Am I unreasonable to be livid about this?(149 Posts)
I'm divorced. Ds (ASD/OCD) goes to dad twice a month or, every other weekend. This weekend, he was allowed to sleep in a tent in the garden, by himself, whilst ex husband and partner slept in the house.
I'm so annoyed. Ds is high functioning, more Aspie but, with OCD, has massive anxiety issues. However, SD wanted to do it.
Was that a safe thing to do? He is described in his Statement as being " extremely vulnerable with very poor danger perception".
How old is your ds?
Was he completely happy to do it, and was he able to come indoors if he wanted/needed to?
Is the garden secure?
How old is he? If he's 16 yabu. If he's 3 yanbu.
Depends how old he is, and how secure the garden is. Your ex is his patent too, and has the right to make decisions about your DS - even ones you don't agree with.
How did he cope with it?
Are you possibly overly mothering him?
Epic cross posting there!
Did he want to do it? Did he enjoy it? Was the garfen safe, enclosed? How old is DS?
I'm guessing he wouldn't of done it unless he wanted to? Depends on age, type of area, security of garden etc etc.
He's 12. Yes, he wanted to do it but then hes a typical boy....wants dad to be proud of him etc. he said he was a bit scared but wanted dad to be proud of him.
We're talking about a little boy, physically. He wears aged 9 to 10 clothes. He has little experience of ordinary social situations, having no peer group friendships and is therefore missing a massive opportunity to develope ways of relating to others. He is immensely socially awkward, he has Tourette's-style ticks and flicks and sticks out like a sore thumb. They live in a fairly quiet village, their house is enclosed but backs onto open land,farm land, I guess. I'm concerned that his dad put him into a seriously vulnerable situation. Many of us "know" our immediate neighbours but, how many of us really know the ins and outs of people who say, live 5 doors down?
I just think he is too little, despite his disability, to sleep alone in a garden tent, while the adult is not only in the house, but sleeps like the dead and their bedroom is on the front.
You know, if he was an average 12 and was with siblings or a couple of friends, I'd say Ok. But on his own? No.
Last year dad took him to Spain. Ds got up in the night and left the room. He tried to get back in but, the door had clicked shut. He was left outside shouting to his dad. A man came and took him to his room to help calm him and eventually, the hotel management was involved. Sd's dad slept through it and the night reception staff had to use a master key, to open the door and wake the parent and his partner.
I rest my case.
And...? Was he fine?
Are there a lot of abductors in the area?
Yabu and need to start cutting the apron strings a bit. Instead you should be proud of him for coping.
I wouldn't be impressed either from what you say. nd could have got scared and not been Able to get back in.
did you let his dad know your not happy for it to happen again?
What a ridiculous question ... "Are there lots of abductors in the area?" How many of really know the people we live side by side with?
I'm not overprotective. He was fine. He may not have been and he doesn't have the skills an average 12 yr old might have in a potentially dangerous situation. His dad has him 4 nights a month. Why couldn't he and dad have camped together?
I wouldn't have been happy at all, given your son's issues coupled with the fact that there had already been an incident of your son needing help during the night from outside people while his father slept.
His dad should have camped with him.
It's a tricky one. I can see both sides tbh. I prob would have slept in tent too if ds had really wanted the experience. Have you discussed it with your ex? I'm not sure I''d be livid.
For the record op I am going against te grain and say yanbu at all. Yes he is 12 but is possibly a few years behind developmentally, and te fact he as very little danger awareness makes him mre vulnerable than ain't child.
YANBU, his Dad should have camped with him.
It's not a ridiculous question. Do you have reason to believe there are dodgy folk near ex DP? Or are you scared because of something else? Or have you been reading too many tabloid newspapers? Because you've given no reason for us to think he was in any danger because of outside influences.
I think people asking his age are missing the point that he is neurodevelopmentally behind due to his autism.
In this instance, you cant base your judgement on his chronological age.
I wouldn't let any 12 year old sleep outside alone, even though my garden is totally secure.
His dad should have slept outside with him.
From your second post I think YANBU.
I would feel very uncomfortable that your exdh made that kind of decision.
"Have you been reading too many tabloid newspapers"
Are you serious?
Did you read anything about the sons developmental issues.
Have you read too many news papers for fucks sake.
"are there a lot of abductors in the area" IS a ridiculous question.
Presumably to make light of the fact that the OP has mentioned that she doesn't really know the people who live nearby particularly well.
There's a contingent of posters on MN who want to screech that posters are seeing 'a peeeeedo on every corner'.
Most of us just ignore them.
To me the point is he wanted to do it despite his disabilities. His father obviously assessed the risk as minimal. He was fine.
He didnt want to do it despite his disabilities though, he did it to impress his father. And his father should have seen that and reacted accordingly.
"To me the point is he wanted to do it despite his disabilities. His father obviously assessed the risk as minimal. He was fine."
His statement says that he is "extremely vulnerable with very poor danger perception".
My 3 year old would want to do it, too. Doesn't mean I'd let her.
id be annoyed as he has problems and was alone , be different if a few friends were with him , it couldnt of been much fun for him tbh.
My son wants to walk home alone from school despite his disability...he will still walk straight out into traffic though, so it isn't safe for him to do so.
If a child has little danger awareness, they need more care than the average NT child of that age [or whatever age]
Seems more luck than judgement that he was fine.
Why are you posting?
Exactly Amber, people who are disagreeing with op are totally missingth point. He is more vulnerable and much more immature than the average nt child. I agree it's luck really that nothing happened. He did it to impress his father not because he really wanted to
What would worry me most, is that his dad has a track record for not being reachable when the OPs DS finds himself in a situation beyond his comfort zone and ability to cope. So no, I don't think the dad was reasonable to expect this of his son.
Baffled at some of these replies. The OP was clear about her sons difficulties in her first post, yet they seem to have been over looked.
The dad does not "have a track record of being unreachable" - he was asleep in a bedroom at night, and didn't wake up when his son left the room. That's completely different to not being reachable!
The bottom line is the dad assessed a situation and made a decision for his DS. Whether that's the same decision the OP would have made is irrelevant. It wasn't hers to make on that particular evening.
Yes op ds has sn opwill worry more tan th average nt child
Agent fpdoes not mean op has to agree and be happy with it!
I recently camped out with my children ( one with physical difficulties).
Had to go back to the house for more bedding and two toilet trips. Lighting the torch and getting the zip open isn't the easiest in the middle of the night. Explaining the noises of cats making babies. All in all I would say your son did very well to cope on his own and I think your right to be worried about your ex's judgement. The only problem is there is not a lot you can do about his decisions about his son when your not there.
his dad should have camped with him
No, that's very true. And it's fine to come on here and vent, and OP INBU to be livid, but would BU to go apeshit at her ex.
But she doesn't say that she intended to bring it up with her ex - I just didn't read her posts properly, and made an assumption.
I would be furious and concerned that dad doesn't comprehend his son's needs.
So if the DS had a problem, would his dad have woken to help him (he didn't wake in the hotel)? Or would DS have been left in a garden, in the dark, trying to cope?
Yanbu at all and there are lots of silly posts here
I would have seen my arse. The father should have bloody well camped with him!
ignoring missing the point that he was SN, 12 and alone. Would they let their 12 year old stay in the house alone over night? Never mind out side !
Why do some posters still insist on pretending that people /children wont and dont come to harm when not properly supervised! Jesus head in sand or what!!
Ok. First of all, I didn't have an argument with ex. I praiised ds for being brave but said that at home, he would be accompanied. I told him that I was not happy with dad because he could have made it more "fun" if they're camped together (and dad is the adult).
Am I over reacting and "seeing a paedo on every corner"? No. But then.... Madeleine McCann, Avril Jones and little Sophie Hook, the little girl who wanted to sleep in a tent in the garden. She was taken in the night, raped and murdered. These terrible things happen. They're NOT everyday occurrences and we all think "it couldn't happen to me". It's not that I mistrust everyone but really, can we all say we know our neighbours, the visitors they have, the comings and goings?. No. We cannot assume anything. I personally would not let an average 12 yr old sleep alone. Good point whoever made the point, about not allowing your child to sleep alone in a house which presumably has a lock on the door.
My ex has issues around ds and his condition. He refused for a long time to "believe" and it wasn't until he was written to by the consultant paediatrician to basically say, come and see me and I will educate you as to your son's lifelong condition. Up to that point, ex had never attended any appointments and as I say, left a few weeks after diagnosis.
Why am I posting? Because I wanted to get some comp,entry unbiased opinions on whether I was right to think his dad had, once again, failed to take reasonable steps to keep ds safe. A couple of years ago, ex and his partner took ds camping. Ds was REALLY excited to go. It all went belly up and it was the trauma that kick started his massive anxiety and OCD (not my opinion, the Psychiatrist's opinion). What had happened? Ex and partner slept in the big tent and ds then 9 or 10 had to sleep alone in a tent, next to his dad. Apparently, ds was scared and was asking to come in with dad. Dad said no and fixed the zip so that ds couldn't keep attempting to climb out and get in with dad. I told ex that unless he could take better, more responsible care of ds, I would seek legal advice about restricted (safe) access.
Thank you for the replies.
I think you are certainly not being unreasonable. I would be thanking my lucky stars that nothing happened and also would be hopping mad with the fool that thought it was an acceptable risk to take.
My children both have autism. To leave them unattended is to take a HUGE gamble. When you are dealing with a child who has no sense of danger and who is incapable of making decisions that will keep them safe then you HAVE to protect them.
Luckily, your son was fine. But that was just luck. He could have become afraid, he could have wandered off, he could have injured himself...
The point is not that he is 12, it is not that through sheer chance no harm came to him on this occasion, it is that he has a disability that means that he is extremely vulnerable and the adults who are responsible for caring for him have to act responsibly.
The examples you have given show a man who is incapable of understanding what his son needs. I really think he shouldn't be allowed unsupervised (or at least no overnight) access until or unless he can be made to understand how vulnerable your son is.
This man wants to treat the boy like a neurotypical child and that's not going to work, because he isn't one !
Eliza You story about the 'other' camping trip is heartbreaking!? Who the fuck fixes a zip so their scared child can't come in and feel safe?
That occasion alone would have had me saying no to over nighters, is this what you are going to do?
He's 12 and I suspect he needs, despite his SN to start feeling like he's growing up. He needs to start taking small risks and pushing his comfort zone, that's what growing up means.
My DDs have camped in the gardern from 9 or 10 and DD1 has stayed out on her own when little sister decided to come in.
Startail - do both your daughters have autism or just one? How did you know when it was just pushing a comfort zone as opposed to an actual inability to keep themselves safe due to their disability? How sure were you that they would be able to keep themselves safe?
It's terrifying to take that change with your child with autism, isn't it though? Because you have no way of knowing whether they are going to cope. Did you just sleep and trust that everything would be ok or did you covertly supervise them in case it all went horribly wrong?
chance not change.
Time to stop the overnighters??
I tried to do that but all hell broke lose and this is the first time the issue has arisen again. I keep trying to get the point across to ex and his partner who, because she used to be a nanny, feels she knows much about children. She probably knows more about NT kids, but I know my ds, inside out.
The flip side is that my (now) DH, though an excellent step dad to ds, needs a break from time to time. When I suggested stopping overnight co tact or at least reviewing massively, DH was not p,eased. I'm in the middle. All I can do is express my concerns/displeasure and hope that in the 48 hr period ex has ds, twice monthly, no actual harm comes to him.
Ex has pressured ds (who will try - as he wants desperately to fit in) to walk alone to the shop and cross a road. I said this was to stop. As far as I know, it has. Last year, ds asked me if he might walk to school. I devised a plan with school SENCO that he could set off, 30 paces ahead of me for the 5 min walk. They would greet him outside school and I'd then wave to him when he was safely going into the building. We did it a few times but sadly, other kids were taking the piss out of him as he walked along and he stopped doing it. As I say, he does stick out like a sore thumb and this is part if his vulnerability.
You are sending your son overnight to a place where he is not receiving optimal and appropriate care to appease his stepfather?
I just lost sympathy for you
oh god, that's terrifying! If my kids were made to cross a road by themselves on regular basis it would only be a matter of time before they were killed! You must be really worried each and every time your son is with his dad!
Sorry, but your son's safety comes before your current husband's right to a night off! It really does.
I hope the school are on top of the teasing. It's really shit, isn't it? Kids who would tease a blind child, or one in a wheelchair for their disability are few and far between and would be in a lot of trouble from teachers, parents and other students!, yet autism awareness is so shit that our kids often get laughed and sneered at.
oh, and there's no place for you in the middle when it comes to your son's safety. I am not trying to be horrible, I really am not. But there is no compromise or middle ground on safety.
I can see Startail's point about him needing more independence, but given his SN surely it would have to be baby steps, training him and preparing him all the way?
Not suddenly flinging him out in an unprepared situation where he might have to make decisions on his own.
This sounds scary to me.
A 12yo who is not safe to walk a short distance to the shops is by definition not safe to sleep all night outside on his own.
I was a single mum, just me and ds, for over 5 years. I struggled massively. When I saw a solicitor about ex and ds I was told to try again in educating him (this was when I got back-up from medical team/psychiatrist) and ex was basically told he must comply. As I say, there have been no major issues since. I guess I'm just very worn down by the whole thing. Personally, I'd like to finish with this worrying but I can't leave ds and there's no one else to look after him.
My current situation means that if I'm not with DH, I have no where to go.
Oh yes. You're totally right. It has to be a well planned out process agreed by everyone and the starting point always the current ability of the child and plans in place for if it doesn't work.
Responsible risk taking is important - but this isn't it. This is totally irresponsible.
Oh, and it's ok, I don't want your sympathy. I have a constant battle on my hands between ds and his condition, ex and his attitude and DH and his swinging from love and support to barely concealed intolerance.
The solicitor wanted to know of any incident of actual harm. There were none. As has been said, that's more good luck than responsible management. I emailed ex last night to warn him that I will cease overnight contact and have this morning had a "conversation" of shouting abuse down the phone.
It is an endless situation.
Yanbu. I am 35 and would not have wanted to sleep alone in a tent in my own back garden. 12 year old dc with friends or parent yes of course. Alone? Why?
I don't think you are being unreasonable at all. I would be furious. And probably not wanting him to go there again.
A bit different but my 9yo was invited to a party and it was only when we arrived that we discovered the 3 girls were to sleep in a tent on the frint lawn while the parents slept inside the locked house. No way was I going to let my daughter stay.
Tbh I dont think this is quite as black and white as yanbu/yabu, although I can see why it could be seen that way.
Firstly, obviously if your ds disabilities are such that he has no sense of danger at all and has severe anxieties then any desire to do things more independently need to be assessed probably on a case by case basis. Having said that, he is twelve, and unless his disabilities are such that he will never lead an independent life and can never be left unsupervised then there is going to come a point when he is going to want the freedom to do some more normal things iyswim, and there does have to come a point where this is facilitated. Unfortunately that sometimes means getting it wrong before you get it right iyswim, and Im not sure camping in the back garden would have been my starting point on that one either, but assuming he will one day lead an (as much as possible) independent life, at some point there does need to be some facilitation of gaining some independence in the same way any of his peers would iyswim. Now Im assuming from your descriptions that although your ds has ASD, he doesnt actually have learning difficulties per se, so at twelve he will certainly realise that his peers have independence that he has not yet been allowed, and therefore will seek this iyswim?
I think the posters who are saying that it is pure luck that nothing dreadful happened are sending out a truly horrible message that it should almost be expected that something terrible would happen and that its only by chance that it didnt. Actually its not by chance at all. The child camped in the garden, he did so safely (in spite of fears that he has no understanding of safety) and nothing happened. Thats not chance that is credit to the child that he was responsible enough on this occasion to camp out in the garden alone and this IMO needs to be acknowledged. We need to stop living in a society that views disability as a worst case scenario rather than accepting that many people with disabilities do gain independence skills, and that although this may take longer in some cases than others,, we need to look at assessing risks rather than living in a fear-consumed culture that disallows independence on the basis that bad things happen through luck rather than anything else.
The reality is that bad things are a rare occurrence. Sighting cases such as Madeleine McCann and the little girl taken from her garden are not comparative at all, but even if they were, the fact you are able to quote names of only a handful of cases which have happened over the time frame of several years speaks volumes as to just how rare these instances are.
Now, I can see why the incident in Spain may have made you more anxious, however, if you look at it from a different angle, your ds locked himself out, he didnt wander off, he didnt go anywhere else, he merely knocked on the door to be let back in, and although he became anxious and had to be taken to calm down, the fact is he didnt behave irresponsibly on that occasion either or put himself in danger.
I can absolutely understand why you are anxious about this, however theres a fine line between letting go and holding on, and so often it is difficult to know where that line is drawn, and sometimes we as parents get it wrong on both sides it is possible to over protect a disabled child just as much as it is possible to not consider their disability when risk assessing.
Lastly, I think there is a real possibility that you are projecting your own issues about this on to your ds. You say he said he only did it to make his dad proud, I wonder whether thats actually the case or whether thats what he thinks you want to hear. You have said to him that youre cross with his dad IMO it is never acceptable to involve the child in the feelings between the parents he doesnt need to know if youre cross with his father, that is between the two of you and should remain such. You need to stop your feelings towards your ex on to your ds, because that isnt going to be helpful either.
Even if you don't want it, you have sympathy. Sounds like an awful situation for you to have to cope with Eliza, while trying to do the best for your ds.
I can see both sides, as he wanted to do it your ex might have felt that it was mean to say no?
I loved sleeping in a tent in the garden at that age, if I needed anything went into the house. Would your DS have been confident enough to go back inside the house to his Dad if he got anxious? Was he on his own?
Did he enjoy the experience?
I do think WannaBe makes good points. It is going to be a constant balance between preparing him for indepent life if at all possible and not putting him at a risk that is out of proportion with a normal level of risk-taking at this age.
(For those posters claiming that no risk taking is acceptable, how do you deal with your NT 12yos; how can they develop normally if they are never allowed to take any risks at all? surely all near-teens, however NT, do sometimes take risks that could potentially result in death?)
If there is reason to believe he will not be able to live independently, then presumably plans will have to be made for that, and the ex will have to be involved in those discussions.
If not, then you need some kind of plan of how you are gradually going to prepared him for greater and greater independence. (and no, I don't think the tent was a great idea)
I am in a slightly different position, as dd does not have ASD, but does have a physical disability which can result in sudden collapse and also severe anxiety which has resulted in impulsive suicide attempts. It still needs a similar kind of balance and forward thinking: how can I prepare her for this, what level of risk taking is acceptable, is it better to accept a lowish level of risk now rather than risking her being at great risk later on because she is not prepared, how do I balance the growth of her self esteem against the risk that she may find herself out of her depth etc etc. No easy answers.
wannaBe thanks, a thoughtful post, that. Considering the issues with my ex, I've done pretty well to conceal my anger and absolute fury, at some of the positions he has allowed ds to be in.
I do remember the horror of the little girl snatched from her garden tent. It was only 2 miles down the road from DS's grandparents, at the time. It was shocking and scary, for everyone. As a teenager, we had a neighbour who everyone thought a little odd. We didn't realise how odd until he was arrested for having child pornography and paedaphilia connections. I am perhaps a little sensitive, due to experience myself as a teen by a person held to be a guardian for me. It seems his antics had been going on, for years.
As I say, if I had a neurotypical child of 12, I'd not allow him/her to sleep alone in a house, a tent, a shed, a boat.... Whatever. The world we live in now can be unsafe. Very unsafe. I am not projecting my fears onto ds. He has stranger danger sessions at school and wants to know the ins and outs of everything. He is intelligent enough to know his peers go into town alone.... We are trying to develop a friendship with a local kid in the hope they can go into town together and have just bought him a mobile phone to help with this. The first day he took it to school, as all kids are allowed for break time etc, he was coerced into giving it to class mates to look at and he said he was "told" he could have it back "later" as other kids wanted to play on it.
As I say, not in any way forceful, always wanting to fit in and please. Vulnerable.
Iirc the number of child abductions/child murders by strangers has not gone up over the last 50 years or so; the only reason for the rise in the figures is that parental abduction now counts in the statistics. SO the world is probably no more unsafe than it ever was.
It is not a safe world. But the problem with that is that it won't be any safer by the time your ds sets out to live independently, whatever age that will be. Young adults often come to harm too. And you won't care any less then.
So the best thing you can do is to ignore your own past, and sit down to plan for your ds' future: how can you help him, with the limitations imposed by his SN, to be as safe as possible when he gradually becomes more independent.
I do understand your anger and your anxieties and I do not think you are being totally unreasonable.
It is very hard to allow ourselves to test our children and its a very fine line between challenging them and overwhelming them.
If your ex cannot see this it must be very frustrating.
I don't know the answer. I cannot imagine DS2 being allowed to do anything his NT siblings do BUT he must be allowed to at some point.
Cory, I agree. But I feel in this instance, my ex was wrong. I have to look to a time of full/partial independence, for his needs and my own. I'm not sure about the statistics and I don't have enough evidence to quote emphatically but (and this could be media reporting) there seems to be such violence in child crime now. As a nation, we were all utterly shocked because the perpetrators were 12 year old boys themselves. The Edlington (Doncaster) torture of two boys was again, by two local brothers (aged 11 and 12) who knew their victims.
I really don't think I've over reacted. And yes, bad things happen to adults but there's a way of developing some safe independence and this, wasnt it.
When I walk into town with ds (rare, cause of his OCD) he knows people are looking at him. He tries to "act normal" and this seems to make him stand out even further! You'd be surprised at the open snickering and gawping and mimicking that goes on. Anyone "different" is vulnerable/a target.
Sorry.... A line is missing "in the case of James Bulger, we were all utterly shocked..."
I feel for you and I feel for your boy.
However, you still continuing to send him to what you already perceive to be an unsafe/inappropriate space for his developmental needs in order to give your new partner a break from your son is very jarring.
I absolutely agree with you, Eliza, that your ex was wrong in this instance. This was not the way.
And I quite understand what you are saying about your ds being vulnerable because he looks different.
But in a sense, he will always be vulnerable in this way: hate crimes against adults with SN sadly do happen and adults with SN are made the targets of criminals who want easily manipulated tools.
So it is another thing you will have to factor into your plans for gradually fostering independence. It is not going to need less independence preparation because of the added dangers, but far more. Where your ex was wrong was he tried to do something suddenly, without thinking it through and without consulting the person who knows his ds best.
At the same time, I do think your posts come across as if you think a lot about a very limited number of highly publicised cases. Abduction and murder cases of the James Bulger/Madeleine McCann order are so rare that your ds is probably at more risk of breaking his neck falling down the stairs.
I would focus more on the more common risks and what you can do to prepare for those.
AnyFucker yes, I can see that that reads jarringly.
There are such good things from my current relationship which ds has not experienced before. An often "normal happy family" situation rather than the shocking rows he was protected from (but often, not enough) with my ex. Though only 4 when ex and I split he was brought up by me until he was 9 and that was hard. He is an only child. Couldn't access peer group friendships and has no family within 200 miles. His cousins are adults as my sister started young....I had ds at 38! Circumstance meant that, when I met now DH, it was wonderful for ds to have a "dad" figure who was there. In a way his own dad wasn't, even when we lived together.
When I say DH needs a day off...... He is a patient man but, 4 years post marriage, I still feel it is a very big ask to expect this man to deal day in, day out with ds and his condition. Ex goes on tours of Europe/the USA for his 3/4 week holidays and DH and I have never had more than a weekend break, when ds sees his dad. That may sound like I'm trying to off load him, despite the dangers but, as the solicitor has said, his dad contact is important and her attitude was "just explain appropriate safe practice" and warn him (we did, with a letter) that deviating from this would jeopardise his visitation rights.
It's NOT as black and white as DH and I fancying a quick weekend by the sea!!
When your H married you, he married the whole package and that does include dealing with his stepson on a daily basis, day in and day out
yes, children having contact with their other parent is a good thing, and yes it does give the primary carers a break and there is nothing wrong with that at all
(I often have mock arguments about H about who would get the kids, and would go for 50/50 if we ever split for real in order for me to continue with my own life as much as he did)
but that only works if it's a safe space, and you know this isn't
what are you going to do about it, now it is clear your warnings and attempts to guide a man who doesn't see a need for it are falling on deaf ears ? (and not for the first time)
I think that your negativity about this is making you miss out on an opportunity to give your boy a massive confidence boost by saying well done, you did a great thing, you're getting very independent now etc. I would probably feel the same way as you but since it's done and he was fine I think you could find something positive in the situation. Like a bit of pride that your lovely boy did this by himself!
Bloody Nora, please read the whole thread!!
I did praise him but then, as the evening wore on, DS followed me around the house saying "dad says you were angry, why?. Why would you not have let me? Caroline (ex's partner) says You're too protective. Why are you too protective?" Now, I had a private text with dad (before they got home) to say I will praise him but, I'm not happy as you should have been camping with him. Sadly, ex had showed ds the text.
When ex dropped him home and stood in the hall looking at me, expecting a "word" I just smiles and said "see you in 3 weeks". I flatly refused to discuss it with ds standing there.
Well, I will speak to ex. He won't see him til the end of July now. Henson holiday.
Bloody iPad! "He's ON holiday".
is that a RL name ? You might want to ask HQ to remove that, OP
No. Not her real name. . Thank you for the reminder, tho!
They are really not helping, are they? Poor lad, struggling to make sense of their totally unnecessary comments.
So as well as allowing a child with additional needs to camp out alone and locked out, and being in charge of a situation where DS was alone and locked out of a hotel at night and had to be returned by strangers, your Ex took your DS camping before and locked him in his own tent when he was pleading to be allowed to go into his dad's tent? Dear God, he's not just ignoring your safety instructions, he's setting the child up to fall.
Does he not get enough nights alone with his girlfriend, FFS?
Hmmm... It makes me wonder. But then my ex, who took himself off to live 90 miles away now moans at me because I won't meet him in a motorway services, to exchange ds at lunchtime, on his dad weekend. Apparently, itd help ex with his time management and fuel costs. He only has him from Friday night to Sunday, twice a month. It barely gives DH and I chance to catch up with our chores and maybe fit in a Chinese takeaway as it is!
Startail it is slightly different if that chi has sn and has no sense if danger, tey are vulnerable and not lik te average child. Ex should have caned out with his ds abey in a different tent, not all alone where he could become overwhelmed and panick and mabey havea meltdown. Iam about the other camping reinforce that alone I would not trust ex to keepss safe
I've read about half and skimmed the rest so apols if I have missed anything.
It sounds like it isn't about physical safety so much as emotional unavailability on the part of his dad, who seems to be ignoring him when he visits.
I'd be unhappy about that too.
YANBU I too would be livid, with his complex needs he should not have been left to camp alone without his father.
YANBU. At that age, Dh and i wouldn't have let our NT son sleep alone in a tent in the garden - dh camped with the boys when they wanted to sleep in the tent.
And as for trying to make mischief between you and your son by showing him the text you sent - that is shocking behaviour - it smacks of using your son to make a point with you, without any thought or care as to the effect that would have on your son. Bastard.
Yes, it boils down to that really. As a responsible adult, I'd not let a 9 or 10 year old (his level of maturity, at best) sleep alone in a tent.
His dad was wrong. I have nothing against ex's partner and I welcome her in the sense that she might be "there" for ds in his future but frankly, she is not his mum, doesn't want children of her own and ought not to be telling me, via ds (!) what I should encourage him to do.
I think the previous camping situation was awful so I'd be worried because of that but someone with the maturity level of a 9 or 10 year old should be fine sleeping in a tent assuming he had access to the house and wasn't pressured into it.
I know it's an awful long time ago but I spent whole summers on my own at night in a tent in the garden from the age of 7. Child abduction/murder rates haven't altered in that time.
I have a son with asd. I think your ex did the right thing. I became far too over protective and it did him no favours at all
He needs to be able to grow up abc learn coping strategies of his own.
You need to cut the apron strings for his own good
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
It is undeniably sad that your DS's dad does not seem bothered enough about him to suggest they camp out together as a nice thing to do (regardless of any confidence of SEN issues, just as dad and son together). And the fixing the zip thing is just shocking.
As for the 'needs a break' issue with your now DH, well, that's as maybe but plenty of parents/stepparents get no breaks at all, and if giving him a 'break' is exposing your DS to possible harm then I think it is asking a lot. Is there nowhere else you could go for even a weekend, a friend's or a relative's even, to do this without your DS having to put up with his dad's indifference to his needs?
I have nothing against ex's partner and I welcome her in the sense that she might be "there" for ds in his future but frankly, she is not his mum, doesn't want children of her own and ought not to be telling me, via ds (!) what I should encourage him to do.
Translates to: "She may come in useful in the future but needs to keep her opinions to herself."
The delights of being in a step family.
Yanbu, dad should have camped with him! I wouldn't have been happy at all, and the worst part is, he didn't even bother to consult you in advance saying these were his plans!
I sit with AF on this. Wtf does your H think he's doing to be 'intolerant' of your son.
FFS, I had my boy at 38, but there is no way i'd be so 'grateful' at someone 'taking us on' as to overlook that level of selfishness!
I have 100% care of my son. If you and your 'DH' need a break, do what the rest of us do; get a baby sitter!
Your Ex is vile and reckless, you DO need to consider your position on overnights, and your H needs to support you, or leave.
Your son has enough to deal with, he needs all the support he can get. What you're teaching him here is that Men have to be pandered to, and that he's an inconvenience.
Your H is lucky to have you and DS in his life, he has a family, thanks to you. Not the other way around!
I'll read as much of your thread as I have time to OP, bloody Nora to you too! Sorry for taking the trouble to comment...
(as you can see I am not in the read-entire-thread camp.)
Having said that, I did miss some stuff and was a bit when I had time to go over it later...
Megsmdid you have sn as a child? Maddy I am at your response, I expected different of someone whose Chid has sn. Did should ave camped out with him, not just because he has sn but it's a nice thing for a after and son/daughter to do
Doh dad should have camped out with him
If you and your 'DH' need a break, do what the rest of us do; get a baby sitter!
Not always as easy to do when you have a child with additional needs.
Parents of children with disabilities often can't 'do what the rest of us do' which is something the Dad seems blissfully unaware of to his sons detriment.
Baby sitters are something we've never had, ever. If ds doesn't visit his dad, everything I do must be completed by 2.45 in the afternoon (school hours). Taking ds anywhere at the weekends is difficult, involves a lot of preparatory work, for even a half hour "out". In the past 12 years, I've just got used to doing very little.
The ASD is hard enough but the OCD/Tourette's and self harming is the really tough bit.
Ds went to a "friend's" house last week. He went for roughly 50 minutes. Just to play. I asked the mum if she could have him over, as I had an appointment I'd cancelled twice already and it couldn't be done in school hours, apparently. We have had this child to us, on and off for 18 months (it is the first friendship he has ever had) and in all that time, ds was never invited in reciprocal fashion. At primary school, he went to 2 birthday parties in 4 years. We are talking about a very "different from the norm" child here.
Get a baby sitter? Yes, why hadn't I thought of that!
DH is lucky to have us, yes. But, he has 3 grown up kids who are all high achievers. And whether some of you like it or not, it does take a special person to "take on" anyone else's disabled child, even sometimes a "normal" child. More difficult for men, i think because wimen "care" more. Second marriages break down even more frequently and it's often to do with issues surrounding step kids. I know, I have 3. DH knew some of what he was getting into but in honesty, ds has worsened since OCD diagnosis aged 10. It is a big ask.
Tbh I wouldnt let a NT 12yo sleep in the garsen on their own. With a friend / group / other adult, yes, but alone just seems odd.
Oh, and this man, my DH accepts that I can no longer work. There's very little I can do between 0915 and 1445 each day. That's the days when ds is in school for a full day. Today, he finishes at 1pm for his weekly CBT appointment session. Last week, he was unwell OCD-wise and had a day off. I was a nursing sister, in the NHS for 25 years but nursing and my life now are entirely incompatible. DH works hard. We don't get any benefits/alliances because he's in a good salary but.....he travels a lot, is 54 years old and the man needs a break. Don't we all?
Why aren't you getting help from ss? You should be entitled to some after school and weekend respite hours from them.
I used to spend all summer camping in the garden with my sis. Would I have done it on my own, no, would I have wanted to, no.
Your ex should have wanted to camp with him, and enjoy the experience and make it more fun. Great bonding for both of them.
We did have some money from Aiming High a Govt. thing, for about ten months. It was great in that, the people came from a special autism outreach place. Then, the funding finished.
damnautocorrect That's what I find hard.... Dad sees so little of him and camping together could have been SUCH an adventure.
MrsLouisTheroux. You are wrong. There are times I can get more sense out of ex's partner than ex so, I value her, in that respect. She seems fine to me. I don't know her that well but, she's welcomed into our home when (if) she comes up, to drop off ds. However, considering his Dad's lack of understanding /acknowledgement of his condition it's difficult to smile and nod, when his partner starts telling me "you should do this, that, whatever. I was not impressed when she lost him in an airport when they took ds abroad for a long weekend and she told him off for taking the wrong turn out of the airport toilets (easy done) and getting lost in the crowd. He was 9. She ought to have either stood outside the entrance to the toilet and watched for him, or, sent his dad in.
My confidence in both of them is not high but when I speak to them (strongly) I get told to stop wrapping him in cotton wool by ex as well as his partner.
I am a step parent. So, I understand how hard it can be.
Why aren't you getting help from ss? You should be entitled to some after school and weekend respite hours from them
Very few people get any respite help. There is no funding for it.
I would be doing a bit of research on what help is avaiable to you in terms in respite. I appreciate it varies from area to area but in my area you would be entitled to quite a few extra hours from children's services.
Iam just shocked that people think its ok to leave a vulnerable child with complex needs out in a tent on his own without an adult! Its ok hes 12 he needs to learn indeoendence! He sounds like a child who will never experience independence as an adult, when it is introduced it will be in a controlled fashion in small stages, possibly with a carer present
Never experience totally independence in s way thst an nt adult withiut thosr needs would
It sounds like ex does not want to accept his son has sn and is trying to normalise him. Just because he is the boyd fsther does not mean hr is able to make the rught decisions for his ds
I think that if the garden is a secure one and he could get back into the house if needs be then YABU (sorry but haven't got time to trawl through whole thread to see if these points have already been raised).
If the above is true then the worst that could happen is what, exactly?
Barbarian I do think you have read op subsequent posts about how complex her ds needs are! He could become disorientated, distressed, have a mealtdwns and be uable to get help.
Do people really not get that some children with ASD will never live independently?
...and Im still rolling on the floor at the extra hours after school and at weekends respite! Respite has been cut dreadfully and even before it was scarce.
Good point Amberleaf. My son is more Aspergers (now, a defunct term). He can be highly articulate and bright in certain ways but..... Ask him to do something simple and he falls to bits. He still needs prompting in the correct way to wash and dress. And still comes down "ready" with clothes inside out/back to front. A close friend of mine, from school days lives a 2 hour drive from us (so no baby sitting there!) and her husband asked me last week "so, what is DS's "genius, then?" I sighed and said, we haven't found it. Yet.
You say autism and many people think many different things. A lady tut-tutted at me at a Carer's meeting recently, when I said my son had a disability.... ASD. She said "but, that's not really a disability, is it? Not like people who are in wheelchairs or who have dementia". Well, no, it's not the same. But it is a disability!
Yes, lots of people think wheelchair user = disability and anything else doesn't count.
ASD can be fairly mild, but it can also be very disabling in many ways.
Ive had the 'but he looks so normal ' too.
My son is very intelligent, but there is a big difference between intelligence and useful intelligence.
YANBU It only takes one weirdo. Call me a cynic but I would wonder if his father is hinting that he doesn't want access so regularly at weekends by shunting him into the garden? Could also be the adults wanting house to themselves so they can carry on their sex lives etc without your son cramping their style.
I'm surprised his dad didn't want to camp with him. Would have been a lovely bonding experience.
One of my dc's sounds quite similar to yours he's almost 14 and is unlikely to ever live inderpendantly we also tried a controlled walk to school but it ended up in a&e. and your right about getting a sitter the only ones who ever will agree to do so are paid professional carers,one would be forgiven for thinking he should be easier to cope with than the dc's with LF ASD as he's HF but nope he's harder.
No way would I allow him to camp in a garden without a responsible adult he is supervised when ever he is awake or likely to be.His dad used to let him in a tent in the living room whilst dad slept upstairs until dc burnt his house down sneaking about making toast.
We had a nightmare with his dad firstly refusing to believe anything was different about him even going as far as to write to the school and state he didnt give consent for dc to recive any of his prescribed medication unfortunatly the school have a if one parent refuses consent for something then we have to go with the refusal (apparently most LA's do this as well) unless the other parent produces a court order.
Dad was constantly putting him in situations where he was quite at risk where a child without his disability wouldn't have been it got to the point where court was the only way to resolve it after dc repeated his weekend activities to his school and the school made a referral to SS who spoke to me and after investigating basicly told me they would take further action if I was unable to either get dad on board with accommodating dc's disability or prevent dc going there.( that pissed me off as they were clear that there were no issues with my care but made dad my responsibility despite a contact order being in place they should have taken the matter up with him or the courts)
The solisiter was only interested in incidents of actual harm but when we got to court the judge was very interested in dads stupidity.
Several years down the line after trying contact but with many prohibited steps orders/ instruction/ support from qualified supervisiors in place dad was still unable to accommodate dcs disability or make any adaptations towards doing so and after one last try he assaulted dc so now not only does he have a no contact direct or indirect order he cannot even take me back to court without permission.
In this area they do amber leaf. The more you push the more hours they get, normally it's at least 3 hours after school twice a week and 4 at a weekend.
Fairy that would surprise me as the reduction in respite funding is national as is the huge drop in providers and limited circumstances you can get it.
Its a well known fact that it is almost impossible to get with certain hidden disabilities where no other family issues occur.
Yes Fairyegg, I know it exists, but who can actually access it is another matter.
...and what Sockreturningpixie says.
OP YANBU, can't believe some of the silly and condescending posts on here, if you want you your kids to sleep in tents in the garden by all means let them but don't lecture others whose children have disabilities to do the same!
It may surprise you but I can assure you its true, at least here is. Dh is currently out working with a 15 year old with asd. I'm no Expert but I woould guess higher end of asd, eg can talk fine, reads, writes but struggles in some social situations. My dh says The louder you shout the more you get in terms of hours though.
Sockreturningpixie ... Welcome to my world. Thing is, when ds is well and functioning reasonably, he loves spending time with dad. He's quite a lonely boy and doesn't have grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins/friends he sees so, if I stop contact (and I'd have a fight on my hands) it'd be me.... And him. And DH when he's home (usually working away at least 3 nights a week). That would be tough for him. And me.
There have been massive cuts and they're not over yet.
It doesn't surprise me because I know that some people get respite.
But it isn't the 'for everyone' that you seem to think it is, nor is it simply a matter of 'shouting the loudest'...if only.
What do you do to attempt to help him socialise? Perhaps that's something worth expanding to increase his interactions with others.
Are all of dads worrying actions during the night time?
Oh sorry. I haven't read the whole thread but I agree with mortifiedadams I wouldn't have wanted any 12 yo to camp alone in the garden.
So I guess YANBU
So i'veread more and I'm all upset now.
I think in your position I would consider stopping overnights with his father. Issues being safety and emotional well being.
Not saying thatyou should stop overnights, but maybe give it another think.
It must be very hard. I do feel for you.
They were stopped for a short period 18 months ago, after the events I've outlined. The psychiatrist spoke to ex as did the school SENCO because ds 's behaviours meant he was hardly in school and when he was, he was incapable of learning. Ds was unhappy. My DH was unhappy. My ex was furious. We then went to just one overnight twice a month. Things settled.... And we're going well so, we returned to two nights twice a month. Now this.
Sockreturningpixie, what haven't we tried "socially" over the years? Gymbabes/Gymkids. Gymnastics. Jujitsu. Football. Beavers. Bowling group for kids with asd. Swimming. Private one to one swimming with a lovely lady, when ds was particularly unwell. Table tennis (he will go occasionally), tennis (will play with me or DH but not with anyone else. A drama kids group which I loved and he hated. An Aspie social group. He went twice and then declared in a loud voice "the thing is, I'm just NOT a group person. Ordinarily, I prefer to just stay home. That's it, so far.
I don't give up easily but we have tried most things.
I agreed with most of Wannabe's post except this bit
Now, I can see why the incident in Spain may have made you more anxious, however, if you look at it from a different angle, your ds locked himself out, he didnt wander off, he didnt go anywhere else, he merely knocked on the door to be let back in, and although he became anxious and had to be taken to calm down, the fact is he didnt behave irresponsibly on that occasion either or put himself in danger.
You see I think the fact that he let himself be taken into a room by a complete stranger shows that he doesn't really understand 'stranger danger' and all that. Luckily that man was merely trying to help but what if he had had different motives? A more worldly wise 12 year old might have gone straight to reception and asked about a key.
Really sad reading about your boy (trying to fit in etc); with regards to the camping YANBU, his dad should have bloody been camping in the garden with him - even if he was NT (not because of the stranger danger, but for the shared experience).
Have you camped out with him btw? Would maybe be a good way to diffuse the 'you being unreasonable about the camping' idea that was put in his head by his dad. You've already said you're proud of him, maybe he'd like to camp with his mum in the garden?
Hope things improve with his dad soon though.
Thank you Pixel. And although I don't reply specifically to wannabe, what actually happened was, that ex and his partner had put ds on a pullout bed in the lounge. It was the first night and disorientated, he'd left the couch, to use the toilet. The door slammed shut behind him. Ds (he told me this) was calling, then shouting, then crying and was found in the corridor, by the man. but, the man didnt speak English and took him back to his room and it was the man's girlfriend who took ds to Reception. ^the enormity of that sickened me. more so, because ex's viewpoint was "it could have happened to anyone and he was fine". [Shock] What happened that night caused me to (as I said in my last post) STOP overnighters. School got involved. Psychiatrist got involved. It was some time before we gradually returned to where we are now.
I'd say it depends, but you are his mother and mums know their children best.
We all have our over protective moments, but I am sure a there is a compromise in there somewhere, otherwise you are going to the one that spoils a party.
My husband is far more adventurous with DS and sometimes I don't want to know what they have been up to.
Maybe insist that DH should sleep with him, they are supposed to spending quality time together. Or he can camp in the living room, or buy some walkie talkies???
Good luck, and stop questioning your judgement, that's when it all goes pear shaped methinks xx
Apologies for call calling EX-H your DH. That was insensitive of me, and unintentional xx
My goidness your ex cannot e trusted to keep,your ds safe. He sounds very blase about everything
Shit! Yanbu! I don't by in to everyone's a pedo, I'd've more worried about him leaving the tent, getting into a road/ lost etc. not to mention the anxiety issues that could come after!
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.