Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Cat's in the Cradle

The time of the bitter divorce and pitting kids against the other parent is past. The time of tearing each other apart because you can't stand to be married...or in the same room together is past. If parents make the decision to divorce, the children should not have to suffer more simply because one or the other other or both parents are too selfish and childish to suck it up and get along with the other parent FOR THE CHILD'S SAKE.

It is in the child's best interest that parents not only get along, but that they also communicate. In my own situation, my child's father and I had a wonderful co-parenting relationship for a while. We were able to call each other anytime and give information pertaining to our child. We were able to make decisions together concerning our child. We put our child's needs first and any issues we had with each other stayed on the back burner. Our child was so much better for it. We provided a united front.

Well, that was in the beginning. What has transpired since that time has been painful and heartwrenching for my son. My son's father remarried. No big deal, right. I had met at least one of his previous girlfriends and didn't think that there would be any major changes in our co-parenting relationship when he remarried. Heck, I was remarried and we still managed to maintain an open line of communication when it came to our son.

This is no longer the case.

This man's entire demeanor and personality changed when he met this woman. He is completely unrecognizable now. He has become rude, mean, callous, and puts his and his wife's needs ahead of his child's best interests. I used to call to tell him of conversations I had with my son's teachers or doctors. But, since this woman entered his life, I have been told not to call. I have always made sure that my child had a gift for his father for holidays, birthdays, Father's Day, etc. I was told "we'll take care of getting each other gifts from him from now on." This statement I have ignored. I am my child's mother and I will make sure that he has a gift for his father. When my ex and his wife make plans to take our son out of town, I ask questions that EVERY parent has a right to know BEFORE his or her child is taken out of town. Where will he be staying? May I get the telephone numbers and addresses of where he will be staying? How long will he be staying? Will he be at the same place for the entire vacation? What is the airline information? Etc. I don't think it's too intrusive to ask for this information. This is my child and I should know how to reach him and where he is. When my husband and I take my son out of town, I provide all of this information to his father prior to leaving and without having to be asked. I feel it is common courtesy. However, this actually became a problem before one of their vacations to California. I asked repeatedly for weeks for the information via telephone, in person, voicemail, and email. The day before they were to leave on their trip, a mere hours before my ex was supposed to pick my son up from me I finally called him and told him that if I didn't have the information I requested, our son would not be going on the trip.

My ex made it abundantly clear that I was not to communicate with him in anyway, shape, or form anymore.

My son has been telling me more and more frequently that he does not like staying at his dad's house and that he really doesn't want to go. He says he enjoys spending time with his dad, but that he would rather just see him for a few hours and then come back home (my house). My son (without prompting from me) tells me that his dad doesn't listen to a thing he says. He tells me that when he asks about going to Cub Scout meetings, his dad will tell him that they will be going to visit relatives and then when the time comes, they don't go anywhere.

I have always encouraged my son to have a good relationship with his father, even after his father and I could no longer communicate with each other. When he brings his concerns to me, I've told him that he needs to discuss it with his father. What else can I do? I've been told by lawyers that as long as my son isn't being abused, then what goes on when he is with his father is "not my business." That seems so wrong to me. I am his parent. It is my business to know what goes on when my son is with his father just as much as it's his father's business to know what goes on when my son is with me. But, the few times I have tried to discuss anything with my son's father, I was dismissed. My concerns fall on deaf ears.

All that I can hope for now is that as my son gets older he will feel more comfortable expressing his concerns to his father. The problem is that his father is laying down such dysfunctional groundwork that when my son does come out of his shell, it's going to be to tell his dad that he wants nothing to do with him. He's damaging his relationship with his son for the sake of his wife. One day my son's father is going to want to talk to his son. He's going to want to offer advice. He's going to want to be there. But, the possibility exists that it will be too late then.

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