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  • How do others cope?

    I have sole custody. The father has visitation every 2nd Sunday am to Monday am school drop off. This has been the way for almost 8 months.

    Every other Sunday, off goes my daughter, 5 yrs old. When my daughter requests to call home at night, she is told "No" by her step mother. She is very upset by this and has told the teacher at school that she is tired on Monday because she didn't get a good sleep because she is not allowed to call home. I tell her that I am looking up at the sky at night and thinking of her, to try and let her know it is ok that she does not get to phone. I don't want her to be getting in trouble because she is upsetting her step mom.

    On her last visit she asked repeatedly to phone home to say good night. She then got up in the middle of the night, dragged a chair to the phone (they put the phone up high on the wall so she can't reach it). She tried to call, but got yelled at and was locked in the bedroom. She then peed her pjs because she was not allowed out of the room until they unlocked the door the next morning. So she could not go to the toilet.

    How do other people deal with this type of behaviour? FACS was involved, and after a 30 min visit they determined that the house is safe to live in. There are two other older children in the home.

    I am trying to present facts and not emotions and would really appreciate advise on how to cope or how to help my child cope.

    Thank you

  • #2
    That is so sad to hear. Have you tried putting a telephone clause in your order/agreement? Some parents have done that to ensure phone communication with their children is always available.

    Also, maybe if you and your daughter came up with a special good night poem or prayer you can promise to say at a special set time each night, so that even when you are apart she'll know you are both saying this poem/prayer and will feel better.

    Have you tried discussing this with your ex, or tried setting up a good night call time? Even if you can call her at a set time to say a quick good night?


    • #3
      Originally posted by #1StepMom View Post

      ... Also, maybe if you and your daughter came up with a special good night poem or prayer you can promise to say at a special set time each night, so that even when you are apart she'll know you are both saying this poem/prayer and will feel better.
      Reading this thoughtful idea, still puts a knot in my stomach. No child should ever be not allowed to call their parent. It is unacceptable, selfish, cruel, unloving, controlling, etc, etc, etc. The father needs to realize the injustice in this and protect and love his daughter. If the step mom is being overbearing, that is his problem to deal with.

      Overall there are many things in this forum that are upsetting with what people do, but putting the phone out of reach so that she has to sneak and get a chair just to call her mom is wrong in all ways, and to think there are TWO adults in that house that allow that makes it all the more disgusting.


      • #4
        Please go to court and file a motion to allow for your daughter to make phone calls to you as needed. Use duty councel to help you. You would not lose. I doubt any judge would think it an unreasonable request. It's very very vindicitive on the part of your ex and company to do what they did, and shows horrible parenting skills.


        • #5
          Have you spoken to your ex about it? I would love to hear his justification for that behaviour. Ask him via email because one of two outcomes will occur:

          1) He'll realize he and his wife are being unreasonable and allow it. This is much more likely to happen if the tone of the email is respectful and focused on the emotional well-being of your daughter instead of angry (justified though that emotion would be).

          2) He'll respond with whatever selfish, petty, bitter nonsense is really behind it, and then you clip that email as an attachment to your motion to add this to your order.


          • #6
            Thank you all for your ideas and comments (so I feel I am not overreacting to this situation). I think I will talk to the court lawyer and see what can be done that is reasonable. I do not want to create any waves for my daughter as she still has to go there every second Sunday.

            There is a restraining order in place for my ex to protect me. Going directly to the court is the safest route.

            Thank you all again.


            • #7
              just a quick question, is she allowed to call her father when ever she wants?


              • #8
                Try to talk to you ex about the child, and her best interests to keep her relaxed instead of fearful. But encourage your daughter to try and accept Dad & his hew woman. Otherwise the child has difficulty adjusting and it will reflect upon her relationship with Dad. Absolutely try talking to him to let him know that instilling more fear in your daughter is wrong, and by not allowing her to call mom at night is insane. If it comforts her to phone you, then by all means let her phone you to say goodnight. You can also warn him that if stepmom is continuing to 'lock' her in her room and treat her badly, encouraging more fears & anxiety, that you will go back to court to explain to a judge and will seek other visitation rights, and as to seeing you have sole custody, the judge will favour your side. So talk to him and let him know that this must stop.


                • #9
                  To answer standing on the sidelines...

                  I have "made" her call on Christmas and his birthday, both times she left messages on his answering machine.

                  He does not call her daily, actually the only time he calls is to change his access and at those times he does not request to speak to her, or when offered he is in a hurry and can't.

                  She is encouraged to call him, by myself and my parents however she has never asked to call him.

                  In fact we are having a terrible time even getting her to go to the visits, as she does not like going there.


                  • #10
                    Here is what I would do:

                    1.) Send dad an email asking what happened. Don't be accusatory in such email and get his statement of the facts.

                    2.)Your trying your best to encourage the visits - as that is in your daughters best interest, but it would help the child knowing she can call mom and say goodnight.

                    I have a 5 year old and sometimes things are not relayed exactly how they occured.

                    Locking a 5 year old in their bedroom overrnight is not right - I consider that a form of abuse. A time out for 5 mins is one thing but if that child needed help she is unable to leave her room - which is cruel.


                    • #11
                      Keeping the lines of communication open is a big thing. It keeps all involved kids and parents still connected - tust me I know this - my coparent move my two childeren two hours away from me after the split and the phone calls helped heal. It's been 6 months and it keeps a bond between the children and I.


                      • #12
                        Putting a clause in an order is not going to force the other parent to comply. I just had a clause put in an order that said my child "is at liberty to call mother while in the care of" the ex put in an order as well as a clause that my ex must return my child's phone calls in a prompt manner(he has never called our son in three years despite repeated calls to him and voice mails from my child).

                        My child has been actively discouraged, yelled at for insisting to call me, and treated horribly about this.

                        I have sent emails to the ex(our only allowed form of communication) about this and have yet to get a response. They did however sit my child down and tell him that he cannot call if it is too late and it has been too late to call me when he asks(not true-he can tell time, he is 8). They got angry at him for telling me that he was being prevented from calling me.

                        I am at my wits end. There is no way to force this issue, except document the requests for the ex to allow a phone call. You could email or write the ex and state that you are concerned your child is being discouraged from calling, and specifically say that you will be around at 7pm and your child is expecting to be able to call you. Or say that you expect your ex to talk with the child and reassure child he/she can call their mom. If it doesn't happen, then write him again.

                        It sounds like there are many more issues than this in your situation. I think that locking a child in a room for ANY reason is absolutely horrible. Abuse, plain and simple.


                        • #13
                          Thank you independent gal. I am going to try your clause suggestions. I hope this works. We are heading into another Sunday to Monday am visit, and my daughter is already asking not to go to her fathers.


                          • #14
                            I am new here but I am also in this situation. When my kids are at their father's they are not alloowed to call me and he will not allow me to talk to them if I call. Yet, all they have to do is ask and I have o issue with them talking to their father.


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