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NSW Hostile Parent - Children Trying to Discuss Concerns

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Tuchuzy, 20 April 2015.

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  1. Tuchuzy

    Tuchuzy Well-Known Member

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    Hey! I have a less legal and perhaps more ethical/practical question.

    We have a family law trial due in July and are facing a very hostile & aggressive parent. I have 3 kids - aged 4, 6 and 8. All boys.

    The other evening on a contact call, my 8 year old was chatting away and he tried to asked the father about his recent relocation. 8 year old is very worried about this move as it takes them 85 kms away from an area they know and have some connections. They do not live in the old area, just every second weekend visiting. But regardless they are familiar with the old area and like it.

    My 8 year old asked - why cant we go to 'old area'?. His father got instantly upset and made comments around that was not a child matter, asked where I was, asked where my partner was, basically shut down the conversation.

    When off the phone, my 8 year old said to me - he is worried about moving, he does not want to move, he just waned to raise it with his father. 8 year old was crying and visibly upset. He said - I was just trying to ask why.

    My question: how do I raise this without seeming like a hostile parent myself? In the context of a trial, I know that everything will be taken out of context/exaggerated etc.

    Just adding to do not coach them when they are talking. And yes we comfort them and help them to understand etc. In case this was a passing thought! :)

    Any advise or thoughts are welcome. Not just legal ones. I would really like to support my kids, but not denigrate or be seen to be aggressive to their father.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Well, realistically, a relocation isn't a matter for discussion with the kids, it's a matter for discussion between the parents, but of course, I would say the father could've handled the conversation with his son very differently. With that said, though, how the father manages his relationship with his kids is a day-to-day decision to be made by him without intervention, and it is better to allow the father to parent as he sees fit and avoid the conflict than it is to tell the father your concerns and risk exacerbating the conflict.

    There's an inherent order that goes into most parenting orders stipulating that neither parent is to criticise, undermine or denigrate the other, and giving directions on how the other parent should raise or speak to the kids is basically akin to criticism and undermining their role as a parent.

    On top of that, the chance of the father changing his behaviour on your suggestion is between Buckley's and none. One of the things they really focus on in post-separation parenting courses is that neither parent can force the other to change, and even trying will only cause more problems, so it's better to focus only on your actions, not on the actions of the father.

    I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way. I agree that shutting the conversation down with an 8-year-old isn't the best way to approach the issue, but since you can't control when that happens, it's just better to deal with the aftermath in the most supportive way that you can. Explain to your son that grown-ups sometimes have to move away from places they like so that they can better provide for their families, and that even though he might be worried about the new place, his dad will be there and that he might find lots of new friends and adventures at the new place.

    It's unfortunate, of course, but when you don't agree with the other party's parenting style, it's best to let sleeping dogs lie. Your kids are getting to an age where they'll be aware of what's going on in terms of proceedings and conflict, so keeping them away from that conflict is the most supportive thing you can do for your kids. There have been loads of studies showing that it's the conflict, not the divorce or separation, that causes kids emotional damage, so do your utmost to protect them from that and they will be grateful when they're older.

    I hope this helps. :)
     
  3. Tuchuzy

    Tuchuzy Well-Known Member

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    Thanks - and yes it does help. And those are the same words & concepts we used to help support them.

    The last thing I want to do is expose them to any more conflict, so sleeping dogs!!

    My poor baby's last comment was 'he only thinks about himself'.... we have also asked about starting the ARCK program with MaryMead. Extra support for everyone!
     
  4. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

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    Yes, courses can be very helpful for both you and for your case. It sounds like you're on the right track, even if the other party is not. It's important that the kids have at least one parent who can rise above the drama, no matter how angry or frustrated or upset that drama might make them. :)
     
  5. okanynameyouwishthen

    okanynameyouwishthen Well-Known Member

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    Whilst not casting aspersions or questioning the events at all, I feel as a man/father whom it seems is at fault no matter what in my own matter before courts. Yes I'll say it I believe the judge is straight-out biased of me and has predetermined my worth on the back of huge untruths told & unquestioned ones at that. I simply ask if there was any previous similar "discussing court matters/children" events in your matter to appreciate how that may have been handled.

    As a non residing parent who is awarded a ludicrously inadequate bit of time in which to see my very curious, confused and innocent 7 year old, it is very hard to be asked an innocent question but to second guess any response for fear of "crossing a line" is very hard, I feel. Human instinct firstly sees to us questioning in our own mind "where did that come from?" or "what's the other parent been telling them for them to even ask such things?".

    My own case after filing an application in a case for "X" amount of hours to have our child over Christmas to be spent at paternal family members. During a supervised contact centre visit in the days after ex's lawyer being served notice of my Application, I sat at the end of a surprisingly quiet-ish visit with daughter and asked her what was troubling her to be instantly replied with "I don't wanna spend X amount of hours at XYZ on Christmas day as they were mean to mummy!".

    Despite the ONLY way she could have learned of the hours sought was via her mum, and the whole sad incident being recorded by the staff member at centre & written into the report my raising it with judge was completely ignored at the hearing. Time restraints were mentioned and suggestions to raise it at next scheduled hearing mention re interim orders as was my again requested phone contact with child buffed off & suggestion made of writing to others lawyer regards phone calls.

    When the response came back accusing me of accusing her for raising court matters with our child & for that reason as well as my supposed angry tone of letter seeking phone contact & no more discussing court with a child (no she wouldn't even consider negotiating phone calls). It begs belief then that in the interim it is verified by witness & written in report that our child was distressed regarding Christmas plans so I was not only right in my requesting she stop discussing court with our child, I felt surely she would be finally seen for her true intentions and actions such as having the gall to deny talks on phone contact due to my daring to "falsely" accuse her.

    End result: at next mention I again was overrun & belittled by her counsel & left dumbfounded reading the new interim orders specifically stating "The father restrained from discussing court matters etc".

    Back to your matter: I'm not saying that's the history with you guys I'm just saying I read your post & put myself in your ex's shoes & I agree maybe not perfect handling eventuated. I don't know after reading all that back I am almost to erase it all & simply write "It's Family Law litigation". I mean no disrespect but is anything involved in the whole barbaric fight to the death ordeal "right"? I mean don't forget the goals encouraged throughout by $ leeches gaining off yours & others' misery. Convincing you it's just and ethical to utterly crush your opponents last fibre of hope, self belief and parental rights & dreams. All behind the false facade of What's in the best interests of the child! What rot!
     
  6. Tuchuzy

    Tuchuzy Well-Known Member

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    I think that we all feel your frustration and possibly even share some of that frustration.

    I try my best not to focus on my ex but on supporting my children in achieving their goals and dreams... not mine nor my exes. They are after all little people in their own right. They have their own hopes for the future, likes/dislikes, wishes etc.

    As tempting as coaching and persuading might be.... it is never the right thing to do.

    Perhaps instead of trying to second guess your exes agenda, just be open and honest and gentle in your words with your child. I always find the being engaged and communicating with children is best way to approach any issue - whether it is about shared parenting or about how to clean teeth!

    I hope this helps!
     

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