Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Beauty Pageants Are Not For Every Child (Or Every Parent!)

Dear Tazi:

I have absolutely HAD IT with my ex-husband! What ever it was I once saw in the man has disappeared from both view and memory, and the only reason I still have contact with him is because he is the father of my daughters, ages 5 and 3 (not that he does much fathering).

"Jordan" is a horrible failure in life because he refuses to commit to seeing a project through to its finish. He will start out with the best of intentions, but then things will get hard; inconvenient; or both and he he will simply give up because he is no longer enjoying himself. Of course there will always be reasons for why someone else is to blame for his failure - from his supervisor at work giving him too many hours and burning him out (which is why he quit his last job) to being too distracted to concentrate because it was basketball season and he had money riding on the game (his excuse for failing out of the vocational program that he INSISTED was going to turn his fortunes around). Do you need to here more? I have several, but each one ends the same way: with Jordan quitting mid-way through and being unable to pay his child support because he can barely support himself.

Thankfully, I do not NEED Jordan's child support money to get by - my current husband and I both make excellent incomes, and any money we receive from Jordan is banked for the children's futures. As of this writing, Jordan has not paid child support in almost two years. Because he is not paying support, I have the legal right to withhold the children from him, which is something I have not done because I feel it would only hurt my children to cut Jordan out of their lives completely. However, I am seriously considering taking that path after Jordan's latest shenanigans.

Jordan has been watching the TV reality series Toddlers and Tiaras, and has decided that he would like to travel the country as "manager" to our girls as they compete competitively in beauty pageants. His plan to cover the expenses is to have local businesses "sponsor" our daughters, charging more than the actual expenses and keeping the overage as his "manager's cut". He believes that the money the children could earn if they win would bring them fame and fortune and, as their manager, would put him on the path to financial solvency as he accepted new "clients" with each pageant win. I am absolutely, positively, 100% against such an idea! And besides that fact, neither of my girls is the pageant type - both are more into athletics than ruffles and lace - and I will not force them down this path. On his last visitation day, he tried to get both girls to "frill up" for photographs and head-shots, and both girls came home hysterical, crying to the point of exhaustion.

Jordan has threatened to take me to court and sue me for access to the girls in order to put his "business plan" into play, saying the judge will see that he is trying to do what is best for all involved, and that I am not only standing in his way but turning the girls into tomboys, as well. I doubt he would win, but I can't help but wonder, "What if??". My husband has suggested we counter-sue for the termination of Jordan's parental rights, which would allow my husband to legally adopt the girls. Both of my daughters love my husband, and consider him to be more of a father than Jordan...but still, I am hesitant to seek termination of parental rights. Jordan IS their birth father, after all. What do you think, Tazi?

Wondering How Far To Push

Dear Wondering How far To Push:

I can tell from the tone of your letter that there is no love left between you and your ex-husband, so I find it admirable that you still care for his feelings and seek to nurture a bond between him and your daughters. My question is, are you certain that this is what is best for the children? If Jordan was physically abusing them, would you still try to maintain visitation with him? I am certain the answer to that question is "no", so why are you trying to maintain a relationship when it is obvious that Jordan is mentally abusing your girls?

For a child to come home crying "to the point of exhaustion" because she was forced to "frill up" for photographs makes me wonder what kind of photographs Jordan was taking! I am not accusing the man of sexually exploiting his daughters, but the red-flag is there...exploitative photos of children that fall just short of pornography are often used as a way to build a client base of buyers who want to see more, as well as acclimate the children to taking these kinds of pictures. If I were you, I would demand to see any photos that Jordan took of the girls while they were "frilled up". If he refuses or claims to have deleted them from his camera, I would see that as a further red flag, and end Jordan's access to the children immediately.

You asked for my advice, so I have given it. You did not ask for my personal opinion, but I feel compelled to give it anyway: If your daughters consider your husband to be their father, and your husband is willing to adopt them as his own, I suggest that you entertain the idea. Jordan does not sound like any kind of role model for your young children. A termination of parental rights does not mean you must terminate all contact and visitation - if you want, Jordan can still remain a part of your daughters' lives; but he will have no legal say in which to attempt his hairbrained - and possibly crimminal - schemes.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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