is Mommy? Why is Mommy not at home?” is consistent “Mommy moved away because she doesn’t love Daddy anymore. Daddy misses Mommy (I do) and you can miss Mommy too. Mommy loves you and I know you love Mommy. Mommy isn’t going to live in our house anymore…”
I’m not sure how to tell a 4 year old that Mommy has moved far away or if their minds are able to process that Mommy is with another man and having another baby.

My fingers are crossed that I can get through December without any more questions about Mommy. January 7th is our appointment with children’s mental health and hopefully they will have some good material to assist in raising some balance little men.

I’m open to ANY feedback that you may have. Am I doing the right thing? Should I be more ‘blunt’ about the situation with the boys? Any suggestions of resources out there that may assist with single parent parenting (I don’t mind travelling or reading)?

Thanks for your time
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Old 12-03-2012, 07:33 AM
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I feel so sad for all the children involved,

I wouldn't be giving too much information, they are still very young, I think that you should only give as much information as what is age appropriate, and what they need to have in order to protect themselves.

I would tell them that mommy love's, and misses them, right now it's what is best for everyone, I would support them in their love for their mom. They probably have very few memories of her, as they were so young when she left. It would be very difficult on them, all the other kids probably have a mom.

I think that you are being pro-active seeking counseling for them, I know that the system can be a slow process.
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Old 12-03-2012, 08:58 AM
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Definitely agree with counselling. Check your local school to see if they have a "Rainbows" program...it's usually done right at the school...and deals with loss of any kind. Could be from a death, divorce or in this case explaining why their mom isn't around. Google "rainbows counselling for children" and you will find the link.

My daughter was older than yours...I started her out with counselling through or local family municipal mental health program (subsidized) and it helped her (and myself as I attended a few sessions on how to talk to my daughter about divorce etc...) greatly. Arm yourself with as much information as you can from people who know how to explain things like this to children...don't try and do it all by yourself.

I wish you luck...
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:04 AM
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I would skip the 'Mommy moved away because she doesn't love Daddy anymore', which is likely to confuse the kids and start them wondering if she doesn't love them as well, which could very likely contribute to the very issues you're trying to avoid. Despite your follow up with `Mommy loves you', you're sending them mixed signals in the message you're currently using.

Why not involve them in an ongoing scrapbooking project for Mom that they can give or send to her when the time is right? This might help them feel they have some kind of involvement with her and feel they are able to share small parts of their everyday lives with her.
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Old 12-03-2012, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blinkandimgone View Post
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Why not involve them in an ongoing scrapbooking project for Mom that they can give or send to her when the time is right? This might help them feel they have some kind of involvement with her and feel they are able to share small parts of their everyday lives with her.
My only concern with this type of activity and thinking is that the mom may never want any (significant) contact with them and they will be hoping for it if they start to actively talk about her in the home.
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Old 12-04-2012, 03:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billm View Post
My only concern with this type of activity and thinking is that the mom may never want any (significant) contact with them and they will be hoping for it if they start to actively talk about her in the home.
In the end it doesn't matter if the mom wants to have meaningful contact or not. The act of making a scrapbook or journaling for someone else can be very therapeutic. Making these 'gifts' for their mom will help them with their sense of loss and help them feel connected to a part of their life that may have no physical presence.

When my ex took my kids and I didn't see them for a month and then only sporadically for a long time after that I wrote a couple of long letters to my kids just to get my feelings out and tell them I loved them and missed them. I sealed them up and kept them, I may even give them the letters when they are older, but I haven't decided yet. All I know is that the act helped me deal with my sense of loss, and a similar approach can help with kids too.
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Old 06-07-2013, 04:41 AM
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WOW Mother's Day was hard L( ended up dialing mom's phone number (which is no longer in service). Gotta give kudos to their teacher for having daddy oriented "Mother's Day" presents.
Boys are enrolled in a local Children's Mental Health program. Some advice is to simply let them figure out their own feelings towards mom. it helps that we see their big (half) sister and brother through CAS arranged access. Mom is not part of their lives either.

chugging along...thanks for listening.
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