I have two kids with my ex of 4 and half years, they both have additional needs, one is Autistic and one has developmental delay/learning difficulties they are 8 and 6. My 8yr old ds with Autism has been saying a lot lately that he doesn't want to go and see his dad, they see him once a week and stay overnight. He and his dad have never got on very well, (that was one of the many reasons we split). There is a new girlfriend that is spending time with them, he has said he is ok with that, his dad doesn't do anything with them, they go to the park if they are lucky and that is not every week. There doesn't seem to be a particular reason for him not to go, he just says his dad doesn't let him do the things he wants to do i.e play Minecraft on his tablet, which he is obsessed with at the moment lol. his dad still doesn't understand his autism, which doesn't help. My dd loves to see her dad and thats how it should be, but my ds doesn't always want to go I have spoken to his dad who's attitude was, if he doesn't want to come, he's not bothered. well i don't agree with one going and not the other. I also know that if i did nothing, their relationship would diminish to nothing, am confused. Question is should i make him go?
I think ur ds is at n age where he knows his own mind,if he doesn't want to go then don't make him,it might be nice for the 2 of you to have some quality time together while dd goes to her dads? Always ask ur ds every week if he wants to go but trying to force/make him go could cause tension between the two of you and if dad isn't bothered then I see no reason why he should go every week if it won't even cause any arguments between you and their dad....just my opinion,ur the mother so you've got to do what you think is right and best for everyone involved xx
Whilst I'm concerned dad is not really making the effort, it would be a shame to contribute to the relationship breaking down by allowing your son to ditch the contact. He is only 8 and not emotionally mature enough to make the decision to break contact with his father or understand the full effects of that. As you are making dd available for contact at the same time there is no extra effort required on your part so IMHO he should continue to go. It's not like this is a hobby he could take or leave. Dad should definitely make more effort to understand his autism and perhaps that is the very reason he doesn't do much, because he doesn't understamd and is avoiding dealing with it. It's hard for you clearly to stand by and watch dad be a bit rubbish but he only has one dad and it is important to support that relationship unless it's a harmful one.
Really great advice from NumTum, and you could also consider MummyBurrows advice when your 8 y.o. is older if he feels this way still. Important to ensure your ex allows Minecraft time-this is fine in moderation and a part of this generation of children's usual playtime/social time- kids chat about it constantly and compare notes with friends, it is a social thing too. Not fair to completely take it away, as you mention. Can you have a chat with him that x mins of Minecraft be allowed in the afternoon, or in both morning and afternoon on weekends at his Dad's?