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Controlling child-father contact

I believe fathers are extremely important; my dad is the best without a doubt.

But what if my ex-husband is not all that he should be?

He drinks A LOT, and is extremely untidy to the point of disgusting and he is extrememly vain to the point where he will spend thousands on beauty products but balks at paying extra for sons' soccer.

He wants increased visitation but I am not sure until he cleans up his act this is the best option for the kids.

If I have suggestions for him I am accused of being controling.  Am I being controling if I say no to more than four nights per fortnight?

What's your opinion. I am lost in a sea of guilt.
The first thing to consider is, how old is your son  and what are wishes.

The next thing is that despite your concern about how much your ex drinks, your child currently goes there 4 nights per fortnight. If the alchohol consumption was really an issue, would you allow your child there at all?

Using your children as leverage for him to change is not appropriate. People will not change unless they want to.

You need to think as a Mum and not someone who has an ex partner who's behaviour and lifestyle is not how they would live.

Your options are:

1) say no and continue on as you are, don't feel guilty.

2) agree to a trial period and see if the arrangement works for all. I have done this with my ex on some occaisions and it works.

3) bite the bullet and agree to allow an increase. Use the savings in actual care to cover the cost of sporting events when the child is with you.

My ex often refuses to pay for things "on top". I take the attitude now, that if I want my child to participate in something, I pay. It saves a lot of angst. If I can't afford to pay, the child misses out. This happens in nuclear families too.

We tend to put our ex's down to justify why the relationship broke up, when really the behaviour was there all the time and we accepted it.

For the sake of your child's self esteem, make sure that your issues with your ex stay with you and are not transferred.

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I allowed my children to attend primary school even though I knew nothing about the character or habits of the teachers.

In my case I feared for my children's lives. I had to face my fears and deal with them. It's natural to fear and protect - its harder to see things a bit more clearly - time allows that and early on it can lead to panic attacks and health problems.

Take a deep breath. Put you shoulders down.

Work through what you are worried might happen.

Then try turning it around.

Then try working out what you can do with your children (skills, resources) to deal with the people in their lives - whether it be the school, shops or anywhere else.

Can they use the phone.

Are they building skills of assertiveness.

Can they read whats going on?

Do they have words and language to help understand what is happening around them.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
I can understand where your coming from loulou.

I had an alcoholic ex, we were together for 11 years, he drank everyday, even at work.

He did have many great points, where his children never went without, and he would attend their Saturday morning rugby games even if he did have a case in the boot to comfort him.

I would never leave them alone with him when he was drinking as they would come second to his alcohol, and he did many dangerous stupid things like falling asleep while smoking, not supervising the kids, drop his lit smoke in the lounge grooves, it would stress me out. If he was doing this in front of me, he doing it all the time.

Maybe if this is your concern, try to empower the kids to learn to stay safe, and have a talk with him about your concerns. Most alcoholics are disgusting anyway, but vain to, he sounds a bit insecure about himself.
Your main question Loulou has only one answer and that is " Yes ".

Your asking if you only allow X amount of time unless he meets your demands based on how you view what a father is.

But we all realise that if a situation is dangerous to our children it should be interrupted, if it was like Sheila described there would be no choice but to protect the children.

It's important to children to let them love their parents and for both parents to love and protect the child, unfortunately parents may not be very good at doing this and may well require children to side with them. Perhaps more care should be taken to explain this to ourself and be less judgmental of the other parent when talking to the kids yet still allow ourself to disagree with their parenting style.

Just decide weather you are being protective for the correct reason and I'm sure things will be clearer, we all want our childs life to be perfect but have to ask if our way is the perfect way.

Best of luck    
I had the view when going to court that people would obviously give me my children - I mean after all even convicted criminals in jail are allowed to have children and have relationships and see them (and I am not a criminal) - so I could not fathom how anyone could think of denying any average human being contact, time with, etc their parent.

When (and why) should society intervene in custody matters - let DOCS decide (if anyone) and apply the same set of rules to intact couples as is done to separated.

 Maybe I am not explaining myself well enough
Not all criminals are in jail Jon, many are living their lives in luxury, they may even be working in government departments like DOCS.

But you are right: every parent deserves to spend time with their children; that is if there's no genuine concern for there safety.
i believe that as parents we should try to meet certain standards

these might be that breakfast is a meal before 10am and dinner contains vegitables at least 5 nights a week, or a 90% attendance rate at school or at least giving 1 extra carricular activity a year a go.

we expect these things of ourselves but if we slip up every now and then we know life will go on and there's a good chance no one will be hurt by the slip ups

On the other hand there are things in life that children will grow up to understand they were/or were not given the best chance in life because of

These are things like being left in the care of someone who simply did not care or know how to care, like the father who always smells of alcohol, sleeps in til lunchtime and wouldn't know how to cook veggies to save his life (just a few generalisations)

my short answer, you are not asking the person to change anymore than any other person is asked to change when they become a parent.

i changed when i fell pregnant, quit drinking and started being fussy about the laundry and had this uncontrolable need to get up every ad just to see if my daughter was ok, each person does change when they become a parent. It is not a matter of being asked or expected or requested - it is a must.

Think of this this way, when a child becomes an adult they change - we can talk about bodily changes, emotional changes, changes in rights and responcibilities.

An adult becoming a parent is like the next step in the cycle and change happens of its own accord in thosewho deserve the company of their children.

for all those who have commented that the dad is fine as he is think of this scenario… lets all of us just go about pretending we're responcibility free young adults and not parents and wait to see how long it takes for babies to die shall we?

Harsh i know but it isn't black and white, and when your child grows up and looks you in the eye do you want to see the trauma of being left at the wrong place at the wrong time.

The solution? i don't have one for the father in this scenario (but let itnot be misunderstood that in other scenarious it is the mother) however i do know that you sould not feel guilty for the father, that is not your job, you emotional investment should be in the child and in yourself.

The world would not need parents if children did not need protecting and sometimes this includes protecting from their parent/s.
motherwolf said
i believe that as parents we should try to meet certain standards
Good idea and one of those is to learn that a sentence starts with a CAPITAL letter.
Ah, Conan, and what about the fact that this post was actually started two and a half years ago?

And I won't mention the spelling and lack of the use of an '.
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