Ex sent me an email yesterday with, among other things, a paragraph talking about how great of a parent he is (always has nutritious food available, DD feels safe there, etc). I feel like I should set the record straight, because I have some signs that while the visits are not dangerous, they aren't going very well for DD. DD is sometimes ok with visits and other times, she is very distressed and screams about how she doesn't like dad and doesn't want to go. She nearly always has emotional/behavioral issues the evening that she comes back. And she always comes back so hungry and thirsty that she's angry.
Because Ex has said before that he plans to file for more time with DD, that makes me wonder if he wrote that email to have a paper trail that supposedly shows he's such a great parent. On the other hand, he rarely does what he says he'll do, including file to change visitation/custody. And, the last time I said something to him about how DD comes back from visitation was when she wasn't changed for so long she had a rash and had peed entirely through her diaper and pants. When I said something about it to Ex over text, he blew up and sent angry texts and voicemails to me, accusing me of jumping to conclusions and acting against DD's interests, etc. He even hounded me about it when we met in person, demanding that I tell him I thought he was a good parent.
So... I don't really want to stir stuff up when I can just let it slide, but I also don't want to let him make a false paper trail for his possible custody plans. I feel like the two options are either to 1 respond back to the other parts of the email and don't even bother trying to set the record straight because I already keep my own records of the visitation problems or 2 respond and directly but politely say that there are problems with food and DD's emotional state when she comes back.
If this helps, my partner is usually at home when DD goes to visits and comes back, and he can confirm that she is often distressed before and after.
I do think he's trying to bait you into giving written evidence that you agree he's a good father. Did you save the texts and voicemails from his outburst? That'd definitely be helpful.
I'm not sure how you should reply, and I hope that this works out alright. You can't sound overly antagonistic, but if your daughter is routinely coming back hungry and thirsty and dirty- it doesn't matter if he's got good food if he's not giving it to her!
Proud Formula Feeder, I support how ALL parents feed their babies. Breast or bottle, formula or breastmilk, and any combination thereof.
Happily married since 4/30/2009 Our first was born 4/23/2013
If your ex files for visitation, he will almost definitely get at least every weekend. So while it sounds like he is unlikely to actually do it, I agree that having her see a therapist might be helpful to deal with this amount of visitation and perhaps eventually more.
My kids act out a lot after they come back from dad's too. It's really frustrating and hard to deal with. My 4-year-old also often says he doesn't want to go and that he doesn' t like dad, etc., and it breaks my heart. Like you, there is nothing terrible or dangerous going on, but it's obviously hard on the kids and, of course, on me to hear about it! Good luck!
My hunch is that no response is necessary and that it would fuel a conflict that your x seems to want to start. However, I would try to get some other witnesses other than your partner, who will be viewed as biased, and keep documenting patterns. If dd remains distressed for extended periods of time after visits, then counselling may be a good idea for support for you in how to best deal with it. However, it is pretty normal for them to cry when they leave (when the visits are that far apart - shorter and more frequent visits at a consistent time is often easier on them at that age). And it is normal for them (at least in my case!) to come home hungry and exhausted after a big day with fun daddy (albeit narcissistic and self serving daddy too ). But if it is impacting her function significantly for long periods of time in between visits, then it's worth addressing with a counsellor.
~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.