Ex using derogatory lanuage in front of our child - FamilyEducation
Ex using derogatory lanuage in front of our child
12/08/2007 at 17:25 PM

My ex has 7 children. 3 of them live with him and his girlfriend in a 2 bedroom apartment. I allow my daughter to visit her father on a limited basis. She never really met him till she was about 2 1/2 and it took her awhile before she'd go with him alone. Even now she doesn't usually stay overnight and if she does it's only one night and not the whole weekend. I have MANY issues with him (substance abuse, monitoring her health condition, etc) and that's why there is limited contact. I really like the girlfriend and feel she does her best to keep the environment as stable as possible. I want my daughter to have a relationship with him. My latest thing is the language he uses in front of her. She tells me often that he cusses a lot and that he  sits on the couch the whole time she's there and doesn't interact with her. I tell him till I'm blue in the face to play with her and talk with her and he doesn't listen. Her brothers and sister are there so she has a good time (normally) even if her father doesn't interact with her the way he should. He doesn't put her to bed on time and she has a medical condition that worsens with sleep deprivation. He just doesn't take it seriously. The cussing isn't a HUGE deal. I just tell her it's wrong and she understands. My problem now is the derogatory terms he uses when referring to a group of people. The "F" or "Q" word for gays is the one I have the biggest problem with but I don't like any derogatory terms about any kind of people. I don't talk that way in front of her. I told him I had a problem with it and he just laughed at how serious I was and started saying other things and laughing. I got a little louder and asked him not to talk that way in front of our daughter. He said it was his house and he'll talk however he wants to. I said not in front of my child you won't. He said well you can just leave. So I said okay fine, and I'm taking her with me. So we left. I feel like I've been pretty accomodating considering the crap I have to deal with from him. I wish he would've just said, "you are right, I shouldn't talk that way in front of her and I'll try to watch my mouth." or something along those lines. Sometimes I feel like not letting her go anymore period, but he's her father and I want her to know him even if he's not the greatest person in the world. I worry when things like this happen because then he threatens taking me to court for visitation. I don't want to keep him from seeing her, but he doesn't always provide the best environment. I just feel the situations as they arise as to whether I send her or not and for how long. Any advice as to how I should go about things going forward would be helpful.

Trisscity, within the first few sentences of your post you reveal a very common attitude. First of all when the child is at Dad’s house, it is Dad’s time. You have no right to dictate what Dad says or does while she is there. This is Dad’s daughter just as much as she is your daughter. I expect replies telling of how he is not there ,and how you have taken care of her since day one. In a court of law this means little. The fact is that Dad is there now and he is active in her life.

Your issues with Dad concerning substance abuse are a moot point. If they were true concerns you would not allow the child to go there. The fact is you have allowed her to go despite your “concerns”.

Since Dad now has a significant relationship with his daughter, and she with her siblings a court would no doubt find it in her best interest to grant visitation to the father. If you continue to try and dictate what he can and cannot say, and how he interacts with her, you are going to look like the controlling type.

Whatever your opinion of the father now, you at one point entered in to a relationship with him. From that relationship a child was created. She is just as much his as she is yours. Though he may not show it in ways that you might, or that you would approve of, he still loves her. And more to the point, for your daughters sake, she loves him.


She was at her father's house, however because he and I have had a pretty civil relationship for the most part I was there also having lunch. We get along much better now that we are not a couple. I politely, at first, asked him not to speak that way in front of her. As far as the substance abuse is concerned, he doesn't do it in front of her. He's had the same girlfriend ever since he and I broke up 7 years ago. If it wasn't for her my daughter probably wouldn't go over there at all. She's been pretty honest with me for the most part as far as the substance abuse issues and this is the only reason why I know when he's using and when he's not. He goes through periods of time (like now) where he actually works and doesn't appear to be using. Summers are usually pretty bad. He doesn't work and is partying a lot. My daughter doesn't usually go over there then and when she does I entrust her to the girlfriend. She reminds me a lot of myself. She's a really good person, good mom, and she puts up with his crap like I used to. She's a god sent to his children in the household and to me and my daughter. You are right. I cannot dictate what he does but I want my daughter to know her father. I know he loves her and wouldn't let anybody hurt her. I know if I kept her from him she would not be happy with me later in life. The issues I have are not a "moot point". They are real issues and you jump to the father's defense as if anything he chooses to do in his house is his business even when it concerns how my daughter is raised. You mention visitation. As a mother I wouldn't have hesitated to file for visitation if I didn't have custody, period. You pay a filing fee and fill out some paperwork (without an attorney) and get yourself in to court. He threatens it all the time while he goes months at a time without even calling my daughter and never files. It's so easy but yet he never does it. She's become used to not seeing him regularly, and it's not because I don't allow her to go. Sometimes our schedules conflict, but when he asks to see her he gets her. 


"The issues I have are not a "moot point". They are real issues and you jump to the father's defense as if anything he chooses to do in his house is his business even when it concerns how my daughter is raised."

 Sorry to burst your bubble, but you are wrong. The drug abuse is a moot point because you know he is using and still allow the child to go for visits. As for what Dad does in his home while his daughter is visiting, it is none of your business. Each parent has the right to exercise their parenting style while the child is in their care. You cannot dictate what he can or cannot do, or say just as he cannot dictate what you do. The fact is that he has a right to due process under the 14th amendmant. Until you find him unfit as a father, the state will not put any restrictions on him as a parent. If you would like to use the drug abuse as a way to find him unfit it will reflect poorly on you and the decisions you have made. It's okay for him to do drugs, just dont use bad language?? In the end of your original post you asked for advice. You should have stipulated that you only wanted advice that would be positive and helpful toward you, I would not have responded. The fact is, he is her father and though you may not agree with how he acts or what he does, you have still allowed the child to go there. Your view of a bad environment, and the states are two different things. If you persue this further you run the risk of her being there every other weekend and a mid-week visit.

  In closing I will offer a word of advice. The courts frown upon controlling parents. A parent that shows themselves to be controlling will only hurt themselves.


Your word of advice is that courts frown upon controlling parents and that if I pursue this further I run the risk of him getting every other weekend. Are you suggesting that I just stop letting her go period so it looks to the court as if I'm protecting her? Up to this point I have allowed her to see him at times because I have the control. I've never kept her from him for bad language or inappropriate behavior although I voice it to him often, but what is your suggestion in general with parents who use drugs? Honestly that and the bedtime are my biggest concerns. My friend goes through the same with her daughter and her ex. She's older so my friend is actually able to talk with her daughter about why she's allowed to go sometimes and other times she is not allowed to go. In her case the new girlfriend was a big factor in whether her daughter goes or not because she knows when the girlfriend is around she's safe and being watched. My whole situation is up in the air. This is not something that I even openly speak with him about. I mean it's obvious when he's using cause he doesn't work and I don't hear from him for months about him wanting to see her. When he's doing good (like now) he wants to see her often and I try to let her go as much as possible. I usually limit the over nights because he doesn't put her to bed on time and just try to make it all day trips. This is not something I openly say to him though because it would just make him mad although I know the girlfriend understands why. The court ordered visitation scares me because then I have no control and I can't be going into court every other month saying judge I think he's using again or he's not monitoring her medical condition by putting her to bed on time. I don't think it would be hard to prove the substance abuse because his criminal history backs this up (as recently as summer 2007...I said he goes nutz in the summer). I  worry now that I'm wrong for letting her go  even when I know he's sober. I'm trying to be a good mom and allow a relationship. I just get so torn daily as to what I should do. I really do appreciate your advice even if it seems like I'm trying to be combative. 


 You say he is your "Ex". Does this mean ex-husband, or ex- boyfried? If he is an ex-boyfriend, was paternity ever established, either through an affidavit of paternity or DNA test? If he is and ex-husband was there ever a parenting plan issued by the divorce court?


He is an ex-boyfriend and he signed the birth certificate and child support was ordered but there was no DNA test taken.


So document the danger issues (drug abuse in her presence, failure to moniter and accomodate her medical condition) so that when he threatens to take you to court for visitation you can feel confident that you will win.  I would stick with supervised visitation from now on.  You can say (if it comes up in court) that once you became aware of the seriousness of the drug abuse that you felt that it was important to supervise them.  Just because you did something one way before doesn't mean that you have to continue.  We all learn.

The language civility issue.  I would so not fight that fight.  Provide the proper example in language and deportment.  She'll choose for herself. 


  Child support was ordered, but no parenting plan was put in to place??


 I have to disagree with gail on this. To stop the visitation would not look well for you. The girlfriend knows that you know about his drug abuse. You also spoke of a conviction he had regarding drugs. There is no doubt that you know of his drug problems. The worst thing you can do is try and cover what has already been done. If he can show that you are lying to the court about this, your outcome could be disasterous. I think this is going much farther than you wanted it to go. I would keep with the visitation.


Where I live a visitation plan doesn't take place unless the parent wanting visitation actually pursues it since we were never married. It's the same with child support. If I didn't pursue it then there never would have been any ordered unless I was on some sort of state assistance (which I am not). In that instance the court makes you file for child support (this happened with my brother). I don't want to stop the visitation all together. She likes seeing her father. I don't do it for him, I do it for her. The conviction was not for drugs, it was for assault. He has numerous assault convictions (several of them I was present for) and they are all alcohol and drug related. He's a pretty easy going, likeable guy when he's not using. When he drinks and uses drugs (I'm not even sure what kind of drugs) then he's a different person. That is why I like sending my daughter on 4-8hr day trips. He doesn't drink or use during the day. When he does drink or use he goes out and does it and then my daughter is left with his girlfriend. The only thing that really takes place in the house is them fighting about it after the fact (if he comes home late, etc). When she was little he would call me if she cried for me and he knew she was uncomfortable about staying over night. You could tell he was concerned about making sure she was comfortable.When her seizures developed (4yrs) I stopped the overnights for awhile until I had some sort of handle on what was going on and she was taking well to her meds. She has done a couple overnights recently (since school started) and he says he put her to bed on time. Like I said before he's working and seems to be doing well. I don't want to limit her time there but I feel like it works for now because I can let her see him and still monitor the situation. Usually when I take her over there I stay for awhile and visit with him or the girlfriend. She has a little brother that I like to interact with. And there has been a couple times where I have not left her. Like if he was sleeping in the middle of the afternoon cause he had stayed up too late night before and his older son was watching the toddler. Or if there was too many of his "buddies" in and out of the house. If it didn't feel right I'd just hang out, let her play, and then take her with me. They have moved into a better neighborhood and he's doing well now. I hope he continues to do well. I want him to be a good father. I wouldn't even be opposed to court ordered visitation if he was drug tested regularly and maintained employment. He's not one that can work and use. It seems to be a tell tale sign every time. I just worry now, would a court do supervised or limited visitation considering I have sent her over there even though I have done my best to monitor when she goes and when she doesn't. 


I was not suggesting a lie.  I was suggesting that we learn things, and then act on new knowledge.  Not that she just learned about his drug abuse, but that she became aware that there are possible serious consequences of that abuse.  Sorry I was not clear on that.


I feel obligated to jump in here to say that I'm concerned about all the legal advice thrown around here regarding what the court will do, and what a court will look down on. Please, if you have questions about how a court will resolve issues concerning child custody and visitation, or how you should proceed legally, consult a lawyer.

Sister, this was two and a half years ago. I gave no legal advice, I do not even know what state she lives in to be able to look up local laws concerning her situation. I did however give advice on how family courts operate, and how many judges view such situations, but that was not legal advice as much as it was just common sense.

Ok, sorry, the post was listed under "all recent posts" for some reason and I did not see the date.