Wedding Woes
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Don't call her a liar and document, document, document

Dear Prudence,

My ex and I broke up when our daughter was a few months old. Since then, it has been hot and cold over how cooperative she is with our custody arrangements. I had to get the police involved several times because she refused to hand over our daughter during my pickup. Currently, my ex gets only every other weekend and alternating Wednesday afternoons after completing her anger and parenting courses.

Our daughter is 7 now. She has started “remembering” fictional events of our former relationship. Like the time we went to the beach. Or when my grandmother gave my ex her wedding ring. Or the time we had a puppy and I made her mommy give it away. Beyond the fact that my daughter couldn’t possibly have remembered anything at the age of a few months, none of this ever happened. All of these “memories” started after my ex was allowed by the court to have unsupervised visits with our daughter. I have tried to redirect my daughter when she gets on these tangents, but they keep cropping up. What do I do here, short of telling my daughter that her mommy is “mistaken” and none of this really happened?

—Telling the Truth

Re: Don't call her a liar and document, document, document

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    Don't call her a liar but when she remembers this stuff, start to ask questions.  "How did you remember this?  Who told you about it?"  And this is the stuff for social workers and child psychologists.   If your daughter is the child of a manipulator with anger issues you'll likely need some quality recommendations for how to deal with it. 
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    banana468 said:
    Don't call her a liar but when she remembers this stuff, start to ask questions.  "How did you remember this?  Who told you about it?"  And this is the stuff for social workers and child psychologists.   If your daughter is the child of a manipulator with anger issues you'll likely need some quality recommendations for how to deal with it. 
    This.  And I think it's also okay for the LW to share how they "remember" things, even if what the child is saying didn't happen at all.

    But they definitely shouldn't disparage the mom.  Though I'm sure that's hard when the natural instinct is to defend yourself.  
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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    I hope you have a social worker or family counselor and if you don’t it’s beyond time to get one. This feels pretty common for what’s going on so they will have strategies for how to deal. In the meantime, document everything and ask questions. Definitely don’t call her a liar! 
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    Agreed that it's time for counseling/play therapy/something.  It could get tricky if they have joint legal custody because she could refuse, but if that's not the case, then LW could take her at any time.  IDK why it's not part of the custody/parenting agreement since the ex was (is?) so volatile.  

    Anyway, asking 'oh mommy said that, what do you think?' or questions along those lines and/or redirecting is also key here.  

    And if you really think this rises to a certain level, reach out to your lawyer. 
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