Reasonable phone time with child for parent not currently with the child... - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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When a child is at one parent's house, what do you think a reasonable ammount of "phone time" to the other parent's should be. I don't mean child initiated- if a child wants to talk to a parent she's not currently with, it shouldn't be a problem for her to call that parent- but for the parent who the child is not currently with, to call. For example, if the child is at one parent's house and the other parent calls her, say, 4 times a day, or calls and keeps the child on the phone for long periods of time, or calls during known busy times (like when that parent knows the child is at Friendlie's eating breakfast, because they know that child always goes to Friendlie's for breakfast on Sundays).

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 24 Old 07-25-2008, 11:25 AM
 
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It sounds like biomom is having trouble without DSD there...

How far away is she? How is the relationship between her and your DH?

Could biomom see DD more, or have breakfast with you?

Rationally it seems like calling 4 times a day is a lot, but then parental love isn't rational really.

to you, tough situation!
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#3 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 11:27 AM
 
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one time a day, unless the child wants more.
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#4 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 11:36 AM
 
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Yep, I'd say once a day (unless the child wants more)... AND within a reasonable "window" of time that works for all involved (whenever such a window can be agreed on and whenever materially possible to stick to that time frame).
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#5 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 12:04 PM
 
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I think one longer call a day is reasonable, maybe about 1/2 hour to talk about the day's events, etc. I think developing a daily routine of when everyone can expect the call to take place is a good idea. After dinner? An hour before bedtime? That kind of thing.

Maybe occasional other calls for quick things or questions.
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#6 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 12:36 PM
 
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For a child over the age of 6, or thereabouts, I would say a reasonable amount of time is 20-30 mins maximum per day. There just can't be that much to talk about! For younger children, I think it is unreasonable to expect them to stay on the phone for longer than 10 mins. You couldn't get them to talk to you that long in person!

Now, we have phone issues at our house. The kids' mom likes to use it as a way to continue her brainwashing of the children. We used to not ever limit time on the phone because we were in the Golden Rule mindframe. DH didn't like it when she made the kids get off the phone with him so he didn't want to do when they were on the phone with her. The hope was that she would get the hint but sadly she hasn't. So here is what we do now. We do not offer or suggest to the kids to call her. If they want to call her, they know what her phone number is and how to call her. And for DSS 7 who doesn't quite have it down to memory, I typed up her home and cell numbers and posted them by the phone. If she calls and we are in the middle of something like going into a restaurant or a store or an activity, we usually let it go to voicemail and then mention to the kids later on that she called. If they want to call her back, they can. If she calls and we answer or they answer, they can talk but if it starts getting out of hand, i.e., it's been almost an hour or it's meal time or there is another activity to do, we gently but firmly say "Please tell mom that you need to call her back later on because we have to do X". We recently had to start turning the ringer off on the home phone because she was calling multiple times per day and it was affecting the kids' behaviour. No flames on that please...we had to do it for the sanity of our home. She has also recently started this thing where the conversations with DSS 13 sound more like a boyfriend/girlfriend conversation rather than a mom and son conversation. It's been creeping me out whenever I hear it.

The bottom line is if it is starting to seriously affect your home and family it needs to be reevaluated and possibly have ground rules set.

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#7 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 02:13 PM
 
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I have 50/50 split with my ex husband, and when one of us calls at a bad time we will just say
"he's busy right now, I'll have him call you back in half hour, hour etc..."
early on, we also would say
"good-bye" and then we would hang up and ignore all calls until it was time for the child to return the call. After a while we got used to it, and when we didn't need to be so weird about it.
But then we also make sure and have the child return the call at a better time, like when we aren't eating breakfast out at Friendlies or wherever....
Good Luck though!
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#8 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 02:46 PM
 
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I also have a 50/50 split (week-on-week-off) with my XH, and all phone calls are child-initiated. We agreed, when we first divorced, that unless one of our daughters felt she had to speak to the other parent, that we would always respect one another's time with the girls. For us, that means not intruding on one another's precious, precious limited time with the children by calling simply to appease our own needs.

That said, DDs are never, ever prohibited from calling the other parent if and when they want to. We've found though, that since we don't make a huge deal with the whole "oh, I miss you so much!" stuff, when left to their own devices, the girls really only choose to call the other parent about once a week. And sometimes they don't feel the need to call.

Shared custody sucks. And of course, given my druthers, I would have my girlies with me every single day. Both XH and I are of the mindset that it would be a little selfish of us to insist on calling the other parent's home every day that the girls are there and intruding on already limited time that parent gets.

AND, I know that I'm extremely fortunate that XH and I see eye to eye on this one.

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#9 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
It sounds like biomom is having trouble without DSD there...

How far away is she? How is the relationship between her and your DH?

Could biomom see DD more, or have breakfast with you?

Rationally it seems like calling 4 times a day is a lot, but then parental love isn't rational really.

to you, tough situation!
Well, my Hubby and I have my stepdaughter every other weekend and every Wednsday (alternating between going back after dinner on Wednsday and staying until Thursday morning, depending on which Wednsday it is), so it's not like her Mother doesn't have her most of the time, anyways. They live 20 minutes from us and my stepdaughter's Mother has shown... strong disapproval... towards my Hubby and anyone on my Hubby's side of the family, especially me and my son. As for her Mother seeing her more, it's not a good idea. First of all, we don't have very much time with my stepdaughter to begin with, and secondly, because, for example, if we invited her to come to breakfast, then she would spend all the time with my stepdaughter and nobody else would get to spend time with my stepdaughter. It's happened before in similar situations. It's not that we want to keep my stepdaughter from her Mother- we've told her repeatedly that she can call her Mother anytime she wants when she's at our house- but she never wants to. (Yeah, I do admit, that seems kinda odd.) And when her Mother calls, it's to go on and on about how much she misses her and forces her to tell her Mother how much she misses her Mom, as well and how much she loves her Mother and how much she can't wait until she's "back home" with her Mother. It's that my Hubby and I don't get any time to spend with my stepdaughter when she's not being dominated by her Mother "needing" her. Her Mother will call for the silliest reasons- she's at the store and wants to know if my stepdaughter wants a red or a purple lollipop for when she gets "home"- or she'll call a half hour before my stepdaughter's due to go back, so we don't get to spend that extra few minutes with my stepdaughter. And if we call when she's at her Mother's house, she's usually "too busy" to come to the phone (when you can hear her watching tv and talking about the show in the background) and she's not even allowed to talk to anyone but my Hubby on the phone on the rare occasions she's "not busy". And Hubby can't turn off his phone because it's his work phone as well, so when the phone rings, my stepdaughter's right there asking if it's her Mother, because her Mother told her she'd be calling. I'm not saying this to be mean or snarky, but it's like she has no life besides my stepdaughter and can't stand the thought of my stepdaughter having more to her life than just her Mother. know what I mean?

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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#10 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 03:13 PM
 
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I think it is quite reasonable in a split such as basically every other weekend that the parent doesn't need to call. The other parent gets the child far less time, I think the other parent can survive two nights without talking to their DC... The other parent has the right to their bonging time especially when it is that limited.

We get DSD every other weekend and for 2 hours Tuesday and Thursday.... Her Mom has never called on our time, as she respects that we have far less time with her than she does.

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#11 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 03:14 PM
 
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I'm not saying this to be mean or snarky, but it's like she has no life besides my stepdaughter and can't stand the thought of my stepdaughter having more to her life than just her Mother. know what I mean?
Yes, and from your expanded explanation i think you're probably right.

Is there any reasoning with her? You could always turn the ringer off on the phone, then DSD wouldn't hear and ask if it was her mom?
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#12 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 03:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by harleyhalfmoon View Post
Well, my Hubby and I have my stepdaughter every other weekend and every Wednsday (alternating between going back after dinner on Wednsday and staying until Thursday morning, depending on which Wednsday it is), so it's not like her Mother doesn't have her most of the time, anyways. They live 20 minutes from us and my stepdaughter's Mother has shown... strong disapproval... towards my Hubby and anyone on my Hubby's side of the family, especially me and my son. As for her Mother seeing her more, it's not a good idea. First of all, we don't have very much time with my stepdaughter to begin with, and secondly, because, for example, if we invited her to come to breakfast, then she would spend all the time with my stepdaughter and nobody else would get to spend time with my stepdaughter. It's happened before in similar situations. It's not that we want to keep my stepdaughter from her Mother- we've told her repeatedly that she can call her Mother anytime she wants when she's at our house- but she never wants to. (Yeah, I do admit, that seems kinda odd.) And when her Mother calls, it's to go on and on about how much she misses her and forces her to tell her Mother how much she misses her Mom, as well and how much she loves her Mother and how much she can't wait until she's "back home" with her Mother. It's that my Hubby and I don't get any time to spend with my stepdaughter when she's not being dominated by her Mother "needing" her. Her Mother will call for the silliest reasons- she's at the store and wants to know if my stepdaughter wants a red or a purple lollipop for when she gets "home"- or she'll call a half hour before my stepdaughter's due to go back, so we don't get to spend that extra few minutes with my stepdaughter. And if we call when she's at her Mother's house, she's usually "too busy" to come to the phone (when you can hear her watching tv and talking about the show in the background) and she's not even allowed to talk to anyone but my Hubby on the phone on the rare occasions she's "not busy". And Hubby can't turn off his phone because it's his work phone as well, so when the phone rings, my stepdaughter's right there asking if it's her Mother, because her Mother told her she'd be calling. I'm not saying this to be mean or snarky, but it's like she has no life besides my stepdaughter and can't stand the thought of my stepdaughter having more to her life than just her Mother. know what I mean?
I totally understand your situation. My DSC's mother does similar things. She especially likes to employ the tactic of calling and talking about some special treat or present or trip or video game, etc. that will be waiting for them when they get home. Really makes them enjoy the rest of the time they are home with DH and I. Our situation is also similar in that only DH is allowed to talk to the kids when they are at their mom's house. The few occasions where we have attempted to have me on the phone with them, she has started verbally abusing them in the background and then snatched the phone away from them and started screaming at me. So I stopped trying to talk to them on the phone.

With regard to your DH's phone, does it have a vibrate function? That is also another trick we use to limit the phone time. Then your DSD won't know when it's "ringing".

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#13 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 03:28 PM
 
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Or could you time the combined phonecalls and point out that x% of the time that is SUPPOSED to be yours is actually spent on the phone to mom and as such you'd like to keep/see DSD for that many minutes extra...?
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#14 of 24 Old 07-25-2008, 04:07 PM
 
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I have no advice. We are in the exact same position. Reading your post is disturbingly familiar. My cell phone post is the result of trying to work it out with the ex unsuccessfully.

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#15 of 24 Old 07-30-2008, 05:56 PM
 
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In your situation, I don't think any parents need to be calling. In our case, we have the kids for a week or more at a time, and then their mom hos them for a month or so. For us, the kids almost never ask to call a parent.

We have weekly or twice-weekly video calls (as long as the kids like, which can be anywhere from 5-30 minutes) and maybe one regular call (think 1-2 minutes) per week. That is pretty consistent no matter who has them. We also have a fairly set time to call, so if a call is to be made it will always be at that hour. If we're busy or if she's busy, the phone doesn't get answered. No big deal either way, though we do reschedule if it's a video call that has to be missed.

Your situation sounds very intrusive. Can you just not answer the phone?

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#16 of 24 Old 07-30-2008, 08:14 PM
 
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yep, it's called mom inserting herself into your life, and trying to control it.

We used to have that issue. For me, my DH's XW would call when it was just the two of us home and try to talk for an hour about issues with the "kids" who are adults. I mean, really- late teens and 20's.

It would really get annoying. This is the same woman who never paid us a dime of child support when the last one came to live with us, who doesn't do "dooky" for her kids- but just wanted to manipulate the relationship between me and DH. :

Luckily, or unluckily for her, we had one run in over the phone. She tried to insinuate via phone at my work that I had manipulated DSS's records since I teach there. Which is impossible since I have no computer rights... When I got a message in my box, I was livid and called her to confront. Needless to say, she was surprised. Should have sold tickets. :

So, it sounds like XW is really insecure and trying very hard to keep her DD liking HER more than you. Turn the phone on vibrate and it's your DH's responsibility to communicate the limitations. There should be limits. The poor child is totally being put in the middle. That's not fair.

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#17 of 24 Old 07-30-2008, 09:18 PM
 
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Are you sure we are not dealing with the same bio mom? It is ridiculous how much DSD's mom intrudes on the very limited time we have with her. We stopped answering the phone except for once a day which prompted her to buy DSD a cell phone for her b-day last week. She now calls all the time on that, and DSD answers every time. It is soooo terrible right now. She is constantly asking what DH and I are doing. I am sorry, but that is non of her business. Plus, she is now using it to have DSD relay messages. UGH! DH says that he is just letting her hang herself with it. He is going to ban the cell soon.

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#18 of 24 Old 07-30-2008, 11:41 PM
 
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If it's not a good time, I don't answer the call when x calls. I wait until it's an appropriate time and then I have dc call back. I agree with op - once a day is sufficient. It's disruptive and not in dc's best interest to do more than that.

It's called a boundary - - why do so many parents have issues with this?
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#19 of 24 Old 07-31-2008, 12:26 AM
 
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Have your dh set his phone to vibrate. That way he can screen calls without anyone knowing.

My dsd is week on/week off, and she seldom talks to either parent on the phone during their off week.

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#20 of 24 Old 07-31-2008, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Have your dh set his phone to vibrate. That way he can screen calls without anyone knowing.
Unfortunately, his cell phone is also his work phone, so he needs to check immediately when it rings and my stepdaughter's been "trained" by her Mother to spend most the time watching to see if someone's checking their phone and if there's no answer, she'll call two or three times in a row and then leave a ling, "OMG, I'm so worried, is she okay?" kind of message. I think in her mind, we really are incompetant and don't know how to take care of a child- she'll drill my stepdaughter on how much she misses her and loves her and can't wait to have her "back home", then drill her on various, "Is Daddy making sure you have something to do? and "Is Daddy making sure you're eating enough, making sure you eat dinner?" (Notice the Daddy reference- even last summer when me, my son, my stepdaughter and my Hubby went on a week long vacation together, her Mother asked her "How was vacation with DADDY?" ) and then she'll make sure she tells her all over again how much she loves her and misses her and needs her with "home with her" before hanging up. We've tried screening calls, but it just backfires and turned into a trying to hide whichever phone is ringing and then my stepdaughter's MOther telling her how she "called so many times" and "was so worried if she was okay" because nobody answered. :

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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#21 of 24 Old 07-31-2008, 08:03 PM
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Since it is also a work phone, I would most definitely use that!

I would have dad tell bio-mom something along the lines of ...

Dear Interfering and Insecure BM (lol)...just kidding.

Dear ex,

As you know, our phone is also my work phone. Therefore it must remain open and available for work-related issues at all times. The frequent telephone calls from you to our child is interfering with work. In addition, our child is not here for very long and I would like to spend as much uninterrupted time as possible with her as that time is precious.

I do, however, understand the importance of your maintaining telephone contact with our child. Therefore, I would like to suggest a time on the weekends for one phone call, perhaps around 7:30 right before bed (*insert time here*). [I would make it right before bed about 15 minutes so when it is bedtime, it is a way to get her off the phone with a good reason] I would like to find a time that is suitable to both homes so if you have another suggestion for a time, please advise.

During week day visitation, given that she is only here for a few hours, I am sure you can understand why phone calls doing these short visits are not necessary and interfere in my time with her. They also render my work phone unavailable which is a problem.

Of course, if there is ever any emergency, you are welcome to call me. However, I think it best for my job and our daughter that we maintain some consistency with regard to uninterrupted time for the both of us with our child and telephone calls.

Thanks,
Dad
-------------------

Dh's ex always interfered in dh's time for the first several years. She'd send a card for them to open up everyday they were here with pictures of her in it. She's schedule dance for my sd on the weekend and was adamant about taking her and being there...then she'd come back to drop her off and she (the ex) would be crying on my front porch and holding onto my sd like she was sending her off for a month rather than one more night. She had the kids a mess with missing her.

Of course, she started her manipulations BEFORE they even came over. She'd be crying at her house before dad would get there, telling them how much she missed them and how she cried when they weren't with her. When dh would pick the kids up, she'd stand at the end of the driveway and cry. She'd stand there until dh was down the street and around the corner looking pathetic.

She really warped the kids. All three therapists the kids have gone to (it's no wonder after what she's done to them) all told us and her that she was causing them problems with her behavior. The court told her not to come outside during the exchanges, etc. It's not short-term either. My stepkids are teenagers and they are still messed up. They still don't like leaving their mother alone (she's never dated since dh split with her over 13.5 years ago). We see them now a couple times a year and that is it.

If interference is allowed to continue and emotionally affect the child, it isn't a short-term problem. It can cause havoc on your relationship with the child in the long-term too.
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#22 of 24 Old 07-31-2008, 08:04 PM
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Since it is also a work phone, I would most definitely use that!

I would have dad tell bio-mom something along the lines of ...

Dear Interfering and Insecure BM (lol)...just kidding.

Dear ex,

As you know, our phone is also my work phone. Therefore it must remain open and available for work-related issues at all times. The frequent telephone calls from you to our child is interfering with work. In addition, our child is not here for very long and I would like to spend as much uninterrupted time as possible with her as that time is precious.

I do, however, understand the importance of your maintaining telephone contact with our child. Therefore, I would like to suggest a time on the weekends for one phone call, perhaps around 7:30 right before bed (*insert time here*). [I would make it right before bed about 15 minutes so when it is bedtime, it is a way to get her off the phone with a good reason] I would like to find a time that is suitable to both homes so if you have another suggestion for a time, please advise.

During week day visitation, given that she is only here for a few hours, I am sure you can understand why phone calls doing these short visits are not necessary and interfere in my time with her. They also render my work phone unavailable which is a problem.

Of course, if there is ever any emergency, you are welcome to call me. However, I think it best for my job and our daughter that we maintain some consistency with regard to uninterrupted time for the both of us with our child and telephone calls.

Thanks,
Dad
-------------------

Dh's ex always interfered in dh's time for the first several years. She'd send a card for them to open up everyday they were here with pictures of her in it. She's schedule dance for my sd on the weekend and was adamant about taking her and being there...then she'd come back to drop her off and she (the ex) would be crying on my front porch and holding onto my sd like she was sending her off for a month rather than one more night. She had the kids a mess with missing her.

Of course, she started her manipulations BEFORE they even came over. She'd be crying at her house before dad would get there, telling them how much she missed them and how she cried when they weren't with her. When dh would pick the kids up, she'd stand at the end of the driveway and cry. She'd stand there until dh was down the street and around the corner looking pathetic.

She really warped the kids. All three therapists the kids have gone to (it's no wonder after what she's done to them) all told us and her that she was causing them problems with her behavior. The court told her not to come outside during the exchanges, etc. It's not short-term either. My stepkids are teenagers and they are still messed up. They still don't like leaving their mother alone (she's never dated since dh split with her over 13.5 years ago). We see them now a couple times a year and that is it.

If interference is allowed to continue and emotionally affect the child, it isn't a short-term problem. It can cause havoc on your relationship with the child in the long-term too.
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#23 of 24 Old 08-01-2008, 09:54 PM
 
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When my two are with their Dad for a w/e, I don't call them. When they're with him for a week or more, I call once a week. They do have their cells, though, so they tend to text me in the evening, usually before they go to bed. While *technically* they are free to call whenever they choose (that works both ways), it's been made clear to them that it annoys their Dad when they do. (We actually had a time several years ago when #2 went over to his neighbor's and used their phone to call me so that Dad wouldn't know.)

Personally, I could easily talk to them for an hour or more each day, but don't think it's fair when they're with him.

When they're home, I encourage them to call their Dad whenever they have something interesting going on, whether with school, extracurriculars or personally. They prefer to limit themselves to a call a week as they've found that he's difficult to reach, doesn't return their calls, and isn't really interested in what they have to say.
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#24 of 24 Old 08-02-2008, 02:32 PM
 
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Is it possible to forward your ex's calls to another phone that has the ringer turned off? You should be able to forward certain phone numbers to another phone #. Then, at certain times your dh can call his ex and reassure her everything is o.k. , but no, she cannot talk to her daughter right now because she is outside/busy doing X. Then he can tell his ex a time their child can call her back.

We have another phone line in our basement in my dhs' office so all his exs' ph #'s are forwarded to that phone and they are easy to ignore. Same thing happenned with us. Her frequent and abusive calls were getting pretty bad. Things have calmed down a lot since she realized we were not at her beck and call on the phone.
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