Children's parties & access

(36 Posts)
PartTimeModel Wed 16-Jan-13 11:34:34

I am newly separated from exP.

He's still very sore about it so we are keeping our distance. Not in position to talk things through properly (no surprise there - this is one of the main reasons we split). ExP is currently seeing DC on Wednesday afternoons, and Sundays. I intend to get a proper agreement in place soon, but it's early days. Also he doesn't have a new flat sorted yet so he says he can't have DC to stay overnight where is is currently staying (with family).

Issue is DD1 is 5 and gets quite a few party invites. She got one for last Sunday from a close friend - as it's ment to be exP's 'day' I thought he either needs to take DD1 to the party or tell her why she can't go. He refused and then said he wouldn't have the DC for the day at all sad So I took her to the party (though I did offer to cancel it but I ever heard back from him).

DD1 has just got another party invite - again its on a Sunday in a couple of weeks.

It feels wrong to be to decline the invitation just because it falls on exP's day.

My view is it's all about the DC. And if DD1 wants to go to a party she is invited to she should be able to go, and the parent who has the DC on that day needs to incorporate the party into plans for the day (ExP lives in same town BTW - it's not a matter of geographical inconvenience). DD1 enjoys parties above all else as do many kids her age. ExP's usual plans pretty much just involve hanging out at his Mum's for the day, which is fine but it's not like it's a huge inconvenience to take her to a party.

So I'm interested to hear how other families handle this - is it that the exP needs to suck it up and deal with any parties that fall on his day?

Or is it actually all about the adults and what they want to do, and therefore I should refuse all Sunday invites obo DD1 - which is what exP wants me to do (when he takes a breath from telling me it's ALL about the DC!).

NatashaBee Wed 16-Jan-13 11:40:06

Your children should be able to continue with their day to day lives, including parties and activities. Your ex should take them to those if it happens to fall on a day they're with him.

Daddelion Wed 16-Jan-13 11:46:23

He should take his children to the parties.

PartTimeModel Wed 16-Jan-13 12:20:05

Thank you - I fear I'm going to have my work cut out getting him to accept/understand this concept.

It's great to know that I'm thinking along the right lines though.

corlan Wed 16-Jan-13 12:21:38

Just as you said - He should take his daughter to the party if it falls on his day or, if he can't, he should explain to his daughter why she can't go.

Being a parent means you don't ever always get to do what you want - he's obviously managed to avoid learning that lesson!

Labro Wed 16-Jan-13 12:38:51

Whilst he should be willing to take her to parties he doesn't have to. If you ever get to the stage of a written agreement make sure you include this. when my contact order was made I didn't notice and it has meant for the last 8 years ds has missed every activity/party/social event that falls in his dads 'time' as he refuses to take him to any activity which he says I have 'arranged' so no clubs on Friday/Saturday/Sunday as his dad simply won't take him - including anything going on after school on a Friday! He has only recently agreed that ds can attend an accelerated learning lesson once a term on a saturday morning and that was only after much arm twisting from ds school

PartTimeModel Wed 16-Jan-13 13:56:21

good point labro thanks.

He's saying stuff like anything that happens in X part of London is my domain etc, so I think this will be relevant in the future.

balia Wed 16-Jan-13 14:05:40

In an ideal world, both parents would agree on what is best for their DC's and work together. But we all know that in most cases it doesn't work as smoothly as that. I think in terms of creating a working relationship as separated parents it is important to resist the temptation to tell the other parent what they should (or shouldn't) do in their parenting time.

I don't always take my DS to parties; if we have already made plans then we tend to stick to them. I work full time - I think DS benefits from quality time with me just as much as he does from 2 hours at a soft play. I wouldn't be impressed if someone tried to tell me I 'should' do it differently.

Being all about the DC doesn't mean letting them do whatever they want, either. DS would happily eat chocolate all day every day if I let him. I don't. I make that decision as his parent. If you want a working relationship with the other parent when separated you have to respect that person's parenting role and time.

Hopefully the situation will only be short-lived whilst a more long term plan is worked out (have you thought about mediation?) but until then if she gets a party invite I would tell him, offer to swap the days if possible, and leave any further decision to him. Giving people ultimatums (do this or this) is bound to get their backs up.

Piemother Wed 16-Jan-13 18:33:53

Cafcass are pretty supportive of dc social lives wrt contact orders.
I rearrange contact so I take dc to parties. Tbf ex hasn't yet objected. Next time it's a party where I'm not especially chummy with the parents I am going to suggest he takes him and see what happens.
He is being vu though sounds like he can't be arsed

FannyBazaar Thu 17-Jan-13 00:15:51

If a party falls on an arranged contact day (not much is actually arranged, no agreement in place), I inform ex and ask if he will take DS or arrange that he should either be taking him and I will pick up or I take him and he picks up. Often ex just cancels contact.

Ex isn't particularly good with doing the parties partly, I think, because the parents of DS's friends are friends of mine and thus putting him in an awkward situation of having to mingle with my friends. Ex is a bit of a tw*t so I usually mention to friends who are having a party and ask if they are OK with him coming, just in case they feel awkward about it or are expecting me.

purpleroses Thu 17-Jan-13 08:03:32

I would expect him to take her unless he has plans for the weekend that mean he really can't, or he's too far away to make it practical. If he's too far away, I'd offer to swap to Saturday instead or suggest he just takes DC2 for the day on Sunday instead and give them both some one to one time.

Labro is right that if it comes to court agreements, it's hard to enforce, but if he's not yet got one, I'd start from the point you're at of expecting that she won't routinely have to miss all parties that fall on the time she's with her dad. If he does refuse always to take her it's likely to mean she starts to resist going to him as she gets older as it will become an imposition on her life, rather than part of normal life.

PartTimeModel Thu 17-Jan-13 10:30:42

I have usually taken her to parties in the past. But she is 5 now and getting to be the age where she could be dropped off at a party and collected in a couple of hours, while he spent some one on one time with DD2 elsewhere. Or he could stay and enjoy the party - he actually (up till now) is the one who knows all the parents as up to this year he did all the school drop off's.

I don't expect children's parties to take absolute priority over all other plans. But in the absence of a good reason not to go, I think she should go & he needs to deal with it. It's all part of 'normal' life isn't it?

As I said, the split is very recent (one of the Xmas casualties) so I'm hoping things will improve with a bit of time.

I can see this topic being a great source of advice & support as we weave our way through this.

purpleroses Thu 17-Jan-13 10:43:42

One tactic you could try is to send the party invitation to him direct - "oh, this is for you" sort of thing, so then needs to contact the friend's parents to let them know if DD can go. Maybe he's feeling anxious that he would be expected to stay with her, or that he'd have to tell everyone about the split and can't face it just now. Should get easier in a bit.

PartTimeModel Thu 17-Jan-13 12:00:52

I'm pretty sure he would be one of the parents that didn't RSVP if I did that.

He picked up DD's from school/CM last night, took them to mine and put them to bed etc & I left the invitation out for him. I emailed him previously to say "party invite on the fridge, let me know what you want to do" - no comment received yet.

It's not yet a big deal - but it's really good to know I'm on the right track as far as covering these issues with him in the future goes.

FannyBazaar Thu 17-Jan-13 20:31:09

If it helps, I find that if I invite another child to a play date and they are with the other parent at that time, the parent I have asked simply says 'no, they're with their other parent'. No one has ever asked if I would be happy to contact the other parent to ask or volunteered to ask the other parent...with one child I do contact the other parent as I have his number but he usually doesn't answer or reply to texts.

Zavi Thu 17-Jan-13 20:52:13

On "his" day I think it's completely up to him how their time together is managed.

I think a lot of men don't realise what a faff it is to take a child to a party:

Accept the invite,
buy the present,
buy the card,
buy the wrapping paper,
get DC to write the card,
wrap present,
find out how to get to venue,
stand around for a couple of hours and make small talk with other (predominantly female) parents,
take DC to host to thank them,
Leave, but not forgetting party bag.

Then again, maybe they do and make the perfectly understandable decision to NOT take DC to party because they realise its such a faff!! grin

Btw why did you want your ex-p to tell you what he was going to do about the party? He should be contacting the host himself. You should step out of the picture completely and let him deal with it.

Your ex-p is on a steep learning curve at the moment. Let him crack on with it.

TheCarefulLaundress Sat 19-Jan-13 01:02:26

So he only gets to see his kids on Wednesday afternoons and Sundays and you think you should dictate how he spends that time? He's their dad, let him decide.

PartTimeModel Sun 20-Jan-13 20:49:20

It's his choice to only see them Wednesdays & Sunday afternoons. He is thinking he is controlling my social life by doing this and not having them nights or for a weekend (therefore I can't go out - in his mind I'm having some wild alter ego life because I don't live with him anymore).

It's not about the DC - he thinks he is punishing me buy restricting his time with the DC. If it weren't so sad it would be hilarious!

Looking forward what about things like swimming lessons - next term DD1 is due to start swimming lessons on Saturday mornings. Assuming by then he will be in a position to have the DC every 2nd weekend, is it unreasonable to expect him to support DD by taking her to these? Or must she miss every 2nd lesson because it's HIS time? I will have to pay for the entire term of lessons regardless.

purpleroses Sun 20-Jan-13 22:07:31

I think whether he's willing to take her to activities is something you should discuss when you look to moving to alternate weekends. If he won't take her you'd be better pushing him to have a fixed day and night every week rather than a whole weekend alternate weeks.

If you think he's trying to screw up your social life best thing is to keep your plans to yourself and try not to rely on him for times you'd like to go out. He'll probably get bored of caring after a while.

purpleroses Sun 20-Jan-13 22:07:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

purpleroses Sun 20-Jan-13 22:07:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

purpleroses Sun 20-Jan-13 22:07:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

purpleroses Sun 20-Jan-13 22:07:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

purpleroses Sun 20-Jan-13 22:07:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

purpleroses Sun 20-Jan-13 22:07:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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