DSs don't want increased contact with their dad

(11 Posts)
Thomasina76 Wed 02-Nov-16 14:43:36

I am not a lone parent as I remarried but posting here anyway as issue relates to my ex. We split 5 years ago when DSs were 1 and 3 - pretty acriminous as he had an affair and decided to leave then acted in a pretty callous selfish way. I met someone else quite quickly and remarried. His "affair" didn't last so he was single for a few years before meeting someone in Jan 2015 who got pregnant and had a baby in Feb 2015. We have two DSs who are 8 and 6 who live with me and see my ex usually on Sundays from 11-6. He lives nearby so usually sees them a few times in the week, either in the park or at activites they go to.

For some reason, my ex now wants to increase contact with DSs, getting them into a more regular pattern of staying overnight every other weekend and having half the holidays, which is fair enough I guess. The problem is that DSs don't want to go. Even him taking them for an afternoon on Sunday makes DS2 really upset (crying, clinging to me) and it's really distressing to have to prise him away. As for holidays, they point blank refuse to go so it's a case of, again, sending them against their will and spending months persuading them that they will enjoy it. I have got to the point where I am wondering why I have to do this. DSs don't want to go, I don't want them to go (I work full time and have limited time with them) so I am more than happy to stick to the current arrangement. I know my ex could apply to court to get the usual every other weekend contact but I am not sure he would bother doing this as he needs flexibility. I know it's in DSs' best interests to see and have a relationship with their father and I do everything I can to encourage this but I am not sure it's best for them to force them to go on holiday when they really don't want to go. I worry myself sick as well the entire time they are away. I have tried to get to the bottom of why DSs don't want to go and there doesn't seem to be anything fundamental, just that my ex is a bit boring, they feel they always see him. I should point out that I think they are reasonably well treated when they are with him so it's not a case of them being badly treated.

Would really appreciate advice on what to do here in the best interests of DSs. Allow increased contact or stick to what we have. He wants to take them abroad for 5 days over New Year and I just cannot decide if it's the best thing for them.

Thomasina76 Sat 05-Nov-16 17:18:39

bump?

SmellySphinx Sat 05-Nov-16 17:37:28

I'd say the arrangement you have should stand, if he wants more contact and refuses to keep it that way then he can go to all the trouble of taking you to mediation then court if nothing else can be agreed to. After saying that though, you split up when the kids were really quite young so they are obviously more used to being with you. PERHAPS, perhaps...more time with him would be beneficial to them. Unfortunately you can't make their time with him fun, nor make him more fun to be with. Yes, I imagine it's hard to make every occasion fun filled, fantastic and wonderful but that's his problem really and if the kids aren't simply enjoying just seeing him because he's Dad then that can be a difficult issue to sort out.

I doubt he will see it that he is boring in any way and think you are being difficult but I also see the other side (they were young when you split) so it's bound to be hard for him to bond with them. (Not excusing his affair, but you said the split was fairly amicable)
As for going abroad? That again is a hard one, maybe you will have to just let it happen. Being bored won't hurt them and they are otherwise safe as you've said. I am in no way belittling your (what I would like to call) nagging anxiety, we all have that to some extent when the kids are with anyone but yourself! The adventure may take their minds of being separated from you.

StarOnTheTree Sat 05-Nov-16 17:42:37

So your XH suddenly wants to change the contact arrangements. Has he always been happy with the arrangements previously? It sounds to me like your XH or more likely his DP wants to reduce your child maintenance payments.

Thomasina76 Mon 07-Nov-16 19:23:22

thanks both. Smelly, he has asked me to mediation to try to negotiate more access. I don't think it is about reducing maintenance as we are only talking about him having them every other weekend and half the holidays (so just increasing to the usual arrangement people have) so I don't think there would be grounds to decrease. I don't think he would anyway TBH. It's more about whether it's in the best interest of DSs to force them to go with him when they don't want to or if I should stand my ground.

MerryDickCrack Mon 07-Nov-16 19:39:30

But WHY does he want to change things Thomasina?
There must be a reason. The whole overnight thing smacks of maintenance payments to be honest. He has them all day anyway on a Sunday, why does he want them when they are asleep?

Thomasina76 Mon 07-Nov-16 22:09:41

Good question Merrydick. The mediator asked him that and he said he didn't want to take them away from me when they were little but now they are olde he wants them to spend more time with him. It is very odd as I thought he would do the opposite once his new baby arrived. My DH and I have a theory that he is trying to escape!smile He frequently turns up to see them on a Saturday and in the week when they are at clubs etc or turns up in the park. They find it quite annoying to be honest and say "we always see Papa." It''s not proper parenting though, just taking them to the park, swimming etc at the weekend, not caring for them in the usual way. He never cared for them in the usual way even when we are together though. Really don't know what to do. I need to make a decision about NY but it really feels awful to tell them they have to go away with him when they don't want to go. What should I do?

Starlight2345 Mon 07-Nov-16 22:46:08

Have you spoke to Ex about how your DS is when he is there..

I wonder if the fact you worry the entire time he is there .Maybe he is picking up on your feelings.

Have you thought about increasing the hours during the day on Sunday.. Maybe collection at 9.

You are right in the fact that he could apply to the courts would get overnight if thats what he wanted.

Maybe talk to the boys what they say they would want for it to be better. Do they have toys to play with games ?

Starlight2345 Mon 07-Nov-16 22:46:46

I meant to say before posted...

It is also possible this is about leaving you and not about where they are going to.

Thomasina76 Tue 08-Nov-16 17:44:23

Hi Starlight

I don't worry when they are out with him, only when he takes them on holiday. I positively welcome him taking them out for the day as it's the only time I have to myself to do housework etc so I always give them a cheery send off. My ex says that are fine when they are with him, which I believe, but they tell me they often ask to come home and he doesn't bring them (which is fine!) I am sure they would be fine and cope if they went on holiday with him but I think they prefer to be with me - maybe they are more used to it, more relaxed, I don't know. I think it is in part about not wanting to leave me but why would they want to leave me? It's a strain for them whichever way you look at it. He may be their dad but he has not been closely involved in their lives and his house isn't home to them. I know that I prefer being at home than at someone else's house. I don't see why I should go out of my way to facilitate this unless it is something that is very clearly in their best interests,

Thomasina76 Tue 08-Nov-16 17:49:26

I have asked them what would make it easier for them to go with him but they don't seem to have any suggestions. I expect they don't have many toys etc at his house (he could never stand toys/clutter) and don't expect it's that welcoming. In my view, he has some sort of personality disorder (narcissistic personality disorder possibly) and is a fairly odd character although I am not sure how this impacts on his parenting. He is definitely not the warm/cuddly/strong father figure type but he does love them and they enjoy doing sports etc together.

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