Answering Questions

ashley1979November 18, 2008

I didn't want to hijack Nicksmom's thread so I'm going to answer FD's and Nicksmom's questions here. I welcome any CONSTRUCTIVE advice as well. If you can't be constructive, I really am not in the mood to hear it.

Nicksmom - Thank you so much! helps us tremendously! It's good for FDH to know what someone else's papers say so he can at least start by requesting those guidelines from BM. FSD is 13 and is increasingly more involved in extra-curriculars. When I read what you wrote to FDH, he liked those parameters because it allows for weekends to me moved around without going too awfully long without seeing her. We know she has family, friends and activities. We understand, encourage and respect that. But going to the fair is not a reason to not come see us after 10 weeks.

FD - I have talked frequently about BM parenting FSD with guilt and fear. This break-down between FDH and FSD started when she was 10 and she started a very all-consuming extra-curricular activity that BM wanted her to do. Up until then, they were very close (too close in my opinion). All of her time on weekends was spent at this other place and we were getting less time to see her. Finally, about a year into this new activity, BM made her chose between that activity, which BM and SF were involved in and we were excluded, and softball, which was a sport FDH was helping coach. She chose softball. BM didn't like that and then said she wouldn't pay for it but that she would pay for the other. So, FSD, being the poor vulnerable soul she is, felt she had no recourse. So she got increasingly more involved in this activity and all but stopped coming over. At some points, it would be 2 or 3 weeks before we'd get any time outside of this activity with her. When BM started to be overwhelmed, she started recruiting us to help. Well of course we'd jump on that because we were doing it for FSD. But, in reality, the only person it was benefitting was BM. FSD was unhappy, stressed and gaining weight.

That's when it started. FSD loves her father and has a great time when she comes. BM never actually "prevents" her from coming, but she uses fear, guilt and money to manipulate FSD. Like, for instance, BM will wait until the last minute to buy tickets and then they are expensive. Then she tells FSD "do you know how much it's costing me to send you to your father?". Or she might tell her "oh, well it's too bad you'll be with your father because we're going to (insert wonderful and fun activity) while you're gone. Too bad because we'll really miss you". And she even has the baby sister call and say "I miss you! Why do you have to go see your dad?" So, no, she doesn't actually say "you can't go", but she makes her feel either guilty for going or like she's gonna miss something big if she does. And no teenager wants to miss out. OR, it's even been said that she's in trouble because the flight was so expensive.

As far as Thanksgiving goes, here's how it went down.......we didn't have her last year. She went to the director's house of that certain extra-curricular activity with BM, SF and sister while FDH and I spent the day with my family (sans DS because he was with his dad). We ended up not getting her all weekend because the day after was a parade and the next day was "hanging of the greens" and the next day was some performance. We did, however, have her Christmas day and the rest of that week (because BM wanted to be with her family so they went ahead and left FSD with us, which was sh*tty of BM, but great with us).

So, this year I have DS. FDH asked BM for Thanksgiving break. She said that we had her for both holidays last year and that she wasn't planning to send her for either, but that she would think about it. Well, that's certainly not true, as I explained to FDH later when he told me about it. I explained how the entire holiday went down and said that I was right. I asked if he would call BM and tell her she was wrong and he said that he would wait until she gave him a decision. The next night, my brother called and offered to pay for all of our flights (a very generous gift) to see him and my sister's family for Thanksgiving. FDH said he would wait until he talked to BM to tell her about the trip. I argued that it wasn't good to wait because BM would've already convinced FSD to not come because (supposedly) she didn't have any holidays with her last year. So BM calls and says that she talked to FSD and she doesn't want to come for Thanksgiving because it's her first one in her new home and she doesn't want to travel on her first break from school. So FDH says that FSD needs to call and tell him herself. So, 2 days later, she does and says everything BM said. AND that she was with us last year and wants to be with her mom this year. I said to FDH when he told me "WHAT IN THE HELL IS GOING ON? THIS WOMAN SAYS SOMETHING AND SUDDENLY ALL OF EVERYONE'S MEMORIES ARE ALTERED? ALL YOU CAN REMEMBER IS WHAT SHE TELLS YOU YOU REMEMBER? DOES SHE HAVE MIND CONTROL OVER EVERYONE EXCEPT ME?" So that's that.

Yeah....he could go there and stay in a hotel, but we can't afford it. They live 1 state away, but we live in Texas and 1 state away is still a long way. It's about 600 miles from here. We've tried, but it would cost a minimum of $500 in gas and lodging. When she comes here, it's MAYBE $200 and she has frequent flier miles. So BM really gets the much better end of the deal. However, we do plan to make a trip out there in the spring to see everything and meet her friends.

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Ashley, from reading what you wrote, it doesn't sound like Nicksmoms visitation situation would work for yours.

Is there anything legal done about visitation? If not, that would be my first stop. I think the situation of yours would need strict guidelines, like every other holiday. A weekend once every **** weeks or whatever works for you and DH. And also spell out who pays for what. It sounds like everything would need to be spelled out so BM cannot "control" the situation.

Also, I wouldn't involve SD in discussions about wanting to come for awhile. I understand what most people say about teenagers, but I do think she needs to see and understand that DH and you want/have to see her, spend time with her and understand that DH is just as much of a parent as BM is. With strict guidelines in place about what weekends, BM should be able to avoid the "she has activities scheduled, can't come" excuse.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 6:39PM
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I have to agree w/Nivea. I don't think our arrangement would work for your SD. Like I said in my other post, the first thing you MUST have is TWO parents who will work together. If one of them has selective memory, that will never work. You will definitely need something more specific in place, which becomes much more difficult the older the kids get, because they have other obligations (school, sports, etc.)

But something I just HAVE to know....what is the all-consuming activity she's involved in? It's killing me!

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 7:39PM
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"But something I just HAVE to know....what is the all-consuming activity she's involved in? It's killing me!"

I was thinking the same thing! I've been wracking my brain trying to think what it could possibly be?! Underwater left handed basket weaving maybe?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2008 at 10:27PM
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LOL! I have been avoiding using the actual name in case someone were to search and see my posts, so I will have to be circumspect. It's an internationally famous singing group made up of all females from the ages of 6 to 20. They travel all over the country and the world singing. And do you remember what state I live in? The name of the "singing group" made up of all "girls" includes the state we live in. LOL! Does that help at all?

And, believe me! It really is an all-consuming activity. Every day is filled with something and because they are "non-profit", all parents are expected to volunteer. And I mean ALL PARENTS. Even GRANDparents.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 10:21AM
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you previously said that SD never returns dad's phone calls and emails and never wants to talk to him.

I understand mom guilts her for not going to dad but what about phone calls or emails, she cannot control that. espcially if you say Sd does not pick up the phone or does not write back. You previosuly said that she does not want to do anything wiht her father and as you called it she "abandoned" her father because that's the choice she makes. you previously said that she is old enough to make her own choice to call her dad back or email.

now all of a sudden she is close to her father but mom is guilting her. how is it from her own poor choices of abandoning her dad you go to mom's fault and too many extra activities?

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 10:56AM
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No.....I didn't say they are close. I said they WERE close and that she loves her father and has a good time when she's here. Then I went into this long paragraph about when the break down started and what was happening. That was about age 10 so there were 10 years when they were very close.

You're right, she doesn't return calls, e-mails or When she lived here, we started seeing her less, but she still answered the phone and we were involved in her all-consuming extra-curricular activity. Now that she lives far away, she is "increasingly more involved in extra-curriculars". They, however, have not been the reasons she hasn't come. None of them are on weekends, as of yet.

And I did not say she IS involved in too many extra activities. I said she was involved in 1 extra activity that was all-consuming. That's when the break down started between her & FDH; when BM put her in this one activity and then made her quit the one that FDH was helping with.

We think we know the reason for the not returning phone calls, texts and e-mails. When she sees us or talks to us, she misses us. She wants to stay longer, but 1) doesn't have the nerve to ask her mom and 2) is always bribed by her mom and family with activities upon her return. It's hard for her to leave her dad. So, sometimes, it's easier to ignore the calls and emotional conversations than to wrestle with them every time he calls or every time she comes (which has only been 3 times, but that's a lot to a teenager). I understand that completely. I have told FDH that he needs to keep the mushy stuff out of the conversations because it's hard enough for her not to be with him. Does that make sense?

She wanted to move, basically because BM was talking about how great it would be, but also because she's never really lived around extended family before. So that was all new and exciting. But she didn't want to leave her dad. It's hard for her to adjust when everyone is telling her who she should be loyal to. If FDH is all sappy on the phone, she feels guilty for loving her new life. If she misses her dad, she feels like she's betraying her mom and family. So it's easier to leave the old life behind and live in the new one.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 12:32PM
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something seems strange here. is that the same FSD that you were reading texts and emails? Could that be the reason she does not want to call, text or email anymore? because something happened in between that caused her to pull away from dad and you.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 1:05PM
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Yeah.......she's the same one....the only one. I guess it's possible, but very unlikely. You're right when you say it seems strange. Because it is. It's been very hard on us because we don't know what has happened. When I asked her this weekend if she got the texts I sent her, she said she did and said thank you. She and DS interracted more than they ever have and even acted like brother and sister.

It seems to be that the problems are when she's at home. That's when she calls SF dad and won't answer her phone. It's like she has everyone she needs there and just forgets about us.

But, I think everyone is right that FDH needs to get some papers in order. I can just see this problem snowballing. But FDH is afraid. Afraid of what? I don't know. I guess he's afraid of that 4'10" of mean evil woman he married. Only thing I can think of. She throws threats around like they are no tomorrow, but she rarely ever enforces them. She's not used to someone standing up to her. I just wish he would do something before I see his heart broken anymore.

And, just for the record, I saw the text by accident and that was the only time. And FDH and BM are the ones reading the e-mails. I have no part of that. BM has, however, deleted e-mails I've sent to FSD. Nothing important, just some forwards, but still she deleted them before she could see it.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2008 at 3:11PM
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There are times when court-ordered visitation schedules can be a lifeline.

My custody agreement with EvilEx stipulated that on even-numbered years, he would get Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and I would get Christmas Day. On odd-numbered years, the reverse was true. For summer breaks, we'd each have two weeks of uninterrupted vacation time with first choice of weeks alternating odd and even years. Spring break alternated odd and even years.

In your case, stipulating something along the lines of visitation on the third weekend of every month might help, with the weekend 'switchable' if both parties agree. Why the third? Just so you'd have the right to insist on a specific time if BioMom won't negotiate a reasonable alternative.

We went through several years where Ex would insist that DS should be able to travel freely between our two houses. He would stock the pantry with junk food, let DS watch unlimited TV and play unlimited video games, and tempt him with movie openings, vacations and trips to the toy store. (Didn't any movies ever open on his night?) DS was urged to "Tell your Mom you want to spend more time here" and "Stay a little longer" It almost got to the point where DS felt pressured not to come back home. I finally said "No - just what the agreement says."

    Bookmark   November 20, 2008 at 11:45AM
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