QUESTION AMY: Family won’t be stopped by a restraining order

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Dear Amy: I am a 32 year old mother of three. I have a restraining order against their father after years of emotional and physical abuse by myself and my children. I was trapped in the vicious circle of abuse for a long time.

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He hasn’t contacted us for over two years.

My ex’s mother (the “grandmother of my children”) recently tried to text my daughter and sent her pictures of her father and the father’s new girlfriend, along with their daughter (she is the same age as my youngest son, so his current girlfriend and I were pregnant at the same time).

I have access to these text messages and photos before my daughter does and would like your opinion on whether I should delete them/block their numbers, or if my 8 year old daughter should decide for herself.

I don’t trust anyone in their family and have never received any acknowledgment of the tremendous amount of pain and suffering her son has caused me and my children.

– Mama Bear

Dear mama bear: These family members are unlikely to apologize for your abuser’s actions.

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However, if they want to try and build a relationship with your kids, they need to understand that you are the gatekeeper.

I can’t speak with intent, but based on what you’re reporting, it sounds like your ex or his mom is using her ability to text your daughter as a “solution” which could conflict with the law. valid restraining order you have against her son.

You should double check the language on the court order.

Your child should not receive text messages from anyone without seeing the message first (I assume they may come in through a tablet).

Regardless of the restraining order status, if you do not want your children to have contact with your ex’s family, then it is your right to refuse that contact across the board. You are the custodial parent. It is your responsibility to keep them safe and sound.

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If your children express a desire to interact with these family members, use common sense to determine if it is in their best interest.

For now, I recommend blocking this contact as it was uninvited and inappropriate.

If this grandmother wants to contact one of your children, she will have to go through you. She probably knows this (she’s a mom after all), and this was a little test – one you passed. Congratulations.

Dear Amy: I live abroad and came home one summer to visit family and see some friends.

One of my best friends, “Jeremy,” has a garage sale every year that he and his wife get really excited about, so I went to hang out for an afternoon.

A man coming to the garage sale asked Jeremy if he had any guns for sale.

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When the man asked about it, looking around, everyone felt incredibly uncomfortable.

I thought if my friend told him he had no guns (I don’t know if he has guns or not) that the man could break into their house knowing they are unarmed.

I can’t imagine my boyfriend is the only one the guy asks. The man may be an honest person with no bad intentions. Please let me know your thoughts.

– Steven

Dear Steven: When I researched your question, I was surprised (and alarmed) to learn that it is legal in most states to buy (and sell) guns at a yard sale, with some caveats.

My suggestion is that anyone who is asked should simply answer, “I’m not selling guns today.” This should prevent potential criminals from being warned about an unarmed house.

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I think there is also an ethical question here. Even the most responsible gun owner cannot guarantee a stranger’s fitness or stability.

Dear Amy: “Fed Up” had repeatedly asked his child’s church group not to send him group lyrics, and although the leaders heed, they continue to add his song every few weeks.

My solution, while probably not nice, is to tell the leaders that he will add lewd photos and comments in the future if the practice continues.

This should solve the problem, but I’m not sure other parents would appreciate their kids dealing with this.

– S

Dear S: That is a truly terrible idea for many reasons. Sending lewd pictures to children is both morally wrong and illegal.

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