Our expert says:
Guys in general - the questions posted lately have been getting very long, and some personal editing to a shorter length would be appreciated.
I think it very important for people to recognize that for any parent, after a divorce or separation, to use the kids in any way as a weapon to act out their bitterness against their former spouse, is wicked and IS child abuse and should where possible be treated as such.
If she ever succeeds, though, in getting a child admitted to hospital, let alone ICU, for mere flu, it would require a foolish and naive doctor to fall for that and give inappropriate treatment.
This sort of excessive focus on giving the children attention mainly when they are deemed to be ill, and focussing on illness, can be highly damaging and may set up long-term famaging illness behaviours. As you have already observed, they learn that claiming illness can be rewarding as a way of avoiding anything unwanted.
Maybe the court that granted her custody, and child welfare, would be interested in examining her perverse and damaging behaviours and excessive fears for the children's health, and excessive use of helath care for them. Maybe she is not fit to have custody if this is how she abuses it.
Your husband needs to put his foot down, firmly and consistently. In your home they MUST obey the house rules and respect you, and recognize that their mother has no authority or right whatever to tell them to do otherwise.
If she calls him about ANYTHING unnecessary, and not related to something significant about the children, he should hang up after telling her that she chose to leave him and must sort out her own life problems and not refer them all to him.
Its of course nonsense for her to use the "everybody makes mistakes" excuse and expect to be forgiven and welcomed back. He has made a new life for himself, with you and she may need to be told repeatedly that she will NEVER be welcomed back nor allowed to damage his new life.
If she feels unable to cope with the kids, he should consider agreeing to have them come to live with him and you ( WITH a binding legal agreement that this is to be a permanent arangement and not subject to her whims again ). But there is no package deal to include her return.
He must refuse, consistently, to behave as an ATM Dad, and insist on being a genuine father that considers their welfare and best interests rather than trying to buy their affections with Stuff.
He should tell her that the bro-in law paramedic is not qualified at all to assess or diagnose kids ( and could get into serious trouble for behaving as a doctor ) and that his opinion about her health scare fears is going to be ignored.
I like Liza's idea that next time she calls about a sick kid, your husband refuse to pay for it or agree to it except if you and he take the child to a doctor of your own choice, and discuss your concerns about excessive abuse of medical facilities.
As Liza says, this sounds very much like Munchausen by Proxy ( I knew and worked with the doctor who first described this condition ) in which a pathologically anxious mother creates phoney illness in her children to get attention through them.
As Liza says, this should be reviewed by Child Services / Social Worker and reviewed by family court as grounds for him to take over custody of the kids for their own safety, with at most only limited visitation by her, maybe with supervision, and with no medical visits except by and through their father
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