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Messages - Gram

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General Issues / RE: In my opinion
« on: Feb 17, 2006, 07:01:14 AM »
Thanks for your input, Ref. I agree that it's important to have everything spelled out in the permanent orders, and I know how important it is that we try to stay positive about the father in talking to the child. Maybe I'm naive about this, but I just don't think 50/50 custody is good for young children. My granddaughter has never lived with her father. She has spent every night of her life right here with her mother and grandparents. The BF lives in a dumpy bachelor apartment and has no crib, highchair, etc. Right now all of his visits with the baby take place at his mother's house. We know he'd just leave her with his mother if he was allowed to (the temporary orders forbid this now.) Why is it considered a good idea to have young children shuffled around from house to house? This shouldn't be about what's "fair" to the parents, but about what's good for the child.

General Issues / parents never married--Colorado
« on: Feb 12, 2006, 09:43:43 PM »
My daughter and her 18 mo. old daughter live with my husband and me. I provide all daycare for my granddaughter at no charge. The biological father never married my daughter, they never lived together, but he is named on the baby's birth certificate and admits paternity. They have temporary court orders and it's time to file for permanent orders, but the father is requesting the assignment of a child and family investigator to determine what's in the child's best interests. The father is always late for his visits, cancels visits often, and argues every little thing in the temp. orders. It doesn't seem possible for the two of them to share decision-making or agree on the parenting time. Can anyone tell me what to expect from the C&F Investigator? The baby has never spent the night away from home...are overnight visits with the father appropriate for her at this age? Thanks for any help you can give.

I agree with Flagmom. There's no reason for you to be involved in any of this. The BM is feeling threatened and protective, and the best thing you can do is stay in the background. If the BF wants to be a part of the child's life, the best approach is to be kind, polite and generous to the mother of the child. I don't blame the mother for insisting that she be present for the visits. She isn't taking any chances, and has no legal obligation to even let him see the baby.

Visitation Issues / RE: About your opinion.....
« on: Apr 19, 2006, 12:12:39 PM »
Of course there are exceptions, and it sounds like your son's case may be one. Then again, we're only hearing your side of things. And you are so articulate (Opinions are like butts) and fair-minded (often place children with unfit parents, simply because they have the title "mother" attached to their name.) You sound pretty angry; have you considered therapy? I do think it would be great for kids if their fathers would participate fully in their lives. Unfortunately that usually happens, if at all, after the divorce, when custody and money are on the line.

By the way, if you have a son old enough to have children then I'd bet you're at least as old as I am! LOL

To IceMountain's wife:  While I have enormous respect for the work you do, and the experience you've had with the families you've known, I think my 32 year career in elementary education offers me a larger data base than you present. Certainly there are exceptions to my position that 50/50 custody arrangements are in the parents' best interests not the child's.  I'm talking about hundreds of families that I've known and worked closely with over several years. My experience with those children and their parents has formed my opinion about custody. If both parents have always been equally involved in the child's life prior to divorce, then it makes sense that they should continue to be. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. Mothers alone attended most of the parent-teacher conferences. I never once had a "room father"; that responsibility was always a mother's role. When a child was sick, it was most often the mother who left home or work to come and get them. Once in awhile there was a father (usually divorced) who wanted to come along on field trips, but the large majority of volunteers were mothers.

I completely agree with your statement, "For 50/50 to work, both parents have to be willing to co-parent, communicate and support each other... and provide a positive, loving environment for the child(ren)." I wonder why a couple that could do all of this would want a divorce in the first place??

As to your reference to my own situation with my daughter and grandchild, there is no reason to think we don't want the father involved. We do. Our issue is that he has no clue how to care for the child and only wants custody to save money and to give his own mother a grandchild. There is no divorce or prior intact family involved. Much like the situation of the original poster.

Everyone is somewhat "narrow-minded" when it comes to important issues, especially those involving children that we love. To lack an informed opinion is hardly in the child's best interest. As loving adults, it is our responsibility to look out for them. Yes, that includes hearing the other side of the argument. There's room for compromise, compassion, and change. I feel strongly about this issue because I'm a teacher who cares about children and have known many who have suffered due to their parents' misguided decisions.

SPARC states in its introduction on the home page: "SPARC recognizes the value of fatherhood and supports the concept of true joint custody, where parents work together for the best interests of their children. When joint custody is not possible or workable, we often advocate for fathers as custodial parents. Statistics show that custodial fathers are the most likely to encourage a positive relationship between their children and the other parent and to raise happy, healthy children."
That sure sounds like a "father's rights" advocacy site to me.

In reference to your first point, children have to move things between homes because they want to have favorite objects with them, things that give them comfort, or things they need for school or sports. Obviously everything will not be identical from home to home. There are of course solutions to some of this...duplicate copies of baseball schedules, one for each home, similar toys and clothes, etc. In my experience though, this rarely happens and the kids are forced to tough it out until they get to the home that has what they want.

As to your question about learning impairments, children of divorce have them as often as children from intact families. Learning disabilities are not caused by divorce. But kids do need to be physically and mentally available for learning, and in my experience most kids who switch homes mid-week or even every other week have more problems learning.

Generally speaking, I doubt if both parents equally participated in raising the child before the divorce. In many cases one parent provides most of what the child needs and the other is less present in the child's life. Then divorce happens and the less involved parent is afraid of losing touch with his kids and doesn't want to write checks to the ex, so he goes for joint custody. What often happens with 50/50 is the child is left in the care of a stepparent or family member while the parent is at work, out of town, or doing whatever else they used to do when the original family was intact. In these cases, I think the child is happier and better off living with a primary residential parent. Neighborhood friends remain consistent, homework, eating and sleeping routines are unchanged at least during the school week, and the parent who has in the past provided for most of the child's care is present. The non-residential parent likely spends more time with the child after the divorce than before.

You asked "why is it fair that both parents were fit to raise the child before the divorce, but after one gets to be only a visitor in the child's life?" It's not fair to the parent. But this isn't about the parent's rights, it's about what the child needs. Yes, children need both parents in their lives. But "equally" is the non-custodial parent talking. It's rarely equal, not in intact families or divorces. One parent is usually the primary care-giver, and that parent should be the primary residential parent, in my opinion.

Visitation Issues / RE: Hence my name, Mixed Bag
« on: Apr 13, 2006, 07:46:04 PM »
And why are you taking a baby to a beach resort??

As a retired teacher who has worked with many children of divorce, I disagree that the 50/50 custody solution is in the child's best interest. These children are frequently in need of greater consistency and structure in their homelives. They aren't sure where their backpack is, who to call for permission to go with a friend, what to say or not to say about their family, etc. They often need an inordinate amount of attention and support from their teachers, even as compared to children of divorce who live primarily with only one of their parents.

The current attitude/belief that children's time should be divided equally between both parents, is in my opinion, misguided. This seems fair to the parents, but I believe it is not a good situation for the child. It probably serves to eliminate a lot of child support problems, but money really shouldn't be the issue. There is much more opportunity for conflict between the parents in a 50/50 arrangement, and this is evident in the classroom where the child's ability to focus on his learning is often impaired. I had many kids who were physically and emotionally exhausted after yet another mid-week or bi-weekly change of address.

Think about how well you'd like it if you had to move everything that you needed or wanted twice a week! Growing up is difficult enough without this unnecessary and harmful custody arrangement.

To the single mother who started this thread, my advice is to look elsewhere for support. This forum is really about the "rights" of fathers. You'll hear from a lot of stepmothers here, who are advocating for their husbands and themselves.

Visitation Issues / RE: Our LD Plan
« on: Mar 31, 2006, 04:34:53 PM »
I wonder where the chld's needs fit into this. How can a child have a meaningful relationship with a parent he sees so infrequently? Finances are important, but isn't there a way to find new employment close to where your chld lives? You have enough money to start your new family, which was your choice. Did you consider your child's needs in your budget when you decided to have two more kids? If you can't afford to pay the cost of transportation to go and see him on a regular basis, maybe you shouldn't be moving away from him.

Visitation Issues / RE: I don't think it is a matter of necessary
« on: Mar 24, 2006, 05:41:08 PM »
There is no doubt in my mind or my daughter's that my grandchild needs her dad. I've watched enough TV shows with adults trying to find or get to know their biological parents to understand how important this is. The BF has 8 hours of visitation every weekend plus the midweek 2 hour visit. Our problem is that the BF is not at all able to take care of a toddler. He relies on his own mother's help. When the child is sick and his mother is not available, he calls my daughter, the BM, to help. I think it's great that he does this, so the child's needs are met. Also, the bioparents get along better at the time. There's always a problem though when the paternal grandmother gets involved. This is her only child, her only grandchild, and frankly I think she's jealous of the relationship I have with the baby. Neither she nor the BF can provide the daycare, as both have jobs with hours similar to those my daughter works. When she's not working she's with the baby. I'm very lucky to be retired and able to do this. It's not easy, but I love this child and my daughter so much and want to do whatever I can to help. Anyway, thank you for your input. It really is helpful.

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