SD13 is a good kid

yabberApril 23, 2010

I've got sad news today. SD13 has decided to give up on 50/50 living arrangements. She's going back to BM's and will only come EOW + Thursdays.

Things have been going really well at our place and SD13 has been happy. The reason is not that it's not good at our place, it's that BM is pulling her back in. She's going through a hard time (when isn't she, really?) and needs the support of the kids. SD13 is a good daughter and so she does what is required of her. FDH was so upset last night, he even said he had soap in his eyes after he came out of the shower, but that didn't fool anybody I don't think :-(

It's stressful and disappointing, but we did ok last night and took it easy. There's been times where we will all start having a go at each other if the tension is too much, but we are getting better at dealing with these situations.

If they were my kids I really don't think I could let things be. I would confront BM with the drinking problem and I would get my evidence ready to take it back to court. My SD12 and SD13 should not have to stay home to look after babies and miss school regularly. And they deserve a cooked meal, and a safe environment in which they feel free to express themselves. A nurturing environment to grow in. If they were my kids I would not be able to stand back and let it happen.

But I do understand where FDH is coming from. He's been dealing with BM's sh%$#t for over 10 years now, and after the last attempt to get her help for drinking issues (in court) he's desillusioned in ever getting anywhere. And the harder we try to change things, the worse it gets.

I can imagine that from BM's point of view she feels like she needs to defend herself and punish FDH for trying to get her in trouble. Because that is most likely how she'd perceive it, and fair enough for somebody who's mentally unstable and feels like everybody is out to get her. Taking her to court was not going to bring us any closer, but we were pretty desperate and had exhausted all other avenues. As for the 'punishing' bit, this is not something I personally can relate to, but we can see that BM wants to prove to FDH over and over how she IS mom and decides for HER kids, he is only the 'father' and that means nothing. How dare he even try to have a say in their lives, she'll disrupt our weekends to punish and to show him. Sometimes it's just that simple and nasty.

And I've made my decision. Whatever FDH wants to do regarding the skids, I respect his decision.

We discuss everything, I certainly put in my two bob :-) but in the end it's FDH's decision. And all I have to do is support him and be there for the skids when they're with us. We make it fun, I love cooking a nice meal, they love eating it. We take the dog for a walk, we watch a movie, I listen to SD12 practice the guitar, I laugh with SD13 when we watch silly stuff on youtube (type in "crazy dog man", it's good for a laugh). And of course, we talk about Justin Bieber, aaahhhh Justin.

Life goes on, but I feel sad today.

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Has this gone to court and been decided? Just because a 13 year old would rather live with their other parent does not mean it has to happen, does it? From what you have described BM's home is not stable and will set sd up for failure. Can't dh talk to sd about this and say something like "I know you love your mother, but her drinking and not taking care of you (food ,etc) and having you miss school to babysit is not in your best interests so I am not going to change our custody agreement"???

I understand bm is manipulating her dd, but sometimes I just do not understand when men give up when they know it is not in their child's best interests.

I know you have no control over it and ultimately it is dh's decision, but imho it just stinks!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 9:56AM
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Yes I agree it stinks. It's just not right.

FDH did go to court, about 2 years ago now. The court decided that FDH and BM attended court counseling first, so they did. FDH had evidence of BM's drinking problem but somehow this didn't seem to be taken into consideration. The counselor seemed biased, and I know that sounds silly, I still find it hard to believe myself. It already started when she called them into her office and addressed BM with first name and FDH as Mr ... As if they already knew each other, it was strange.

Anyway, FDH presented his evidence and tried to talk about possibilities of getting help for BM since he thought her drinking is a problem. BM accused him of fabricating it to make her look bad. The counselor didn't seem all that keen to look into it. FDH also expressed his wish for 50% shared care. The counselor decided that the skids should have final say and interviewed them, this is what BM was pushing for (saying that skids were old enough to have a say and that she respects their decision, but really knowing that skids would say what she'd instructed them) FDH tried to explain to counselor how skids were under pressure to please BM, but counselor just ignored this and interviewed skids. And we all know how that went.

FDH and I had talked a lot previously and decided with help of counselor that it wasn't in kids best interest to try for full custody, if FDH could get help for BM's drinking problem there might not be a need. After all the best outcome would be for BM to deal with some of her issues so her parenting would be more stable. This is what FDH (maybe naively) tried to do, his heart was in the right place.

Now the court order is flexible so skids can do as they please, or as BM pleases more likely.

But I agree mom2emall, I could not give up on it if they were my kids. These kids need looking after and they just don't get that overthere. I'm so p*ssed

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 10:27AM
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Running late for work, but Yabber . . .I just want you to know my heart goes out to you. I know how hard this is and how wrong it is, and how much it hurts you. I'm sending you big hugs today.

On a side note - I'm taking SD15 and a friend to see J.B. in concert. There - do you feel bad for ME now??? :-)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2010 at 10:36AM
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Hahaha sucked in!! :-)
Your SD15 is going to love it, how awsome for her!

I just wanted to clarify my previous post a bit because it seems confusing when I talk about 'the' counselor. FDH and myself saw a counselor previously to going to court (who advised us to try and get help for BM - parenting classes / mandatory counseling / enter a program for addicts etc etc)

The court counselor was a different lady, obviously...

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 12:02AM
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Oh no. It must be upsetting for a DAD.

dad should sit down and discuss with mom pros and cos and find it the reason. and do the same as SD. Really get to the bottom of the reasoning. Can't just go by what he thinks is the reason.

if it is for babysitting, it is unacceptable and should not be her job at all (beyond occasional). But if it is because 50/50 is just too much moving around, wants to live with mom because she is a girl and has girly things to deal with LOL, misses mom, plenty of other reasons then maybe it is acceptable.

I don't think he should actually tell SD that mom won't cook you a meal, or be drunk all the time or will not take care of you. If that's what truly going on then another visit to court should take place, I mean if there is documented neglect. But if it is minor undocumented or just stuff that dad thinks is happening he does not have enough ground to get custody and will upset his DD for no reason.

I would be very upset if DD decided not to live with me and only see me EOW. But if she truly wanted to live with the other parent I would hesitate to push it. Courts can force a child but it will backfire. I would rather see DD EOW then never. dad has to be careful how he proceeds with it.

I do remember (yeap my memory) that SDs did not want to go to dads in the past and had all kind of conflicts. They came a long way and things are much better. I would not want dad to ruin it by start pushing too much.

So I think he needs to have detailed conversation with BM and SD individually. Then go from there. Hopefully something good comes out of it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 8:42AM
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In a normal situation I would agree FD, but we are not in a normal situation. The BM is disordered, there is no point for FDH in trying to talk with her. The more you engage the worse it will get. You have to understand that the level of manipulation that goes on makes it impossible to have a frank conversation. There is a disorder standing in the way of things. And BM is not going to sit down and honestly discuss the best interest of the kids, if she was interested in that we wouldn't be where we are today.

FDH does NOT talk to kids about BM's bad habits, I don't either. We both know that this is not good for the skids, even though sometimes we feel like saying things (boy do we!!) we know it's just better not to. But, if the skids bring up certain issues out of their own accord then we will try and be as honest as we can, focusing on the feelings and perceptions of the skids rather than the negative behavior from BM, we learned this frmo the therapist. This is not always easy, but it works really well.

FDH and SD13 did have a long talk yesterday and SD13 did tell him that she feels bad when she leaves her mum alone, and also she thinks it's easier at BM's because it's closer to school. SO it's a mixture of reasons.

There have been plenty conflicts in the past, but don't forget they started with BM's poisoning their little minds. An awful thing to do, and clearly not something a mentally stable person would do to their own kids. Think about it.
The biggest conflict was last year when the skids started to believe that FDH did not pay for anything (because child support was not 'real' money) and that I wanted to spend everything on myself. We tried to deal with this by talking about it, then we tried to just let the snide remarks go, after all we shouldn't have to defend ourselves. And then one night it just went down the wrong way and I got really angry and yelled at them that they should know better and how dare they accuse us of all this b*llshit. Because I'd never gotten that angry before they got a bit of a shock of course, I did not handle it well. But it wasn't the end of the world either if you know what I mean. Anyway, the skids reacted by secretly calling BM from their rooms and BM calling the cops to come rescue her babies. And if you remember right back: even the police told the kids there was no need to run off just because I got angry before. We've always been able to talk about things, this time should not be different. BM even brought an audience along for her grand finale.
She poisons the skids, gets to us (or in that case ME) and once I lost it she got exactly what she wanted.
I've learned a lot from that night, and now I know that I just don't want to give her the satisfaction. So if I hear the poison come out of their mouths, I just walk away or keep a smile on my face and say "oh I see".

And if you wonder whether I'm just painting the BM black, because surely BM is not that nasty, then think about what she did after she got the kids that night. She went to a Fast Food Outlet first, and then over to a friends' place to have a couple of drinks. SD13 was sick from the stress of the night (migraine/nausea) and was left in the car in the friends' garage to sleep it off. What a way to look after your babies. Actually it's not even that BM always has nasty intentions, again this is the disorder. BM does not see how she affects the skids, I'm sure she doesn't realsie what she's really doing.

So no, FDH will not try and talk to BM, there is no point. It is good that SD13 opened up to him though, from what I can gather she feels supported and happy when she's with us, and if she feels like she needs to be with BM more then so be it. It will change back again, we know it will.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 4:54AM
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I had not thought of that yabber, that she will go to bm's and realize she wants to be at your home more instead. The problem is will bm then let that happen? Or will she force sd to stay and manipulate her more?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 10:36AM
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I agree that BM is far from the greatest.

But mom2emall I don't see how BM manipulates SD to live with her now, why and how would she manipulate her later? SD wants to be with mom, maybe for wrong reasons, but I am not sure that BM actually told SD to come live with her to take care of the babies? Why if SD wants to live with dad, it is because it is her will, but if at moms it is manipulation.

I also do not understand how could dad and SM possibly know every detail what is going on in mom's house, what friends mom went to, how many drinks she had, and so on, unless kids are grilled about the details.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 11:09AM
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Yabber, I feel badly for you. It's got to be really hard to just sit on your hands and say or do nothing when you know that this is probably going to end badly. As long as she knows that she is welcome back at your home then, when/if it starts to get bad, she will know she has a safe place to go to.

On a more cheerful note, perhaps it will be best in the long-term for SD13 to spend more baby-sitting time. I was reading the other day about girls who did more baby-sitting being (generally) less likely to deliberately get pregnant because babies are oh so cute and can be dressed up and shown off and such. Babysitters are fully aware that cute little babies do not remain so, but rather quickly turn into screaming little hellions who need 24 hour attention! Not a bad thing for a girl heading into her teenage years to remember. :)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 12:26PM
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Thanks guys.

FD of course we don't know every detail, I don't know how many drinks she has at her house? And why do you think we would drill skids to get information? Especially when I just explained how we usually don't ask those direct questions, but respond when they start talking about it themselves. And then we focus on the skids and their feelings, not on BM being bad or anything.

And anyway, BM did not say to SD she needed SD to be back to babysit. She's way more subtle, this is the point with manipulation, that you do not say things directly. BM just makes SD feel bad about leaving her alone, so SD can figure out for herself that BM would feel better if she'd stay. So to relieve her own sense of guilt she chooses to go back to BM's more. This makes her think that it's her own decision, but she is being manipulated into pleasing BM, you can believe this or not, that is fine.

In our case BM is the manipulator, yes, and if you want to think that all SM's think this way about all BM's then so be it.

I like your comments Mattie, that makes me feel better. Because the last thing we want is for skids to have babies too young and no education. You are so right.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 11:15PM
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I think that babysitting is only acceptable if it is on occasion.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 6:07PM
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