Okay …

22 February, 2005 Ken Uncategorized

Something’s kinda bothering me. PLEASE someone play Dr. Laura and give me some advice or insight.

My daughter’s mom called me Sunday because she’s concerned that when Christina and I make arrangements to see here a different time (usually for far less time than planned), it takes away the little time she gets to see her because she spends so much time with her friends. I can understand this. Her solution that I agreed to for now is that I “make” Christina see me ONLY during the few set times I have left in an agreed visitation schedule (decreased to accommodate Christina’s growing up and having a heavier social life) — 3 hours on Tuesdays and an average of half a day or less every second weekend, with about 3 hours on other weekends. (An average lately of 6-10 hours a week.)

Just in case anyone is wondering, I’ve always been involved with my daughter excepting restrictions imposed by outside factors, to put it nicely. I don’t see my daughter for my own fun. I give her part of her identity as a parent – a consistent voice of values and love that even a step-parent cannot substitute. (She didn’t have step-parents until she was about 7, so it’s not like he could be a “substitute” for me just becasue he gets to live with her, as good a step-parent as he may be, especially since I never died or disappeared.)

I still insisted that I need face-time with her more than once a week, ESPECIALLY at a time in her life when she’s allergic to people outside her peer group. And no matter how much she is out and about, she gets that from her mother – as she should –

The question is – Am I being a floor mat here?

Seriously. When Christina was 10, she gave Christina the choice to not see me if she didn’t want to. Mind you this has nothing to do with here NOT wanting to see me – this came out of her mom not wanting to make up visitation times if she went on extra vacation times with friends and family. That is EXACTLY the situation that created the problem. And you can’t tell a 10 year old they’re not old enough to arrange their own visitation, and that’s exactly what happened. But I convinced my daughter (as rediculous as it is to have to do so) to maintain a set schedule.

So if she was invited to to do something “more fun” than seeing her dad, she could just say no. And if I told her she had to see me because her mother wouldn’t let me see her another time, it would be my fault.

Her mother’s point is now that she is already the bad guy making her occassionally stay home to spend time with them, and doesn’t want to have to do that even more because I am spending time with her during those few times she isn’t usually with her friends. That made sense to me. That’s why I agreed to push Christina to go by JUST OUR SET TIMES, even if it means the danger of “losing” her – seriously though, I know that wont happen, but it’s still a strain on our relationship and her unecessary level of responsibility.

In the last year or so, her mom talked to me (on her behalf) about not staying overnight anymore. As someone trained in abuse prevention, that would raise a red flag for me, but apparently there are other reasons, such as a phobia of hair she gets from her mom – we have a lot of pets remember, and cat hair is in everything (figuratively, but sometimes seems that way). But anyway, we worked it out to see her less time on weekends, also accommodating her sleeping in so instead of picking her up at 10am on a Saturday, it’s up in the air, usually after Noon.

And then more recently, she’s been really busy and planning things during my time, all the time, because I’ve been letting her just see me more another day I would see her (an extra hour for a missed day, stuff like that), or even see her a few hours another day instead of seeing her on a weekend, etc. Losing even more time, but trying to go along with her mother’s having given her “freedom” to do this. Apparently it backfired, and I am to blame for letting happen exactly what I warned Christina and her mother WOULD happen – Christina being too young to handle her own schedule with the responsibility to allow both her parents to maintain more-than-reasonable contact.

Christina was given the choice to NOT see me when we are “scheduled”, but apparently not the choice to see me when we are not. Her mom says this makes her “the bad guy” by having to tell Christina it’s NOT okay to see her another day when she could be seeing her mother (which in fact is more likely time that would have been spent with friends or doing the same homework).

Moreso, her mother convinced me this was between me and my daughter, when she is the one making that decision. She is the one who let Christina out of court-mandated visitation since that stupid vacation dispute when she was 10, giving her a sense of freedom not healthy for anyone that age. In my opinion it was nothing short of cruel and I had nothing to say about it short of dragging her to court. And even then she told CHristina I would be taking HER to court, not her mother. Is this sick, or is it just me?

ANYWAY, I have to sit down with Christina and tell her she can’t see me anymore outside of the few set times we have. No rescheduling. I have to decide from now on if she goes somewhere during her time with me, with no possibility of seeing her another time. Somehow, this is my decision. Somehow this means her mother is giving her freedom, and I am not, instead of the other way around.

WHAT THE HELL?

Christina’s mom went into the whole “I don’t know why Christina seems to be pushing you out of her life” and “she says you make her feel guilty if you don’t get to see her”, when the more I think about it, this is about her mother not being able to work out her own time with Christina. Yes, I can make things “easier” by doing it her way, but I’m just trying to give Christina that face time with BOTH parents that she needs. I can’t help it what goes on in her mother’s house, and now I have less and ability to do the right thing on my end.

Man, I should jsut write her an email telling her how I feel. I couldn’yt get a word in edgewise – I was interrupted to the point of constant stuttering on the phone with her Sunday. Geez…

3 Responses to “Okay …”

  • phenixred says:

    Re: my 2 cents here..
    I will do this, that of witch you ask of me. nothing is to much trouble where your concerned.

  • Anonymous says:

    Re: my 2 cents here..
    THANK YOU. I needed to hear this sort of stuff.
    BTW, the reason I had two threads on this is because this one was private, and the other may or may not be read by Eileen.
    What would be neat, if it isn’t too much trouble, would be to post some version of what you jsut wrote on the other (public) thread. ESPECIALLY the part about her making me look like the bad guy, so the record shows I’m not insane. But if you don’t that’s fine too. Thanks Love.

  • phenixred says:

    my 2 cents here..
    What I know of Eilleen, is what I saw when the two of you split up. She did NOT make a good impression to me, at all. What I saw back then was her ALWAYS trying to make you look like the bad guy, and turning custody into a power struggle. My impression of her at the time was she was a psychopath. A female version of Stven the Evil. Although I have been out of the picture for many years, I can’t imagine things have change to much. Maybe I’m wrong and they have. What do I know. If I am wrong please tell me.
    I am also the ONLY one of my group of friends who did not come from a broken home (no offence ment there) But my home became all of my friends home growing up. The last place they wanted to be was with there parents, so they spent as much time as they could with mine. Which was funny because as a teenager I DIDENT want to spent time with my parents, and spent as much time as I could with theres. Thats just a fact of growing up and wanting to be independent. (of course now I want to spend as much time with them as I can)
    What I know of Christina, again is not much because I havent seen her since she was 8. Except that one time at the Erie County Fair, and I didednt even recgonize her. I will say that to me she always seemed wise beyond her years.
    My Opinion. and mind you love, its just my opinion. You can sit her down and talk to her. Like an adult and lay it on the table, and I pray she will understand your concern. I dont think you’re being a doormat. I just think your being a concerned father who wants time with his daughter. I do think she was given to much freedom to make the decision to see you, or not, at to young an age. She has gotten used to having that power, and now anytime with her friends is going to be more fun than spending time with her parents, and she HAS been given the power to spend it with them.
    There needs to be a stricter set of when and with who she will spend her time. This was inevetable. But it is after all YOUR decision. You are the adult.
    Worst case scenario being she bitches and moans. (BUT thinking back to when I was a teenager, being told I couldent go skating on Friday or go to the mall on Saturday was reason enough to bitch and moan.) If she does, it doesent mean she doesent love you, and it doesent mean your a bad father.(which I think you are a great father, just from what I have seen) She’ll be pissed off, yes, but she will get over it.
    Best case scenario. She may understand your concern and be willing to work with you. Like I said she seems wise beyond her years. Maybe after hearing that if she doesent spend the the scheduled time with you, she can’t reschedule it to her liking. She may be more willing to keep to the schedule. Maybe the time you see her has to change. What once worked before may not work now. It may be that simple.
    OH one last thing. It’s not like your telling her she can’t see her friends. This is a BIG fear of teens. That the parents will tell them they cant see there friends. Dont forget to let her KNOW that this is not what your trying to say.
    Your little girl is growing up my love. And growing up is going to be the hardest years of her life. On all of you.
    Just remember when it seems like she hates you. She still loves you.
    I hope this all works out for you.
    (I’ll be sending you my bill in the mail.)


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