Child Abuse, Court Proceedings and Contact Centre
11 May 2021 at 8:54 pm #54046
I need to vent or any advise from another parent going through similar.
my son (5) was physically abused by his father and contact stopped immediately. His father applied for court stating I was in breach of old court order (shared care). Court obviously took the abuse seriously (prosecution was dropped due to COVID and social worker was rubbish). My son was adamant for so long he didn’t want to ever see his dad again. It was agreed in court for contact to resume in a contact centre. For the first few months my son was very distressed and anxious before, during and after these sessions. CAFCASS are heavily involved but want contact to continue via the contact centre.
the last few sessions my sons anxiety has started to lessen due to them involving the paternal grandparents. However, my sons attitude, behaviour and habits when he comes home have massively deteriorated. I’ve tried everything possible to help the situation but he is still adamant he doesn’t want to go to the contact centre, but has fun when he’s there. I don’t think (and CAFCASS) advise that he won’t be returning to his dads home (unsupervised or overnight) any time soon, however I cannot cope with how my boy has changed. He screams and shouts in my face, his behaviour at school has got worse (teachers have called me in for it), he refuses to eat (he does this when he feels he’s not in control). Myself and his school have done a lot of work surrounding his worries and emotions but I’m so concerned this whole ordeal is going to affect him more and more, and especially as he gets older.
I feel like I cannot speak to any professionals as I’m being scrutinised for ‘not complying’ despite my full support in the contact centre sessions, but these people don’t see the behaviours I have to deal with before and after the sessions my son sees his dad.
I’m feeling very deflated and stressed that I’m not doing the right thing for my son, I don’t care whether he sees his dad or not but I know he should if it’s safe to do so. But how do I deal with how this process is changing his feelings towards me? I feel like he’s starting to resent me for forcing him to go somewhere he doesn’t want to go – but what doesn’t make sense is that he is starting to enjoy his time there??
any advise would be greatly appreciated for one tired, overly stressed and protective mummy 🙁12 May 2021 at 10:55 am #54066
This sounds awful. I’m surprised that any form of contact has been allowed if there has been physical abuse and if your son has been so vocally against contact (although his age might be a factor) – but that doesn’t help your situation…
My suggestion would be to push your GP for a CAMHS referral and have your son seen by a professional to assess his behaviour and see if it linked to contact for 2 reasons.
1- they can provide support and interventions to help manage behaviour and emotions regardless of the cause,
2- they might be able to provide a letter or report that you can take to court to show the negative impact (if any) of contact, and this might help things be reconsidered.
There is a possibility that he does enjoy contact but feels under pressure to pretend not to, in order to please you (his main carer/ parent he lives with) – this can be quite a stressful and conflicting position for a child to be in. Feelings such as guilt for enjoying contact, fear of being hurt again, fear of upsetting and being rejected by you if contact continues, etc can all get mixed up and manifest in outbursts and anger. Again though, a psychologist would be best placed to investigate and assess what’s going on.
You might find it useful to take stock of where YOU are at re contact. Are you really cooperating or are you begrudging contact and being passive aggressive about it? Are you tense, stressy and angry around contact times? Or are you sad, withdrawn? Or weepy? – Not that anyone would blame you in the slightest if you felt any or all of that (!!) – it’s just that your child will be picking up on what you’re feeling/how you’re acting ..
Sometimes the worst thing about being the “not rubbish” parent is that the responsibility for making your child feel safe, loved and comfortable with what’s going on, all falls on your shoulders. It’s really hard; hats off to any parent who does this
Really hope it works out for you.12 May 2021 at 3:10 pm #54076
Thank you so much, I’m having a meeting with his school again today and then I’m going to get on at the GP to push this referral. I appreciate your response and you kind wishes 🙂