Advice??

[deleted account] ( 20 moms have responded )

I know alot the ladies on this site are both BioMums and StepMums so it's maily to these girls that I address this question, but feel free to wade in even if you are not a SM.

I have 2 SS and 2 bio's. My SS's are 12 and 14. They are lovely boys who have been through an awful lot and without being obtuse, I am not legally allowed to talk about the details; but they have been through quite a bit due to their mother. When I started seing their dad he had full custody for a specific reason and over the years custody has changed from that to 50%, to eldest with mum and youngest with us, to youngest 50% and later this year with mum while eldest remanins with mum. I have done verything I can to facilitate a civil relationship with thier mum but for a variety of reasons have had to accept that just wont happen. My question is:- She and I have very different mothering styles, if her kids are sick she is not in a rush to get them seen by a Dr whereas I prefer not to wait until they are very ill to have them seen. As a result my SS's often come to my home ill, I have them sorted out BUT my bios (5 and 2) then end up ill. I am 1. worried about it and 2. sick of others noting to me how often my biob's are sick. If this was you what would you do?

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Jodi - posted on 08/10/2011

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I have an example today. My stepson potentially has whooping cough. We don't know for sure yet, he has just been tested. His baby brother has been positively diagnosed. We're dropping our next visitation, just in case. Unfortunately, with incubation periods, I suspect we may already have been exposed, but this is why I believe it really depends on the illness and the circumstances.



Mandie, all I can suggest is that IF they are sick when they come to you, maybe try to isolate them a bit from the other kids? I don't know if that is entirely possible.



Given they are 12 and 14 though, it is quite concerning if they are sick all the time. Kids that age generally have better resistance than that. What sort of illnesses are they? I question this if they are constantly needing antibiotics, because this isn't normal. The common cold can't be cured by medicine. Viral infections can't be cured by antibiotics. So are we talking chest infections (which generally aren't contagious) and ear infections (which aren't contagious either)?



Secondly, with cost of meds you have to pay out, do you guys have to pay child support? I believe this is one of the deductibles, but it depends on the situation.

[deleted account]

Mandy i can't remember and don't really want to look back but what sort of illness are they coming to you with?
Because i would think that if it was chest infections every time or even regularly then that would be seen as dangerous for those boys which is where i thought DOCS would or should step in.
Your husbands ex sounds like my ex. Our 1yr old wont eat while with his father so i told him that until i can see proof of him eating vege's then it will only be day visits. Yeah that didn't go down to well. Oh well best interest for our children.

April - posted on 08/08/2011

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if she is neglectful in the sense that she is not taking them to the doctor when they're sick, maybe she is neglectful in other ways too. maybe enough so that you and your husband can try getting custody back? if all the kids were with you all the time, there wouldn't be this issue...

Jodi - posted on 08/08/2011

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Amanda, if the children are sick enough, chances are they wouldn't have any quality time with the family anyway, they tend to spend the entire time feeling miserable. From my experience with my children, they just want mummy when they are sick, daddy becomes a figure in the background. Now I know not everyone's relationships with their kids are like this, but often, the sick child is better to be home in bed, and with mummy than visiting the other family for a few days. It really is dependent on the circumstances.



In my case, my step son lives a 2 hour drive away, he is better not having to do the car trip and just staying home where he can be warm and comfortable. He has come here sick before, but not excessively so (except for the time he came down with meningitis, but he came here with a simple minor headache and ended up in hospital!!)



My son's father never wanted him when he was sick because he was always concerned he'd get it and then not be able to go to work. And he didn't see the point in having him over if he was too sick to do anything anyway. His choice. My son has always been happier being home if he isn't well.



It is really something that needs to be assessed on an individual basis.

Mommy - posted on 08/08/2011

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My husband's ex sends my SD over sick ALL the time. It is so frustrating. My daughter suffers from febrile seizures, so when she gets sick and gets a fever, it often ends up in a seizure. I told his ex this, because I try to keep anyone sick away from my baby whenever I can, but she recently sent her to our house, then sends me a text 5 minutes after she arrived saying "If she as a high fever, let me know. She has been sick". Sure enough, she had a 102 fever. I was so pissed! We called her mother to pick her up. I had a very frank conversation with her and told her that the baby has seizures with fever, so please let us know if your child is sick before sending her. She has been better about it. I know this sounds mean, but my baby is my first priority, and if I think her health is in jeopardy I will do what I think is right to keep her healthy. If that means my SD comes for a visit and my baby and I stay at a relatives for the weeked, so be it.

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Jodi - posted on 08/10/2011

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Weird, I thought you could deduct medical.....I've never tried though. We pay medical if my step-kids are here and just live with it, but it isn't a frequent thing, so I've never seen the point.

But don't worry about me. Right now I am pissed at CSA anyway because we won the CSA lottery. Apparently my husband's name randomly came up as owner of a business, so 2 weeks ago they decided to audit him. And they gave us 2 weeks to get ALL the business paperwork to them. They must have been dreaming. THEN on top of everything, last week they were glancing through MY case and decided to audit my business too. Not sure where they think we are hiding our millions, but I am already working 12 hours a day at the moment for various business reasons, we are facing some MAJOR financial outlays for one business and now they want to do this? Gah!!! Not happy.... :\

[deleted account]

Oh and Jodi- yes we do pay child support and have previously been told that we cant deduct. I might get hubby to ask again though as I often feel the lovely folk at CSA just have a Wheel of Fortune-type thing behind their desk and when you ring up they just give it a spin and what the marker lands on is your answer! LOL! Sorry to be so cynical but since the Police has a 75% divorce rate (not a good thing, I know) most of my hubby's mates pay Child Support and every single one of them gets told something different. I know each case is individual and all but surely there has to be SOME consistency?? Look I dont begrudge hubby paying CS, they are his kids and his responsibility and frankly, I wouldnt respect him if he tried to get out of it. But it does make me mad that HE does the right thing, while there are loads of blokes out there patently doing the wrong thing, and they get away with it. He is so keen to do the right thing in fact that he recently got a statement from CSA which had been updated after tax and all, and it was over $300/month less than what it should be. How many guys would just run with it and wait to see if CSA ever figured it out? Loads right? Not him, he rang up immediately and put them straight. They tried to say it was right- again- he could have left it at that and thought "Well sux to be you then" but no he persisted in pointing it out until they realised he was right. The girl then thanked him for doing the right thing. His attitude was that his kids would miss out if their mother wasnt being paid right. Unusual no?

[deleted account]

Amanda- yes you are right but although from time to time the illness might involve a cold, mostly it is more serious than that- as I said, chect infections, gastro infections and the like. Add to that the fact that 3 of the 4 children (including my 2) suffer mild asthma and it means that even a cold IS a problem. I get what you are saying about sick kids not neccessarily meaning bad parenting- unfortunately as I said earlier I am not legally allowed to elaborate on why she IS in fact an unsafe parent but suffice it to say DOCS have been involved on and off for the past 8 years- if you can read between the lines? And it does suck if the children miss out on visits ( as I said, for my husband too) but how is it fair to our children either? Shannen, yes DOCS do get involved, quite often and not only through us but various families of her other children and also the childrens' schools- but again, they tell us that although they firmly believe the children are at risk of further harm it is 'not yet' at the stage of them being removed from her care for the second time. Hard to understand? Tell us about it! What I read into that is- not enough case-wrokers for the amount of kids in danger as as ours are slightly better of than some of their other cases they pretty much have to wait and she if she does what she did the first time. Jodi- I can see exactly what you are saying. If that was us though, we would not be told about the whooping cough AT ALL. We usually find such things out IF one of the boys mentions someone else in their mother's house has been ill. She would never tell us something like that. It is b/c of their ages that I'm concerned, when they were litel it didnt worry me as much as I just thought they- like ALL kids- were developing their immune systems and it would eventually settle down- still waiting though ;( And you are right, the kinds of things they come with are generally not contagious but as I said , with 3 of them having asthma, even colds can turn into bacterial issues when they cant shake it off or doesnt resolve on it's own. I wil try your idea of isolation- in as much as it's possible. Thanks for your time ladies- I do know there's probably no real answer, i just get so tired and frustrated trying to manage it all in my home. I do get my hubby to let her know if illness or any issues will be coming into her home via the boys so i just get down that it doesnt go the same way in reverse.

Amanda - posted on 08/10/2011

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I agree if a child has a fever they shouldnt be going anywhere, but there are many levels of sick. My children just visited a friends children who were sick with colds. Yes all of my children now have colds a 4 days later. Shrugs, like I said a kid will get sick, and to tell you the truth we dont even know if they got the cold from the sick children they were around, or their seemly healthy aunt and cousin they were exposed to the day before, as they also have colds now.

It would of sucked as a child if my father didnt take me everytime I was ill, I prob would of almost never seen him, as I was one of those children who seemed to always be ill.

As well a child who is always sick doesnt always mean they have a bad parent, it just means they get sick easier then others, or that the child does not live in a bubble.

[deleted account]

Thanks ladies for your input. Eva-Lotta (lovely name btw) my husband is very pro-active and is the one who communicates with the boys' mother. I would rather set myself on fire than communicate with her, as in the past it has- shall we say, NOT GONE WELL ;) Without sounding bitchy, if he asked her assistance something she would do the exact opposite regardless of whether or not it was in the boys' best interestes. So sadly communication with her about it is not an option. We have tried LITERALLY every form of communication known to man with her; but she is determined to play things to her own agenda- no point in me whining about it, it is what it is. So I was mainly wondering if anyone had any suggestions of what I can do from my end? I agree with everyone- it's sad for the boys to miss out on being here (sad for my hubby too) but it IS best for them to be where they are comfortable when they are sick. Sadly, that IS here- again without being bitchy- their mum is awesome fun for them, takes them fun places, gets them fun stuff and is much groovier than us and that's the strength in mothering she brings to them. I am more boring but also more traditionally maternal and they do like to get that from me, so I guess that's the strength in mothering I bring to them. April, yes there have been more than one documented incidents but the official position of DOCS is that they remain at substantiated risk of physical and emotional harm in their mother's care but apparently it's not enough for them to be removed from her care. We have sought legal advice and basically been told that if DOCS wont remove them, the Court wont either. Sad but true and again, no point in me whining about it, it is what it is. As I said, i mostly wondered if anyone had any magic suggestions for me about how to keep the illness to a minimum and manage the whole thing- my brian is fried and my baby has been on Amoxil so much this year I am ceratin he has developed a resistance to it. From a practical viewpoint as well, my Preppy is missing more school than I'd like and my baby has missed most of his swimming lessons this year (important to have in Tropical Queensland) and apart from the fact it's costing a fortune in Dr's, meds, (b/c as well their mother wont fill scripts sent to her so we have to send meds WITH them as well) missed lessons etc- it's turning us into hermits as I dont want to go around infecting everyone else's kids.

[deleted account]

I disagree Amanda. I have 3 children and my ex is with a girl who has 2 children if my kids were to come home sick i would be mighty annoyed. I also don't feel comfortable sending my kids to their fathers when they are sick and possibly making other children sick.
So yes kids will miss out to try and keep majority healthy!

Amanda - posted on 08/07/2011

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Children get sick, with or without step children in the home. No child should miss out on seeing their siblings and other parents, because they are sick.

Eva-Lotta - posted on 08/07/2011

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Where is your husband in this entire matter?? Isn't it up to him to communicate with his ex in regards to his kids??? I have a stepson and we have court orders for where he has to be so if he is sick he is sick and he will be where ever the court order says (he is 5 and our other two children are 21 months and 7 months). I haven't always been happy about things but it's not the kids fault that he gets sick... Everyone gets sick every now again. But as I said, my main question is where your husband is?...
Good luck!
(and I / we do not have a good relationships with my partners ex!!)

[deleted account]

Thank you ladies for your responses- I have tried to post you all as "helpful" and Kellie's as "funny" but my bloody laptop is on the fritz- or whatever. to answer the questions- when i say sick I mean either- an infection of some kind (mostly chest infections) requiring antibiotics; and/or gastro-y type things. I would like to go with the idea of kids not coming when they are ill and swapping dates later and so would my hubby but sadly it doesnt seem to work that way. Also, we are not EVER given any warning if they are sick so it's a bit hard to get them home, realise they are sick and then I can hardly say "You have to go home so the babies dont get sick". Also I know the boys rely on me to be 'nurturing mum' and her to be 'fun mum' so when they get here i get a list of their 'ailments' as soon as they get here. Others have told me that the boys' mother deliberately does it so that our kids will get sick. Dont know if it's true obviously but it may be. Mostly i try to touch base with the boys prior to their visits to see how they are, but they are not allowed to respond to my communication in their mum's presence so i often dont get a response. Kellie- to answer your questions as broadly as i can legally able, the soical services did not want them to leave my husband's primary care but Family Court judge over-ruled their reports due to a then-new system which has- almost 10 years later- proven not to work. Yes we could fight it but frankly we have tried for nealry 9 years and have run out of money.

[deleted account]

I don't let my kids go to their fathers when they are sick because his girlfriend has 2 children of her own. I have copped a lot of flack from my ex about this. I'm worried about my kids coming home sick from their fathers because he has no thought for the kids when they are sick.



I'm hoping to work out something like what Jodi does.



I also am not one to take my kids to the Dr's unless it seems they are getting worse or it's not letting up. Depending on what it is.

Jodi - posted on 08/03/2011

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In all honesty, we actually drop the visitations when there are sick kids. If my kids are sick, my SS doesn't come for his time, and if he is sick, he doesn't come for his time. It saves everyone a lot of grief really. I know it isn't ideal, but we've just found that this is what works.

But it does depend what sort of sick we are talking about. I mean, we all had flu over the recent holidays, and were REALLY sick, so it made sense to drop the visit. But if it had just been a seasonal sniffle, I wouldn't be worried. i also wouldn't be dragging them to a doctor for that either though.

[deleted account]

Crap Mandie - really? More? I'm sorry hun :(

Well, knowing you (and the answers to a lot of the questions that you can't answer because of legal issues), I'll tell you what you probably already know I'd say :)

If the boys are sick, then they shouldn't come over. I do like Marina's idea of boosting the little ones up on their vitamins and super healthy foods before visits, but if the boys are sick enough that they should be going to the doc then they should stay away, no matter how many vitamins the little ones have. I know you've been working hard at distancing yourself and this is a major step in that work, and it's what's best for the little ones in the end. Can you guys have one of the boys call you whenever one of them is sick so you can note it in your documentation? I know they chose to be there, but it's still good to note down when Crazy isn't taking proper care of them.

I'm sorry hun. We knew there were going to be more problems this fall and I wish I could be there to give you a BIG hug! Oh wait, I might be soon! :)

[deleted account]

What kind of sick are you talking about? I am one that rarely brings my kids to the doctor either, so what I would do is probably not what you would do. ;) Good luck though!

Kellie - posted on 08/03/2011

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Do they have to go to their Mother's? Why has this changed? If she hasn't been allowed in the past to have them why now? Do they want to go? Are they happy seeing and staying with her? At 12 and 14 they can have a legal say so as to what they want.

As for what to do, I really don't know. How sick is sick? Could she be reported for failing to care for them properly? Neglect wise?

As for busy bodies noting how often your Bio's are sick, I'd be telling them to fuck off and worry about their own families.

~♥Little Miss - posted on 08/03/2011

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I would start boosting my kids immunity with lots of healthy food and vitamins before your step kids come over, and bring this to your husbands attention. He should be the one to address this with his kids moms. Could it potentially work that they do not come over when they are ill, and can change visitation days? I know some families that are very flexible in this manor, but not so sure it sounds like you have that option.

As much as you should be able to talk to her about this, I have no idea what your relationship is like.

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