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How often do you communicate with kids when w/ex?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Title says it all. In a one week span, how often would you talk to your kids while they are with the other parent? My 4 y/o DS goes to spend one week every other month with his dad. (Dad's in Colorado, we're in Indiana). We have never set up phone schedules and before I was talking to him every other day. The past few trips his dad has made this passive aggressive move of not answering the phone calls or texts through most of the visit and will call me, at his leisure, twice for DS to talk to me. Last visit I was so worried that I called his mom, who is out there for the visits. Needless to say she didn't answer. Yesterday I left him a message, after trying to call DS twice, saying that if he'd just at least text me, let me know when *would* be convenient for me to call DS and that they were ok, I'd stop calling and interfering with their time. He texts me later in the day (6 hours later) and tells me to call at 10am Thursday...2 calls to DS in 8 days is sufficient, 3 is intrusive! WTF??? Seriously? 3 calls to my 4 y/o in an 8 day span is intrusive? We talk for 5-10 minutes AT MOST! I let him know that the courts would disagree and that it's not entirely up to him how often we talk. It's not like I want to talk to him every day!! I would love to talk to him every 2-3 days, that's all! Does that seem excessive??
post #2 of 22
I think brief daily contact is appropriate. Do you have anything about phone contact in your parenting plan or divorce agreement? Ours says we get one phone call per day. This has been a challenge for us too be/c X also does not answer the phone or tells the kids not to answer it. I am only able to talk to them about 40% of the time. I am documenting and may eventually go back to court on this one.
post #3 of 22
It may be hard to see since you're on the "other side," but to the parent who sees the child less often, it can be hard to establish a family routine and dynamic, and having Mom call every day, or even every other day, can be really disruptive and yank the child right back out of whatever family dynamic they have established. Now, if the child is asking to speak to you, that's different, but if they're coping fine and the mom keeps calling, then, yes, I can see his point.

Also, bear in mind the effect it can have on the child, who is certainly adjusting to a different environment. In our case, DSD is 5 and ever since she was very little (like 2) she's been totally fine with us for extended visits. But now her mother has started calling more -- even daily on our most recent trip -- and it's very disruptive to our family time. And DSD doesn't seem to care one way or the other. But when she does talk to her mother, I can tell you it makes her miss her mom more and makes her less happy here. When she talks to her every 3 days or so we have a much happier child on our hands.

And, yes, we also sometimes "forget" to answer the phone when she calls daily. It's maybe hard to understand, but if you were seeing your child infrequently and watching your limited time together become less pleasant for your child based on extra phone contact, you might find yourself doing the exact same thing.

Just my experience.

ETA: Also, when the kids are not with us, we call them (over video) twice per week.
post #4 of 22
We have long distance visitation also and i am the primary parent. Their dad has actually only taken them once but i called daily. court ordered the dad gets three days a week but nothing was ordered for me if and when he took visitation. THe kids don't really know their dad well and i have two toddlers who only know me as their caregiver. I bought a cheap pay per phone and gave it to my oldest to keep track of and set up calling them at the same time daily. I think daily contact is great when the kids are younger so they can "remember" the other parent is still present.
post #5 of 22
When I've been away from my kids, I call everyday.
post #6 of 22
We are only two months into a separation and we are both local. Right now he has them one day every weekend. I call once that day to tell them good night and that doesn't seem to be an issue. I was recently gone for five days to visit my dad and I called home once or twice per day, that didn't seem to be a problem either. I would love if he'd call every night to say hi to the kids but he doesn't. I've noticed my 12 year old will call his dad a few times a week to chat but the 8 year old never does.

If he had them for 8 days I would like to call them once a day just to say good night but would be content with every other day, so four short phone calls.
post #7 of 22
when my girls are with their dad, I talk to them before bedtime and vice versa. when the girls are home with me, they call their dad every single night before bed to say goodnight. it has been working well this way for 2 1/2 years. honeslty, i can probably count on both hands the number of times we've missed the nightly calls. it's a good time for him and i to touch base along with him or me talking to the kids and listening to their high points in the day. sometimes we just say, "okay well i'll see you tomrorow" and other times we chat about something going on with one of the kids in depth. but it's a good time to cement the co-parenting relationship.
post #8 of 22
When the kids are with their Dad I call every night at 6.30pm. Sometimes DS1 doesn't want to talk, and that's fine but I want him to know that I'm thinking of him.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Violet...I respect and appreciate your input on this and I'm hoping we'll be on that side of the fence soon, as my fiance has a three year old son that we are trying to get proper visitation with through the courts right now. I know, though, that we very much so want to keep communication wide open with his ex and allow my DSS to have as much access to his mother as possible when he's with us.

I would love to be able to just say good morning to my son every day but I know that they like to camp and such when he's there so it's just not realistic. It's nice to see other familys in where the separated parent and child talk more often. I honestly don't feel as if it would be problematic if I were to talk to him 3-4 times in one week...especially if he's expecting it. If anything, restricting our contact would seem to only make him miss home more, IMO. He's mentioned before that he'll talk to me if his daddy will let him so I highly suspect his desire for contact with me is being thwarted...which is SO not cool. I just don't know what to do about this. I am supposedly allowed to call him today (we'll see if ex actually calls) and then he comes home Saturday. I'm dying here.

And as far as communication and effective co-parenting with the ex...after five years it's still absolutely impossible. Everything is a fight with him...EVERYTHING. I can't even get the proper child support from him that DS deserves, but that's another topic of discussion.
post #10 of 22
How often does his dad call when your son's with you?

My DD's 7 now. I call once a week on a set day/time when she's with her dad. (Usually something like Weds. between 5 and 6 or whatever.) I try to schedule a time that won't be overly disruptive, but is still predictable. Particularly since she says she wants me to call but that it's too hard if I call more often because she misses me too much then. (She also says she wants me to be the one to call because she doesn't feel comfortable asking her dad to let her call me...)

Her dad plays that "not answering the phone" game, too, and it drives me crazy. But then, he also refuses to supply even basic itinerary/contact information for when he's with her. Which just makes it worse. But there's not much I can do about it.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ione View Post
How often does his dad call when your son's with you?
His dad chooses to call him once a week. I let him know he's welcome to call more if he'd like and I also let DS call his dad if the mood hits him. I only try to call my DS first thing in the morning, around 8am their time, so as to catch him when he's awake, happy and not in the middle of an activity with his dad.
The no answering game is infuriating as well as worrisome when DS is 4 years old and 1600 miles away! Just give me the simple respect of texting me and saying you're busy and will call later or the next day, YKWIM?

If ex is going to travel with DS, that's the only requirement I have for itenerary information. Contact info...I should have the ability to contact them at any time. Period. What if it's an emergency?? I allow them the privacy of not telling me everything they are planning on doing during visits because we are on the other side of that coin with my DSS. It's really annoying when DSS's mom asks us, always in a distrusting way, what we are planning to do with him, where we're going, call her if we're going to the next town over, etcetera. I understand the worry but it creates so much more tension for her to act so distrusting when we've never, EVER given her a reason to, but I digress.

I just want my DS to know that he has the ability to talk to me whenever he wants. If I call him and I hear him in the background saying he doesn't want to talk, then I leave it at that and try another day. (His dad gets mad at him on the phone if he says he's all done talking!)
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulJourney View Post
Violet...I respect and appreciate your input on this and I'm hoping we'll be on that side of the fence soon, as my fiance has a three year old son that we are trying to get proper visitation with through the courts right now. I know, though, that we very much so want to keep communication wide open with his ex and allow my DSS to have as much access to his mother as possible when he's with us.

I should also mention that so much depends on the kid. For DSD, she misses her mom more if they talk everyday and is much less happy. For DSS (3 years older), she could call all the time and he'd be fine. So that's very individual.

We know that in our case, realistically, the calls are for the mom, not really so much for the kids (at least when daily -- a bit less frequent and the kids do appreciate them). In fact, their mom used to know that (and even said so) and has only recently stepped them up to daily. Not sure why. So, there were about two days over our last visit that we didn't answer DH's phone, as we were tired of her interruptions (plus, she was not responding to a simple inquiry of ours). We did keep my phone on, figuring if anything was important, she could reach us or them that way.

On the other side, we call the kids twice per week, at times of HER choosing. And she still blows us off. Regularly. As DSS is getting older now, though, he knows when we call and he's not letting her blow it off so much, which is a huge improvement.

I wish you the best in getting proper visitation with your future DSS. And I hope his mother is as respectful of your time with him as you all are of hers.
post #13 of 22
I've always called my dd daily or every other day when she is with her dad. On the weekends, I would call once. Or she would call me. I would have had a really hard time going 3-4 days without checking on her when she was younger. My exh has always called her daily or every other day.

We've always been very open about it. And she has always been comfortable asking to call either parent.

Now she is 12 and has a cell phone so we mainly text. It has worked well to give her access to either parent. Her dad and I still talk with each at least once a week. (We've been separated 12 years--it wasn't this relaxed the first couple of years. We're all friends now.)
post #14 of 22
For a 4yo, far away, for an entire week, I don't see anything wrong with a daily call. Older than that, nearby, for a shorter time period would be a different story IMO.

My 11yo almost never calls me , but it's been rare for him to be with his father for more than 2-3 days at a time, and he's just over an hour away (and only a few minutes away when he was a preschooler).
post #15 of 22
They call me when they want to, which is rarely daily. My kids are 3 & 5 and visits with their Dad range from a couple of hours to 4 days/3 nights (the longest trip). If there were to be some trouble (sick kid, change of plans), their father would call me & vice versa.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoulJourney View Post
The no answering game is infuriating as well as worrisome when DS is 4 years old and 1600 miles away! Just give me the simple respect of texting me and saying you're busy and will call later or the next day, YKWIM?
is his father not a good parent? why are you worrying? i am sure he is associating your phonecalls with you not accepting that he can parent. plus he gets his son for a week once in two months right?!!! in his mind i guess phone calls would be an intrusion. he has already told you its an intrusion. but if you still keep calling then he will not pick up the phone any more. not saying that's right. but that's how he is thinking.

this is sad but the only way you can get phone calls it seems like is thru the court.
post #17 of 22
I don't really have any contact while DS2 is with his dad for the 2 weeks nor does he contact him while I have him for 2 weeks. DS2 gets really upset when he goes to his dad's house so I think it's better for him not to hear from me and get him all "I want to come home" again.

DS1 lives with me full time but DX has the option to call him on his personal cell phone if he wanted. I only text with DX and that's only if it's something that has to do with the custody arrangements.
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post
is his father not a good parent? why are you worrying? i am sure he is associating your phonecalls with you not accepting that he can parent. plus he gets his son for a week once in two months right?!!! in his mind i guess phone calls would be an intrusion. he has already told you its an intrusion. but if you still keep calling then he will not pick up the phone any more. not saying that's right. but that's how he is thinking.

this is sad but the only way you can get phone calls it seems like is thru the court.
Meemee...his father is what I would consider a sufficient but lazy father. He's not a bad father, just doesn't parent the same as I do. We have a loose rule of thumb to call each other back within 24 hours and he is starting to make it a habit to ignore that rule when he has DS. I worry because my 4 year old son is 1600 miles away for 8 days. If I call to simply say hello to my son and he doesn't respond or call back for 24 hours I text or call back to find out *when* exactly I can talk to him. When he doesn't give me the courtesy of at least texting back and letting me know when it's ok for *him* to let me talk to DS, after 2-3 days of not hearing from them, I get worried...understandably so, IMO. I tried to give him the simple benefit of the doubt that he wasn't just being a douche bag but it turns out that's all it was or ever is. One week, every other month, is a lot of travel and time away from your home if you are 4 years old. My DS adjusted really well to this and it's good for everyone, I think. I'm not saying he shouldn't be with his dad, I'm saying that when he is home, I always either answer his dad's phone calls or have DS call him back within 24 hours. Generally, if we can't answer, I'll text him and ask when we can call him back. It's courtesy, that's all. It shows that we are working together to best raise our son in a loving environment...not working against each other all the time. And for the record, after he told me three calls a week was intrusive, after letting him know that his opinion, while valid, was only one part of this equation, I did not call again. I'm not trying to be intrusive, I'm trying to keep contact with my son. Something I have the right to do.
post #19 of 22
no no souljourney i totally understand your point of view. i am just trying to see it from his point of view.

it helps me coz my ex is like yours. dd is thankfully not away for long for me to call. but he gets really irritated when i call for some reason and many ocassions does not pick up the phone. i know it. its a pattern.

yes you want to work with him. but he is not ready for that.

yes absolutely you should be able to talk to your son whenever you want to and for me once a day is reasonable. obviously to him its not.

you have to figure out your priority. some areas you give in and some you stand firm. i have noticed when i have done that, ex has actually been more open to trying my way.

'courtesy?' what is that? just joking. it does not exist in his dictionary. and just coz you offer him to call whenever he would like to doesnt mean he should do the same for you.

because of our give and take relationship - things have worked out a little bit. for instance when he took dd on a trip - her first time away from me for 10 days ever, he called once to let me know they arrived safely. a 30 sec call from dd who said she had to go when i knew she didnt. in a sense it was better becasue she was missing me so much. then later on she called one more time to tell me what an exciting trip seh was having. again just a minute call he allowed. and that was it.

i didnt call dd becasue i knew she would be upset and miss me more. however i knew she was well taken care of.

actually you know something i dont think that's a lot of travelling for a 4 year old - if he enjoys it. dd loves travelling and we have travelled quite a lot since seh was 2 months old. done it all car, train, bus, fly.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Meemee...sorry! I get so worked up about this, and I understand your trying to see where he is coming from. It is always helpful, which is why I want to get others' perspectives. Having the situation with my DSS helps keep things in perspective as well, because I get to see what it's like from the other side of the coin.

And you're right, for a well adjusted 4 y/o it's not a bad situation. Hell, right now he is traveling to Colorado six months a year and North Carolina the other six months, when we go visit DSS!! The kid is all over the place! Good thing for homeschooling, eh?
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