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Main Forums => Shrink Rap => Topic started by: NeverGiveUp on Mar 03, 2004, 08:00:25 AM

Title: I'm trying to avoid conflict, please help. Long
Post by: NeverGiveUp on Mar 03, 2004, 08:00:25 AM
A brief intro followed by actual correspondence.  I am desperately trying to avoid conflict.  Please feel free to critique my end.  Thank you in advance.

. . .  
I’ve changed information that identifies anyone.  Everything else is verbatim.  I have repeatedly requested that my children not be left in the care of the person identified as “Unfit care giver”.  I have addressed this with my, X, my attorneys, my children’s GAL, the courts, and my children.  The person in question has been involved with narcotics, (I’ve presented proof to the courts) and is/has recently been on probation with CPS.  This person is a threat to the well being of even their own children.

The child1 in question of therapy was engaged in therapy when a TRO was taken against me by my X.  I’ve just received the child’s report card which indicates failure in one core class and border line in a second.  The teachers comments for second quarter where, “child is suffering emotionally and this is effecting performance”.  The lead in to the first corospondance was the X telling me child is doing fine.  A follow up with childs theropist indicates child has not been intheropy since the day we settled in court :-(

Child2 is in question of learning disability.  School has advised further testing since last year.  X has repeatedly agreed in court and then backed out afterwards.  During our forensic evaluation X agreed to testing this past fall.  It’s on record in evaluators report.

The interactions . . . It’s long and I understand if you haven’t the time.  The last response hasn't been sent pending critique.


Dear CP,  

I guess I don't understand “Child2”'s progress.  From reading her report card it seems she's fallen since last quarter not gained.  Mrs. “Teacher”s comments also seem to indicate an emotional problem.  I'll call Mrs “Teacher” and talk to her further.  I was unaware of “Child2”'s problems regarding riding the bus this past fall I don't recall her having those issues in the past.  I realize that “Child2” doesn't want to go to therapy but I think that's even worse.  She may be repressing something and I don't think that's good.  Ultimately it's our choice.  “Child2” shouldn't be thinking of it as punishment or something bad.

Regarding “Child1”'s education.  I agree that “Child1” needs more help.  However, when I spoke with “Child1” about the testing she was supposed to receive this fall, she mentioned that it never occurred.  Is this the case?  If so I think she should receive more testing as soon as possible to eliminate the possibility of a learning disability.  If “Child1” is suffering from something like dyslexia I'm not certain a private school is the answer.  As I mentioned last spring, there's a school in “place close by” that caters to gifted children with learning disabilities.  I realize that “Child1” is opposed to going but if we stand together on the issue she'll have no choice.

Also, it has come to my attention that “Child2” is occasionally being left with “Unfit caregiver”.  I realize that there are times when you may be busy and need someone to get the children on or off the bus or that “Child2” would like to play with “Unfit caregiver’s child”.  Just to let you know my schedule is very flexible and I can be there to get them on or off the bus with very little notice.  Also, if “Child2” would like to play with “Unfit caregiver’s child” I have made it clear to both her and “Child1” that I do not want them doing so at “Unfit caregiver”'s house.  In the future if you are unable to be there for them please let me know so that I can have the first opportunity to watch them.  If I can't be there then I understand you using someone else, or my parents are always available.  But as you know I am uncomfortable with the children spending time at “Unfit caregiver”'s house.  

I welcome the opportunity to discuss the children with you.



I would appreciate it if you would not patronize me in these emails.
You did not pick up the pieces around here from your participation of our inability to be humane about our divorce.
One of “Child2”s biggest issues emotionally was how you treated her on her birthday.. (I'm sure Mrs. “Teacher” will fill you in) She cried the whole day after her visit with you.  And, that wasn't the first and only time.   The end of the marking period was December early January.  And i'm hoping to see improvements.
As far as her having trouble taking the bus, she always needed to know someone would be on the bus with her every morning at "Old house". Why do you think I had to pick her up all the time and she came to work with me at :old job". She was always afraid and we discussed it many times.  She said she didn't know why she was afraid and that's when we brought her to "Old therapist(child went 2-3 times)".
And.  “Child2”s is not left a “Unfit caregiver”'s house because I can't watch them.  She plays with “Unfit caregiver's child” occasionally.. I think she was there once in the last month for a few hours after school while “Child1” was at afterschool activity.
As far as “Child1”'s testing.. it's scheduled for May or June.  Her grades are suffering because she's just LAZY.... I have to go to great lengths, including removing privileges so she'll get her stuff done.  I have removed phone and IM because she has been abusing the privilege and for the uncompleted math work.  
I'm doing everything in my power to make them the best they can be and I don't appreciate your always making it look like it's anything less.
Frankly, if we could even become civilized and work together when it comes to the children, that's when our children would have the best chance... Right now, they are lying to both of us about different things just to protect our inability to discuss them.



I’m concerned about the children and I’m expressing those concerns for your considerations.

I'm concerned about “Child2”.  Her grades coupled with Mrs “Teacher”s comments indicate to me that “Child2” should still be in therapy.  I'm asking that “Child2” go to therapy, I'm offering to transport her.

“Child2” has been left in “Unfit caregiver”’s care on several occasions.  I’ve made it clear to “Child1” and “Child2” that I don’t want them in her care ever.  I think I’ve made it pretty clear to everyone how I feel about this.  I agree that the children must be confused by the inconsistency.  I believe it enforces that there’s inconsistency between us and sets the foundation for telling lies.  “Child2” knows I don’t want her there.  When I find out she’s been there and then ask her about it, she lies to me.  I would imagine this causes her some level of anxiety.  Moving forward, I would prefer that they're not left in “Unfit caregiver”'s care for any amount of time and I'd like your support.

“Child1” was supposed to be tested last spring.  I argued adamantly in favor of this testing.  I was informed that “Child1” would be tested in the fall instead.  I was never informed that the testing did not take place.  I would like to be a part of the solution but I don’t see how that’s possible if I’m not being kept informed.  I disagree with your assessment of “Child1”.  If nothing else I believe she deserves the benefit of the doubt.  If she is in fact learning disabled then she simply can’t meet the expectations.

If there’re times that the children will be left alone or with someone else I would like to have the option to take them first.  Even if it’s only for a short time before/after school it’s time I can spend helping them with their school work.  Considering the close proximity of our homes I think the request is reasonable.  I would be more than happy to provide transportation.

Title: RE: I'm trying to avoid conflict, please help. Long
Post by: littlebit on Mar 03, 2004, 10:33:16 AM
That was a long read, but thats OK.  I will not worry about leaving a long response.  Here is my 2 cents:

Your first letter to NCP contained no negative comments or accusations, only facts...very good.  It also did not mention anything at all about situation between NCP & CP, past history etc....nice job.  You also offered specific suggestions on how to make improvements for the kids...couldn't have done it better myself.

However, CP seems to be consumed with the two of you’s interactions instead of the children’s interests.  The response letter was nothing but re-hashing the past, finger pointing, and defending self.  It said nothing about bettering the kids’ situations.
You’ve got a hard road ahead of you, but not impossible!

I see 3 options here:
#1) Re-hash everything under the clear blue sky until CP is satisfied and gets it out of system.  Then you can both move on to something more important…like the kids!

#2) Suck up to CP until the point where you want to vomit!  
If you agree with them (whether you believe what you are saying or not), it eliminates the argument factor & you are one step closer to your goal.  Additionally, CP will be more receptive if you make it looks like they are calling the shots, and if it helps the kids, so be it.
For example, say things like
“You are right about Child 2’s birthday, I screwed-up.  Please help me come up with something to make Child 2 feel better about it.”
Or  “You have really been busting your buns with Child 1’s schooling.  What can I do to take some of the load off of you & help Child 1?”
Or  “I like your suggestion of being civilized & working together for the kids; let’s start that right away.”
See how you can turn the tables?  You can get the results you wanted to begin with, you just will not get credit for them.

#3) Cut through all the BS & stick strait to the point, no matter what!  Do not say anything about what has happened, what is happening or why it happened.  Just state very simply & plainly what will help improve the kids’ situation, or ask very basic and straightforward questions.  This will take away all the details that are up for argument.  For example, your 2nd letter would look like this after all the “details” are removed:

I'm asking that “Child2” go to therapy, I'm offering to transport her.

I would prefer that they're not left in “Unfit caregiver”'s care for any amount of time and I'd like your support.

I would like to be kept informed.

If there are times that the children will be left alone or with someone else I would like to take them.  I can help them with their school work. I will provide transportation.


Personally, I like option #3 best, but that is just my personality.  You have to consider what CP will best respond to.

Best of luck, and keep us updated.
Title: I like #3. Thanks. I'll keep you posted. EOM
Post by: NeverGiveUp on Mar 03, 2004, 11:39:26 AM
Title: RE: I like #3. Thanks. I'll keep you posted.
Post by: DecentDad on Mar 05, 2004, 05:59:09 PM

Long post gets long reply.  :)

I agree with the first reply's assessment of the tones of each of your emails and also agree with the #3 option.

However, I'll add that it seems like CP is not interested in developing solutions... only identifying blame and inciting conflict.  I've had 3 years experience dealing with such a co-parent, so I can appreciate your frustration.

With such a scenario, I'd encourage statements that impose deadlines and consequences.  This way, you don't continually go in circles with her, and you can start taking steps (in what may be a long long road) of implementing what's best for your children.

Further, keep in mind that CP obviously hates you right now.  Proposing extra time with you ain't gonna get you anywhere right now... except giving her more power to turn you down.

Also, don't bother defending yourself against name-calling.  Be the bigger person and stay focused on the kids.  Everything else is just a valuable reminder of why you got divorced (and possible future evidence in a hearing to modify visitation or custody).

This will sound harsh, but I mean it purely from a legal perspective.  On the "unfit caregiver" angle, if there's abuse or serious neglect going on, then it's your business... you already know the CP's choice about this person, so it's up to you either drop it altogether or get the gumption to take legal action for a RO against "unfit caregiver's" contact with the kids.

If the person is not a serious threat to your kids but may not win any caregiver awards, then it's altogether not your business and it's up to CP.

On issues like that, you just got to wait until some tragedy occurs, and then petition the court for protection.  Sucks, eh?  The court doesn't make rulings based on anticipation, only history.

Can you contact whoever will test your child on learning disabilities to ensure it's lined up?  If it's not, then follow the recipe of "Please arrange this by XX/XX/XX or I will do XYZ to ensure it's done."

FINALLY, keep in mind that this is a long-term process.  You and your ex are still figuring out how to work together post-divorce.  Your kids are trying to figure it out.  Let stuff settle a little bit.

If your ex is really messing up, and if you're ultimately the better parent, then in due time you can go back to court to get some changes made.  However, right now, she was recently ordered to be CP, and you've got a recent TRO on your record.  Regardless of truth, you don't have much say right now in the family law system.

CP will kick and scream when you take all the power in your emails, but just ignore it, and always follow through on what you say will occur.

Sooner or later, she'll spend less time arguing and more time trying to show you up by doing what she's supposed to before YOU do it.

So... a couple rewrites on these no-brainer issues...



As discussed at our settlement, and as identified by Child2's teacher, she needs to be in therapy.  If we can't agree that her first appointment will be within 30 days, I'll need to ask my attorney for guidance on how to ensure Child2 gets the help she needs.




I've checked with Testing Center, and Child1 is not scheduled for testing.

It is important to test Child1 for learning disabilities, as her school and the evaluator recommended.

The deadline for scheduling that testing is April 18.  I will call the Testing Center on April 18, and if Child1 is not scheduled, I will schedule her.

If you're not available to transport Child1 on the testing day, I will do so.

Title: RE: I like #3. Thanks. I'll keep you posted.
Post by: NeverGiveUp on Mar 09, 2004, 09:03:11 AM
First, thank you for some great advice.  Be sure I will not engage in the child like conduct.  My life is getting better and better so I have no need to rehash the past.

Second, I know this sounds stupid but I’ll ask anyway.  What constitutes unsafe caregiver?  This particular lady is a severe alcoholic.  She has a past drug history and, at least as of a year ago, was on probation with CPS.  To me this sounds like someone my kids shouldn’t be with.  I realize family court has its own set of standards.

Little update:
The X has stopped communicating with me on almost all levels.  :-(
Title: RE: I'm trying to avoid conflict, please help. Long
Post by: Dr. D on Apr 04, 2004, 03:20:59 PM
Please accept my apology for the lengthy time between posts.  I had some computer problems with posting to this site.....Again, sorry.

You obviously need someone on your side, fighting on your behalf.  Have you and/or your children ever been involved in counseling (other than any court appointed or child welfare)?  What is the status of the narcotics user in your childrens' world (is this a step parent, live in, etc?)  

My strongest advise.....get a therapist you can build a rapport with, get the kids in there with you and go from there!!!! Do this quickly...I admire your refusal to play the childish will get you past the humps here.
Title: RE: I'm trying to avoid conflict, please help. Long
Post by: NeverGiveUp on Apr 06, 2004, 08:18:43 AM
Dr. D

It keeps getting worse instead of better.  Yesterday was my B-day.  Last week I asked to spend the day with the kids on my B-day.  The response was, "I meant to tell you, I got the kids tickets to the circus that day".  When I complained I was told, "it isn't part of the order".  

I do have a theropist but I almost never get my kids, 1@ week from 4:30 to 7:30.  And one of them always has an activity they have to attend during this time.  Every other weekend Friday 4PM till Sunday 6PM.  Dito on the activity.

I've read about PAS and I have no doubt I'm experiencing it first hand.  Do you know how I can find a theropist versed in PAS.  Can I ask a judge to allow me time for taking my kids?

Thank you so much for your help.
Title: Forgot to address your question on narcotics
Post by: NeverGiveUp on Apr 06, 2004, 10:36:24 AM
The woman I make reference to was an old neighbor before the D.  She is a heavy drinker and has been arrested for possession of a controlled substance.  I'm not sure why she was on probation with CPS.  I'm almost 100% sure she abuses her own children.  Her 12YO once had bruises on her legs, when asked where they came from she kept changing the storey.  NO children belong in her care, not even her own.

I've already addressed this with the GAL last Fall.  I really don't believe that they care.  

One more thing,  I recieved a certified letter from the X this weekend.  She stated that I should not make contact with her more than 1-2 times a month.  How can I co-parent like that?