Would you let them go back?

Robin - posted on 08/28/2011 ( 27 moms have responded )

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My DS15 reported to his psychiatrist the first week of August that his bio-dad has been losing his temper and smacking him in the head. After that appointment, I informed my ex that I would not be sending the kids back the following week. (We have 50/50 shared custody, 1 week here and 1 week there). I realize that not sending them back constitutes contempt of court. However, sending them back is tantamount to child endangerment.

Sadly, my DS15 has been so caught up in the cycle of abuse, that he's defended his BD's actions, stating "Yeah, he hits me, but it's for a purpose. It's because I'm bad, and he's trying to teach me not to be.". If anyone is familiar w/the cycle, the completion stage is when the abuser buys things or spoils the victim because of their own guilt for their actions. My son is missing the spoils he used to get from his BD afterward, and it would appear that he's willing to take a beating to get them.

I'm still in contact with his father, and have been trying to get him to seek help for his anger issues, however he's not done so at this point. He has promised my DS15 "I'll never lay another hand on you in anger.". However, my concern was that it was followed up with "But do you understand why I did it? You need to listen to me when I tell you to do something!".

Ok, to me, that shows that he's still placing blame outside of himself, rather than accepting personal accountability for his actions. So what happens when (not if, but when), my DS15 acts out again? He is a 15 yr old ADHD/LD child, that is difficult to handle at times, which I completely understand. So the likelihood that he's going to act out again, is VERY likely. However, his BD's bent toward blaming my DS for his own actions, is indicative to me that it'll continue unless he gets help.

So...given this info, how would y'all handle this?

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Jodi - posted on 08/28/2011

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Obviously you missed the bit about losing his temper and smacking in the head. That's right, doing it when he has lost his temper. THAT is a dangerous combination no matter how hard the smack ends up. And as I said, no-one should be smacking anyone around the head as punishment. It is abuse. Period.

Jodi - posted on 08/28/2011

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Really? You read that as a dope slap done in fun? Or a *duh* moment? I read it as a smack in the head, not a slap on the face.



Edited to add: You do realise, don't you, that ANY whack in the head is potentially dangerous? No-one should be hitting anyone around the head, ever.

Krista - posted on 08/28/2011

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Sherri, seriously. Even in the OP, she was saying that the father was losing his temper and smacking the kid in the head. If the father is losing his temper, then it was pretty obvious from the get-go that this was not a just-joking-around, "wake up, kid!" mild swat.

Anyway, what would I do about this? I'd write down every single instance where the son has indicated that he's been hit, I'd write down how he threatened them with homelessness (he obviously knows that he's being an abusive dick, if he doesn't want them to tell), and I'd get DS13 to the lawyer's office to make a statement. Get your ducks in a row and gather as much evidence as you can. And yes, as Jodi suggested, go to the cops and ask about getting a restraining order.

Good luck!

Rosie - posted on 08/28/2011

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no i wouldn't let him go back, and i'd be in court trying my damndest to never let him see him again. be very proactive in the court system so there is documentation of what is going on. do whatever you can legally to keep him away from your child. how sad. :(

27 Comments

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Kate CP - posted on 08/29/2011

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Good luck, Robin! I hope things turn around for you and your kids soon. *hugs*

Jodi - posted on 08/28/2011

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Robin, if the psychiatrist has reported him and recommended they not visit him, I don't think you will have to worry about contempt. There's no way a judge could possibly throw that at you with that sort of evidence. If the authorities were doing their job, the kids wouldn't be still allowed to be going there anyway. It sounds like your son is really scared of his dad. I am so sorry he is having to go through this. Both of them, actually. Your concerns are totally founded, and it really does sound like supervised visitation is the only solution. It is not a stable situation for the children to be in, as he is obviously a violent and abusive man.

Good luck to you all, I really hope it will sort out for the best.

Robin - posted on 08/28/2011

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The psychiatrist has reported him to the authorities twice, and wrote a recommendation that neither of our kids be returned to his care until he seeks help (and then only supervised at first). Also, I recorded a conversation on my iPod in which my son was describing exactly what his dad's been doing. For the first 12 mins he was unaware that he was being taped. However, once he realized he was being taped...his demeanor instantly changed, he became guarded and visibly nervous. After I shut it off, he kept asking me if his BD was going to see that, which (unless it's played in court) he won't.

Also, my ex's current wife informed me that she has witnessed him smacking DS15. In addition, my DD13 admitted that the reason she didn't come forward earlier was because she feared her dad would be enraged and kill her brother, or possibly start hitting her as well. It was very clear to me, when they stepped forward earlier this month, that their reasons for not doing so at an earlier time revolved around their BD's coercion and fear tactics. (ie "Kids in foster care get beaten by those parents."

My ex knew what he was doing was wrong, and I confronted him with the coercion tactics and BS he fed them about being sent off to foster care in the first place. There's NO WAY they would have known that he could lose his paramedic certification if he hadn't let them in on that. What's worse is that DS15 has a learning disability, and hero worships his dad (BD's job)...so he wouldn't ever want to "be the cause" for why he lost his job.

I've filed for full custody, with supervised visitation only. I also had them include a mandate for individual therapy & anger management before that visitation takes place. I don't want to completely devastate my kids by removing him permanently from their lives. They may wish to have contact with him when they're older, but it will be their choice at that time. For now, I just want to keep them safe.

Sherri - posted on 08/28/2011

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Okay I all but admitted I was wrong with my first understanding on the situation and changed my reply to say so!!!!!! God lord!!!

Jodi - posted on 08/28/2011

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No, I am just saying I cannot for the life of me understand how you couldn't see how bad it was after the OP unless you didn't read it properly.

Sherri - posted on 08/28/2011

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Wow so I still didn't realize how bad it was till the second post, but if you keep bringing it up. I will keep repeating what I said. Beat a dead horse much????

Jodi - posted on 08/28/2011

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The OP said how badly he was being hit - he was being smacked in the head as punishment when his dad got in a temper. It's right there in the OP.

Sherri - posted on 08/28/2011

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I NEVER said that he needed to go back for another smack in the head. I said she shouldn't keep him away from his father before I realized how badly he was being hit. I already said I didn't think from the original post it was abuse, after the second post I changed exactly what I said. So right back at you Jodi, REALLY!!!

Jodi - posted on 08/28/2011

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Really? Which explains why you said you would let him keep going to his father's for another smack in the head? Please.....

Sherri - posted on 08/28/2011

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Yes a dope slap to me is in the head not on the face. It never said how hard it was done and that makes a world of difference.

Sherri - posted on 08/28/2011

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Well it depends if it is a dope slap no it is not abuse. If it is so hard the kid is seeing stars then hell ya that is abuse. There is a ginormous difference between the too.

I often dope slap it can be done in fun or a duh can't believe you just did that. In her original post that is exactly how I took it. It was made enormously clear in her follow up post. However, both posts are so different and require different courses of action for sure.

Kate CP - posted on 08/28/2011

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Smacking a child in the head is not within the lawful bounds of disciplining a child. That is abusive behavior and should be reported.

Jodi - posted on 08/28/2011

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Smacking the kid in the head is abuse as far as I'm concerned. The psychiatrist should be required to report that. If smacking in the head isn't considered abuse where you are, then there is something very, very wrong with your country's human rights issues. Smacking in the head can be dangerous. The OP has indicated that he reported the smacking in the head.

Sherri - posted on 08/28/2011

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The psychiatrist is only required to report if she feels there's abuse. If she was only told what we were in the original post, then by law that is not considered abuse. If she was told or aware of what we were told in the follow up post then yes she is negligent in her duties to report.

Kate CP - posted on 08/28/2011

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Jodi's right about the mandatory reporting. The psychiatrist should have reported this to the court.

Sherri - posted on 08/28/2011

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Well Robin that is a totally different story and something you failed to mention in your original post. Sounds like you have done the right thing.

Jodi - posted on 08/28/2011

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I don't know about where you live, but in Australia, that psychiatrist would be required by law to report the BD's behaviour as child abuse, and would be recommending to the courts that he not have unsupervised access to the children. End of story. Do you not have mandatory reporting laws where you live?

Anyway, I totally agree with you, and the psychiatrist should be able to provide you with a recommendation to do this to back you up. Also, can you take out a restraining order on behalf of a minor where you live? This will give you legal reason to justify your contempt of court.

Robin - posted on 08/28/2011

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I've already been to the lawyer's office, and I'm awaiting the angry backlash from him receiving his papers. Both of our kids together (DS15 & DD13) are incredibly intimidated by him, evidenced from the fact that it took them this long to come forward. My ex is careful not to leave easily visible marks on him (only smacking him within the hairline for instance). According to DS, he has hit him hard enough to leave him dizzy, nauseous and feeling tired... In other words-concussion. My ex threatened if they " told on him", he would lose his MICT certification (paramedic), would lose his job, his house and they'd be out on the street or in foster care. They informed me that foster parents "abuse those kids". I'm mostly trying to figure out what to do in the meantime, between now and court.

Sherri - posted on 08/28/2011

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I would personally send him, really you have no reason not too. If you have concerns then do it through legal channels and take your ex to court. I personally think your 15 yr old is old enough to decide if he wishes to see his dad or not, not you. If your son doesn't have an issue with it, then you shouldn't keep him from his dad.

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