to say DD should be able to attend parties/activities during fathers contact time?

(137 Posts)
alisunshine29 Thu 07-Mar-13 21:25:50

DD is 5.5 years old, her father and I have been separated for over 3.5 years and he sees her once per fortnight only through his own choice. Up until now, if DD had a party to attend or dance show/gymnastics competition etc to take part in which fell on her dads contact weekend then I'd swap contact weekends so DD could attend/take part - he refuses to take her to any parties or activities but she also doesn't want him to. However, now DD is getting older I no longer attend parties with her like I used to so am missing out on time with her there. She's good at/enjoys dance, gymnastics and swimming and now she's older has competitions and shows to take part in. I have no problem in ferrying her to/from these if her dad won't but AIBU to say I will not replace contact missed due to parties/activities?
For example, next month it's her dance schools annual shows. One weekend there is a dress rehearsal (dads weekend so he'll expect me to replace the day though I won't see her all day) the next weekend (mine) there are 5 shows which I'll take her to/from but will barely see her. The following week there are 3 shows so he'll expect another day to be replaced thereby not leaving DD any weekend time with her sister and I for an entire month.

Jengnr Thu 07-Mar-13 21:26:57


thegreylady Thu 07-Mar-13 21:27:48

YANBU-tell him he must attend the events if he wants contact-make sure you tell him by text/email so you have a record.

Catsdontcare Thu 07-Mar-13 21:28:19


5Foot5 Thu 07-Mar-13 21:29:49

Why on earth would he not want to at least go and see her in a show?

ChasedByBees Thu 07-Mar-13 21:31:48


KateDWales Thu 07-Mar-13 21:34:53

Yanbu. His weekend is his weekend. As she gets older even more things will come up and you can't possibly keep chopping and changing times. He should want to be more involved and see her dancing or in her competitions anyway.

gallifrey Thu 07-Mar-13 21:35:01

My daughter's best friend didn't come to her birthday party because it was her dad's weekend to have her and he doesn't take her to anything, they were both so upset.

alisunshine29 Thu 07-Mar-13 21:35:09

He has no problem attending the events and taking credit for how talented she is, he just expects contact time to be made up and to not have to play any part in helping get DD to lessons/rehearsals etc. Last year I queued for 2.5 hours at 8.5 months pregnant to get him dance tickets then ferried DD to every lesson, rehearsal and show with tiny baby in tow. I asked if he could queue for tickets this year as I have no one to have baby - he simply refused.

purpleroses Thu 07-Mar-13 21:38:09

How far away does he live? If he's within a reasonable distance then YANBU to expect him to do the ferrying on his weekends. That's part of parenting, and an increasing part as they get older.

If he lives more than an hour or so away then I think it is difficult and you may have to compromise some of the time.

alisunshine29 Thu 07-Mar-13 21:38:45

That's what concerns me gallifrey - that if I won't make up contact time then she won't be able to go to/take part in things as he won't let her.

alisunshine29 Thu 07-Mar-13 21:42:25

He lives 25 miles away and has a company car with fuel paid for by company. I don't mind doing the ferrying if he doesn't want to I just don't think I should be expected to sacrifice my time for parties/activities yet he gets to retain all his quality time.

I think yabu, sorry. Is it a joint decision for her to carry on all these activities? And actually, she doesn't need to go to every party she's invited to - he should be allowed to choose what they do together.

MagicHouse Thu 07-Mar-13 21:49:10

YANBU. Give him the option to take her, or offer to do so, but don't swap because of it. Explain clearly that you are losing out on contact by doing this.
The trouble with contact however, is that when it comes down to it, it needs to be agreed between the two of you. So if he is unreasonable about it, you might need to simply let her miss out on some shows on his weekends. He might start taking her if he realises that this isn't fair on her. At the moment he's taking you for granted.

HollyBerryBush Thu 07-Mar-13 21:49:55

he refuses to take her to any parties or activities but she also doesn't want him to.

can you blame him if it is your daughters wish that he doesnt do the ferrying?

purpleroses Thu 07-Mar-13 21:50:33

That is quite a distance. I don't think I'd want to drive a total of 100 miles (2 return trips) or linger around for 2 hours just for the sake of a party.

At the end of the day you can say you're not going to swap any more, but you can't force him to take her to the activities, so your DD may end up the loser. Can you get him involved in the decisions over what activities she does up front, so he feels an obligation to take her if they fall on his weekends? Or offer some compromises when he takes her to the really important things, the least important things just go, and you maybe swap on the odd occasion when you/DD think it's important but he disagrees?

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 07-Mar-13 21:53:30

YANBU. Why should your daughter miss out just because he can't do the things that parents do (ferry kids)

My dd would be heartbroken if she had to miss out on dance shows.

wannaBe Thu 07-Mar-13 21:54:04

if parties and events fall during his contact time then it needs to be up too him as to whether or not she attends them. It shouldn't necessarily be down to you to swap contact, but if you choose to do this then yes, it is reasonable for contact to be made up elsewhere. I'm afraid that time spent away doing an event/party doesn't equals missed contact for you if it falls on your contact time - it equals part of what children do - going to parties and events which parents do not stay to witness.

So I would tell him that you're not going to swap the contact weekends and that it's up to him to get your dd to parties/events, but if he chooses not to doo that then that's his call.

alisunshine29 Thu 07-Mar-13 22:00:01

Disagree that HE should choose what they do together - surely DD should have a say? When all he generally does is put her in front of the TV/takes her out to restaurants she doesn't like the food at, it's understandable that DD wants to do parties/shows etc instead. I didn't say I expected him to make a 100 mile round trip for a party, I don't expect him to do anything except appreciate that she needs quality time with both of us.

alisunshine29 Thu 07-Mar-13 22:03:35

WannaBe - in that case (as I agree is fair) he'd just make DD miss out and tell her it's my fault because I won't swap.

IneedAgoldenNickname Thu 07-Mar-13 22:06:58

Ex refuses to take the boys to birthday parties if they fall on his day. The couple of times out has happened, DS1 (who was 6 or 7 at the time, chose the parties. His dads loss IMO.

If I had events (parties, dancing etc) which fell on a 'Dad weekend', then Dad took me even though he lived nearly an hours drive away at times.

zoobaby Thu 07-Mar-13 22:07:28

Those dance shows are quite full on... even for willing parental participants. I couldn't think of many things worse than being forced/obliged to take a child to one of those. To be fair, it's often the "mum's thing" isn't it? But if it's a joint agreement that DD attends, then it should be joint responsibility to take one for the team if it falls on his/your weekend. She's still too little now, but as she gets older I think she'll need to start liaising with him re activities on his weekends. Then he can deal with the fallout from her (as it will have been of his own making).

Fleecyslippers Thu 07-Mar-13 22:10:06


alisunshine29 Thu 07-Mar-13 22:12:09

To reiterate - I'm not insisting he take her. At present if she had dance rehearsal on his contact day then he'd choose to not see her and expect me to give up my contact day to replace it.

zoobaby Thu 07-Mar-13 22:12:10

Just saw your post about how he gives her tv and restaurants. That's a bit rubbish. Again, when she's older he'll be reaping what he's sown and I suspect she'll be reluctant to spend any time with him.

alisunshine29 Thu 07-Mar-13 22:18:02

She's already reluctant and him not letting her attend parties/activities and blaming me is just shooting himself in the foot even more. DD has been scouted for county swim team when she turns 6 but if he won't take her to meets and won't let me take her then she won't be able to do it and will be heartbroken.

Heartbroken? At 6? I think you need to take a look at your role in this. And when I said he should choose what they do, I meant as opposed to you choosing for him.
I do think its really easy to fall into a trap of feeling like you get to control contact because you are the primary carer. What's wrong with tv and restaurants? She doesn't like the food? Does she tell you that or do you ask\remind her?

OccamsRaiser Fri 08-Mar-13 01:41:38

I think that he needs to remember that contact weekends are still about the welfare of the child.

If she wants to go to a party/attend swim meets/practice or perform dancing, then he should be looking for a way to facilitate this unless he has something else planned for her to enjoy. And that doesn't have to be going out/expensive hobbies... My DN (5) is just as happy with an afternoon marathon of his favourite board games, as it's still 'family time'.

Whether that means him ferrying her around, or choosing (and it would be his choice!) to not take her for the weekend, then it's up to him.

I don't think you should have to swap all your weekends so that you don't get any time outside the activities. It's only fair that you should both be able to enjoy leisure time with your DD.

KobayashiMaru Fri 08-Mar-13 02:04:01

Why are you accomodating his whims? So what if he thinks you should make up the time if he has chosen not to see her on his contact days because of clashes, just don't do it!
And more fool you standing for hours to get him tickets, let him get his own. He can only take what you give, so stop giving.

Bogeyface Fri 08-Mar-13 02:09:54

notactually my 15, 11, 8 and 7 year olds are involved in local rugby thanks to my ex, he pays their subs, buys their kit and takes them there. They really would be heartbroken if I didnt allow them to go on "my" weekends, it means that much to them.

OP YANBU. You need to remind him that access is not about the rights of the parents (parents dont have rights, just responsibilities), but about the right of the child to have a meaningful and ongoing relationship with the parent when it is in the best interests of the child. What he is doing is not in her best interests, therefore he does not get to demand "time in lieu". She does, he doesnt. She doesnt want it, so he can swing.

MidniteScribbler Fri 08-Mar-13 04:15:02

Just say no. Then he can decide whether or not she can do the activities on those weekends. She's getting to the age where she will place pressure on him to want to go to the events themselves if they are that important to her. But kids don't actually need to be doing many many activities. Your daughter may need to pick and choose which sport she wishes to participate in if her activities are severely cutting in to time as a family with you and with her father. You say that you are missing out on family time with your daughter, but you don't care that he doesn't get family time with her because of all the activities that you have her signed up for.

Is your contact formalised? You could consider going to mediation or court to get them set in stone, and make a request as part of your claim that he attends certain events. The one thing I would say is to consider the location of some of these events. If every event requires him to do several hours driving, but is local for you, then I can understand some of his reluctance. He could argue that he is losing a lot of his contact time driving back to your area to attend these events. Perhaps consider looking for a swimming club or dance school (and one with a lot less competitions or shows - she can still learn a sport without needing to do all that many shows) that is half way between the two, which would give him one less cause for arguments.

mathanxiety Fri 08-Mar-13 04:25:45

YANBU and that is complete BS on his part.

It is not about him and his physical possession of the child, squeezing every single possible minute of her company out of her when she is 'his' for the weekend. It is about him as a father facilitating his child's life -- it is about him supporting her in her activities and friendships. He has got completely the wrong idea about what the weekend thing is all about.

It's about the child and not the parents.

Stop switching weekends and get courts involved if he demonstrates he thinks this is about his rights and not his child's life. The two of you may need to compromise about the number of activities, and you will certainly need to communicate about events like children's parties, etc., but there is absolutely no way a parent can just fold his arms and say NO to facilitating a child's social life or activities on the grounds that he has a right to her physical presence for an entire weekend.

sashh Fri 08-Mar-13 04:50:11

You both need to stop thinking this is 'me time' or 'my quality time'. This is not about you and your ex it is about your daughter.

Your daughter does a number of activities, she should have a parent with her for those.

Longdistance Fri 08-Mar-13 05:06:48

I agree. They activities and hobbies she as are his responsibility too, not just yours op.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 08-Mar-13 06:20:58

With your DD being under 6, I wonder how many of these activities are actually chosen by your DD.

seeker Fri 08-Mar-13 06:29:51

Did you say you had to queue 2.5 hours for tickets for a 5 year old's dance show?????

Oh, and I would be very wary of letting a 6 year old join a county swim team- in my experience the commitment and training level expected is extraordinary- think training til 9 pr 10 on school nights and early mornings at weekends.........

Glittertwins Fri 08-Mar-13 06:38:31

There are no recognised swim competitions for a 6 year old. County Champs start age 9.

Glittertwins Fri 08-Mar-13 06:41:18

But your DD should make the choice surely, none of this was of her making?

IsThatTrue Fri 08-Mar-13 06:59:48

My XH won't take dcs to parties or activities, that's part of the reason that they don't do things at the weekend as I know they could only attend 1 weekend out of 2. It's bollocks and I wish he could see how unfair it is in them (they can attend his friends/friends kids parties but not ones for their friends) but I'm consoling myself with the fact that one day when they grow up they will see the situation for what it is!

YANBU, stop switching contact and let him miss out if he refuses to take her.

coffeeismywine Fri 08-Mar-13 07:05:23

I'm a divorced mother. My ex has my younger kids every other weekend

We do usually manage to work it so that they get to parties and events.

But. I would be spitting mad if he started to impose rules on me that I HAD to take the kids to this or that activity. It's up to him to do what he wants with your dd when he has her and the same goes for you. If she doesn't like it she has to learn to tell him.

At 6, realistically, she's doing the activities you have chosen for her.

nooka Fri 08-Mar-13 07:07:06

If I'm reading this right you have your 5 year old involved heavily with three different activities all of which involve shows and competitions. Over the next three weeks she apparently has eight shows and an all day dress rehearsal!

You complain that over the next month your dd won't spend any weekend time with you and her sister, but only two days of that are her contact days, so are you really saying that for the other six days she will be performing at one thing or another?

I think this is totally excessive and frankly unsustainable. Your dd may have many talents, but she is very young and surely needs downtime, let alone family time. It's really quite unusual to be spending so much time on hobbies at such a young age, whereas I would imagine it's probably not that unusual to think that it probably doesn't really matter to be missing a few.

I can understand that having a very uninvolved father is probably mostly an irritation to you, but it is important for children to spend time with both parents if possible. I really think that you should be looking to cut back on the activities. Your poor dd is going to burn out.

coffeeismywine Fri 08-Mar-13 07:12:31

What I'm trying to say is that his contact time is his contact time. He comes, picks her up and delivers her back. What he does in between is none of your business. And you can't insist that he takes your dd to shows or rehearsals or such and such party.

I know it's unfair that your dd won't get to do everything you'd like her to though and I know how frustrating that is but imagine the boot was on the other foot and he had booked her an activity on his weekends near him and was insisting that you ferried her to that on your weekends.

How would you feel?

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 07:23:30

He won't see her if he takes her to these events either will he? He sees her one day a fortnight and you see her the other 13 days.
YABVU not leaving his day clear or giving him an empty day.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 07:26:14

I also wonder how you would react if he started telling you what to do/ arranging places you have to go on your 13 days.

AThingInYourLife Fri 08-Mar-13 07:29:28

"It is not about him and his physical possession of the child, squeezing every single possible minute of her company out of her when she is 'his' for the weekend."

^ this

If he won't accommodate her life, then he is being a selfish prick and treating her like a pet.

But I agree that the level of activities sounds a bit full on for such a small child.

She should have some time to just hang out with her Dad watching TV and going to restaurants.

What does he think about the county swimming? I know that's something I would not want a 6 year old doing.

MrsMushroom Fri 08-Mar-13 07:31:20

Yanbu. It's a common problem, my DD has had a couple of dissapointments when her friends could not attend parties because it was their Dad's weekend. I could not fathom it!

Why are men like that not keen to take their DC to events? It's very unfair on your DD and on you too. I don't know what the issue is.

zoo lots of things our children take part in are "full on" and we don;t always want to do them but we DO because our kids benefit!

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 07:32:12

* If he won't accommodate her life, then he is being a selfish prick and treating her like a pet.*
At 5years old 'her life', social life is created by the mother. She can swop things round.

3littlefrogs Fri 08-Mar-13 07:32:59

To me this sounds like a situation that is practically engineered to cause friction. It sounds very expensive and time consuming.

I really don't think a 5 year old needs to do all those activities that involve rehearsals and shows. It is completely unsustainable IME.

My DS had to give up his gymnastics when his sister was born. I just couldn't cope with a new baby and trailing to training 3 times a week. He survived. He took up another sport when he was a bit older and enjoyed that for several years until he went to university. Then he took up something else.

However, you have decided she will do all these activities. Did your ex have any say in this? I wonder if he feels it is all a bit much?

I agree with the poster who mentioned burnout.

Maybe the answer would be to reduce the number of activities so that your dd has quality time with both of you?

Alibabaandthe40nappies Fri 08-Mar-13 07:34:05

I think you are being totally OTT about her activities. She is 5, not 10.
County swim team?? Utterly bonkers at her age, she needs time to just play and be a child.

All that aside, he should be taking her to any parties that crop up on his contact day.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 07:34:29

This man doesn't stop his DD from going to things her mum has arranged. He just wants to trade weekends.

AThingInYourLife Fri 08-Mar-13 07:38:50

"At 5years old 'her life', social life is created by the mother. She can swop things round."

Bullshit. She's not a toddler.

5 year olds have their own friends that they make when their parents are not around.

How is her mother "creating" the parties she is invited to and wants to attend but that he won't bring her to?

Refusing to bring your child to any parties because you want them all to yourself is quite fucked up really.

3littlefrogs Fri 08-Mar-13 07:43:00

I understood it was the training, rehearsals and shows that were the problem, not parties.

coffeeismywine Fri 08-Mar-13 07:43:43

Here's a radical concept. You can say no. She doesn't have to do everything.

And I don't think a parent who sees a 5 year old one day a fortnight wanting to spend time with them is fucked up.

HappyMummyOfOne Fri 08-Mar-13 07:44:20

Reverse the situation where you only get to see your own child for a day a fortnight and for x hoirs of that day they are elsewhere, would you be happy? I very much doubt it.

He is her parent too, upto him what they do on contact time. Not suprised they eat out or do tv given the little one has so much other stuff going on in her life.

5 year olds need to play and chill, that many activities is for your benefit not hers.

AThingInYourLife Fri 08-Mar-13 07:45:01

He won't take her to any parties or activities.

I agree that the level of activities is ridiculous, but a 5 year old is entitled to have her own life and have it supported by her parents.

coffeeismywine Fri 08-Mar-13 07:46:54

Fuckksake my 23 year old comes home for a weeks holidays and I get pissed off if he's out on the batter all the time and I hardly see him. And he's 23 not 5

seeker Fri 08-Mar-13 07:47:58

Oh, don't be silly. Parties are her own life- but the rest of this stuff is her mother"s. I've been there, done that, made the T shirt. One of the biggest mistakes of my life.

AThingInYourLife Fri 08-Mar-13 07:49:50

Yes, parties are her own life and he won't bring her to parties.

And that is really shit of him.

She doesn't exist for his entertainment.

pingu2209 Fri 08-Mar-13 07:51:02

Whilst I totally understand your rationale which should make you reasonable. Her contact is not about you, it is about your daughter and her relationship with her father.

If you do not replace the days he misses, which he is being an arsehole by the way. You daughter will miss out in the long term - much longer term.

It should be his job to build a relationship with his daughter, for his and her benefit, but clearly he is an ejit!

However, you can manipulate your weekends so she still sees her dad but also goes to competitions and parties. I would do this because you are doing the best for your daughter.

Mum's (and most Dad's) fall on their sword for their children. It's what we do.

Altinkum Fri 08-Mar-13 07:56:48

I love this 5 year olds social life is created by the mother bollocks!!!

When you sign up for an activity, your committed to what that activity involves. In th same way you are with any school outside project or school team etc...

He is being UR, its not on that he gets to dictate that because she has a show etc... That he can't be arsed to go to, to see his daughter, then he then decides that he wants one if your days.

However that's not to say that you get too choose also, ask your daughter!! She's the one playing piggy in the middle.

My just turned 7 year old would be heartbroken if he couldn't attend football and practice, he lives and breathes football has done so, ever since he played with his first football.

coffeeismywine Fri 08-Mar-13 07:57:22

How many parties does she miss to accommodate the dance and swimming and other activities like that?

MidniteScribbler Fri 08-Mar-13 07:57:36

A five year old child isn't going to need years of therapy for missing a few birthday parties. I suspect she's missing more parties because of the various activities instead of her father. We also don't know if he has other children that have their own activities and parties to try on fit in as well.

I would be thinking that whether he likes it or not, part of being a parent is ferrying kids here there and everywhere, and the time sitting in the car park waiting for them to be finished their activities.

You are most definitely not being unreasonable - he is.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 08:02:26

A 5 year old does not arrange their own social calendar.
She has too many things to fit in. Time with mother, contact/ days out with father, parties with friends, then the rest. It's the rest of the stuff that complicates everything. There is obviously not enough time to do it all.
What is the priority for a 5 year old? Being dropped of at Gym, swimming or a fortnightly day out with one of her parents?

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 08:05:58

*Altkin:I love this 5 year olds social life is created by the mother bollocks!!!
When you sign up for an activity, your committed to what that activity involves. In th same way you are with any school outside project or school team etc...*
Wow, you have a 5 year old who has signed up for these things themselves?
The OP has not left enough time on the social calendar for this child's father.

AThingInYourLife Fri 08-Mar-13 08:07:55

My nearly 5 year old would be really upset to miss a birthday party she was invited to.

Whether it would damage her longterm to be upset doesn't really justify upsetting her.

Ideally they should come to an accommodation about activities that involves decreasing the weekend commitments so she can spend more unstructured time at home with her parents.

But he needs to recognise that as she grows up she will have less time for him and part of being a parent is being OK with that. He should bring her to parties that fall on days when he is in charge.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 08:13:01

She is 5. Her father doesn't stop her from going to parties. He wants to spend time with her 1 day out of 14. He would prefer to spend actual time with her rather than dropping her off somewhere so he swops days.
I really don't think this is U.

AThingInYourLife Fri 08-Mar-13 08:21:02

I think it's extremely unreasonable to think that his day is sacrosanct and just for his benefit and the child's mother should do all the dropping off and missing out on "quality time".

Maybe he should have her for longer and then he wouldn't need to treat what should be normal life with a child as some kind of day trip.

MrsMushroom Fri 08-Mar-13 08:24:15

Lois as Thing says, the day is not HIS> is also his DDs. It's going to be a HUGE shock when she's older and wants to give his days a miss because she doesn't want to be his pet anymore...

MrsMushroom Fri 08-Mar-13 08:24:56

Plus a party is 2 hours max. It's not ALL day!

Meglet Fri 08-Mar-13 08:26:02


Me and XP attended a mediation session and he kicked off when the mediator said he must to be flexible about weekends when the kids had parties, long-distance relatives popping by, sports events. He refused, got angry and was asked to leave, they haven't seen him in nearly 4yrs now.

The medation officer said contact should pretty much revolve around what the child does, so the NRP still needs to let them go to parties and other events.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 08:35:41

I think it's extremely unreasonable to think that his day is sacrosanct
It isn't though is it? He is willing to swop days so that his DD gets to live her life and do the stuff arranged for her/ see her friends.
Het wants one of the 14 days to spend with her. Not U at all.

AThingInYourLife Fri 08-Mar-13 08:42:06

"Het wants one of the 14 days to spend with her. Not U at all."

She's not a pet.

She's a person.

He can spend time with her and bring her to parties occasionally.

Like the rest of the universe of parents do.

I don't get to demand 1 day out of 14 of my daughter's time to be spent entirely for my amusement.

I think expecting that is really controlling and creepy.

digerd Fri 08-Mar-13 08:43:24

My friend's dd when a teenager didn't want her Saturdays away from home as she wanted to tend to her horse at weekends and train for dressage. But she had to go.

NoTimeForS Fri 08-Mar-13 08:46:50

It does seem like a lot for a five year old.
She would probably benefit from a day at home watching tv with her dad - especially if they don't see each other very often.
I don't think you should necessarily swap, but instead- it won't be the end of the world if she misses some of these events IMO.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 08:49:25

A thing so wanting to spend time with her makes her his pet? I don't think so.
The OP herself doesn't want to miss out on one to one time with her DD but thinks he should? ... The following week there are 3 shows so he'll expect another day to be replaced thereby not leaving DD any weekend time with her sister and I for an entire month.

gaelicsheep Fri 08-Mar-13 09:03:50

Perhaps OP your DD wishes to spend the very limited time she has with her dad actually being with him? Of course YABVU.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 09:06:25

Perhaps OP your DD wishes to spend the very limited time she has with her dad actually being with him? Of course YABVU.

^ ^ agree with this ^ ^

livinginwonderland Fri 08-Mar-13 09:16:11

I don't get to demand 1 day out of 14 of my daughter's time to be spent entirely for my amusement.

no, but the OP is with her daughter 13 days out of 14. not all day everyday, but she's there from when she wakes up to when she goes to bed - she gets to do bathtime, read her stories, cook her dinner, hear about school, the dad doesn't get to do any of that. i think it's perfectly reasonable for him to want a day with her that doesn't involve ferrying her to activities and not seeing her properly.

also, if this five year old is SO busy that she can't have one day of downtime/fortnight to see her dad, then something is very wrong. plus, he's being flexible and switching his days so she can do activities, not banning her from them altogether.

if i was in his shoes, i would be very pissed off to be told what i can/can't do with my own child for one day a fortnight. any parties and events have been planned/RSVP'd to by her mother as primary caregiver, and i'm betting her dad hasn't had a say in most of it.

MidniteScribbler Fri 08-Mar-13 09:19:28

I'd love to hear Dad's perpective on this.

Bonsoir Fri 08-Mar-13 09:19:49

It is not up to the OP to decide what her DD does when she is with her father.

AThingInYourLife Fri 08-Mar-13 10:19:37

I don't think anyone should expect to commandeer 25% of another person's weekend time.

Insisting that any day he can't have the child's undivided attention for the entire day isn't acceptable to him is unreasonable.

seeker Fri 08-Mar-13 10:33:39

Interesting how everyone is focussing on him to taking her to parties- which I agree is a bit shit, but not on the insane activity schedule.............

MidniteScribbler Fri 08-Mar-13 10:39:09

Oh FFS she's five years old. Of course she is going to be subject to the wishes and whims of her parents. My weekend does not revolve entirely round the whims of a child. If I want to spend the day at home, or go to a competition, or take him to a theme park, or take him to a party, then that is my decision as his parent. Part of being a family mens that sometimes you miss out on some things to allow everyone the opportunity to do some of the things they want, which may not be everything they want to do. Parents are not slaves to their children.

cantspel Fri 08-Mar-13 10:50:46

Maybe the very reason he refuses to ferry her to activities on "his time" is he thinks she needs some down time, to do nothing but be a child rather than some sort of performing seal.

babybarrister Fri 08-Mar-13 10:57:33

I agree with a lot of the posters on here that YAB a little U - If the two of you really cannot agree then he must decide what he does with her in his time just as you do in your time with her - which after all is much in excess of his.

AngelWreakinHavoc Fri 08-Mar-13 11:17:54

The op has said he dd doesnt want to do activities on the contact weekend with her Dad and I dont blame her, Yoiur d/aughter must be exhausted op!

he refuses to take her to any parties or activities but she also doesn't want him to

AngelWreakinHavoc Fri 08-Mar-13 11:20:06

Oh I forgot YABVU.

AThingInYourLife Fri 08-Mar-13 12:03:57

I think people have stopped talking about the crazy activity schedule because there is general agreement that it's way too much for such a young child.

Now we're down to whether children's time belongs to their parents (his time, her time) who should please thrmselves or whether a child, even at the age if 5, should be allowed to spend their own time living their own life.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 17:08:10

Now we're down to whether children's time belongs to their parents (his time, her time) who should please thrmselves or whether a child, even at the age if 5, should be allowed to spend their own time living their own life.

At 5, a child's life is organised by the parents and it's the parent's responsibility to ensure that there is balance which includes contact with parents, other relatives, friends, school, clubs, outings, activities and quiet time.
OP hasn't got this balance...umm...^balanced^.

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 08-Mar-13 17:59:21


even if I agreed with this "I think people have stopped talking about the crazy activity schedule because there is general agreement that it's way too much for such a young child."

You are ignoring this "she also doesn't want him to"
Maybe the ex's time is the only time the DD can do what she wants.

We also don't know how much stuff the OP has organised that would or has prevented contact.

AThingInYourLife Fri 08-Mar-13 18:46:13

No, she doesn't have it balanced.

But refusing to ever take a child to a birthday party is far from balanced too.

An excess of structured weekend activities is one problem.

A parent refusing to do any activities at all during "his" time is another.

I think mediation would really help here.

MrsLouisTheroux Fri 08-Mar-13 18:53:09

AThing OP says: he refuses to take her to any parties or activities but she also doesn't want him to.
He doesn't want to for valid reasons (i.e. spending actual time with his DD instead of dropping her somewhere) She doesn't want him to. He's not done anything wrong and is flexible with the days he sees her.

alisunshine29 Fri 08-Mar-13 18:56:51

She spends 2.5 hours per week at extra curricular activities - that's hardly an insane schedule! All of which are arranged on weeknights to facilitate contact. Dance shows occur over two weekends once per year, gymnastics competitions are three times per year. I'm not a pushy mum - it'd make my life easier and be cheaper if she didn't do activities but she does, and she loves them. For all those saying poor ex because he only gets to see her once per fortnight - that is HIS. Choice. He works round the corner but never comes for tea etc.

INeverSaidThat Sat 09-Mar-13 00:50:35


.....but queuing for 2 and a half hours for dance show tickets shock. It does sound like a lot of activities. I don't really understand why you DD can't miss some of the shows confused

seeker Sat 09-Mar-13 01:27:24

So there are really only 5 weekends a year where she has commitments? Then what is the problem? Surely to goodness you can work round 5 weekends?

alwayslateforwork Sat 09-Mar-13 01:57:01

That's not nearly such a good bitch, though, seeker.

It was far more effective when it was every weekend.

Op, you parent your way, let her dad parent his way. You were the one that said your dd didn't want her dad ferrying her everywhere.

Dance shows are shit for dads anyway. It isn't as though as he can pop into the changing room to do her hair and fix her make-up. They'd be shouting 'paedo' from the rooftops.

I suspect you quite like the role of organiser, anyway. grin

If the dance show is only two weekends a year, then suck it up and change the weekend he has her. You signed her up for it, you schlep her around and stick on her eyelashes. Let him watch tv with her in peace on a different weekend.

coffeeismywine Sat 09-Mar-13 04:22:42

I am sorry but you seriously expect your ex to pop round for tea to your house to see his daughter?

AThingInYourLife Sat 09-Mar-13 07:17:55

If he works around the corner he can hardly claim the journey is too arduous to bring his daughter to the occasional party.

Why doesn't she want her Dad to take her? Does he bully her? Is she ashamed of him? It's quite weird not wanting your Dad to bring you to stuff.

It seems like this whole contact thing is all about him.

He sees her only as much as he chooses. He will only spend the time doing what he wants.

Her extra curricular activities and social engagements will increase as she gets older and a father who thinks he has a right to be entertained by his pet daughter for a quarter of her weekend days is going to have a deleterious effect on her ability to develop her social life and interests.

I think you should see about mediation soon, before she's missing a lot if stuff to pander to his whims.

Or you are doing all the work of supporting her life and he is swooping in once a fortnight to get his biweekly fix of dominating his daughter's attention.

I find it so sad and bizarre that there are children growing up missing out on important parts of their childhood because their parents have split and they have a father who refuses to do anything a parent would normally do.

coffeeismywine Sat 09-Mar-13 07:24:55

There is no way if my kids are with their dad I would be going for tea at his house. That suggestion is utterly nonsensical.

mercibucket Sat 09-Mar-13 07:48:17

so its a years worth of shows in one month? sounds full on.

Cabrinha Sat 09-Mar-13 07:53:58

So he lives round the corner in tea popping in distance, or 25 miles away? 25 miles in my area is an hour's drive.

Cabrinha Sat 09-Mar-13 07:54:42

Don't blame him for saying no to a 2.5 hour queue for tickets - insane.

coffeeismywine Sat 09-Mar-13 08:00:44

How did you get your own tickets for the show? Did you not get them at the same time as standing in the queue for his? Or is there a different rule for mothers of children attending?

Joiningthegang Sat 09-Mar-13 08:38:16

I think if he had full custody and you only saw her one day a fortnight you would want to see her all day too and everyone would be saying how horrible he was to be booking all these things in just so you couldn't see her for very long


BoneyBackJefferson Sat 09-Mar-13 09:25:15

Why doesn't she want her Dad to take her? Does he bully her?

Why don't you just say that you think he is abusive and get it over with?

Maybe, just maybe, the DD enjoys the downtime with her dad.
Maybe she wants to have two separate lives and two separate types of relationship with her parents.

livinginwonderland Sat 09-Mar-13 09:33:59

I find it so sad and bizarre that there are children growing up missing out on important parts of their childhood because their parents have split and they have a father who refuses to do anything a parent would normally do.

oh, please. he sees her one day a fortnight, and OP as said herself that DD doesn't WANT him to take her to anything. she's five. she probably loves spending a couple of sundays a month with her dad just relaxing and having fun with him. when i was a kid and my mum worked weekends, i loved spending sundays with my dad - they're some of the best memories of my childhood and they didn't involve him schlepping me to every activity under the sun.

my dad also gasp never went to parents evenings, nativities, school sports days, and gasp neither did my mum a lot of the time - i survived, got looked after by my friend's family and still had a great time. you don't have to attend every activity under the sun to have a good relationship with your child.

alisunshine29 Sat 09-Mar-13 10:13:46

He works round the corner, he moved 25 miles away. He could take DD for tea or even overnight stays midweek but chooses not to. He also chooses to have no extra contact in school holidays. Precisely as someone said - I do everything for DD and he swoops in once per fortnight and upsets/disrupts her. There was one allocated ticket per child for the dance shows therefore for him to get one it needed to be queued for which I did for him a) in the hope he might actually take an interest in his daughters life and b) because he'd have been shouting from the rooftops that I was excluding him from her life if I didn't. DD doesn't want him to take her to things because she doesn't want to see him full stop. He doesn't 'have downtime and watch TV with her' she sits in the guest room watching it alone while he has friends round etc. Yes activities only take up 6 weekends per year but parties take up many more.

AThingInYourLife Sat 09-Mar-13 15:01:48

You need to sort this.

It is not fair on your daughter.

Is the current arrangement a legal one?

It might be worth formalising contact and mediation might help you to come to an arrangement with him that isn't just about him exercising his ownership of her once a fortnight.

alisunshine29 Sat 09-Mar-13 15:39:38

No it isn't a legal arrangement. We attended mediation a couple of years ago and he had the chance to get a contact order but chose not to as he knew he'd breach it himself - he demands she be available for midweek/holiday contact because that's 'his right' but when it comes to it he doesn't want her. He didn't want it formalised in case he ended up liable for childcare costs during the time he said he'd have her. While the current situation frustrates me I feel going to court/mediation wouldn't be very productive as he already has the bare minimum contact. It just makes me sad for DD as she said seeing him is a 'waste of her life' and that she wants to stay home and have a normal one.

alisunshine29 Sat 09-Mar-13 15:44:48

However while you might think 'well it'll end up that she'll choose not to see him when older' - she may well do, but whichever way you look at it that isn't best for her. If he just gave her a little of his time she'd actually appreciate him. Or if she gets older and doesn't see him but in the meantime has missed so many activities that she's too old to get into them properly. All I can see ahead is resentment.

livinginwonderland Sat 09-Mar-13 15:49:58

i think you need to make a formalised contact order, honestly. if he doesn't stick to it, then that's his loss as a parent. he should be liable financially for 50% of her care - that includes childcare, parties, competitions and whatever else she participates in.

does she actually want to go to his house? because if she's saying "no, i don't want to see daddy because i don't like it" then that needs to be considerered and brought up with the people who sort out official contact times.

alisunshine29 Sat 09-Mar-13 15:54:43

No she doesn't want to go but contact would never be stopped because of this - children don't have a voice til they're at least 10/11.

livinginwonderland Sat 09-Mar-13 15:57:37

does he know that she doesn't want to go? i know she's only young but could she maybe tell him how she feels? would he listen to her or just say "i want my time with my daughter i don't care"?

alisunshine29 Sat 09-Mar-13 16:05:07

Yes he knows, hence why he arrives armed with his iPad an chocolate to bribe her. He promises her trips out etc then she returns and he's told her they didn't have time for whatever he promised and they'll do it next time. Next time never comes. He continues with contact to keep up appearances with his family and friends.

livinginwonderland Sat 09-Mar-13 16:12:16

ah, that sucks, and it's really unfair on your DD. what would happen if he turned up and she refused to go?

alisunshine29 Sat 09-Mar-13 16:20:04

She has done numerous times - he physically carries her kicking and screaming to his car.

livinginwonderland Sat 09-Mar-13 16:22:53

i don't think it's fair to make her go when she clearly doesn't want to, but i also don't know what else to suggest! she's only 5yo which obviously means she doesn't (legally) have much say :/ that's not helpful i know, but it must be so frustrating!

AThingInYourLife Sat 09-Mar-13 17:09:21

Jesus, that is fucking horrible sad

Poor kid.

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 09-Mar-13 18:03:07

He carries her kicking and screaming to something that is none essential?

And you let him do that?

alwayslateforwork Sat 09-Mar-13 18:11:26

Ya gotta love a drip feed.

To be concerned about missing gym or dance, and not the kicking and screaming is a tad odd, tbh. Priorities, and all that jazz.

AThingInYourLife Sat 09-Mar-13 20:37:02

Jesus, is there anything that can't somehow be blamed on the woman?


alisunshine29 Sat 09-Mar-13 23:17:00

Contact with her father isn't considered 'non-essential' in Court. She and I have no say in the matter.

I think YABU to not allow him extra contact time (even if he is an arse) if he wants it so long as he isn't going over a reasonable amount (50% or whatever).

alwayslateforwork Sun 10-Mar-13 15:37:13

Wel, in all honesty, you both need to sit down like adults and work out how you can make things better for your child. The animosity you feel towards him and his actions are likely to be playing a large part in her negativity to going.

I see the fact she doesn't want to spend time with her father as a much bigger problem than any 5yo birthday party tbh (they might seem über important now, but really, in the grand scheme of things, children do survive without attending them, ever).

So, I think you need to faking it, losing the negativity, and bigging up the time she is spending with her dad with her, and the two of you adults need to sit down and discuss dance and gymnastics, and whether it is possible, with a joint custody situation, for her to attend them. At 5, this stuff is easy peasy - when she is 11, it's going to be a whole lot worse - way more training, and way more competitions, more travelling, and a lot more time spent. I would also add it is going to be impossible for her to continue with dance, gym and swimming at a comptetitive level. Completely impossible. All three eat time, and conflict with each other and other real life.

You both need to be on the same page with this. And you need to be on the same page from now. What did he say when you first discussed her weekend hobbies with him that would impact on his time with her? I only ask, because I have several friends in similar situations who made sure to discuss their daughters dance classes with the their ex prior to registration - one family now has a daughter in dance (and in fact, her father sends an additional monthly cheque to pay for it), and the other family do not have a daughter in dance, because the child spends two full weekends a month with her father - she is a little older, and the school attends five competitions a year, with additional practice every Sunday lunchtime from 12-5 in the four months leading up to comp season.

At 5, your priority really shouldn't be maintaining your daughter's schedule. It should be how you are going to rebuild her relationship with her father. Worry about the hobbies later, once this is fixed.

Sure, it may not be possible. She may already believe that dance and parties are more important. But you do need to try.

alwayslate, I totally and utterly agree.

IneedAsockamnesty Sun 10-Mar-13 22:59:37

Actually a child being carried kicking and screaming into a car would be considered to be abusive and a valid sign of distress.

alisunshine29 Sun 10-Mar-13 23:13:34

I can't repair the relationship - it's for him to make an effort. I encourage and facilitate contact, never badmouth him and remain positive and optimistic. It isn't considered abuse. The general consensus by Judges is that contact is as necessary as school. Would it be abuse if I sent her to school kicking and screaming? No, we'd both have no choice as we have no choice in this situation.

Enfyshedd Sun 10-Mar-13 23:38:42

ali, I think you should try to speak to someone from CAFCASS or possibly SS? Your DD having to be carried kicking & screaming to have contact with her father is concerning.

Viviennemary Sun 10-Mar-13 23:48:26

I thinhk you are being unreasonable. Surely it's not for you to decide what activities your DD does during contact times with your ex. I think any contact time lost should be replaced. If she doesn't want to go to the parties and activities I can't see how he can be blamed for not taking her. It's a pity you can't both work this out amicably.

alisunshine29 Mon 11-Mar-13 00:05:16

She does want to go to parties etc.
I have had plenty of legal advice - I wouldn't be letting it. Continue if I didn't have to. So Longas DD is 'surviving satisfactorily' then contact will continue for many years yet.

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 11-Mar-13 00:15:13

Alis when one of my children was doing that every time going to contact cafcass wrote a report describing forcing him as abusive and the contact order was lifted he was almost 6 at the time,So yes it is considered abusive.

Also if it was happening on arrival at school regularly there are several steps that should be undertaken by the parents and school together to reduce anxiety for the child. Its not something that's normal it's not something that should be ignored.

Child contact it about the rights of the child not the adults and should only happen when it is not damaging to the child.

What does her dad do when she's screaming like that? I know when it happened with us my ex was distraught.

alwayslateforwork Mon 11-Mar-13 01:03:33

Right, but if she was kicking and screaming and fighting about going to school, my bet is that you would be working with school wholeheartedly as a team so that you could remove the stress and unpleasantness, and get her to go willingly.

Not saying 'bollocks, it's up to school to fix it, not me. My only job is to get her there.'

You'd be having meetings with the teacher, the HT, the senco, the paediatrician, and if necessary, CAMHS.

You wouldn't be folding your arms and saying 'well, I've done my bit.' Particularly as, well, school would have to continue for many years yet, eh? You'd be wanting to remove the unpleasantness by making dd want to go to school. Easier all round, for you, for dd, and for the school.

However much she didn't want to go. (And sure, taking this to the logical conclusion, you could choose to home ed. but you'd still have to make sure you toed the legal line. Which would mean giving up work to be with her etc.)

Shoesme Mon 11-Mar-13 13:59:53

So now because people are disagreeing with you, you drop in the fact that he sometimes has to carry her kicking and screaming to the car, sheesh.

longtallgirl Mon 11-Mar-13 14:49:39

YANBU. It seems that thhis 'father' is concerned only with his rights not his responsibilities. She is not a toy to pick up and play with at his convenience.

Once again I think Alwayslate is right.

Is there a contact centre or something or a third party that can do the hand over so it is less distressing to your daughter?

sherazade Mon 11-Mar-13 20:02:00

is she upset about being with him, or about being away from you?
Two very different things.

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