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Angela, Counselor
Category: Relationship
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Angela, since we spoke yesterday, my daughters stepmother

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Angela, since we spoke yesterday, my daughter's stepmother used profanity in speaking directly about me. I picked her up for my son's birthday party this afternoon and she was crying. She does not want to go back over to his house as long as her stepmom is there. She doesn't feel comfortable being around her. This is not the first time this has happened. My daughter stuck up for me and said, "don't talk about my mom that way". The stepmom yelled up the stairs directly to my daughter, "I'll call her whatever the f#@k I want to." I don't even know her. (She called me a "spoiled b$%ch) My daugher wrote her dad a email and said for him to call her if he wanted to talk about this. She doesn't want to go back tomorrow and she doesn't want him coming to our door in the am. I can't see her cry and I too don't want her in that environment. What is your advice and opinion. She was very distraught!!!!! HELP!!
Hello my name is Angela.
I am more than happy to assist you with your questions by giving you my honest and respectful opinion.

I am very, very, sorry to hear about this. I would suggest trying to reach your ex directly in lieu of this horrible incident to discuss it with him and to ask him to speak to his wife about such inappropriate behavior and to have her apologize to your daughter and to you. I suggest contacting your ex and trying to talk to him because he may be the one who is able to get through to his wife. You certainly can try and talk to his wife yourself, but if she was that nasty and disrespectful towards your daughter she may act even worse towards you. Also, a couple of other options you could consider: 1. I would strongly consider filing a police report about this because you don't know what may happen in the future with this step mom being verbally abusive toward your daughter. Also, you should know that having a police report is also a good way to legally document the incident and it would be filed based upon what your daughter has stated occurred. You can discuss with the police officer any concerns you may have and ask any questions but it is good to have this incident legally documented in case something additional should happen in the future. 2. Also, you previously mentioned in another question that you have joint custody, therefore, I would call the individuals involved with helping you secure joint custody and ask what options you have and discuss them in lieu of this incident? For example, would you be able to and willing to keep your daughter full time if this was an option? What can be done about the step mom's behavior and etc.? 3. This last option you could also call for information as well: you could contact the child protective services in your state (-you can search by "child protective services" followed by the name of your state to get the phone number) and call for information about what possible options you have and discuss them. Doing any of the 3 above should give you additional choices and options you could consider in how you will continue to handle this situation because your daughter should not be exposed to verbal abuse or to any type of abuse.

Edited by Angela (M. A. in Community Psy.) on 9/12/2010 at 4:01 PM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you so much! She is home with me now. He probably wants to come and get her because it is, "His Day"!! She does not want to go back there!! What do I do?? She is very afraid but insists she does not want to go back. I really need some advice here. Does she have a choice? Can she just talk with her dad and tell him? She already wrote him a letter last night as you know. Nobody has appologized as of this time. I am furious!!!
I completely understand and that's why I suggest calling the police first to explain the situation to them because you have a legal custody agreement along with their being verbal abuse involved based upon your daughter's statement. Therefore, I would call the police and explain the entire situation to them and let them advise you further due to the verbal abuse vs. the custody agreement. That's also why I suggested the other 2 options as well because of the verbal abuse versus the custody agreement. You can call the non-emergency phone number for the police department in the town where you live and ask to speak to a supervisor and explain your situation and also ask the supervisor to document your conversation by making a police report. You could also call your ex and ask him if she could stay with you for the day in light of what happened. I would do both of the above asap. Write down the name of the police supervisor that you speak to along with the date and time of your conversation so that you can later get a copy of the police report if you want it. Also, I think it's good to involve the police now because if he shows up at your door demanding her and she does not want to go due to the verbal abuse, then there's a good chance that the police would be called due to the nature of the situation especially if it turns into any type of verbal altercation. This way you could be proactive and call them first and get their advice and then also follow up with the other 2 suggestions on Monday during business hours, but the police are available now and I suggest speaking to a supervisor at the police department in lieu of the nature of your situation.

Edited by Angela (M. A. in Community Psy.) on 9/12/2010 at 4:21 PM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
her dad is on his way over and a police supervisor has not called me back. They said he may not bc of just bad language? Her father said he wants to take her to get a soda or something and talk about this. Apparently, the stepmom wants to appologize to her. She won't accept her appology. I forgot to tell you that in the past she has said to my daughter's face that her dad is an "ass hole". If I don't let her go, he could prosecute me and I could be jailed for contempt of court due to the divorce decree. I guess I have to let her go? I'll wait for the officer to call me back and I'll get back with you. Thank you!!
Yes because of the custody order versus the verbal abuse that's why I wanted you to speak to a police supervisor. As a side note: if he doesn't call you back you can always physically go to the police station and file an official report which they have to take and you can also request in person to speak to a police supervisor as well. Also, if your ex is unwilling to let her stay then it sounds as if you have to let her go as long as their is no threat of bodily harm, however, please follow up with my 2nd & 3rd suggestions on Monday during business hours for more information and options concerning preventing the verbal abuse from happening in the future. Have you asked your ex if she can stay with you for the day? If not please do so when he arrives, if he agrees to this have him tell your daughter that she can stay for the day so that she hears it from him (-and so that you have proof that he willingly allowed this to occur). Also, ask him if you can go along with them while they talk (-if he tells you that he wants her to come back to his house and not stay with you)? Lastly, ask your ex if he could make some time to talk to you about this incident after he speaks to your daughter about it today because the two of you obviously need to discuss it?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

It so happened that the officer and my ex came to the door at the same time. My ex was hostile and on the defense as soon as I opened the door. I explanined to him that I had called for advice and that I was awaiting a call back however, since an offficer was in the area she had stoped by. My ex said to call my attorney. That he was taking her and that he was going to do anything and everything he had to do in this situation. He said he couldn't believe that I had an officer involved. I told him I had questions about custody rights. He was rambling to the officer and she had to stop him more than a couple times when he said I said something of which I did not. He would not allow me to talk and he said to my daughter, "come on we're going". I never had time to ask if she could stay and calm down. He would not have let that happen. He won't discuss anything with me and again said to contact my attorney. When he left, the officer stayed and she said she had never heard an adult speak to a child in that way. In her words she said, "it sounded like he was putting her on trial." My daughter began to cry and he showed no compassion towards her. The officer noticed that. She said not to talk with him while my daughter was there. She didn't need to hear that. The officer said that she doesn't know if the verbal abuse part would necessarily hold up in court. I guess that they look at a lot of things in determining where my daughter would like to stay other than just a few instances of "foul language"?? The officer's advice to me was to call concilation services whom I worked with earlier in the year for another situation involving my ex and tell them the story and ask for advice on where to go from here. She gave me an event # XXXXX her badge number and her name. She said that all calls were documented and the court could look into it to find my call.


He would not let me go with them. She is now gone and put back into that situation. My ex contributes it to "being a family". "There are times you get a long and times where you don't and you have to learn to deal with it and not run away from things each time they happen." He doesn't think I have a let to stand on. I know they just won't say ok, go live with your mom over this, but what else and where do I go from here now?

The important thing, in terms of documentation, is that the event is documented and that the police officer also heard how he inappropriately spoke to your daughter as well as how he interacted with you (-for example, should you go to court at some point pertaining to your daughter the police officer could be subpoenaed by your attorney to recount what occurred). I suggest first thing tomorrow morning you call the agency that helped you before as the police officer suggested along with the other agencies I mentioned in my previous post so that you can get information about what your options are in this circumstance. You need to know what all of your options are so that you can review them and decide what action to take is best for you and for your daughter. You can also call the attorney who helped you for additional information as well. When you speak to each person at each agency be sure to tell them all of the details that you are concerned about and to ask what choices do you have? I suggest writing down on paper today the key points you want to ask questions about so that first thing tomorrow when you make your phone calls you can simply look at your notes and summary of key points and no exactly where to begin (-start with this recent incident from yesterday to today). Additionally, I would also list the names and phone numbers for each agency on a separate piece of paper today so that you have them handy to call in the morning. You can also take notes so that you don't forget any key points as you talk on the phone which is why I suggest listing each agency and phone number you will call on a separate piece of paper (- or you may want to use a notebook to keep everything together neatly on separate pages) . Also, it probably will take more than one incident for something to be done, however, the important thing is that each incident is documented so that you have an official paper trail (which is why I suggested considering filing a police report). Otherwise without having incidents officially documented you are left with nothing to show or use other than your words and your daughter's words for any future actions pertaining to your daughter's case. If such incidents continue and you continue to have an official paper trail of the incidents this will help you concerning your daughter's case. Also, it doesn't matter what your ex thinks and do not let his opinions dictate what you do. It sounds as if he has no problem with his wife verbally abusing her and that is not good as well as sad! Yes family problems do occur, however, it is not okay to call a child (-or anyone) a bitch or to use other profanities toward a child (-adults are supposed to set good examples). Therefore, you could consider doing all of the above that I suggested in this post and then once you know all of your options, decide what further action you will take. The more information and options you have the greater choices you have to choose from.
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