Title pretty much says it all. My kids came home from a weekend at their father's, and were very upset about some things that were said about me. The kids were bickering, and my daughter snapped at my son about something, and called him lazy. Their father overheard, and came storming in and took her aside and said that I was mean to him their entire relationship, and that he doesn't want her talking like that because it reminds him of me. (As an aside, I actually left him, in part due to physical abuse that the kids witnessed - the fact that I was "mean" to him, ever, is completely new to me and has never been brought up in the past, not even during the heat of our divorce, so I have no idea where this even stems from.) He said that he didn't want her to turn out like me, and then told her that this was a "secret" conversation, and she wasn't allowed to tell me about it.
My daughter got upset, and packed up her stuff and stormed off. He also sat my son down and had a little chat with him, asking him if I ever say things that upset him, or that he thinks are mean. He said no, and was really confused by it all.
I don't know what to do about it - if anything. Our separation agreement obviously has the very standard clause of not speaking ill of each other, a clause that I do my very best to stand by. The only time their father is even discussed in our house, is when they bring up the topic and need to talk about something (and I steer them back to him, if they just want to complain about something that's happened there, as I feel that he should be solving problems at his house, and vice versa). But my daughter freaked out, saying that I'm not allowed to complain to him, because then he'll know that she told me, and she'll get in trouble at his house.
Anyway, this is all kind of new to me, too. He's been absent for most of the past 4-5 years. Disappeared to another country, goes stretches of 3-6 months without seeing or talking to the kids. And then - BAM, he's suddenly back in their life for a regular streak. The kids were actually freaking out tonight, because the things he was saying were making them worry that he's going to try to "take them" from me. I have a feeling that he may have finally gotten the collection letter for child support (hasn't paid more than 2-3 times in the past four years, and never what he's actually ordered to pay) and he thinks that by taking custody, he won't have to pay? Or that I'll have to pay him? He has eluded to this in the past, with me. That even if we have 50/50 custody, I'll have to pay him support because I make more "on paper" (he has been paid under the table for most of his adult life - though I am to understand that he recently got a "real" job.) I strongly feel that this is his driving force for wanting any sort of custody - getting out of paying child support.
It just scares me, because now that he's seeing them regularly (for the past several months - this is the longest stretch he's EVER seen them regularly) he's been grooming them more and more. Every weekend he sees them, the kids come home with more stories and complaints about the things he's saying, talking about how the school there is so much better, etc. I'm so stressed that he's going to try and take me to court for custody (or even 50/50), and I just don't think that it's in the kids best interest, given the track record of him hopping in and out of their lives whenever it's convenient for him. I have been stable since our divorce, and have had full custody for the past several years. I am glad he's seeing them more often, for their sake. I just don't think that uprooting their lives would be great for them, now that they're so settled.
And I don't know how to deal with the grooming thing, and the badmouthing. I'm just so frustrated with his behavior, and how he's making the kids feel.