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Old 02-20-2010, 07:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am trying it today...not sure if I am showing my soft underbelly or doing what is right for my son...

I sent this email to my ex today, trying to figure out how to make this work while we are negotiating final custody stuff. Not sure if I just made a huge mistake...or what. The first few lines are in response to an email he sent me, and the rest are...well, a plea for my son's emotional and physical health. I am at my wit's end. This experience for me has been one of extreme grief, as I see my child regress and decline in ways I can mend with love and consistency and then those healing spots are broken open again when he leaves. I don't know what to do.



(My ex)-

It's about what is in DS best interest, not what is fair to either
of us. I really don't care about hours, I care about what is best for
DS.

You do not know if it caused me stress, so you can really only speak
for yourself.

I am considering your offer and will be sending you a counter offer
soon, which is one of many I have sent you.

What anyone says about this is not me, and does not represent me or my intent.

DS is very ill and was so upset last night he was shaking, saying he
was so sad that I was gone. We need to figure out how to talk about
what is going on with DS. I am seriously concerned about how this is
affecting him. The reactions I detailed for court were real, I am not
fabricating his emotional and developmental reactions. DS is now
exhibiting signs of a speech impediment that I have never heard before
and is refusing to potty, which back in December he was almost
completely potty trained.

DSs emotional and physical health are being affected, as well as
DSs relationships. We do not presently have the ability to
communicate, so we cannot lessen the impact by keeping things
consistent. We can't even maintain his diet or sleep schedule!

DS will not value his relationships with us unless he has security
and health within himself, and the only way he can accomplish this is
if he feels safe, feels his relationships are secure, and we
communicate. DS does not feel secure. He did prior to December.
Something is impacting this, and it is OUR job to figure it out. If
we can do this in a cooperative manner it will benefit all of us, but
primarily DS.

He has come back with a rash on his face and bum that I know to be
caused by items he eats as I have seen it before. Can we please
discuss his diet?

DS comes home wanting to watch TV immediately and is discussing many
shows that we don't have access to including Clifford, Dora, ect. How
much TV are you having him watch?

DS has a severe cough and runny nose that has basically been present
since you took him to Hawai'i. Can we talk about ways to foster his
health and assist his body in dealing with illness and stress?

It would be in DSs best interest if we could have respectful,
honest, compassionate discussions about what DS's life is like with
each of us and try to find a way to minimize the abrupt shift that is
the current schedule. Maybe to start you can describe what your days
are like, who DS is spending most of his time with, activities he is
doing, etc. I would like to talk with him about his experiences,
rather than he share things with me and I have to guess what he is
talking about. I would love to do the same for you, as it would make
the content of your relationship much more in depth and DS would feel
understood.

I hope you don't take this email in anger, as it really is not
intended to do anything but open up communication. We need to respect
one another and figure out a middle way, as the way we have been going
for a year isn't working.

I also would like to share some books I am reading with you, including
"Beyond the Rainbow Bridge," and "Calm and Compassionate Children," as
well as "The Discipline Book'" by Dr. Sears. If you have any that are
giving you good ideas please share them with me.

I really hope that we can come together to create some peace for DS,
and for ourselves.

Please tell me if I sound combative, defiant, or what. I am really trying to get him to come to the middle on this, but he denied in court witnessing ANY change in DS behavior when he was staying with him for extended periods of time.

I need to be explicit, before December of last year my DS had spent a total of 5% of his life alone with my ex. He is now spending 50% because of a court order based on the fact I moved 120 miles away from where I had been living, before my ex even lived in my state and before we had ANYTHING filed with the state.

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Old 02-20-2010, 08:16 PM
 
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I don't think you sound defiant. I read it as you making it about DS and the need to communicate a consistent parenting plan with DS's father. I am sorry you and your DS are going through this.
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Old 02-20-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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First of all, I can only imagine how difficult this is for you and your ds.

As for your letter, I think that he might view it as a very long laundry list of what he isn't doing correctly and how what he is doing is physically harming and emotionally affecting his son's well-being, which I know is not your intention.

You used all the proper pronouns needed to make it appear you were not blaming him. I am sorry, but there definitely felt like some serious undertones of insincerity and blame in your letter, in addition to condescending. Now, I completely understand why they would be there, especially considering your situation and feelings with your X. But, he will read them loud and clear.

If I were you, I would stick with 2 MAJOR issues that are of serious concern (and can be documented by a doctor or psychotherapist) for your ds.

If your ds has any kind of allergies... get it documented. Get to the doctor.

If you ds is not seeing a therapist, I strong suggest you find him one, so she can start helping your ds (and you) deal with these huge changes in his life. In addition, she will also document any behavior changes that she feels are detrimental to your ds' well-being.

Your X is NOT going to listen to you and he is definitely NOT going to take your advice. At least not right now. You need as much professional documentation that you can get to take with you to court.

I am so sorry that you and your ds are going through this. Hang in there!
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:02 AM
 
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That sounds like a lot of tough issues. I don't really have any advice for you but I just wanted to give you a hug. You sound like a wonderful, loving and caring Mother and I hope your ex is able to understand where you are coming from and your concerns and that he takes them to heart and considers them.

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Old 02-21-2010, 12:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Holland73 View Post
First of all, I can only imagine how difficult this is for you and your ds.

As for your letter, I think that he might view it as a very long laundry list of what he isn't doing correctly and how what he is doing is physically harming and emotionally affecting his son's well-being, which I know is not your intention.

You used all the proper pronouns needed to make it appear you were not blaming him. I am sorry, but there definitely felt like some serious undertones of insincerity and blame in your letter, in addition to condescending. Now, I completely understand why they would be there, especially considering your situation and feelings with your X. But, he will read them loud and clear.

If I were you, I would stick with 2 MAJOR issues that are of serious concern (and can be documented by a doctor or psychotherapist) for your ds.

If your ds has any kind of allergies... get it documented. Get to the doctor.

If you ds is not seeing a therapist, I strong suggest you find him one, so she can start helping your ds (and you) deal with these huge changes in his life. In addition, she will also document any behavior changes that she feels are detrimental to your ds' well-being.

Your X is NOT going to listen to you and he is definitely NOT going to take your advice. At least not right now. You need as much professional documentation that you can get to take with you to court.

I am so sorry that you and your ds are going through this. Hang in there!
I agree with every word here. You are the last person that your X is going to listen to on parenting issues. Very sad, but very true. Stop spending your energy trying to persuade him, and put it into whatever you can do for your DS on your own. Believe me that's a lesson I've learned.

Sending hugs and support to you and your DS.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:18 PM
 
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I agree with Holland that he's going to view it as you interfering, being controlling and complaining.

I've been there. My youngest had allergies and my ex continued to feed him things and do things that aggravated it. He took them places, did things and allowed things that I didn't think were at all in my kids best interest (including leaving them in a mall food court alone when they were 2 and 5 while he ran out to his truck). They got sick, they had wild tantrums when they came home, and regressed a bit at times.

I tried to talk to him, tried to get him to understand by I was just hitting my head into a brick wall. My ex wasn't going to listen to anything I had to say...he looked at me as 'the enemy'. In truth, I was trying to control my ex. I was trying to get him to parent the way I thought was best to parent and he wanted nothing of it. And the more I tried to come at him...the more he did things that I didn't agree with. So, I finally let go of wanting him to change and needing him to change (which I had no control over anyway) and started to look at What Can I Control?

What I could control was how I parented. What I could do was instruct the kids to tell him they won't be left alone in the truck or in a mall and they are always to go with him, what I could do was let him parent the way he chooses and do whatever I needed to do to get everyone feeling secure, safe & happy when they got home.

If the allergy thing is really big for you...I agree with Holland...get to the doctor and get it documented by a neutral third party professional.

If you feel your son's behavior changes are serious...get to a child psychologist and get it documented by a neutral third party professional.

Other than that, I would suggest standing back and allowing him to parent the way he chooses and you parent the way you choose. I would suggest trying to see it as a positive for your child.

My boys are now older and I can't tell you the number of times when they've come home from dad's and said things like, "Why does dad do X? I don't like that? I'll never do that to my kids when I'm a grown up."

They get it and they learn for themselves. It is a gift for them to have different experiences and see the world in different ways so they can figure out how they want to live their life.

I am wishing you well. I have sooooo been where you are and could have written that email myself years ago. I cannot tell you how much better things got when I let go of wanting my ex to change.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MsChatsAlot View Post
Other than that, I would suggest standing back and allowing him to parent the way he chooses and you parent the way you choose. I would suggest trying to see it as a positive for your child.

.
Absolutely. SUCH a hard lesson to learn, but so true. Kids and I talk about this a lot-- how things are different at Daddy's and how they feel about it, and how they will choose to run things when they have their own kids.

And honestly once I stopped trying to persuade X he gave up the fight on some things. So it was clear for him it was about fighting with me, not about what was best for the kids. So once I stopped engaging he gave up and in some cases ended up doing what I was trying to get him to do.
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Old 02-21-2010, 01:57 PM
 
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it is hard to get an ex to listen, I had the allergy/feeding problem and it didn't get better. If you want to address things in the future, try to figure out how to best approach your ex, does he like to be asked, does he like to get the facts and figure out for himself, can your child make a request. Otherwise, edit edit edit, any request can be reduced to 3 sentences usually, the shorter and more neutral the better

you mention 3 books, has your ex ever read parenting books ? mine doesnt and only ever took a class during the divorce, buth that was under court order not my request.

if your ex will read the books and discuss them so you can be on the same page that will be wonderful, but did that happen when you were together?

Can you move back and get your old schedule back? that really seems like a large jump in visitation.
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:09 PM
 
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hi

just got done reading a book called "the good divorce" which I HIGHLY recommend. there is a case in the book that is JUST like yours. two parents with very different schedules and parenting styles.

is there any way your ex would agree to go a couples therapist or mediator - even via phone? it sounds like you REALLY need a third party to help you navigate the storm here.

and perhaps I'll be a lone voice here but I'd advocate that you DON'T get more lawyers and court documentation together. it's only going to piss your X off. if you can find a good 3rd party that can help you negotiate (ie. less tv, keeping him on a similar schedule, discussing discipline) that will ONLY help you in the end.

also, you might want to check out some resources about asking for what you want in an effective way. I too had the problem of coming across insecure and bossy in my marriage (now separated/divorcing) and this helped me a lot. one book about the 'gottman technique' helped about how to talk to each other better and the other technique you can google - it's called DBT therapy - it's basically just a buddhist therpist's take on behavioral therapy. look for something called "DEAR MAN" it's a series of steps of how to ask for what you want.

good luck!!
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Old 02-22-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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i agree with everything written above

i also trained my dd to ask for things to help ex. ex was not a bad parent - there are certain things he just doesnt know.

i took a step back and let him parent teh way he wanted to and after teh initial goof ups he has done rather well. there are certain things he will never be able to do which i dont expect him to.

in a sense you are telling him his sons decline and regression is all his fault. this letter is not going to go down well and will futher deepen the chasm between you. i am assuming your son is a toddler. and some fo what you say comes with the territory - like potty training. with me dd was pted much earlier than she was with her dad. she did stuff for me earlier than she did for her dad.

it makes you sound as an authority and he is soooo not going to like that.

take a couple of points. make observations. and choose your batttles. TV is one that is not worth dying on the hill for.

good luck mama i know this is so hard. it makes me so sad hearing your son's reaction. and yet i read through your letter and i am screaming YIKES all throughout. you are basically pointing a finger at ex and telling him all the things he is doing wrong that you know you are doing right.

the only way i learnt how to deal with ex and get a good relationshp going regarding dd (still sucks between him and me) was to sit back and imagine seeing his world thru his eyes. the key, key, key difference that was the biggest benefit to dd was me really believing that both ex and i want the same thing. we both want the best for our dd. we just think differently and have different ways. plus dd shows a completely different reaction to ex - so he thinks everything is hunky dory. i get the real picture.

but the moment i learnt to see him as a caring parent, the accusations left my voice and i definitely noticed a change in ex and our communication.

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