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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  
Old 08-15-2011, 02:59 PM
formyGirls formyGirls is offline
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Default Ex emotionally abusive towards kids

Hi everyone,

Looking for some advice.... My oldest daughter is almost 8, and has voluntarily come to my girlfriend and I three times in the last six months, mentioning things her mom has said to her, that have upset her. The basics are that mom has been threatening to call the police, to get her to stop crying, to stop asking to go to the bathroom so many times while out, if our daughter wouldn't do something that was asked of her.

My ex has had a short temper with our oldest for the last 3 or 4 years, and it is very sad to see it getting worse now that I am out of the house. I even have an email from her saying she is "so f###ing sick of dealing with her"...

Do I believe my daughter? ABSOLUTELY - I have witnessed this behavior first hand, and have been subject to it myself. Is it affecting her? I believe so - she has been having stomach problems, and every "confession" of these problems has come after a meltdown over little things...

So finally, after this last occurrence, I immediately called CAS to make a report about it... I thought about contacting my ex first, but I am afraid she is going to take it out on our daughter, and worried about losing the trust of my child, that has been so hard to gain again in the first place. With great hesitation, I finally called CAS. Never heard anything for a bit, then find out my ex has moved (didn't notify me), and is in a different jurisdiction. With some prodding of friends and family, I find out where she is now, and contact the CAS there. I specifically asked the screeners to talk to me first BEFORE they contact her, to discuss my concerns with the situation. Nope, they contact her, give her a week to brainwash our daughter before meeting, give my ex a chance to talk to her lawyer before she talks to CAS... and end up basically doing nothing.

CAS has failed to help me protect my daughter.... now where do I turn? I am considering trying to get a child psychologist to see her, but I am an EOWeeknd dad (not by choice - fighting that), and it is hard to get someone on the weekend. But I am concerned as well that it may be viewed negatively that I am getting a psychologist involved without ex's consent or knowledge. This is where I am looking for YOUR help ;-) Please, any experience?

Thanks in advance!
  #2  
Old 08-15-2011, 11:12 PM
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Skndlz2904 Skndlz2904 is offline
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CAS is biased towards men. There's nothing you can do about it. I reported my wife for strucking my son (with photos of the injuries) and all they did is put her on a 3 month supervision. After three months they declared case closed, no evidence of physical abuse even though I showed them photos.

Your best bet is the psychologist upon consulting your lawyer. A good lawyer can take it to the Court and win custody for you.

Don't count on CAS. They're all feminist bitches in there.
  #3  
Old 08-16-2011, 12:35 AM
mare21 mare21 is offline
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That's a little inaccurate, my daughter has documentation of physical and emotional abuse to her daughter by the child's father, and Children's Aid refuse to even investigate... they won't even return her calls. They are overworked and unless a kid has had the living crap beat out of her and are in immediate danger they won't do anything. It doesn't matter which sex is doing the reporting.
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Old 08-16-2011, 05:09 AM
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Tayken Tayken is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
Hi everyone,

Looking for some advice.... My oldest daughter is almost 8, and has voluntarily come to my girlfriend and I three times in the last six months, mentioning things her mom has said to her, that have upset her. The basics are that mom has been threatening to call the police, to get her to stop crying, to stop asking to go to the bathroom so many times while out, if our daughter wouldn't do something that was asked of her.
The CAS has specific guide lines for defining "emotional abuse" of children. What you are describing here in my opinion do not constitute emotional abuse but, it is all in the eye of the beholder at times.

Different parents have different parental styles. There is no perfect way to parent and be careful how much you comment on your ex-wife's parental style.

As your child is only 8 years old the interpretation of her events is that of an 8 year old child and will be seen by CAS as such. As well, a custody and access evaluator will probably take the same stance unless there is backing statements from her school and other care providers. By this I don't mean negative advocates whom you may have influenced.

It is very difficult, as a parent to hear these odd statements from your child but, you have to always remember that they are coming from a child and with a child's perspective. It may be a complaint about a single incident and as such will more than likely be argued by the other parent as such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
My ex has had a short temper with our oldest for the last 3 or 4 years, and it is very sad to see it getting worse now that I am out of the house. I even have an email from her saying she is "so f###ing sick of dealing with her"...
Again, this email can be seen as irrelevant and "parental venting" by anyone investigating the matter. The other parent didn't say this directly to your child but a parent. Was the other parent appealing to you for assistance in a matter when this comment was made?

The email may be seen by anyone reviewing it as a parent under stress for which many are. If the other parent has majority access and custody of your child it will be weighted against that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
Do I believe my daughter? ABSOLUTELY - I have witnessed this behavior first hand, and have been subject to it myself. Is it affecting her? I believe so - she has been having stomach problems, and every "confession" of these problems has come after a meltdown over little things...
If your daughter is having physical symptoms from any stress from the matrimonial dispute I highly recommend you seek counseling with the support of the other parent for your daughter. Psychosomatic pains often manifest themselves in children in high-conflict divorce situations for which you are clearly dealing with.

I highly recommend you try to work cooperatively with the other parent in focusing on and addressing your child's needs versus gathering this as evidence for use in a future motion or other purpose. The better evidence is to demonstrate how you are working with the other parent on resolving the matter rather than insight conflict with the other parent.

Do not project blame at the other parent. It is easy at times like this to fall prey to your worries about your daughter. But, if you allow your worries to overwhelm you it can work against you in the long run.

Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
So finally, after this last occurrence, I immediately called CAS to make a report about it... I thought about contacting my ex first, but I am afraid she is going to take it out on our daughter, and worried about losing the trust of my child, that has been so hard to gain again in the first place.
In general, it may be best at these times to contact the other parent first and attempt to resolve the issue if you are permitted to. It demonstrates that you want to resolve problems not cause them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
With great hesitation, I finally called CAS. Never heard anything for a bit, then find out my ex has moved (didn't notify me), and is in a different jurisdiction.
I can only assume that when you mean "in a different jurisdiction" it is a different jurisdiction where your children primarily resided prior to the separation or where matters or the court of competent jurisdiction where these matters are being heard?

As a parent you have a right, in my opinion, to know the location of your children and where they are sleeping every night. You can request this information yourself or through your solicitor. Failing response you can file a Form 20 Request for Information.

I would have your solicitor contact the other solicitor to resolve the matter of your child's location. If the other parent is represented it is my opinion (i am no solicitor) that the solicitor is obligated to notify you of a change of residence for your children.

I find it rather odd that you wouldn't know that the other parent has changed residences. Wouldn't it effect your daughter's enrollment in school and other activities?

Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
With some prodding of friends and family, I find out where she is now, and contact the CAS there. I specifically asked the screeners to talk to me first BEFORE they contact her, to discuss my concerns with the situation. Nope, they contact her, give her a week to brainwash our daughter before meeting, give my ex a chance to talk to her lawyer before she talks to CAS... and end up basically doing nothing.
From reading this it appears that you were trying to influence CAS in the way you have described the situation. It appears you were attempting to persuade CAS to act the way you wanted them to which can be seen as a controlling pattern of behaviour.

With little insight into the matter and only the paragraph you provided regarding the matter it appears you attempted to surprise the other parent with CAS rather than work out the issue with the other parent. CAS probably started their investigation with a negative view if this is indeed how you proceeded.

CAS will not surprise the other parent generally unless there is solid evidence to immediate harm to a child. This requires a lot more evidence than a personal opinion on what a child has told a parent. Especially an 8 year old child.

CAS may have seen this as a projection of blame by you and the attempt to use them to control the other parent or threaten them. CAS is only (in my opinion) useful in matters of immediate harm to a child. They do not police parenting nor should they.

Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
CAS has failed to help me protect my daughter.... now where do I turn? I am considering trying to get a child psychologist to see her, but I am an EOWeeknd dad (not by choice - fighting that), and it is hard to get someone on the weekend.
No clinician will see your child unless you get consent from the other parent. I highly recommend that you seek consent with a view to helping your daughter rather than to collect evidence against the other parent. It is clear that you as a parent have concerns regarding your daughter's mental health but, sneaking around to a child psychologist is not the right approach in my opinion. Furthermore, no qualified child psychologist will see your daughter without consent from the other parent.

It is a very bad idea to attempt to leverage a service provider, especially a new one that the other parent is not aware of, to gather evidence against the other parent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
But I am concerned as well that it may be viewed negatively that I am getting a psychologist involved without ex's consent or knowledge. This is where I am looking for YOUR help ;-) Please, any experience?
The court and any court appointed evaluator will look on this in a VERY negative light and context. Do not even attempt to do this without the other parent's consent. If you want to be involved in your daughters life then demonstrate this by working with the other parent, drop the quest to prove her wrong and work towards parenting your children.

Furthermore, as stated previously no licensed child psychologist will accept your daughter as a client without the other parent's consent. There are serious practice violations that a clinician could face if they did accept your daughter as a client without the other parent's consent.

Forgo the conflict if at all possible and demonstrate you can parent your children and put their needs before your own. Calling CAS and attempting to solicit help from a clinician on proving your daughter has emotional challenges can (and will be) taken with a negative inference against you more than likely.

Good Luck!
Tayken
  #5  
Old 08-16-2011, 05:37 AM
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Tayken Tayken is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mare21 View Post
That's a little inaccurate, my daughter has documentation of physical and emotional abuse to her daughter by the child's father, and Children's Aid refuse to even investigate... they won't even return her calls. They are overworked and unless a kid has had the living crap beat out of her and are in immediate danger they won't do anything. It doesn't matter which sex is doing the reporting.
Evidence is a subjective thing in family litigation. Statements from other parties although called evidence has to be weighted properly. Unless a doctor or a trusted service provider contacts CAS (or the police) then the matter generally doesn't constitute abuse and/or neglect and/or maltreatment.

It is important to note that both sexes equally attempt to use CAS and other enforcement agencies in an attempt to control and threaten the other parent. This is reflected in the domestic violence statistics posted by statistics Canada at a roughly 50-50 basis between men and women.

The vast majority of CAS (and law enforcement) calls are often from overanxious / over protective parents. CPS in the United States I believe has produced some statistical analysis on the occurrence and finding of parents with identified anxiety disorders in these matters. I tried to find the information but, the only information I can find is (c) and requires a fee to purchase.

Repeated calls to CAS or the police by any parent with no resulting charge or investigation with a result often demonstrates a pattern of behaviour by an overanxious / over protective parent.

CAS is not a weapon against the other parent. They are a service to assist children. Their focus is protecting children and not supporting family law litigation. Same with the police.

Good Luck!
Tayken

Last edited by Tayken; 08-16-2011 at 05:39 AM. Reason: Correction (grammar)
  #6  
Old 08-16-2011, 10:09 AM
ProudMomof3 ProudMomof3 is offline
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Don't count on CAS for anything. I never called them to report my ex's abuse, but both my children's therapists did.....numerous times for different incidences. These professionals are as frustrated by CAS as I am. No one governs them, so they have no one to really answer to when they screw up.

Follow the advice of Tayken and try and get consent from her mother, to get your daughter in therapy. That social worker/psychologist may report more to the CAS, and CAS won't do anything, but at the very least, your daughter will be getting therapy and will learn how to cope with the aubse. Sad, but true.
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Old 08-16-2011, 11:44 AM
formyGirls formyGirls is offline
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Thanks for your input all, both the support and criticisms. I had a chance to confirm with the family doctor today that she has already referred my daughter to a child psychologist, in a previous appointment with my ex.

I will be writing my ex to find out why my daughter hasn't gone, and using this to help get her to see someone. Thinking if my ex won't take her, should I proceed with a motion to try and get an order that she attend counselling? Pretty sure the doctor will write a letter backing my request. Any opinions or experience with this anyone?

At the end of the day, I have come to accept the reality in my situation that there is little chance I will ever gain significantly more access to my kids or see custody changed- and thus am not simply trying to gather evidence to do so. But I do have an 8 year old daughter who is being treated like crap emotionally, and has no way of escaping the situation when it gets bad or is able to let anyone else know about it. I can't understand any circumstances in which it us appropriate to threaten an 8 year old with calling the police on them if they interrupt dinner once more to go to the washroom, or won't stop crying, or won't go to bed.

To terrify your kids because you are stressed and can't deal with things is at no times acceptable. Just because it is bad parenting doesn't make the abuse right.
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Old 08-16-2011, 12:37 PM
ProudMomof3 ProudMomof3 is offline
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I can totally relate. I have a son who is constantly being made fun of by his father. My son cries every time he has to go to his dad's and every time he comes home. It's heartbreaking.

I hope things get better for your daughter.
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:35 PM
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If you ex is that batshit crazy, then you can secure more time. True colors will eventually come out, but you have to buck in for the long haul.

In another 4 years your daughter will have a voice in her living arrangements. Try and get consent from your ex to get your daughter to the psychologist, even if it means taking the time off work to do so. If your ex refuses, get your lawyer in gear to have a motion heard to force your ex to allow it.
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Old 08-16-2011, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
Thanks for your input all, both the support and criticisms. I had a chance to confirm with the family doctor today that she has already referred my daughter to a child psychologist, in a previous appointment with my ex.
Depending on the custody order in place with the other parent the other parent may have been in full rights to seek this request and go through with it. This doesn't negate the fact that the other parent should have had to inform you. It sounds from what you have said that there is no barriers with regards to getting health information about your daughter which is good.


Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
I will be writing my ex to find out why my daughter hasn't gone, and using this to help get her to see someone.
Don't be accusatory. Take it from the position you think your daughter needs help with the transition and you think the recommendation from the family practitioner is a wise and good one and that you support it. Also, offer assistance in how you can help insure that your daughter can receive the appropriate health care as recommended by her primary health care provider.

Be cooperative and not accusatory in nature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
Thinking if my ex won't take her, should I proceed with a motion to try and get an order that she attend counselling? Pretty sure the doctor will write a letter backing my request. Any opinions or experience with this anyone?
What does your solicitor say about going for a motion on this subject? My recommendation would be to make a solid effort to work out the issue with the other parent. Motions are potentially a high-conflict way of dealing with your daughters health care needs.

If you do have to go on motion to address the issue. Insure you don't blame the other parent for the challenges your daughter is having. Address the challenges and why you feel it is in your daughter's best interests to attend counselling. Motions are the expensive route.

Also, be aware that if you do take the matter to motion and a judge disagrees with your opinion and doesn't rule in your favour you could be paying the other side's costs. This is something to consider every time you take a matter to court.

Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
At the end of the day, I have come to accept the reality in my situation that there is little chance I will ever gain significantly more access to my kids or see custody changed- and thus am not simply trying to gather evidence to do so.
How did the current custody and access arrangement get put in place? There are several factors impacting your ability to increase your custody and access with your daughter.

From previous information provided you sound like you have EoW which generally comes with soul custody to the other parent.

I can only assume that this arrangement was ordered for a specific reason. Hopefully you didn't agree on consent to this agreement on custody and access. It is hard to break the status quo and explain to a justice why you feel that you should have increased access and custody now. Especially if you consented away your custody and access.



Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
But I do have an 8 year old daughter who is being treated like crap emotionally, and has no way of escaping the situation when it gets bad or is able to let anyone else know about it.
Encourage your daughter to talk to her teacher. Should the teacher feel that what your daughter is raising to her in private constitutes abuse/neglect/maltreatment it legally has to be addressed by the teacher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
I can't understand any circumstances in which it is appropriate to threaten an 8 year old with calling the police on them if they interrupt dinner once more to go to the washroom, or won't stop crying, or won't go to bed.
Again, this is potentially a matter of different parental styles. But, if it is having an emotional impact on your daughter it needs to be addressed but, it may be your daughter's interpretation of events. I have no doubt that your daughter may have some anxiety about the situation but, it may very well be the parents in this situation who are causing the problem and not one single parent's actions. Take a long hard look at how you have conducted yourself with regards to the litigation. Do you want your daughter to have this kind of relationship with a future father to her children?

Children learn by example. Set a good example and things can get better. Trying to find someone to blame for your daughter's emotional state only drives more conflict and doesn't address your daughter's best interests.

Quote:
Originally Posted by formyGirls View Post
To terrify your kids because you are stressed and can't deal with things is at no times acceptable. Just because it is bad parenting doesn't make the abuse right.
In psychology "terrify" is a very strong word to use. If indeed your daughter is experiencing "terror" it could lead to long-term mental health conditions.

It may be terrifying for you as a parent to see your daughter's reaction but, truly is your daughter "terrified" of the other parent? Or is your daughter just unhappy with the other parent's style of discipline? Remember at 8 years old your daughter is forming her self image. You are contributing to her emotional development. The only thing you really can do in my opinion is to insure you do the right thing when your daughter is with you. You can't control how the other parent parents your children.

You would like the other parent to respond to your parenting style because you feel it is what is best for your daughter but, children are very adaptable. They can deal with two different rule sets between two different homes, different coaches and different teachers. Your daughter may be expressing herself because she just doesn't like the rules at the other parent's house.

It is a difficult to reflect on the situation and why your daughter is reacting the way she is to the other parent. But, it is hard to blame the other parent as you are not there to see what is going on. You are only getting an 8 year old child's interpretation of the event.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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