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  • Advice on drop-off etiquette when dropping children at ex's home

    Hi All,

    I just want to get advice/opinions from people on how to best handle the dropping off of kids at the ex's home.

    I have good communication with my ex (usually by emails or phone calls)and I have shared (50/50) custody of my 2 kids. The drop-off occurs Sunday nights after dinner and we both have respected this schedule for the last 4 years. I guess my question is it better to just drop off the kids from the driveway or should I go into their mother's house to drop them off. My preference would be just to say my good-byes and love in the car and make sure they go in the house safely. I really don't need or really have the right to be in my ex's home.

    Thoughts?

    Newbie on the forum

  • #2
    My ex always came to the door when picking the kids up. Sometimes there were things to discuss.
    When dropping them off, he said goodbye in the car and waited until they were in the door and waving to him to let him know I was in fact home.

    Of course, we never really fought about anything.

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    • #3
      my ex drops my child in the driveway and leaves......doesnt make sure they are safe inside house either before pulling away.........so I really cant answer that for you

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      • #4
        I think what both of you have said basically is amoung the best way to go. My exalways wants to be confrontational and this resulted one time in our then 8 yr old hiding behind the curtains. If I could have I would have decked him. But bite my tongue as usual. Hoping that someday he will get it and see what the child goes thru. I applaude you both on trying to keep things cival. Just that the kids dont need by this point to see anymore of the parents bickering. So please basically keep on doing what you are.... the kids are the one who count in the end.

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        • #5
          I am thinking that your way is the best. Less stress on everyone

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          • #6
            My ex and I do not communicate in any way, any time I have tried previously, he's very rude, verbally abusive (calls me the s-word even though I am just dating for the first time since we separated) and threatens (and has gone through with it) to cut off the children from contact with him. He does not come to my door at all, and only picks up and drops off the kids to the driveway and leaves.
            Not speaking to him is the best method for the children, as he will be abusive in their presence, and I feel that it's best not to give him the opportunity.

            Lets put it this way, in the 3 months that I have been dating the same man, and he has been here every access visit the ex has the kids, he has never even seen the ex get out of the car, nor even seen him (just the car).

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            • #7
              The thing to remember most is that the children should not be exposed to conflict that their parents may be having. Whatever choice you make that protects the children in this regard is the one that works.

              It is also good for the children to see that the parents are cooperative and civil with one another if you can achieve some friendly dialogue. And the kids will benefit if the encourage the time with the other parent. If for example you know the kids will be going skating with the other parent when you drop them off, a comment such as "...hope you have fun skating with Mom, you know Mom is a real good skater..." is good too. It allows the children to feel that activities that happen in one home don't have to be sheltered from the other parent, and it validates their relationship with the other parent.

              But the most important thing is ensuring the kid is not exposed to conflict. We settled all the issues almost a year ago, and the transfers are becoming more and more conciliatory as time goes by. At the worst of times, while we were in the courts (surprise, surprise) they were somewhat tense, but not hostile (we saved the hostility for the emails and the lawyer's letters) and the children sensed it. Now we are making a little small talk and telling the kids to have a good time, see you soon. It is clear that has benefitted the kids. A year ago, my son wouldn't talk at all about what went on when he was away. Now he speaks pretty freely about his time with his Mom and her family.
              Last edited by dadtotheend; 02-09-2009, 08:35 PM.

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              • #8
                I always tell the kids to have a good time etc etc as I won't stoop to his level, unfortunately that adult behaviour is not reciprocated on his end which is blatantly obvious to me by the behaviour of the kids after each visit. It takes nearly a week to get back the considerate kids I sent for their day visit. This week my daughter returned and was near tears. It appears that he spent no time with her at all, the 2 youngest were left to play the video game or movies, the oldest played yahtzee and she was left to entertain his and his CL spouse's 2 year old of which she did not want to do and was hurt that she was only seen as a babysitter rather than his daughter who needed some dad-daughter time.
                It's all so sad. I will never understand how people can agree to have and raise children, but the moment the relationship falls apart one parent sees it as nothing but a financial burden and a waste of time they could spend napping or chewing bon-bons in front of the TV.

                Good job to the parents that do their best by their kids no matter what.
                Last edited by Kimberley; 02-09-2009, 08:42 PM. Reason: Dropped my T, and not the drinking kind

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                • #9
                  Kimberly,

                  Your situation has many similarities to my own from what I read here, so I do know what it is like. tough at times but take heart in two things you are doing the best you can by your kids and that they will see this in the end.

                  I tell my self this all the time and even when I dont I know it deep in my heart. I have seen many who have divorced and eventually how the children have evolled to good relationships. Keep on with what you are doing your on the right track.

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                  • #10
                    There are some very good responses here, many with which I agree. I just wanted to add a little of my two cents, and that pertains to the age of the children.

                    If the children are younger, they should be walked to the door and waited with until the receiving parent or adult opens the door and invites them in. If they are older (I'd say maybe 10 or 12 and up) they could easily walk from the car (in the driveway) to the door, as long as the sending parent watches to ensure they get into the house safely.

                    Right now, at my stepson's age, we always walk him to the door ourselves. We say our goodbyes in the car, and simply wish him "good night and see you soon" once he enters into the house.

                    As with many others here, we leave all communications to email and the occasional phone call. Our exchanges are always focussed on the child, and not on the adults. If any information needs to be communicated, a simple "Please check your email this evening" is said, and we acknowledge that there will be news for us to read and possibly respond to.

                    In the beginnings, my stepson's mom tried to initiate heated conversations at the door, often resulting in her screaming and crying or blocking the driveway, but we very quickly and calmly began walking away from any senarios that had the possibility of resulting in a verbal bashing of my fiance or I, and at every pick-up and drop-off calmly stated that if she had anything to communicate, we would be glad to receive an email, but that we were not going to partake in her verbal battles at the door in front of the child, nor were we going to have the child sit and wait in the car while she verbally abused us. (Yes, she often asked to put the child in the car and return to the door "to discuss things.") Luckily, this approach worked, and now the child comes and goes without a fuss, and is happy during the exchanges.

                    There is no magic formula other than that which works best for your child(ren).

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                    • #11
                      Thanks all for the replies.

                      I'll add more details to my situation. The dropping off routine had always been getting out of the car and helping the kids bring their stuff into the ex's house. I was always a bit uncomfortable going into my ex's house and saying my good-byes in the house in front of the ex and her new partner. I always said be good and have a good/fun week. The ex would do the same when dropping the kids at my place.

                      The kids are older now (15 and 10) and my ex has done some small things over the years that have finally accumulated to the point where I dont want her to be on my property. So, I politley asked her if we could change the drop-off routine where we say our good-byes in the car. She has so far refused to do this. So, this past weekend it was her turn to drop the kids off at my place and she brought the kids into the house (I keep the garage door open so that they can get into the house). I greeted them and asked my ex to please get out of the house. She got angry and told me to F*** O** and slammed the door. This totally upset my youngest one and she started to cry thinking her mom was angry at her for some reason. So I comforted her and told her it had nothing to do with her.

                      Anyways the issues I have are:
                      1) Why isn't she respecting my request
                      2) Her behavior in front of the kids was inexcusable

                      Am i out of line asking for a small change in the routine? If she still doesnt want to change what I ay have to do from coming to the house is have the girls come to the front door and knock before they come in. That way I can prevent my ex from coming in uninvited.

                      Thoughts?

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                      • #12
                        This is easy. Let her come to your door the way she always has. Just smile and accept the kids and don't confront her.

                        I understand not being comfortable at her place with her ex there, so maybe just drop the kids off in the driveway, making sure they get in.

                        The best though is to walk them to the door and validate the kids life of living in two homes. Smile and walk away. We all know how hard it can be to be in front of the ex and their partner, but if you can, walk to the door, tell the kids you love them and to have a good time. That validates their life, you are the adult, you'll have to deal with your emotions in a way that does not effect the kids.

                        The answer is easy, doing it is hard, but you can hopefully gain some power from self respect in doing this for your kids and taking the high road.

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                        • #13
                          Excellent way of putting it, billm. True easier said that done but that is what we should all strive for.

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                          • #14
                            My case with my ex,We used to be able to exhange for lack of a better word my daughter at the tim hortons around the corner from her house because she has always yelled and screamed needlessly in front of our daughter,so i thought that a public place half a km from her house was best and for a long time she agreed.Then she moved in with her new much older boyfriend,23 years older then her and now i have to call her when i am around the corner so she can meet me at the end of the driveway with our daughter because her new boyfriend does not want me on his property.So i requested that we meet at tim hortons again just to be on a level playing ground and she refuses,because of the wording in our court document it states that she can refuse if we do not both mutually decide on a public place.So now i can;t even go onto the driveway if it is busy,can;t go to the door if it is raining or anything,just wait at the end of the driveway and she can take up to 10 mins even when we give her lots and lots of notice of my exact arrival time.our daugher is 2 and a half and she won;t discuss anything important with me,just yells constantly.She won;t work on potty training or anything to do with our childs education or growing up.Unfortunatly the way the court order is written she is not technically doing anything wrong.Any suggestions,I usually just do what she says and try and put a smile on and just get the exchange done as fast as possible because anything i say about our child is an attack on her,wondering if she is doing well at home is an attack and pretty well any questions are attacking her for some reason,i am just so lost as to what to do.

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