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Seeing 1 year old daughter alone

(63 Posts)
LandysOffRoad Tue 05-Mar-13 13:54:34

My ex and I have a daughter, who has just turned 1. I lost contact for a month at 2 months old due to changing jobs and moving house, but since 3 months old I have seen her at least once a week for 2-3 hours a visit, and paid maintenance My ex has never let me take her out alone, or be in the room alone with her. I have always been a loving dad to her, but my ex insists this is so our daughter "won't get scared being away from her".

Whenever I ask when I can have her alone, she says "once she is ready." but won't give any indication of when this is, and as she never leaves our daughter with anyone, she understandably cries if she leaves the room. My ex insists she won't calm down without her, and isn't willing to try this. Up until now I haven't pushed the point, due to breastfeeding meaning I couldn't have had long with her anyway, but now it seems like she's just going to drag it on and on. (she is also still breastfeeding even though our daughter is over 1.)

If I take this to court, would her reasons mean I still only have supervised access?
She says:

1. Our daughter doesn't know me well enough and will be scared (I see her once-twice a week, I do all the travelling-about 30 minutes each way, and she won't let me take her out unless ex is with us. Daughter will happily smile/play with me, though she is quite shy, but this is with everyone not just me.)

2. That I don't pay enough attention to her and she might end up hurting herself. (This is not true)

3. That I can't calm my daughter down on my own, (She has never let me try this, as if she cries longer than about 2 minutes she takes her off me and does it herself.)

And also how much/how long is an average court case of this sort?
Thank you in advance.

OutsideOverThere Tue 05-Mar-13 14:07:00

Just one thing shines out and that is that once babies hit 8 or 9 months, they can suffer very badly from separation anxiety meaning that being out of the same room as their primary carer (in this case her mum) will make them very very anxious indeed.

So there's truth in that.

colditz Tue 05-Mar-13 14:09:47

What do you think is best for your daughter? You don't see very much of her at all, to be honest, so I'm not surprised she is shy and actually, moving jobs is no excuse to not seeing a child for a month.

RedHelenB Tue 05-Mar-13 14:10:01

Before court I would suggest seeing your daughter more often - at a young age courts favour little & often. Could you suggest just taking her to the local shop for 5/10 mins & building up from there?

MajaBiene Tue 05-Mar-13 14:21:55

12 months is prime time for separation anxiety. If she only sees you once a week then it might be stressful to be away from her mum.

Could you build up slowly? See her twice a week for instance. How about you take your daughter swimming, and her mum stays in the building, or you all go into town and you take your daughter to a cafe while her mum nips to a shop?

LandysOffRoad Tue 05-Mar-13 18:01:54

She won't let me take her out at all if alone, and if we both go she won't leave me at all, she even takes her into the loo with her.

I think she's making her seperation anxiety worse by being so over posessive though, she's not giving her a chance to get used to being away from her. What age does seperation anxiety as a reasonable excuse last until?

I can't really see her more, I see her twice a week some weeks, but I can't every week as I only have 2 days off a week so need time to get other things done on my spare day off some weeks, and finish work late so can't visit after work really.

What would a court be likely to order if I took it to court now?

OutsideOverThere Tue 05-Mar-13 18:55:48

Going to court at this stage is likely to alienate the mother further. Honestly it's so far the wrong move in the wrong direction, I can;t tell you.

Anyway you'll be made to go to mediation first I imagine, I think that's what happens these days - I'm not sure.

OutsideOverThere Tue 05-Mar-13 18:58:42

Also I imagine the mother is scared. I don't knowwhy you broke up, but the baby is very young so I imagine it was during the pregnancy? If so she has had to deal with all of that with no one to help her or look after her, she's brought the baby into the world and now is looking after her on her own, yes?

Now you want to take that child away from her, albeit for short periods of time but still can you not imagine how bloody horrible that must feel?

And now you want to go legal on her. I mean think how it is from her point of view. She must feel fecking terrified.

OutsideOverThere Tue 05-Mar-13 19:02:38

and yes a child has the right to know its parents. But at the moment the child just needs a stable, safe and calm home environment, with a primary carer who is NOT STRESSED and not scared and not going through the court process.

That is what is currently best for your child. Please, please think about this before loading any further stress onto her mother. It will have a detrimental effect on your little girl.

Step back, try to negotiate and please don't start threatening to go to court. Unless you're the sort of man who she is right to be afraid of, you will understand and respect their family unit and tread very carefully - and you'll get FAR more results by doing that. I'm not kidding.

LandysOffRoad Tue 05-Mar-13 19:30:12

We separated a week before she found out she was 8 weeks pregnant, so yes during the pregnancy, though we weren't aware at the time of separation.

Until what age am I expected to just go along with her rules and not have any quality time with my daughter though? I understand new mums feel emotional and anxious, but she is a year old now, not a newborn or even a young baby.

It's not good for my daughter to only have 1 person in her life, she won't even be able to see me as part of her family as she can't come to my home or have time alone with me. She should be allowed to build trusting relationships with more than 1 person.

I could understand if I was trying to have her for 48 hour periods etc and this age, but I just want a few hours alone to start with, I don't feel this is too much to ask, plenty of children are in nursery with complete strangers at this age.

MajaBiene Tue 05-Mar-13 19:42:57

I think only seeing her once a week because you have other things to do on your day off is a bit of a weak excuse to be honest. At this age babies need contact little and often. A few hours once a week isn't enough - most children this age wouldn't settle in a nursery doing one 3 hour session a week, which is why many nurseries insist children do at least 2 days.

Mannequinkate Tue 05-Mar-13 19:44:24

Your daughter only gets to see you 2-3 hrs a week some weeks because you are busy on your other day off??

I think you need to build up more regular contact making more of an effort to see her in your 'free time'.

From your ex's point of you I would imagine that she sees your behaviour as a lack of commitment to your child. You don't manage to maintain contact if you have other things on. You missed out on seeing the child for a full month because it wasn't convenient due to a change in jobs. Your ex on the other hand has been solely responsible from birth, feeding and nurturing your child. I think when you consider her point of you, you may also see a man who so far has failed to demonstrate his credentials as a good father.

Up your game before thinking about court action

Lostonthemoors Tue 05-Mar-13 19:49:30

My DS failed completely to bond with a nanny who had him one morning a week from 13 months old. I would ask for short contact x 2 days a week every week. Even with the driving that would still give you

I wouldn't have been apart from my DS to go to the loo or generally at all at that age and am still bf now at 19 months, so none of that is so unusual.

MajaBiene Tue 05-Mar-13 19:50:18

To answer your question about what a court would order - well, firstly mediation. Courts generally go for little and often contact at this age, and are unlikely to order a breastfed 1 year old to be parted from her mother.

If you put the effort in now to consistently and regularly see your daughter, so she becomes comfortable with you, maybe she and her mother will be happier with unsupervised contact in a few months time.

Florin Tue 05-Mar-13 19:50:26

To be honest I think she is your child as much as hers. You have a right to time with her without being watched as her mother gets. It would need to be built up slowly but unless you start it is never going to happen. I think you need to sit down and work out what the plan is as it can't continue as it is for years. Make sure you say your daughter being happy is your priority and you want to build it up slowly. Maybe suggesting that firstly you have her alone at her home while her Mum is home but somewhere else, surely she would appreciate time to get on with her cleaning or batch cooking or something. Then after a few times of that build to a trip to the shops with the promise of being back in 20 minutes then a trip to the park etc etc.

Lostonthemoors Tue 05-Mar-13 19:50:32

I meant even with the driving that would still give you half of each day off to do your own thing.

Truffkin Tue 05-Mar-13 19:58:26

How about if you suggest an initial try whilst her Mom does something nice for herself so she is suitably distracted by something nice, rather than waiting and worrying. I'd say it's quite normal for a first time parent to think that no one else can comfort their child and 12 months is still a baby. Your circumstances only make it harder for your ex partner to let go as I should imagine that her daughter is her world.

If you could work on sounding more understanding, making the effort to see your daughter more frequently and suggesting a way to help her Mom cope better with the idea of time apart from her then that may bear more fruit than the aggressive and demanding approach you have suggested.

LandysOffRoad Tue 05-Mar-13 20:05:50

WRT the 'at this age' suggestions, up until what age is little and often recommended legally?

I have tried and tried suggesting going out of the room, popping out, her getting on with something else, but it's always a no. I really can't see her agreeing willingly to it, as she won't even give a vague age that she will be happy about.

I do visit 2 days a week every other week or so, but I can't always do 2 days.

I really can't see a way of building a relationship alone with her without court. It doesn't seem fair on my daughter to not be allowed to see me as a part of her family until her mother decides to let her. How would I answer her questions when she's older as to why she didn't start staying at mine or having days out with me until a certain age? Or why there is no photos of me and my family out with her as a toddler?

She has also refused to travel 2 hours to visit my very elderly and unwell grandmother who is desperate to see her. my grandmother traveled to visit her as a newborn but is unable to now due to her health. This is another reason why I would rather start building up to longer time apart sooner rather than later.

If I do go to court, how long could she stall the process? If it would be say 1-2 months long max I would be willing to wait until she is about 18 months and see if we manage any progress alone (which I think is unlikely) but if it could take upwards of 6 months, it seems more sensible to pursue court now and ensure this doesn't drag on and on.

MajaBiene Tue 05-Mar-13 20:11:21

You're not going to build a relationship if you are too busy to visit more than once, sometimes twice a week. It sounds like you want everything on your terms, and aren't considering how distressing it might be for your baby to be separated from her mother.

If you insist on going to court, it could take a long time. Your ex could put a stop to all visits in the mean time. She could stall and stall if she wanted to, the court will be even less likely to order unsupervised contact when it does come to court if you haven't seen your baby for months and are a stranger to her. You really are best off doing things amicably.

Mannequinkate Tue 05-Mar-13 20:14:57

I do visit 2 days a week every other week or so, but I can't always do 2 days.

I don't understand this. Your ex does 7 days, what if she couldn't do a day what would happen to your daughter then would she just not bother? I don't think you understand your daughter should come before everything for you, you need to start making decisions and plans based around her needs not your own.

Lostonthemoors Tue 05-Mar-13 20:26:13

A family friend didn't see his DS overnight until 3. Don't know if the DS was bf, but limited contact with toddlers away from the dm is not unusual. Apart from your unwell family member other family can go to the dm's house, can't they?

I think you might change your mind if you actually tried this and had a desperately upset baby wanting her mother. She might be frightened alone with you which could set her back in bonding with you.

Just take things gently and do 2 days contact every week. Why can't you do that?

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Tue 05-Mar-13 20:37:11

I do sympathise but you seem intent on going to court. You need to make every effort to demonstrate you are a responsible father and not threaten court to get your way.

Don't imply that the mother is using BF to prolong DD's reliance on her. Don't say that 'other children are at nursery at that age'. None of that matters, the mother is bringing up her baby as she thinks best. Doing so will make people feel defensive and less likely to cooperate.

Are any of your family allowed to visit with you? Do you take photos of your DD?

LandysOffRoad Tue 05-Mar-13 21:36:53

mannequin, if my ex needs to do something, she is allowed to take daughter out with her, if she needs shopping, she can do that with her, and she doesn't have to work due to benefits and maintenance, so there is no reason for her to "not be able to do a day". However if she couldn't I would happily take a day off work to have her. I have to work 5 days and fit any shopping, visiting other family, seeing people or day to day jobs around travelling and visits rather than being with her at the same time as ex can do.

Unexpected, I am fairly intent on going to court, as my ex has made it very clear she won't agree to me having her alone.
And you say "the mother is bringing up her baby as she thinks best". She is bringing up our baby as she thinks best, with no regard for my input. Isn't the whole point of parental responsibility making sure that both parents are looking out for and making equal decisions for their childs wellbeing?

5madthings Tue 05-Mar-13 21:51:22

Poor you having to fit everything in. She has to fit everything in AND look after a child at the same time.

You need to see her more often and consistently. Moving house/changing jobs is not s reason to not see your child for a month.

Bfeeding a one yr old is normal and its recommended to bfeed up to two years and beyond.

You need to build up the time you see your dd gradually and consistently as she gets older she will be building more if a relationship with you if you see her often and consistently, spending time with your daughter needs to be your number one priority.

blackeyedsusan Tue 05-Mar-13 23:23:56

this is some guidance from australia read the abstract.

it seems that children under four are particulaly vulnerable to difficulties forming stable attachments if they are separated from their primary carer for longish periods/overnight.

your posts seem about you. you can't make it twice everyweek because, well you are busy. if you waant to build the relationship with you daughterr... visit twice a week. stop hassling her mum to go away/out. it is only going to stress out mum and consequently baby. you will get more by being nice. perhaps apologising for the pressure, but saay it is only because you love your child. ask the mum how you can work together to getting more time with baby and build up to time alone gradually.

think about it from you child's point of view. you are a relative stranger popping in once or twice a week. she does not know about the biology of it yet. that will come. all she knows is the one person that is there all the time is mum. her mum is her world. if i was in your position, I would feel that is massively unfair.. but it will change as she gets older. it would be worse if you forced the issue of taking baby out before baby was ready, you would be causing her distress.. just to get your "rights" to see her. you would be that man who takes me away fom mummy, athe than that nice mn who plays with me.. playing with her and giving her lots of attention while her security of mum is around will only strengthen your relationship with dd and make her happier with you and change you from the "stranger" to daddy.

trrry mediation. perhaps if you have a long term plan it will help the short term.

breastfeeding can go on for over 2 years.
children go though the clingy stage from about 6 months to 2 years in varying intensities and lengths.

oh and I do think it would be nice if you child's mum could visit poorly granny. what are the reasons and is there anything you can do to make it easier for her to go. ie not overwhelming he with lots of your relis at once say. letting her bring her mum too?

try and get your ex to take photos of you and baby together.

do you do nappy changes and feeding while you are there?

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