Where to turn!
10 April 2020 at 11:28 pm #38824
My ten year old son is the best thing to ever happen to me and that’s why all this is so difficult. His mum and I have been separated for five years and i feel she has as much control over me now as she ever had. His mum is a woman who has struggled with her own mental health worse than me. She has me manipulated to a degree that I really dont know how to fix this. My son stays with me about 60% of the month and on a weekly basis, and he much prefers staying at mine. His mother doesn’t feed him properly and he is telling me things that are not good. I could tell a hundred stories about some of the things that are going on. I’m not perfect and that’s why I haven’t tried to go through the courts to fight for my son because I could lose and the chances of the dad winning full custody is slim at best and I’m scared to put my son through that. Its basic neglect and blaming her mental health so I’m always walking on eggshells with her. She’s very unpredictable and has been violent with me when we were together. I dont really know who to speak to about this and there is other factors to this too. I claim no money for my son and I’m on low benefits myself. She claims it all and gives me bits of money here and there but I feel bad having to rely on her and she has all the control. She holds all the cards but everyone knows that I do everything for my son and people close to me have been told about all the stuff throughout the years but dont really know what I should do. I do have to act soon and speak to someone who can advise me but I really dont know where to turn. Is it a solicitor or nothing?11 April 2020 at 7:42 am #38826
Can you split your concerns into two, those for your son – you say he’s not being fed properly and other things, and concerns that you think your ex is controlling.
Opinions on food differ. One parent might be a vegetarian and one not. Or they might disagree on sweets/fast food etc. but neither is neglect. And children sometimes say they are happiest with the parent they are talking to at the time.
If your son arrives hungry and distressed that is completely different. Have you tried NSPCC helpline or the Gingerbread helpline.
Your ex doesn’t hold all the cards, you have your son 60% of the time and you have equal legal responsibility but if you plan to go to court, you need to keep a diary of every time your son has been neglected in a specific way so you have some evidence. The court can’t act on “everyone knowing”. Has the school expressed any concerns?12 April 2020 at 12:35 am #38852
This is such a long story that goes on for 10 years. I really dont know where to start. In regards to my son and the feeding thing, he is fed on the basic level. He’s lucky if he gets a breakfast before school and if he’s at home he’ll maybe get one meal a day and that just a simple snack. He may get bits of junk food throughout the day but its limited. He tells me things like this often. She has an older son who went through the same thing till I came along and started making hot meals for him then him and my son. I understand she suffers from mental health issues but this is no excuse. I try my best with my son with the limited resources I have and my son eats three meals a day when hes at mine. I spend time with him and do many activities with him but at hers he’s stuck in his darkened room allowed to be online all day long with no break. She has endangered our son on a couple of occasions with her decisions and actions and I couldn’t get the school to take me serious. I think about him everytime hes at her house and worry if he’s being fed or washed or having any social contact with anyone. I have made mistakes in my life and I’m not in a great place financially but I have my sons best interest at heart. None of my sons mums plans involve our son. It’s all about what her. I’ve only just joined gingerbread so I’m new and haven’t spoke to anyone yet. I have worried about this for many years and I feel my sons health isn’t good because of this, physical and mental health. I dont know if I’m being over protective or overreacting but I feel it’s not that.12 April 2020 at 5:32 pm #38871
Could you keep a diary of anything your son says which worries you? How hungry he is when he arrives. Shoes or clothes that don’t fit, general cleanliness. Also which nights he spends at yours. No need to be too obvious, just build up a picture over a month or so. wait until cv19 lockdown is over and then talk through your concerns with Gingerbread or NSPCC.
Are you on the birth certificate? If so, you have legal parental responsibility and can ask to meet with his GP, his teachers or the school nurse. Have his immunisations been done? Check if your son is underweight against the NHS chart. Have his teachers noticed any problems? People should take you seriously if you have some evidence to point to.
If you aren’t on the birth certificate then you need to apply. The Gingerbread helpline will point you in the right direction. I don’t know about custody but if you are the primary carer then you should get some benefits to help cover costs.12 April 2020 at 9:30 pm #38875
Kathymumofone, thanks for the advice and I’m going contact the helpline. There is so much stuff that it would take weeks for me to type it out and typing isn’t one of my good skills. Sometimes I start to question myself and maybe I’m overreacting but when I calmy think of what is actually happening then I do worry like hell. My dad is aware of things a bit more now but he is getting on a bit and doesn’t really know what to do. He says to go see a solicitor and I feel that maybe he’s right. My head is scrambled with all the stuff and my son is stuck in this situation that I do feel powerless in.13 April 2020 at 10:12 am #38893
My name is Sandra and I am one of the moderators on the Gingerbread forum.
Can I reiterate what Kathy has said – it is really important that you get some solid advice to make sure your son is being properly cared for. Our helpline reopens tomorrow at 10am on 0808 802 0925
If you have concerns that your son is being neglected you should get some advice from the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000
I hope things get better for you and your son
Sandra13 April 2020 at 5:26 pm #38913
I’m on my son’s birth certificate and lived with my son and her son and my ex for five years. There was a lot of issues going on and she had so much support from many different professionals I had came into it very naive and kept telling myself it was ok. This was even before my son was born, this was with her son. Times were I felt in needed to act to protect her son from her and I did. Police were i involved for her leaving her son in the house for hours on end alone and i know its happening with my son now. I usually find out after the fact. It’s really crazy and i do blame myself for not acting on these incidents. She was violent to me in the past and she definitely manipulates situations and lies often. I dont want this to sound like its sour grapes or any bad feelings towards her because I still worry about her also. She’s threatened to take her own life multiple times and I had to literally save her life and day in front of our son by pulling her away from the window ledge 80-100ft up. She was hanging out with my son near her. He was really affected by thing for many months after. This is just one of the things that has happened in the past. I will phone the helpline tomorrow as today is a holiday. I really am eager to tell this whole story to someone who can help me make sense of it all.