Child not wanting sleepover at Dads-age 10

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  • This topic has 6 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by Caitlin33.
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  • #29902 Report

    Caitlin33
    Participant

    Please can anyone advise. We are a year into separation and my daughter age 10 is finding it increasingly hard to stay over at her dads, her anxiety levels are worsening and she cannot sleep. She had a recent holiday with him and came home distraught,exhausted, angry and extremely anxious and stressed. It’s taken 2 weeks of TLC to calm her but now she has another 3 nights looming. Can she say No? Can I say No? If he ignores us and insists on her stopping over then what can I do ? What are her and my legal rights? Obviously it’s more complicated than I’m explaining, there is a history of difficult nasty behaviour from him and I have concerns about the damage and cumulative impact this is having on my daughter. It’s below threshold for an immediate social services referral however is significant and concerning. I feel powerless to fully protect her and to help her have her voice heard and needs fully met. Does anyone have a similar experience or advice. Thanks

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    #29912 Report

    Pumpkin62
    Participant

    I’m so sorry to hear this, it must be an incredibly worrying time for you.

    Is it possible for you to write for your daughters dad either email or letter explaining how she has been since she returned from her last visit. That you aren’t saying and outright no to all visits but you think it would be a good idea to postpone a visit for the time being until her behaviour settles. Sending something written removes all the emotion that inevitably will come out of you try to speak to him – your a mum trying to protect her daughter and you have an emotional history with dad. If you think it might work, I’d suggest writing / reviewing / writing the message to him over a few days to make sure you remove any language that you think might raise a negative response in him, if you keep it neutral, he might listen. Maybe?

    #29968 Report

    AmyLondon
    Participant

    Hi Caitlin,

    I have had a very similiar situation, my son has just turned 11 and had a two week holiday with his Dad and brother this summer. Both the boys came back quite ‘shell shocked’ and actually came home early. It’s heartbreaking that they don’t want to be with him and just want to come home. I can’t speak to my ex husband about anything like that without being abused verbally so as much as in an ideal world it is best to try and speak about it calmly, in reality its not always like that.

    We have a court order which stipulates two week holiday every summer, however in reality if my eldest didn’t want to go and I didn’t want to ( for whatever reason ) let him, then there isn’t a huge amount the father can do , family court would take in to account the childs feelings at this age if it went that far.

    It is such a difficult balance to tread and is always so complicated and multi layered in my experience. If I were you I would take some very basic legal advice , at the end of the day as much as we want to encourage our children to have relationships with both parents, it’s not always that easy and very upsetting when they are upset and don’t want to go. Also does she have a phone so she can contact you if she needs to or needs some reassurance when she is there? As long as she knows she can always come home to you if she wants to that might give her the confidence to go again on a visit. Or perhaps shorten the length of visit if at all possible.

    Good luck I know how delicate it is.

    A

    #30062 Report

    Caitlin33
    Participant

    Thankyou so much for your replies. I did write the reasonable childcentred email proposing 2 days contact but to sleep at home. I even forwarded an email from the GP outlining her sleep anxiety etc The response has been very negative , he does not agree and wants 3 nights.. also a few threats. I’ve no idea of his next move and am fearful that he will upset our daughter even more and be abusive towards  me. It seems so tragic to withhold contact when she wants to see him and I want them to have a relationship. But he has to communicate n cooperate with me and meet our daughters needs and rebuild her trust. If only he would engage and consider family therapy- or even a parenting plan.. She is crying out for help and this has crossed a line now for me. I cannot let her down.  I have now engaged a solicitor, I already have a key worker at a women’s centre and I have finally reported his historic/current and potential for further domestic abuse to the police. I’m taking action to protect her.. and myself.. but it’s massively scary the unknown of this weekend ahead .. even just getting her to school in morning. Will he turn up at door or school.. I have no idea .. There is now no agreed plan for contact  – and no one to help mediate n resolve this acute situation. I fear it may end up escalating even more.. my gut feeling is that I may need to stop contact until this is resolved .. at this point I would welcome help from court/ cafcass anything .. to help me.. to advocate for kids .. anything.. it’s all so frustrating..needless and toxic.. Any thoughts on stopping contact ? I guess that’s where this is at 😰

     

     

     

     

     

    #30064 Report

    AmyLondon
    Participant

    Hi Caitlin,

    It’s so hard to know what is best in these situations but in my opinion you’ve hit the nail on the head saying you have to protect her . Whether it’s emotional / physical abuse or just anxiety,  she is old enough to know she’s not happy sleeping there but probably does still want to be wanted by him and have her own time with him. At the end of the day you are her mother and you have to go with your gut feel and please don’t live in fear of the repercussions – I did for a year and in the end I realised I had put them

    in situations that were harmful because I was too scared of the backlash. Sounds like you definitely need some external help and advice . Court will always try for both parents to have healthy relationships but they also take emotional and physical well being seriously and given her age they will investigate and speak to her .

    Stand up for yourself and her, write everything down and remember this might only be temporary and could all change one day for the better and in a year or so she can do whatever she likes . If you are adamant about sleepovers but open and flexible about other arrangements the court will see that.

    I hope you find a good solicitor

    A

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