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Ex-Husband Jeopardizing Kid's Health?

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Single Mom Seeking: Have you ever struggled with your ex-husband because he does NOT follow the doctor's orders when it comes to the kids?

Boy taking medication

A single mom I know has an amicable co-parenting relationship with her ex, but he has a very laid-back parenting style when it comes to her son's allergies. She feels like her ex is jeopardizing her son's health because he isn't giving their son his medication.

This mom is irate, and she'd like to hear from other moms. She feels like her ex is being neglectful, and she's very worried about their son. Many of you cope with juggling your kids' medical needs ... and we're hoping you can help out here.

For many guys, any discussion of kid-medication brings back memories of a smothering mother, or painful memories of childhood illness. We all know that men avoid doctors (hello, denial!). If a guy minimizes kid health problems by "forgetting" to give medication or arguing that everyone is simply overreacting, you definitely have a problem on your hands.

For the kids' sake, many savvy moms do whatever it takes to involve Dad in all aspects of medical decisions. After all, guys typically respond more cooperatively when they hear the issues and challenges straight from the medical experts. Often, trying to be the "messenger" or the go-between between a physician and a minimally cooperative dad just backfires.

So, back to this mom, whose ex refuses to give his son allergy medication: Her ex has gone to their son's pediatrician with her; he has heard the advice straight from the doc's mouth. Still, he has all kinds of reasons for NOT giving his son his medication (he forgot to go to the pharmacy; their son seemed just fine until bedtime ...).

Have you struggled with an ex who does NOT follow doctor's orders when it comes to the kids?

How do YOU think this mom should handle this situation?


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14 comments so far | Post a comment now
Matt May 24, 2010, 7:39 AM

Well, what kind of allergies are they? If they are food allergies than yeah she has a right to be angry, if it is a pollen or cat allergy, she should stop being a over reacting bi**h.

chris May 24, 2010, 7:55 AM

I also wonder what kind of allergies that her son has. I personally don’t like to take medicine (I have a lot of sinus issues) and prefer a more natural way of dealing with it. I also give very little medicine to my kids - thankfully, they are both very healthy. If they needed medicine for something that could seriously affect them, then I would give it to them but if it is medicine that is optional then I would try and find a more natural way to deal with it. So what is the medicine for??? I hate when I read these articles that always leave the important stuff out. How can we possibly give honest advice if we don’t know all the facts?

Anonymous May 24, 2010, 9:26 AM

worrying over regular allergies does not make her a b***h. My son(3 years old) has severe allergies and if he misses more than one or two nights of medicine he is up all night coughing so bad he starts throwing up. His eyes get puffy and his nose doesn’t stop running. We don’t have the option of not giving him his medicine or he is the one to pay. Just to clarify we do have to give natural treatments too. We have to give a nasal rinse once sometimes twice a day depending on the weather. No matter what type of allergy if it causes the child pain or discomfort and the medicine helps prevent that then it should be given.

Black Iris May 24, 2010, 9:51 AM

I think it depends on how bad the allergies are. When I was growing up, I don’t think there were any allergy medicines for kids. Does her husband really agree that the kid needs the medicine? Is this something where another doctor might have a different but reasonable opinion? Are there any side effects the husband is concerned about?
I guess if there is a life-threatening situation, you might have to go to court and limit the visitation rights. If it’s not clear and there’s more than one approved way to handle the problem, you might have to accept it.
Things she could do - keep an extra supply of medicine on hand and offer to bring it over if the pharmacy is closed. Call the husband to nag him - although he might not like this. Ask the husband what you can do to help him remember and support him. Get another relative or friend to help the two of you talk, especially if you’re not getting along perfectly (I know they’re amicable, but they must have gotten divorced for a reason). The hardest thing, though, is that the husband may believe that the kid shouldn’t get medicine unless he shows signs of needing it. So long as he thinks that, he will act differently from what the wife wants.

Tara May 24, 2010, 10:14 AM

If the doctor prescribes it for the child, it’s responsible parenting to carry out the instructions for the sake of the child. Unless the father is a doctor it is wrong for being so reckless. If he continued to be so careless I would take him to court honestly. Sends a message.

Black Iris May 24, 2010, 12:38 PM

I was just thinking about the dad saying the kid was fine until he went to bed. What if part of the problem is allergens in the bedroom, not just whether or not the kid takes his medicine? Are there allergen-proof zippered covers on the kids’ pillow and mattress to protect against dust and dust mites? Is the bedding being washed in hot water to kill dust mites? Is the kid allergic to wool or anything in the bedding? Is the room itself dusty? Is the kid sleeping with a lot of stuffed animals, a pet, or books? Is there mold in the room or the house? Is the kid spending a lot of time during the day playing with or near something he is allergic to like a pet, pollen, dust, or mold? Maybe if you can’t get the dad to give medicine, you can get him to protect against allergens. If you want to stay amicable and you can’t get him to do things himself, maybe you can even volunteer to put on the mattress covers and wash the bedding for him. Or your kid could sleep in a sleeping bag that you provide and keep clean. None of this is fair, it’s just a way to deal with it if the guy won’t do what you want. In my opinion, divorce doesn’t end fights about the kids. It just gives the other parent the power to do things their way when they have custody. That’s the down side of co-parenting/joint custody.
The thing is, if you take the dad to court, things won’t be amicable any more. This will be bad for the kid (stress is also bad for allergies). Imagine being pulled into court to testify as to whether or not your dad is taking care of you and giving you your medicine. Besides, you might not win, unless the kid is ending up going to the hospital because dad forgot his medication. I think court is the nuclear option that you should avoid if you can.

Pamala May 24, 2010, 5:10 PM

Well allergies tend to get worse at night. I have to wonder what the allergies are. My daughter has allergy medicine and she doesn’t need it all the time, nor did the doctor say to give it to her all the time. If you do it wears off anyhow. So I need to know what allergies we’re talking about before I can even judge.

Danielle May 25, 2010, 5:37 AM

Stop buying stuffed animals for your kids. DUH!! Why would anyone feed their children allergy prone food? My kids aren’t allergic to anything but I still will not allow them to eat unnecessary food like peanuts which are legumes by the way, milk etc. We are creatures of HABIT, so start creating some healthy habits. Is anyone getting mad at the ex-wife for feeding her children fast food at least once a day?? or several times a week?? compromising their health?

A. Clarke June 16, 2010, 1:23 PM

Danielle, Why do you presume there is any fast food in the child’s diet?
I digress. The POINT of the story is that dad’s generally don’t take medication and illness seriously. This is just one example. I know a dad who doesn’t measure his toddler’s liquid medication. He holds it up to the boy and tells him to ‘drink some’. I’ve seen dads do things that do negatively impact their childrens health and that is what the writer wants to know. Is this dangerous behavior prevalent and also how far a father would take it. Would the same father be more careful if the child suffered from a life threatening illness? I’ve met dads who give their toddlers nothing but pop and candy all weekend long. Many kids have no scheduled bed time and sometimes no bed. When should the mothers intervene? Should the fathers be allowed or even encouraged to rescind their partial custody knowing they won’t be vilified by family and friends? Should mothers contact their lawyers? Does the societal norm expect that fathers are even required to care to that level. Perhaps that level of caring really is only required by the mom. Is it really ok in our society to neglect the details so long as fathers profess to loving their kids? Many fathers simply forget how important they are to their childrens health. Public forum discussions like this might be just the wake up call they need to realize that it’s not just the nagging ex wife who thinks they could do more. There are some wonderful fathers out there and kudos to those who are. This article isn’t about them. Please don’t get defensive based on your experience with all the great dads we all know and love. This argument goes both ways but let’s accept that the mothers usually bear the majority of care giving for young children. This is a valid question and knowing when to intervene is important. We need to talk about it because sometimes the courts are involved too early and sadly sometimes they are involved too late. It really is about the fact that the ones who ultimately suffer are the children.

Nicki June 20, 2010, 9:57 PM

I just had a similar problem with my ex. My son has cow milk allergy, and has been tested for it. 2 years ago, he was retested, he had not grown out of the allergy. However, he can have cheese and things that contain milk, like cakes, but he can’t have a glass of milk or ice cream. Therefore, he is allergic to the whey protein portion of milk.

Why did this fool give my son ice cream today, then lied and said my son got it himself when they were at the buffet and told him I let him have ice cream. My son is 8 and he is very aware of his allergy to the point where if he feels a tingle, he will not eat it. When I addressed my son about it, both my sons at the same time stated that their dad made my son try the ice cream and made them chant “ice cream is my friend.”

If your ex is being negligent about your child’s health, step up and don’t let him have him overnight anymore. If he wants to see the kid, let him visit. My ex will not be picking up my kids anytime soon. Let him take me to court again. I don’t care. My ex feels he is rebelling against me and the way I care for these kids, but in essence he is hurting the kids. This is not about him and what he wants! It is about the health of your child, and his stubborn butt needs to realize that or learn a harsh lesson!

Kristen September 13, 2010, 2:29 PM

My son has a severe allergy to egg..cake cookies anything egg at all and he breaks out in hives. My son’s father feeds him things with eggs in it just to see if he will break out in hives or swell up. This could KILL my 2 year old son. He had seizures as a baby and has severe allergies and has to take an allergy medicine and a stomach medicine to keep him from throwing up at every meal and becoming really really sick. My son’s father will not give him any of his medicine and pushes the envelope and his allergy which could kill him and I am now debating whether or not to call a lawyer or take him to court. I’m not sure what to do but it is making my son really sick. He has been throwing up all day and there is nothing anyone can do except give him his medicine daily. This isn’t only my son’s health but it is his life. You can call me what you like but when this is going on it is considered NEGLECT if it is prescribed by a doctor. I will be stepping in even if it goes to court or he go’s to jail. My son’s life and no other child’s life is worth him not recieving his meds just because someone thinks he doesn’t need them or is to lazy to get off there butt and give it to them. Who is gonna take care of the child if his parents won’t. No one will. It is a parents responsibility to care for the child and what is in their best interest. It’s not worth it in my opinion to risk or endanger an innocent childs health, well-being, or life. They can’t take care of themselves. That’s what we’re here for. I think action needs to be taken in the appropriate steps and escelate if nothing changes. Good luck to everyone who posted something on here. God Bless

certified cna February 9, 2011, 2:15 AM

ugh! having a hard time trying to read this. What font are you using?

KristenP February 12, 2011, 6:33 PM

I guess I seem to be the only one on this forum who can look at all of your responses to see the same diatribe.

All of you are talking about you and what you had and you and you. When in fact it’s not you who suffers at night dealing with the uncontrollable coughing or the itchy skin, or the sleeplessness nights or the fatigue, itchy eyes ect…. But how our children still find it deep with in their self to still be our little troopers and be our big boys and big girls.

Their are too many issues at hand with children. As well, parents who are divorced or separated. The child always gets put to the test of how they can cope with our issues. That is not there job. It should be that two people no matter how bad the divorce is or was or going on still or separation, the major one who suffers and gets put to the test is our children.

We are the adults and we should act like adults and parents. We should be able to be on the same page when it comes to our children HEALTH issues. No parent wants to think or deal with another parents lack of concern or lack their of because he/she doesn’t agree with what has been diagnosed (BY A DOCTOR) not you… and what medicine to give or to fill this prescription or that one.

Cause in the end your little trooper is lying their at night feeling sick and worse while we are sleeping through out the night or up with them dealing with what the other parents lack of parenting and in ability to provide for his/her child, a healthy a carefree environment. If you can’t come to and agreement then go back to court and settle it with a Mediator or a Chief Mastrate, hold the other in contempt of court if you really feel that the other is or has neglected to provide the dosage/medicine prescribed by a doctor for the needs of that childs well fare, and if in the long run you can’t ever come to communicate in regards to your son/daughter, then go back to court so that on person makes those decisions based on medical, dental, vision, school, ect….

I hope I have been help with this issues. We need to stop bickering and start looking at our children and protect them, just like we promised the day the were born and just like we did when we carried them for 9 months. Just like Fathers swore to never let anything harm them and just like they went to all the efforts to do so. Let’s not forget that oath we swore in silence to our selves.

KristenP February 12, 2011, 6:43 PM

OH, one last thing. If you ask your self is this neglect on either parent’s part. Then you’ve already answered your own question. Let’s not be stupid when it come to our childrens health and mental state of mind. They are children with two parents who they love and they know we love them. So if daddy or mommy say “take this” then they trust that other parent! (that no harm will come their way), even if they know that they are not supposed to take or drink or whatever. These are our children who at anytime could leave this earth or be badly hurt. And we will be the ones on trial and deal and cope with the loss or damage they have suffered. So don’t be stupid and ask questions like is this neglect or is this wrong or is this right. Ask your self would you like to be treated like that, is that harmful how does it make you feel, what are your instincts as a parent. Then all the answers will come and you will know what to do. You will make the right choice, and that choice is to protect your child.


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