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#1 of 11 Old 09-05-2011, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay so my situation is a little weird because we live far apart but aren't officially separated yet. (I'm ready, I just haven't gotten my paperwork, etc. together yet). So the kids don't see their dad much. He asked for us/them to call him every night, which I have been making them do. Yes, making them. They really don't want to. I have tried, "it really means a lot to your father" and "i know if I weren't with you I would loooove to hear your voice." I've done, "tell him one good thing that happened today"; "tell him what you are doing right now." DSs are 10 and 8, DD is 3. They do not want to talk. They just don't. They tell me they will not, but I don't know what to do besides force them. i don't want it to be a negative experience but I am not sure what to do. They will say to him, "hi. i don't want to talk. bye." What do I do with that? 

 

He is upset that they don't want to talk and I don't know what to say. I think they are not at an age that they talk much on the phone anyway. He asked me to make sure the boys don't say they don't wanna talk to him in front of our daughter so that she doesn't start that behavior because of them. But it's already happened. And honestly, it's really hard for me, single momming it, to wrangle two different conversations without having the third child present!!

 

I am totally at a loss for what the right thing to do is. 

 

I want them to have a good relationship with their father.

 

Maybe they are vibing my negative feelings, because I sure don't wanna talk to him, but I am trying so hard not to expose them to any of my feelings about their dad. I really don't want to do that thing where you say bad stuff about dad. I want to support them connecting with him, but I have to admit I find it annoying to have to plan a phone call every night to him. 

 

But I am trying hard to make it seem fun or good. 

 

It's just not working. 

 

Help? 


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#2 of 11 Old 09-05-2011, 08:11 PM
 
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Can you do Skype?? If there's a room in your house that you can put the kids and computer in, they could have a virtual visit with him a few times a week, similar to what his visitation schedule might be if he lived in town ( though not for the same amount of time, just as far as regularity). Maybe having something to look forward to and not having to be on the spot as the one holding the phone would help. They could just play and show him stuff and all 3 could interact with him together, without you in the room.

 

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#3 of 11 Old 09-06-2011, 06:03 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I've tried skype but they have the same reaction. Any ideas about how to phrase it better? 

 

Also, the downside of skype is he has to be home. With work out there and the three hour time difference, he doesn't get home until kids are in bed here or in the process and I hate getting them out of that routine. 

 

I'm also wondering: is his request unreasonable?

 

Thanks!

 

hugs to you to, 'rubelin', and hope the boys' transition to school is going well! ;)


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#4 of 11 Old 09-06-2011, 06:27 AM
 
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I don't think his request is unreasonable coming from a long distance father who really misses and loves his kids. I do think it's unreasonable for a group of young kids to want to speak on the phone every day to their dad. The phone is boring and it doesn't hold their attention. This is why I find it interesting that courts force this in orders. I know it's important for the other parent to maintain contact but it typically ends up in mass frustration and tantrums as kids are forced to do something they just don't want to do. It isn't in the kids best interest. I think that skype a few days a wekk would be best for the kids and their dad. Then they can see him and the talk could have more quality to it then the phone.

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#5 of 11 Old 09-06-2011, 08:51 AM
 
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We skype 6 days a week w/DD's dad for about 10 mins. I WISH we had agreed on fewer days. It stresses DD out, and it limits my ability to make plans. But we did our mediation way too fast and there were several things I wish I could renegotiate. 

 

Skyping is going well for the most part. We've been at it almost a week. If she's already asleep by the appointed time, then I skype and show him her sleeping. DD is only 1, so that's why we went w/more frequency. I wish we had said 4 days a week. I think that would be less stressful for all of us, and I think he would have agreed to it. But he has to show up 6 days a week and be a dad for 10 mins, so I guess it's good to see if he will actually maintain it. He has to do that for 3 consecutive months before he'll be allowed regular visitation with her if he returns to our town. 


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#6 of 11 Old 09-06-2011, 07:02 PM
 
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I think that parents need to schedule time to be with their kids. If he wants to have a visit with them, he needs to make arrangements for that to happen, no matter where they live. If he lived there or you lived here, he would have them every other weekend and once or twice a week overnight, from end of school to beginning of school. I think he can figure out how to make a certain schedule work. He can skype from anywhere that there's a laptop and an internet connection. There must be a private office at work he can use??

 

I do think a phone call every night is unreasonable, unless the kids are requesting it. I allow my kids to call their dad almost whenever they ask (unless I know he's busy or if they're going to see him in a few hours), but I don't force them to wake up in time to have breakfast with him every morning, even though he's asked for that.

 

What I'm suggesting is a set amount of time (say a half hour) on every X night or weekend day. That's when they visit with Daddy. He either engages them in a conversation or he doesn't. It's his relationship with them and his responsibility to nurture it. Your responsibility is only to allow them time together. Because he refuses to join you there, Skype is the best way for you to allow them time together.

 

Oh, one other thing to keep in mind is that most courts try to maintain arrangements that you've already had, so try to set up a schedule that is easy to maintain and can become a regular thing.


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#7 of 11 Old 09-06-2011, 07:14 PM
 
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Is it possible to arrange to have him call every night instead of you having to corral all the kids and call him? Maybe if the pressure is off of "okay we all HAVE to sit down and call dad right now" the kids will be more receptive? Maybe they'd feel better about it if he were initiating the call and proactively showing them he wants to talk?

 

I think you're taking the right approach overall though, in trying to censor your personal feelings of him from you kids, and trying to help them maintain a good relationship. 


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#8 of 11 Old 09-07-2011, 05:48 AM
 
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My kids don't want to talk to their dad on the phone either and he lives down the street but see's them e/o weekend and thru the week occasionally.

FWIW when they are with their dad they do not want to talk to me on the phone either- unless they have something to share.

 


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#9 of 11 Old 09-07-2011, 09:32 AM
 
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Yeah, it's too often for the phone and that isn't really a sustainable arrangement for the long term... I mean, you can't promise to be home every single evening of your life, sitting by a computer.  My son isn't into the phone and never has been.  (And like someone else said, that also means that when he visits his father, he's not on the phone much to me, either).  I think having a couple of set times a week, and then a policy of them being able to call each other if stuff comes up that they want to talk about, would be more realistic. 

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#10 of 11 Old 09-07-2011, 12:38 PM
 
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I am going through the exact same thing...the kids just don't want to call.  We have a new order from the judge (still litigating) and it says that the kids can be in touch when THEY want to, but I know that my ex will put it in the record so I feel a need to "force" them to chat pretty much daily.  He lives out of state and only sees them once a month, and I know he misses them.  But he is also litigating hot and heavy and I am feeling under constant attack, and he will claim "parental alienation" unless I keep them regularly connected over their (sometimes strong) objections.

 

Sometimes IM'g or skyping works, and a few nights they have just sent a text.  But there has got to be a better system - the phone (or computer) and a parent just aren't interesting to kids, quite frankly...it is too much pressure.  My children's therapist, in fact, told me it was not good for DD (who is older) to feel this pressure.  So I am trying to come up with another way to keep them connected...

 

I am hating that litigation is getting in the way of good parenting.  Again.

 

Sorry not to be more help!


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#11 of 11 Old 09-07-2011, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, i feel that same pressure and I am not even in the legal part yet. 

 

I'm trying to think how I felt when I was a kid. I did call my mom when I was at my dad's over the summer, but mostly when I was miserable (and truly, at a later age) to vent. (I'm so sure that was fun for my mom...we see the other side now, right?) anyway, I think that if I had had to talk to my mom every night while I was there, it would have been really hard for me to ever get into the groove of being there and connecting with my dad and family.

 

For me there was always a bit of a transition because of different rules and expectations and ways of relating. I struggled with dealing with that, but at least when I was 'immersed' so to speak, I could more easily or freely connect with my dad. I don't think I'm explaining this feeling well, so I hope you know what I mean. I also know it was a different time communication-wise so maybe people experience it differently now. 

 

I keep thinking about how I would/will be when they are with him and I am alone. Just writing it makes me want to vomit from the anxiety. Any way, I think I would like to talk to them, but I think I would really not want them to be forced. I don't want them to associate that with me in any way. I don't think it would be easy to not hear from them, but I think I could talk myself into the idea, and hold on to the fact that they know I love them whether we talk or not. Does that make sense?


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