how can I handle this best for my kiddos? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 07-12-2010, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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A little background: my dc's father and I have been divorced for four years, I'm now remarried, dd is 10 and ds is 6.

We divorced amicably, no legal battles, always spoke well about each other, etc. We share legal custody and I have physical custody, he has visitation.

My issue: I have become seriously concerned about my children's physical and emotional well being when they are with my ex. A few examples: he left my (then 8-year-old) dd ALONE, UNSUPERVISED at an amusement park so he could go on a ride he wanted to (she was too young). He regularly allows both dd and ds (this is when ds was 5) to go to the local park adjoining his house unsupervised. He has also allowed my ds (age 4 and then 5 at the time) to play in and around a raging river and on a clifftop without an adult nearby on a camping trip. The list goes on and on -- he is clueless about safety.

I have spoken to him MANY times about these things -- he acts surprised every time, promises to not do that thing again, then proceeds to do a different, dangerous thing the next time! It doesn't happen all the time, but often enough that I am terrified for their safety.

Not that this isn't enough for concern, but emotionally he doesn't connect or protect, either. My ds never wants to go with him, my dd does because she doesn't want to hurt his feelings, and it's turning into a weekly battle. (He has them Sunday and Monday each week, plus some vacation and holiday time).

I am at the end of my rope. I have been supportive of his visitation because, well, he's their father and we agreed to support each other in our parenting for the children's sake. But now, I feel I am being too accommodating to his right to see them, and not protective enough of my children.

Has anyone else been through anything like this? If not, how would you handle this? Please help me navigate this situation carefully and well. Thanks, mamas!
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#2 of 6 Old 07-12-2010, 05:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wondermama View Post
He regularly allows both dd and ds (this is when ds was 5) to go to the local park adjoining his house unsupervised. He has also allowed my ds (age 4 and then 5 at the time) to play in and around a raging river and on a clifftop without an adult nearby on a camping trip. The list goes on and on -- he is clueless about safety.
Could this piece be due to the fact that people seem to parent differently now than they were parented 20-30 years ago? There are things that my parents let me do that today's parents generally do not. At age five, I could roam the neighborhood pretty freely - if had a park next door, my mom would have shooed us out the door every day once the weather was above freezing. My DSD is 7 and DS is 3 - I would let them play at a park next door, but I don't know how many other modern parents would.
The river is concerning, but I think that people often don't realize how strong river currents can be - adults drown in rivers.

Your ex might just be remembering things that he did as a child, things that his parents allowed him to do at a young age. Sometimes, that is the only reference point that people have.

Can you give some examples of the lack of emotional connection/protection? I would urge you to try to help develop that connection rather than try to keep the children from their father over that.

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#3 of 6 Old 07-12-2010, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by wondermama View Post
he left my (then 8-year-old) dd ALONE, UNSUPERVISED at an amusement park so he could go on a ride he wanted to (she was too young).
This may even be illegal depending on where it happened.
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#4 of 6 Old 07-12-2010, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the replies!

Pinksprkly -- yes, I think some of it is in how he was raised -- he is European and had a lot of freedom in a safe, small village in Germany. Parents didn't keep a close eye on their kids then (nor did they probably need to). I'm not, really, truly, not, an overprotective parent -- I let my kids run around on our land, climb tall trees, swim in lakes that are probably contaminated with who-knows-what (I actually saw a dog poop in a lake they swim in regularly, oh well), get bumps and bruises trying new things. I think what concerns me most (and you are helping me clarify this, thank you!) is that I feel, deep in my mama bones, that his "radar" is broken. What you're doing (letting your kids play in a nearby park, etc.) you know, on some level of your mama-intuition, is okay, just the way you instinctively don't trust other situations that from the outside might seem similar, if this makes sense -- but I don't trust his sense of what is safe like I trust mine and other people in my children's lives. Hmm, this is something to think about...

In terms of emotional connection, by urging of his partner, he is getting tested for a personality disorder this week -- he just doesn't connect, he can't create intimacy, he is really, truly self-absorbed and doesn't see the needs others have around him. In some ways, this concerns me more than the physical safety part!

ssh -- I have checked on the legality of these things, and, believe it or not, there is no age limit where I live for leaving your child alone or unsupervised -- however, you can be arrested for child endangerment or neglect if what you are doing is found to be unsafe -- there are no hard and fast rules, though.
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#5 of 6 Old 07-13-2010, 06:14 PM
 
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As a mom I completely understand what your saying. I make decisions and then think my dh is absolutly INSANE for making other ones. Like for example I bought the little ones a power wheels jeep for Christmas and then he bought the two year old a gas powered 4 wheeler for his birthday. In his mind their both ride on toys... And he's my husband. I leave my sleeping kids in the running car when I run into my parents house so whats the dirrerence in that and him leaving them in a running car in Walmart? All that being said I think my dh is an AMAZING dad. Daddies and mommies just play different roles in their kids lives for a reason. I can start about a dozen stories off the top of my head with "my dad was supposedly watching me".
Being both male and European explains alot concerning his attachment issues imo.
I know its difficult to send them off when they are crying they don't want to go andwhen your concerned about your childrens welfare while under his supervision. However, its obvious that though he may not outwardly show it he does have an attachment to his children or he wouldn't be getting them so often regardless of a custody agreement.

wife to an amazing man and mom to my 5 amazing children sd (16), sd (13), d (5), son (2), & caboose d born 11/15/09 and two goats but they don't have anything for that
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#6 of 6 Old 07-14-2010, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for you reply and input, htcamommy! I do believe he does have attachment to them -- it helps to remember that. I just know if this was anyone else watching them, I would not send them again knowing they (the person caring for them) had such poor judgment regarding safety. I hate being scared for their well-being, and honestly, their lives when they are with their father.
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