to wonder what's more important for dc - contact or extra-curricular activity?

(237 Posts)
flummoxedbanana Tue 17-Dec-13 20:56:10

Dc in question is 6. Her father wants one full weekend Friday from school until Sunday evening in contact per month, as well as every other Sunday and one or two midweek contacts each week. Her mother says no to the full weekend on the basis that the dc has an extra-curricular on the Saturday morning which she doesn't want to give up. Her father thinks contact, and a whole day of it uninterrupted, is more important. Her mother thinks the father should work around the child. The mother says she'll compromise by letting the father collect from school on Fridays as long as he takes dc to her activity on sat morning. The activity is just over an hour from where the father lives and involves the other children having to travel alongtoo, ttaking them up to 1pm on a sat before they're back home which the father objects to as he says it's taking up too much of their time.

Who do you think is BU?

coppertop Fri 20-Dec-13 10:05:09

If you only speak to the mother every few months, then how on earth do you know what she has been saying to her dd about these lessons?

From the way you speak about her, it's fairly clear that she's not a close friend, so are you relying on what the father tells you?

EmmelineGoulden Fri 20-Dec-13 09:03:13

If she hates swimming so much it probably isn't the activity to be doing with all of them. Having said that, he needs to stand up to that sort of emotional blackmail from his DD or the visits will be damaging for everyone. You said the DD says she would rather spend time with him than at the dance class, so she propbably doesn't mean it anyway.

The mum does sound controlling from what you post, but that doesn't mean insisting on contact arrangements taking account of the DCs regular activities is unreasonable - by itself it isn't.

What sillybilly said in her last post. Sorry OP but you seem to know an enormous amount about a school run friend & your partners mate & seen to be lapping up everything the dad says without question.

As I have said a million times before - both parents should be putting their children first - above themselves. In the case of activities it really depends how important they are to the child. If she loves tap dancing I do think the father should juggle to get her out there (we have to juggle other kids including a severely disabled one for ours to go their activities- something can usually be sorted that doesn't involve other sibings having to always tag along if they hate it - although it might be necessary occasionally). If she's meh about it then I'm sure she won't mind giving up. Expecting her to miss a 1/4 of lessons is not on.

But as I said as this set of parents can't even agree whether this kid likes tap dancing there's not much hope really. Presumably he'll refuse to take her so either the mother will save her money & make her give up or she'll just not progress at the same rate as her friends, will get bored of being stuck at the back & give up.

I would suggest the parents come to some agreement about activities on contact days because assuming the other kids are younger this issue will quite possibly arise repeatedlt with all of them as they get older. Unless dad is lucky enough to have a child that doesn't have any intetest in activities. If dad is going to refuse to ferry individual children to activities on contact days he needs to make that clear before any are signed up for.

flummoxedbanana Thu 19-Dec-13 23:19:30

Saintly, it isn't untrue. The mum tells the dd she can do and say what she likes and she will back her up. So if she doesn't want to swim, she throws an almighty paddy and refuses to get changed etc. She tells her dad that if he doesn't listen to her she'll stop seeing him and the next contact session she'll be elsewhere because her mum backs her up. I was school run friends with the mum when she lived here and they were still married, now I only really see what she puts on facebook and probably chat once every couple of months. She actually posted saying her ex is a disgracefor refusing to feed the dc one Sunday. It transpired he'd refused their dds demand to go to McDonald's and so she'd refused to eat the lunch his mum cooked and was 'so woozy she almost passed out' according to her mum [sceptical]

IThinkThat Thu 19-Dec-13 23:07:19

The mum is unreasonable.

Real story? Not sure who it's autocorrected but didn't mean that - spin story maybe

The 6 year old preventing the others swimming sounds untrue. Unless the mother is completely insane (& why would the father even need to discuss it with the mother?) which is clearly what the OP wants us to believe. Either that or she's accepting what sounds likes real story from the father without any questioning.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 19-Dec-13 21:50:40

I Think there is a point because its very clear OP has put her own spin on what has gone between the two parents, not even just the fathers version (a she is clearly biased towards) but her own spin on top of that. Which really means what we're being told by OP is being told in a way thy will lead us to the make the responses she wants to hear. None of us can really comment on the actual situation as we havent been told the actual situation.

Cityofgold Thu 19-Dec-13 21:30:30

No point attempting to second guess the OP's real connection to the issue.

It strikes me that the father is a parent as much as the mother, during the weekends he has contact it is up to him what he does. It is not up to the mother to dictate to the father what he can or can not do. I agree with all posters who suggest six year years old is too young to dictate terms, if the little one was at home with both parents they would come to an adult/parental agreement. Same must apply now they are separated.

Fathers are too often vilified or marginalised. Here is a man who is trying to parent four children in less than ideal circumstances. Good luck.

NicknameIncomplete Thu 19-Dec-13 21:20:35

From the OPs posts it doesnt sound like she is friends with the mum in question. She is very biased towards the father.

My dsis & i are extremely close, we speak many times a day but i would not know half as much detail about a situation like this as the OP does.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 19-Dec-13 20:42:34

Lets be honest here. The mother hasnt said the 'six year old must be listened to' . even to her own ears that would sound ridiculous and she wouldnt have been able to keep a straight face whilst saying that. The OP's bias is very obvious and we arent getting the truth of what has been said at all. That much is very clear.

RenterNomad Thu 19-Dec-13 20:01:49

He considered tying it in with swimming after dancing but 6 yr old refuses to go swimming despite her siblings wanting to and mum says she must be listened to.

Oh, FFS.

Maybe the 6yo is the only one of the kids who is still, unequivocably "Mummy's", so she's pandering as much as possible.

I can't think of another reason to pander to a 6yo and punish other children. sad

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 19-Dec-13 18:18:30

I wouldnt allow the 6 year old to have the say on whether everyone else goes swimming. If she refused she could sit in the viewing gallery and watch while they swam.

TheDoctrineOfSanta Thu 19-Dec-13 18:13:28

Saintly but thus activity was established and then ex moved away so the activity got established at her new home.

That would have been a good time for a discussion about whether to continue with the Saturday activity.

The 6 year old preventing her siblings swimming sounds unfair.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 19-Dec-13 15:45:14

Most of the classes that run year round take time off so it wont be every saturday- he will be able to plan trips or weekends away. This is really just a massive lack of imagination or even willingness to see how it goes. He can get a copy of her dance class calender and (like families up and down the country) plan accordingly. Of course missing one session to go on holiday with her dad would be fine. Regularly missing every fourth session is a completely different issue. I'm assuming this man will also be using some annual leave during summer/easter/christmas holidays to spend time with his dcs and share the childcare with his ex wife so there will be many opportunities for day trips.

2rebecca Thu 19-Dec-13 15:03:44

It isn't 1 hour a month though, it's 3 hours a month as it's an hour there and back, that's the real problem. It means the father can never do any day trips with his daughter on a Saturday or go away for the weekend. It seems extremely intrusive to me.
Why does the 6 year old take priority over the other kids? I'd be just refusing to take her. it seems very unfair on everyone else in the family.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 19-Dec-13 14:24:02

They are getting to see him confused

Two midweek evenings
Every other sunday
And one weekend each month friday to sunday.

Thats 3 times a week where one session also involves two overnights, breakfast, lunch, dinner and all time in between plus travelling to and from their mother's.

As i said up thread this is NOT a case of daddy or dancing. This is just 1 hour (or less depending in length of class) a month during which daddy has to watch her from a seat at the side of the room. Or only one hour that daddy 'gets' to see her dancing depending on daddy's attitude. I know my younger ds likes me to stay and watch his dance class- maybe having her dad there to see her is a real treat for this girl.

flummoxedbanana Thu 19-Dec-13 13:53:53

I think them getting to see their dad is important. He was very hands on when they were married and now he's being more and more marginalised which I don't think is fair on the children

AvonCallingBarksdale Thu 19-Dec-13 13:51:29

You seem to have invested a huge amount of time in your friends' arrangements confused

flummoxedbanana Thu 19-Dec-13 13:50:08

Saintly he is dps best friend so he hears a lot from him. I am the ex wife's friend so I hear from her. There will be no nitty gritty of daily life between the siblings as the distance means either carting the new sibling over there all the time or not seeing their siblings except for a few days in the summer holiday

You seem to know rather a lot of detail? And it all sounds rather father sympathetic. As you sure that even the bonkers sounding bits are accurate & the father isn't just concocting a narrative because he cba

Tbh I'm not sure I buy all this special time to establish sibling relationships. Surely sibling relationships develop in the nitty gritty of daily life not during Disney days out. Who knows when she's older perhaps she'll take her younger sibling to an activity or to even watch her tap dance, who knows.

I stick by what I said earlier - now this activity is established whether it continues or not should depend on the child (the time to object is before an activity starts). Not much hope of agreement there as the parents can't seem to agree whether this doesn't matter at all or is hugely important. It would be best if they could put their own differences aside, observe the child & come to some agreement on that.

She may do it professionally, but even if she doesn't does that matter (she certainly won't do it professionally if she gives up now). I started horse riding at 5. I've never worked in a yard but find myself still horse riding every week nearly 40 years later. It brings me great enjoyment & is in my life because I did it as a child. Luckily I didn't have a parent objecting to the effort involved.

flummoxedbanana Thu 19-Dec-13 13:44:27

Elenor a lot of people here seem to think the mum is being reasonable in her demands though and that he should indeed work around his dcs commitments

flummoxedbanana Thu 19-Dec-13 13:43:07

Elenor - a lot of people seem to think she'd win though and he'd have to comply with taking her dancing.

ElenorRigby Thu 19-Dec-13 13:39:05

The father needs to take this to court and then smile when the judge rips a new one for the mother.

flummoxedbanana Thu 19-Dec-13 13:27:44

She said he can't go against her express wishes not to swim. He said it's against the other kids wishes to take her dancing and she said they'll just have to get over it confused

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