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  • Alienation

    So I am being accused of alienation because when the kids asked at what age they can decide whether or not they go to see their Dad I told them I think maybe 14. He's furious that I told them that. I have never prevented them from going or encouraged them not to go. I even forced them to go when they were mad at him for all the nonsense we're going through right now. I have bent over backwards to make sure the kids maintain their relationship with their father, agreeing to extra time whenever he asks as well as offering extra times, he can call every day and web cam when he wants. So him accusing me of alienating them drives me nuts.
    Does anyone else have issues with this? The kids are 15, almost 13 and almost 10 and they asked when they have a say if they have to go or not. He says I had no right to tell them anything and that they don't have a say.

  • #2
    I have 50/50 with 3 kids.

    I agree with your ex, and by that I mean that the courts may consider the child's opinion, but I would not

    If they had asked me that question I would have said that it is not up to them where they live, it is up to their parents. I would tell them that just because their parents live apart, is no reason to not live with both of their parents. This is the same as non separated parents who would not entertain the idea of their kids moving in with someone else until they are adults.

    If the child persisted, I would tell them the same thing BUT I would then privately discuss the matter with their mother to see if we would agree to change the physical custody for the betterment of the child - if we could not agree to a change, then I would not support one.

    Also, if your oldest one is thinking of changing living arrangements, I would also consider that it would further separate the family more than the separation of their parents in that the siblings would now have a different living arrangement from each other.

    So, yes, of course you have the right to tell them they can decide, I just don't agree with what you told them.

    What would you have said if you were not separated - 'ummm, when you're an adult of course'.

    As a side note, I don't think the things you mention you have done can be categorized as 'bending over backwards' - they are simply things that any parent should do.

    It is a very sensitive subject to have the feeling that someone else can influence how much parenting you can have with your own children - he may not have handled it tactfully with you, but you were way out of line to discuss it with the kids before discussing it with him, which I do consider a form of alienation.
    Last edited by billm; 02-23-2011, 11:31 PM.


    • #3
      I agree with billm


      • #4
        I wouldn't have discussed it with them at all but when he tried to get custody they were all so mad and said they didn't want to go visit him anymore. He told them they had no say and that if they didn't go visit him they were breaking the law and so was I if I didn't force them. They asked me to find out if that was true and when they had a say. I asked 2 lawyers as well as a mediator who all told me the same thing, that the kids have a right to know and the older 2 do have a say. My younger guy is on the egde. I had to force my younger guy twice. It broke my heart to see him so upset. They have never been late or missed a visit but now he is saying he won't be taking them on his next weekend because he can't afford it.
        As for the comment about if we were still together would I tell them at what age they were allowed to move out my answer is yes, but I would hope they would want to stay home as long as they can. They have told me they are never moving out as they love living with me I'm sure that will change once they all have girlfriends....


        • #5
          I couldn't disagree more. You consider yourself the better and more entitled person to parent the kids - its called parental alienation.

          Lots of people here don't like to hear what they don't want to hear....I already knew what your response would be


          • #6
            Originally posted by MommaBear73 View Post
            I asked 2 lawyers as well as a mediator who all told me the same thing, that the kids have a right to know and the older 2 do have a say.
            Did you ask any child therapists about what and how to say it?

            Asking lawyers and mediators misses the mark.


            • #7
              I am so confused, caring about the kids' feelings, finding out what their rights are, researching the crap out of it and following what I was told by lawyers and mediators makes me a bad parent who only thinks of herself? It's supposed to be about what's best for the kids but you are accusing me of acting superior? It's not just about the fact that he's their father and he has rights. So do they, or have you forgotten that? You have no idea what that man put our family through and the fallout we are still dealing with. Imagine a father that never spends anytime with you and the only time he pays attention to you is to yell at you for every little thing. Then he abandons you and you don't see him for a year. When you do see him again he only agrees to see you when his new wife's son is there. If his stepson isn't there he doesn't want you there. I have always tried to do what I feel is best for the boys. I may not be perfect, but I love my boys and have always been here for them. When they were hysterical, crying and upset about what my ex was doing I found out what their rights are. You and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this as I think you are wrong for suggesting the kids have no say. I am a great Mom who puts the kids feeling and needs first. I am sure you are going to write that seeing their father is in their best interest, and yes, I agree they should spend time with their father and I have had to force them to go, but when they are hysterical, crying and begging me not to send them how can I not react? How would you feel if it was your kids?

              DTTE I have spoken to their school counsellors and their teachers about the situation and they have told me that they will keep an eye out but think the boys are doing great and are nothing but impressed with them. I honestly thought the kids had a right to know as they are older and everyone I asked as well as wherever I read said the same thing. I trusted that a mediator knew what she was talking about as well as the lawyers. None of them suggested that I get a therapist to tell me how to word it. Had they I would have. I honestly only want what's best for the boys, and their happiness and well being means everything to me. The older boys haven't asked to stay home since we moved but my youngest is still a bit hesitant. It just bothers me that he accuses me of alienation when he himself tries to convince them not to come home, that I am going to ignore them because of my newborn and tells them he can't do fun things with them when they are there because he can't afford it as he has to pay me child support. He has told them he won't be getting them for his next scheduled time as he can't afford it. He makes over 60k per year. I hate being painted as the bad guy when I am trying my best.


              • #8
                Of course they have a right to know. They asked you a question, and you answered it honestly. You don't need to take ownership of their father's relationship with them - you need to stay out of the way and support that relationship, definitely, but if you don't have to lie to them. Sometimes the answer, "That isn't something I can (or am going to) discuss with you," is the truth, and my kids know that sometimes that is the answer they are going to get, but I am not going to say, "I don't know," if I DO know.
                If my daughter asked when she could legally move out without me having the right to make her come home, I would not be afraid of telling her; we should all raise our children to know their rights. Lying to them, or withholding information about their rights when they are specifically asking, is plain wrong.
                The problem here is NOT that your kids are finding out when they get to have some say about this - they could just as easily use that prerogative to push to go live with their dad, and try to stop seeing you. The quality of their relationship with their dad CAN be influenced by you, and you have a responsibility to be as supportive an influence as you can reasonably be, but at the end of the day, married or divorced, we each have a responsibility to foster our own relationship with our kids. If they don't want to see him (or you, for that matter), it does not automatically follow that that is YOUR responsibility, or that it's your fault (or his, in the converse situation).
                I read a lot about taking responsibility in this forum; parents MUST take responsibility for the quality of the relationship that they personally have with their kids. I understand that alienation happens a lot - it does, and when it does, it is DEAD WRONG - no argument. But it is not the only reason that kids don't want to see one or the other of their parents. Sometimes, the parent is dropping the ball, and not taking responsibility for the quality of the relationship. It is a lot easier to point fingers than look in the mirror.


                • #9
                  holy crap look MamaBear73 you're doing the best for your kids and taking their emotions into thought then don't ask others for their opinion. At the end of the day you are their mother and know what is best for your kids not us. They are getting older and their questions will end up getting trickier and trickier just keep your head up and this to shall pass. You have said you try and encourage a positive relationship then there is nothing more you can do really, keep your head up and just chalk your ex up to being pissed off that he can't control everything as that's what it seems like. Main things can be discussed mutually but a simple question you have the power to answer and not feel guilty over.


                  • #10

                    Kids do not have a choice to live with or be parented by someone else with married couples, but when a parent gives them the 'choice' in a separated couple it suddenly becomes the "child's right"?

                    Using the court system to remove the right of a parent to raise their child is wrong. It is not a right of the child to decide which parent they accept as their parent - it is the right of the child to give the power to the alienating parent - which when guiding that child is an abuse of that parents position (ie parental alienation), whether by action or lack thereof.

                    The main point of all this is that it is not your place to judge the other parents abilities as a parent. They are a parent to the child, and they have the same right to enjoy that position as you. 'rights of the child' is mostly used in a power struggle I think. Get over yourself.
                    Last edited by billm; 02-25-2011, 06:03 AM.


                    • #11

                      a) The question, in and of itself, has nothing to do with whether the parents are divorced or married. A kid could ask that same question, as I mentioned in my post, if the parents were together. Kids ask questions. We answer them - that is our job, just as asking them is THEIR job. "How old do I have to be before..." is a question kids ask all the time. Our hang-ups shouldn't get in the way of straightforward answers to ANY of their questions. Let's say my 13-year-old read "My Sister's Keeper" and came to me with questions about juvenile emancipation. I am not afraid to explain what it is - I am not afraid that suddenly she will be calling a lawyer on the sly to try to achieve that for herself.

                      b) Answering her child's question with truthful information does not indicate any kind of judgement of the other parent on MamaBear73's part. Her answer would have been the same whether they loved or hated their father, and if they had asked HIM the same question, my hope is that he would not have LIED and given the answer you outline here, which is that they get no input.

                      If she had gone to them on her own and said, "You know, you can petition to stop seeing him when you are 14," and introduced the idea unbidden, then I can see how that could be seen as destructive and manipulative. As far as we can see here, however, that did not happen. They asked her a question - question about THEIR RIGHTS - and she answered it. THAT did not cause alienation. It sounds to me like alienation was happening before that, but it wasn't NECESSARILY coming from MamaBear73 - parents alienate their own kids all by themselves ALL the time.


                      • #12
                        Sorry - I wrote, 'If she had gone to them on her own and said, "You know, you can petition to stop seeing him when you are 14," and introduced the idea unbidden, then I can see how that could be seen as destructive and manipulative.'

                        I should have corrected that before I hit send - that would clearly have been destructive and manipulative. Forget "could have been seen as" - it would have been. But as far as we can see here, that's not what happened.


                        • #13
                          She could have replied "That's something we don't discuss with you, we aren't supposed to drag you into legal issues, that would be bad parenting. If you have problems with your dad have you talked to him about it?"

                          The idea that we have to answer EVERY question and ALWAYS tell the truth is just a rationalization for telling something to the kids that is conveniently in our own favour. If our children ask why we broke up, do we answer? Do we tell them the truth about every abusive thing our ex's said and did and how much they ran the family into debt, etc? And then do we justify it by claiming some obligation to answer every question?

                          A child coming and asking when they can decide is an obviously loaded situation and if my ex did that to me by answering it like that I'd be furious. If I did that to my ex she would be furious. There are a thousand ways to sidestep a question like this, answering it is adding to fuel to a fire and of course it is to your own benefit.


                          • #14
                            How does it benefit me to have 3 heartbroken kids that just want their Dad to listen to them but he won't?
                            My children and I have a very open and honest relationship. I came on here to ask about alienation as he is adding it to his court documents and I was not sure how it affected us. My children came to me asking about their rights, and no, I am not going to lie to them or skip around the question. It is right to say that every child has a right to know both parents, but just because you are a parent does not automatically make you a good one. Like any relationship it takes work, and if you are not willing to step up to the plate and take the time to do it there will be consequences. My children asked becasue they were upset with things he has done, not by anything I have said. I may not like him, but I do not voice my opinion in front of them. I encourage, even force them to go. They have asked to talk to him about why they feel they way they do, he refuses. He puts all the blame on me which makes them angrier. They come home and I get to pick up the pieces and even though I feel like an utter fool I say "He's your Dad and I know he loves you" instead of what I want to say is "He's your father, how can he treat you that way!?"
                            My ex has always put his life ahead of his kids' feelings. He was a stranger when he lived with us and he is a stranger now with a new family that he expects the boys to revolve their lives around. How would you feel if it was your weekend to see your father but he didn't want you there becuase his stepson wasn't going to be there? Or he tells you he can't afford to have you there or when you are there won't go anywhere with you but always has money for beer? My kids come home asking me these things and I get sooooo mad but I do NOT start to bash their father.
                            The boys have every right to know what they can and can't do. That does not mean I said "Hey!! Now you don't have to visit!!" I know I made the right decision in finding out for them, I just wanted to see if anyone else had been falsely accused of alienation and how they dealt with it.


                            • #15
                              You're blowing it out of proportion because he used a big, loaded word, and now you are preoccupied with how to defend yourself.

                              It might be better to reflect a bit, and think on how to deal with this issue going forward. As they grow older their voices will become stronger. Ideally you should talk with your ex about what message you want to give them.


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