Post # 1
HELP! I’m really worried and so is my honey. We share straight 50/50 custody (3 days one week, 4 days the next) with his ex-wife but every time she comes to pick up our 2 year old he flips out, cries, throws a tantrum, get angry, gets sad, begs, runs, hides, and pouts. Anything he can pretty much do to get away from going back home with her. He knows when Sunday rolls around that we are coming to pick him up and it never fails that he is waiting at the window waving ecstatically and smiling.
So far, the facts are:
*His not wanting to go with her
*Frequently coming to us sick or messy (we had to issue antibiotics for 3 months consistently for a myriad of things from the flu to diarrhea to ear infections and sinus infections)
*He’s not one for lying and says that she’s mean to him and hits him with a paddle – we discipline with light swats that are very rare and mostly for the emotional impact of not wanting to disappoint us but mostly time outs and explaining why wrong is wrong. He hardly ever acts out with us and is always a polite and perfect angel when out and about with me. He gets much more playful with dad around but is still a great listener.
*He frequently comes to us injured by her dogs, cat, had to go to the ER for a head wound and we understand that accidents happen but it’s usually more serious and excessive.
*There was an incident with a boyfriend she had where she was arguing with the boyfriend and he shoved her in the driveway while she was holding our son. There were 3 witnesses, all who have agreed to be witnesses in court.
*She has had the cops called on her for potential animal abuse and noise ordinance abuse 3 times since she and my honey have split.
*Once our cousin saw her at Buffalo Wild Wings with our son and he was bawling and screaming uncontrollably.
*She’s been through 4 lawyers since he left her because she doesn’t agree with the 50/50 custody.
*We do issue time outs and light rare swats.
*We have been late three times in paying half of his health insurance.
*One time we had a complaint from our neighbor that our dog was whining all night when we were out working but no cops were involved.
*He’s been scratched by our cat a few times but she’s a kitten and I trim her claws frequently. He likes to Elvira-style hug her.
*Never once, EVER has he thrown a tantrum or been upset with me in public. EVER. In a year and almost a half.
I swear I’m not being biased or exaggerating. This has all been over the course of a year and there’s even more that she has done but this is the most relevant information to his welfare. What do you guys think?
Post # 3
I think you are being biased about most of those things. The only part I have an issue with is the paddle part. If the kid is being hit with a paddle, there should be marks and bruises. Have you noticed marks and bruises? If so, I would report that to CPS for child abuse if you are genuinely concerned about the child’s welfare and safety. However, if you just want to point it out and speculate for a custody battle, then it’s really not about welfare and safety of the kid and it’s your own personal matter.
Generally speaking, a parent wouldn’t want custody unless they WANT to be with the child. You are painting a picture like the mom doesn’t want to have anything to do with him, but that is most likely not the entire picture.
Post # 4
I want so badly for her to be a good mom but it really seems like it’s more she wants to be in his life to be bitter and hurt everyone involved in any way she can. I’ve tried to be so nice to her so often. I even invited her in to day while Jude was hiding and throwing a fit because it was freezing outside.
Post # 5
@Bazingau: Not to be a buzzkill, but I have to disagree with your last statement. I think many parents go to court for additional custody because they want to spend more time with their kids but it’s not always the case. Sometimes, parents are on a power trip and want to “stick it” to their ex-spouses. They’re angry and will use anything against their ex-spouses. In the event that one spouse has to pay more in child support, then often they will often demand more time with the child so they can reduce their child support expenses.
@lochnessy: I think you need to call an attorney. If there really is a problem here, then perhaps your attorney can get involved and get you and your SO more than 50% custody. Your attorney can also petition the court to change the circumstances in which the mother can interact with her child (for example, she has to be monitored by a neutral third party – e.g. social worker). At the very least, the incident in the driveway may mean she cannot provide a safe place for her child and is exposing him to danger.
Post # 6
Do either of you pay CS? I mean if she gets him more than 50/50 it would be in her benefit financially to take him and get Child Support. I’d take what you have to an attorney and see what they think. Most have free consultations.
Post # 7
You know, a few things sound bad, but I agree with Bazinga that you are not unbiased. I understand that you’re concerned, but there are some traces of smugness throughout this post that I am picking up on- your stepson never throws fits with you, always does with her, never wants to go with her, always wants to go with you.
I have a 17 month old, and depending on her mood, she’ll scream bloody murder if a specific person on her current shit list picks her up. I’ve been on that list and so has her dad. So has every one of her teachers. We don’t abuse her. Kids are fickle like that.
Also, our daughter has had a cold, three cases of the flu, an ear infection, two sinus infections, two cases of pinkeye and other ailments in the 11 months since daycare. I’d hate to think of someone judging me because hey, kids get sick.
Also, my daughter has screamed in a restaurant. Guess I’m a bad parent.
Is she still with the boyfriend? Who are the witnesses? Did they step in? If they are no longer together I don’t see how it’s an issue. The paddle and the injuries from animals are legit concerns. What exactly is it you want to do? Get more custody? Have her declared unfit? what does your husband think about all this?
Post # 8
@lilbluebird: +1 on both responses.
Post # 9
@Tatum: & Bazingau +1
Sorry OP I agree with the others here. You are being biased. My child is 17 months and when he is in public, heck even in daycare he is a perfect angel. But when at at home he can have tons of tanturms, so I guess that makes my DH & I bad parents.
My child bruises easily and right now has a bruise on his forehead because he was being a typical toddler and not watching where he was going and ran into the door frame. He bruises easily just like me.
As for the lying thing, sorry 2 year olds don’t get what is truth and what isn’t yet. So yeah they do lie.
Also toddlers get “messy” all the time, they are toddlers. They can get sick easily to. You really don’t have a leg to stand on for that.
As for the cops being called on the mom, if the child was in harms way the cops would have called in CPS if they felt the child was in trouble.
Post # 10
My daughter has visits with her father but only during the summers and every other christmas since he lives many states away.
When she was 2 it was IMPOSSIBLE to drop her off with him without a huge fit. Now she always says she never wants to go back but she’s getting a little older and knows we will be right back.
But at two, even when I was dropping her off at daycare for the day she would cling to my legs crying and upset about me leaving, at that age it’s common for them to have seperation issues.
Look out for changes in his behavior when he gets home, that’s a clear sign of what’s going on. When my daughter got home from one of her visits with her dad, she was in time out and I walked past her to get something from the room and she jumped and ducked her head and covered her head with her arms like she was afraid I was going to beat her. Signs like this tell you what is going on.
Also look out for bruises on him if you suspect abuse. She may not be the best parent in the world but NO ONE is. If there are serious signs of neglect or abuse (and the child being messy at age two isn’t a sign at all, it’s actually very common) I would take it to social services, but if there isn’t and you just don’t llike the way she is caring for him, don’t do anything about it because there is nothing you can do really that wont turn on you. Everyone raises their children differently, everyone acts and reacts differently and it’s her child so she has a right to raise him how she sees fit, unless it is damaging to the child.
When he is 12 (or 13 I can’t remember the exact age) he can choose if he wants to go there or not, until than it’s best to follow the court papers unless you think he is being abused or neglected.
My daughter gets spoiled rotten at her dads, and when she gets back it takes at least a month to get her back to normal, she cries and throws a fit to get toys because at her dads when she’s bad she gets toys to calm her down. She also spanks when all we do is time out. We discussed this with him and he’s the least reasonable man on earth but discussing the way you raise your child with the other parent is really important. He hasn’t stopped spoiling her but we agreed that he wont spank her either.
Post # 11
My son used to act out when coming or going to his fathers house. It’s a huge change for kids & they don’t know how to handle their emotions & constantly changing environemnt. Be supportive & loving – tell him you can’t wait til he comes back but his mommy can’t wait to see him, too! … and then butt the heck out. Please, though, try to remember – this child is not ‘our son’ this child is ‘his son & her son’. As a step you have no rights & never will, you are not the parent & getting into this may actually cause more harm than good. I belive you love this boy & your intentions are good – but as adults you all need to put aside your issues with eachother & work together. As hard as it is sometimes in the step role, that means allowing mom & dad to be parents together. Your role is to support dad in the background.
Post # 12
- Wedding: August 2012 - Motor museum
I take exception to the term ‘our son’. He is not your son. It is good that you are taking a proactive role in caring, but he will never be your son. He is your oh and his ex’s son, and always will be no matter what happens.
However, I think if you genuinley have concerns you should document the incidents and apply for full custody. Failing that, you oh and his ex should meet with a mediator and discuss any issues or concerns together.
I applaud you for taking an active role, but you are his stepmother. Not his Mother. Any decisions are down to your oh.
Post # 13
- Wedding: August 2012 - Motor museum
My apologies, I meant to say your oh and ex should go to a mediator. I in no way advocate your presence there.
Apologies for spelling! On phone.
Post # 14
Wow, I’m shocked at the responses here, especially the harshness. It sounds like this kid is being abused, or at the very least, neglected by his mother. OP, I applaud you for stepping up for this kid because his mother obviously doesn’t really care about him.
Post # 15
I understand it’s a delicate situation, and you don’t want to turn a blind eye to potential child abuse or wait until it’s too late, but the problem that I have with OP documenting things and then applying for full custody (and by OP I mean OP’s husband) is that all her “evidence” she has compiled is SO circumstantial.
I mean, the kid says his mom is mean? Welcome to toddlerhood. My 3 year old nephew says that all the time, 99% of the time when his mother tells him he can’t have what he wants. The kid says she hits him with a paddle? What does that even mean? How does a 2 year old even know what a paddle is? Is it possible it’s not a traditional paddle like OP is thinking? Does the mom say, I am going to hit you with this paddle right now? Or did perhaps someone ask the 2 year old a leading question, does your mom hit you with a paddle?
What kind of injuries from animals is OP talking about? Are we talking scratches?
The boyfriend is the only thing that jumped out at me as wrong. But it sounds like he is maybe not even in the picture anymore. OP said the mom “had” a boyfriend. If they are no longer together, what is the point of even bringing it up? And how is it that three of the mother’s neighbors saw the incident and all called up OP to tell her about it? Are the mom’s neighbors, like OP’s cousin from BWW, all spying on this woman and then reporting back to OP?
I don’t know this woman and it’s possible she is a danger to her son and the kid’s father does need to step in somehow. But if you’re going to make such a damaging accusation, I think you need more proof then, my cousin saw him throwing a tantrum in public and he says his mom is mean and prefers our house to hers.
Post # 16
My 4 yr old sd has similar issues on the (rare) ocassions her month actually asks to see her. Our family therapist said it’s common for children to get confused and resist change. That being said, I suggest you document everything.
Also, I don’t know if you have kids of your own but childlessstepmoms.org is an invaluable resource for me.