Hello SF, it's been a while. To be honest, I haven't been in this forum since I read about poster "Jim" passing away. Anyway, I am a bit beside myself at the moment. I am afraid my ex-wife might be abusing (verbally and mentally) our kids, but I am not sure if her behavior would be considered "abusive" or not quite over the red line. The other day my son told me that sometimes when mommy get angry with him, she says, "I don't like you...." She doesn't say "I don't like your behavior...." or "I don't like your attitude....", but "I don't like YOU". My daughter confirmed this and said that mommy sometimes says this to her when she gets angry as well. My ex also threatens my son when she gets angry that if he keeps up his attitude, she will throw him out of the home next year. Also, yesterday, my son told me mommy "choked" him. I asked him what he meant and he showed me a scratch on the side of his neck. He said when she got angry with him she lifted him up by the collar of his shirt. I asked my son if he could breathe when mom did this to him and he said "barely". Even 24 hours later, the scratch on his neck was still hurting him. On the one hand, I don't want to use the word "abuse" lightly. I don't want to be like the boy who cried wolf. Also, my ex's friends think she is the most amazing thing since sliced bread and would never believe she is abusing our kids (if this is considered "abuse"). Add to that, my ex is still my kids' mother and despite her behavior and the way she keeps the home (or doesn't keep it) they still love her. In principal, I also feel that my kids need their mother in their life. On the other hand, I am the kids' father and I want to protect them. They are my life and I love them more than anything in the world. If they were to get hurt (or worse!!!!) I wouldn't be able to forgive myself. My kids are with me every other weekend. Other than that they live with mommy (my ex) and I have no control over what goes on in that home. I guess my ? is 1) is my ex's above described behavior "child abuse" or simply "not nice, but not child abuse"? What is the red line when it comes to physically disciplining your child? What about the red line when it comes to verbally disciplining? and 2) if the above described behavior is abuse, what can I do about it? The chances of me (the father) getting primary custody are about as high as me winning next year's New York Marathon, unless the kids run away from mommy's home to my home of their own volition because they are scared for their safety. Help!!!!