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#1 of 16 Old 12-06-2013, 05:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Backstory:  My son's father and I were in a brief relationship (I use that term loosely- if you read my previous posts from 2-3 years ago, you'll know what I'm talking about) and to make a very long story short, my son's father is controlling, was abusive, was harassing, threatened to kidnap my baby, just all all around narscissitic jerk. My son has had supervised visitation with him for almost 2 years now, and the visits are inconsistent, because his father is more interested in tooting his own horn that he's a father than actually spending time getting to know the child and being a father to him.  Also note, I haven't received child support from him since last March, and yes, the local DTA is helping me work on that, but it's taking forever, I believe because it's between two different states.

 

Also note, PLEASE DON'T QUOTE ME, because I'm gonna delete this post for security reasons once I have some opinions.

 

My son's father emailed me last night.  He wants another visit.  We do visitation at the halfway point- 2 hours from home- in the children's section in a public library.  The visits are two hours long.  They have visitation on the 28th this month- the last one was the beginning of October.  My son's father added in his email that he got my son a LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra Super Bundle for Christmas.  (Note- $150.)  While I'm not opposed to this- through an incredible stroke of luck, my some will be receiving his own "IPad"- Y-pad Ypad English Computer Table Learning Education Machine Tablet.  (Note- sale price of $14.)- I ma opposed to the sound of his email.

 

1.  He's too lazy to wrap it, so it will come gift wrapped.  It will come uncharged, because it will be gift wrapped, and my 2 year old son will have to sit in the library while it charges before he's allowed to use it.  My son's begged for an IPad, and his father's gift will be something similar, kinda like bringing a child to Disney World and telling him he needs to watch the rides for an hour before he can go on them.  I don't want my son to make his father angry (there will be a supervisor, but there is also a history of abuse, and it's dangerous for my son's father to even get into his head that my son is a "bad" kid, because it may set him up for abuse in the future).

 

2.  My son's father stated that I need to bring it every visit and have it charged every visit, because that will be their activity for visitation from now on.  While I'm more relaxed on gadgets, etc, that alot of Mamas on here, that makes me uncomfortable.  first of all, each visit is 2 hours long.  That's a long time to be on a gadget, especially at almost 3 years old.  How is my son's father supposed to learn how to parent if he just sits my son down in front of a screen the whole time?  I know 2 hours is a long time to keep a 2 year old quiet in a library, even a children's library, but it's not like they don't have coloring, art projects, books, even toys in the library, for them to play with.

 

3.  It also bothers me that it's a $150 gift for a 2 YEAR OLD and if I have to bring it to "check in" every visit, then that means I pretty much can't let my son use it any other time, because we can't risk it getting lost or broken or the battery too low.

 

4.  Also, my son's father has NEVER taken my lead when it comes to anything for my son- I'll tell him my son likes X toys, and he will intentionally make sure X toys are not used.  I will tell them that my son wants to pick out a book to check out of the library, and he will make sure they don't so it.  I will tell him my son doesn't like to wear sweaters, and he will proceed to bring him new clothes the next visit- sweaters.  The list goes on and on... and then here I am being told that I HAVE to do such and such with this gift, when and where and how to let my son use it?

 

Am I overreacting and being oversensitive?


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#2 of 16 Old 12-06-2013, 11:27 AM
 
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I don't think you're over-reacting - he's such a piece of work.

 

I think this is not a toy that should be part of your life. Keep it in the car, and hand it over at the visits. He can't require you to have it charged, that's on him.

 

I'm also assuming that there is no contact between you & he at the visits, that you go through the supervisor?  He's gonna look real great when he gets upset that his electronic babysitter isn't ready to be used the moment his kid arrives. This whole thing makes it pretty obvious that he is not interested in parenting.


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YoungMan (6/00) & LittleBoy (6/04)
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#3 of 16 Old 12-06-2013, 12:27 PM
 
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This sounds like an awkward situation and I would imagine most moms would be quite protective of their children around someone with that type of history. Although your son's dad can make requests, I don't think those equate to "demands" on how you parent or accommodate his desires. You've made requests regarding what your son likes and dislikes ~ and look how well those have been received. What he does at supervised visits is up to him and with a mediator present in a public setting, I would think things would be closely monitored. It seems obvious that he's not open to any input from you or working together for the benefit of your son.

 

Are you talking with a counselor to know how to respond in these types of situations and maintain your boundaries? Lots of families who have shared custody deal with different parenting styles and values, so you're not alone there. Keep being the best mom you can and trust that the love and stability you are providing 99% of the time will overcome any brief negative interactions from others. It's normal to be concerned, but when you have no control over a situation, you don't need to be responsible for it either. Sending you a hug!

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#4 of 16 Old 12-06-2013, 02:28 PM
 
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Is it an option to have him keep the tablet and bring it each month? I think that is the only way it can happen. If I was you I wouldn't want to have that responsibility to someone like him. If he wants it there and charged then he needs to make it happen.

My dd age 4 just got one (the level below the ultra). Her brother (who is about the same age as your son) will tap at it for a few minutes but quickly looses interest. Unless they watch movies on it I don't think he would want to use it for two hours. Do you get to see them together?
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#5 of 16 Old 12-06-2013, 05:51 PM
 
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We had a similar thing with DS's father. He bought a 4 yo a leap pad and wanted it to travel with child on visitation. Also pricy toy when he owed plenty of back child support.(Calling it Parenting time would be a stretch. He felt like it was his right not his responsibility.) I told x that it should stay with him that I didn't need an extra burden and we had plenty of kid appropriate toys. Since I refused to take it he let off of the travel rule. He also programmed it with his last name when son when son has my name. Talk about an ego trying to mess up a kid's identity.

Anyway. Tell him to keep it. He's going to have less screen time if it's only on dad visits. Dad will have a tool to get through the time on the visits and son will probably loose interest in it eventually.
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#6 of 16 Old 12-06-2013, 06:59 PM
 
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You will likely have a charger at home that will work with it.
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#7 of 16 Old 12-06-2013, 06:59 PM
 
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Power cord, not charger.
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#8 of 16 Old 12-06-2013, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There's very little contact between the two of us during visitation.  I walk out when he gets there and the extent of our conversation is, "Here he is, I'll be back in two hours."  Anything I've said- there's a snack in his bag, he wants to pick out a library book, etc- just gets ignored, so I don't even bother, I just remind my son he has his juice if he gets thirsty, or whatever, when I say goodbye.  He doesn't tell me how the visit went, usually half out the door before I have my son's coat on- I ask the supervisor.

 

There's a waiting list a mile only for a counselor, etc, in my area, so no, I'm not talking to someone.  You guys are it for now.  :p  lol

 

I wrote him an email back suggesting he keep it because I don't want to be responsible if it gets lost or broken or I forget it or forget to charge it.  I'm waiting to see what kind of reply I'll get.  It's a great gift, and I wouldn't mind if my son asked to bring it to visitation, it's the being required to bring it that bothers me.

 

My son actually has issues with my fiance's IPad, as in, he won't put it down, he throws tantrums when his turn is over, etc.  The only way to get it away from him without a meltdown is to stealthly push the off button and pretend it's been overused and needs to be charged.  For a long time.  :eyesroll  I completely see my son sitting staring at the LeapPad thingy for the whole two hours... and then the two house back in the car...

 

I do see my son and his father together- there's a glass window connecting the children's library to the main library alcove, and sometimes I peek in out of curiosity.  What I see is a 2 year old running rampade, throwing toys, running up and down the isles, climbing on furniture, etc, (things my son knows not to do with me!) and his father either futilely chasing after him or just standing there watching like someone caught in a tornado.  I'm actually surprised we haven't been banned from the library by now.  :blush  (Yes, my supervisor documents, and yes, I suspect that's why my son's father has NOT asked for more visitation or unsupervised visitation at this point.)

 

FarmerMomma, do we have the same ex?  lol  Your post sounds just like my son's his father, exactly.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#9 of 16 Old 12-06-2013, 09:19 PM
 
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Yeah. Almost the same situation. That's why I had to respond. Maybe he'll go chase oil in North Dakota and leave you alone a few months/years. Mine did and is now catching up on child support. Course I could have used it then more than now. I guess I could spend it on myself for all the sacrifices I made supporting DS alone.
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#10 of 16 Old 12-06-2013, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh.  Well, I got my response email.  It started with twisting my words- I won't let my son have it because it's from his father- and ended with the usual reminder/threat that in a couple years he'll have him for overnights and "we've all got to make adjustments to doing things other ways" (interperatation= his way or the highway).


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#11 of 16 Old 12-07-2013, 08:07 AM
 
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Ugh, that's obnoxious but not surprising- him keeping it would have been ideal. I imagine that if your son comes back reporting that he wasn't allowed to use it between visitation would be bad. Can you get some sort of protection plan for it so that if it breaks you won't have to shell out for a new one?

 

On the charge issue: Can your son not use it while it's charging? He might be able to plug it in and let the kid use it while it's charging. I'd suggest that to the mediator just in case things start getting tense, and if he asks about the iPad doing that: point out that it's a different device and they don't all work the same.

 

The biggest issue is that, well, he's right- he's got you between a rock and a hard place and knows it. He has a history of abuse, unless he seriously screws up he'll get alone-time with your son, you have no way to protect your child from him, the best you can do is try to keep him happy.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moxiesbuddy View Post
Although your son's dad can make requests, I don't think those equate to "demands" on how you parent or accommodate his desires. You've made requests regarding what your son likes and dislikes ~ and look how well those have been received.

The difference between a request, a suggestion, and a demand is how it's presented.

 

Request: I want this toy to be a special activity between us that reminds my/our son of me, can you bring it to our vistiation sessions from now on?

Suggestion: It would be nice if he could bring it when he sees me.

Demand: You will bring this toy to visitations from now on.

 

I realize that the OP may be being oversensitive, the exact e-mail isn't being presented, but it's very possible that he's making demands and not requests.


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#12 of 16 Old 12-07-2013, 08:39 AM
 
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I was going to advise just saying no, but it sounds like that will likely cause more trouble than it's worth with this particular person.

 

  Ideally, you will just leave the toy with him.  There is no reason that you need to be responsible for it, and I think that you would not get in trouble for that if you present the email with the demand, plus point out that is an expensive toy that you can't afford to replace should it get broken in your care. Can you alert the supervisor that the toy needs to be taken with your son's dad and maybe have him/her take care of it for you?  I don't know how involved they will get...

 

Otherwise, I would keep it put away when you are at your house.  Make it disappear either before or after the car ride.  I have a kid who wouldn't forget about it, so I know how hard that can be to do.  But in this case I think it is worth it to avoid the drama of worrying about it all the time.  Your son is little enough that if you give it to him the day of visitation, he will probably tell dad he loves it and plays with it all the time, so I doubt there will be an issue there.  It sounds like you were also getting him a similar toy for Christmas, so he would likely not miss it that much anyway?

 

I do think it's a shame that your ex wants to have him glued to a screen the whole time :( I do think it is probably a good thing for you in the end though-I can't imagine the supervisor is thrilled to be reporting that he can't interact positively with his kid and is using a screen as a babysitter the whole time, unless he is realllly actively engaging in whatever game they are playing together (doesn't sound like he will be.) 

 

Good luck mama. 


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#13 of 16 Old 12-07-2013, 08:41 AM
 
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Oh, and to answer you actual question, no, I do not think you are overreacting.  Like a PP said, it's all about the tone.  Asking you is one thing, telling you to bring it or else is something else entirely.  He's trying to assert his power over your in whatever limited way he can.  It wouldn't surprise me if  he is hoping that something does happen to the toy so he can flip out on you and accuse you of breaking it on purpose just because it was from him.  It sounds like a really sucky situation :(


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#14 of 16 Old 12-07-2013, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

Request: I want this toy to be a special activity between us that reminds my/our son of me, can you bring it to our vistiation sessions from now on?

Suggestion: It would be nice if he could bring it when he sees me.

Demand: You will bring this toy to visitations from now on.

 

His exact words were, "Make sure you bring it to each visitation and make sure it's charged so me and (little boy) will have something to do during out visit."  The first two- request, suggestion, I wouldn't have had a problem with.  The way he worded it, made me feel like I HAD to do what he says and I better not screw it up.


I pray for the day Family Court recognizes that CHILDREN have rights, parents only have PRIVILEGES.  Only then, will I know my child is safe.
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#15 of 16 Old 12-08-2013, 05:09 AM
 
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If I were in your shoes, I would simply state that it is his responsibility to see that the device that he wants to use for his visits is there and fully charged as you will not take responsibility for, so your ex has the option of taking it home with him and bringing it back the next visit. And end the discussion.
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#16 of 16 Old 12-08-2013, 08:03 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodmom2008 View Post

If I were in your shoes, I would simply state that it is his responsibility to see that the device that he wants to use for his visits is there and fully charged as you will not take responsibility for, so your ex has the option of taking it home with him and bringing it back the next visit. And end the discussion.

 

Yes. This.

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