whats usual re parties?

(86 Posts)
JumpingJackSprat Wed 17-Apr-13 12:56:56

Dss lives with his mum a 4 hour round trip away atvthe moment we have him every other weekend. his mum has accepted a party invite for sunday afternoon which means that rather than leaving ours at 5pm to take him back we will have to leave at 12.30 when we havent seen him for 2 weeks. is it unreasonable for us to say that dss wont be able to attend birthday parties on access weekends unless theyre actual friends? My understanding is that this party is a "whole class" affair. Dss is 5.

Kaluki Wed 17-Apr-13 13:02:32

No, I don't think you can refuse all parties on 'your' weekend, but you can ask that his Mum checks with you before she accepts invitations in case you have plans.
There will be a lot of party invites over the next year as most 5 year old kids tend to have whole class parties at first, then as the children form friend groups the invitations slim down a bit.

birdofthenorth Wed 17-Apr-13 13:06:08

Your weekend is your weekend. If DSS is dying to go it's up to you to decide if you bend the arrangements (formal or informal). With 25-30 kids in a class and many having whole class parties you could be looking at losing a lot of access time in years to come if you agree to him attending them all (in my experience most are on Saturdays too which doesn't sound any more convene to you). I think mussing stuff like this is probably one of the classic "downsides" of having two sets of parents, just as two sets of Xmas presents is a typical bonus. But quality time with the non-resident parents is really more inportant than another round of jelly & icecream at Jungle Jims. If it was me I'd decline unless the party was for a family member or especially close friend, or if it had a theme/venue that DSS would go especially nuts for.

Latemates Wed 17-Apr-13 13:39:25

I would refuse to take him on this occasion - due to late notice and mum accepting invite without discussing with father first.
I would try to take him to some parties when convenient - but ask for invites to be passed directly to father so that father deals direct with party organisers and accepts or declines directly. I would also take child to party and stay/pick up from party.

Just out of interest is the 4 hour round trip due to mother or father moving?

breaktheroutine Wed 17-Apr-13 13:54:14

5 year old love parties - i would let him go to as many as he wants. If you insist he does "access" instead of parties then he may well come to resent "access"

bluebell8782 Wed 17-Apr-13 13:59:35

Unfortunatley this is something that will come up over and over again the older he gets. It isn't fair that your DSS should miss out on a party but also unfair on you as a family to not have the full time together.

The only way this will work is if the mum ASKS first. My DSD's mum does this - doesn't ask, just tells us that our weekend will be cut short. We don't begrudge DSD having a life and wanting to see her friends but we do often have plans that will then have to be changed.

I would swallow this one but your partner needs to have a chat and say that it would be appreciated if he was asked and given the decision.

bollockstoit Wed 17-Apr-13 14:04:20

I must admit that I tell ds's dad that he will be going to a party if he is invited to one, ds's dad would never expect ds to miss a party though, in fact he is taking him to one soon. We only live about 1.5 hours apart though, and exp was the one to move, so I suppose I think, well why should ds miss out on things that are going on at home because his father has decided to move away from him?

ChasingSquirrels Wed 17-Apr-13 16:30:10

It is the distance that makes it more difficult.

When my ds's get invites related to time they will be with their dad I pass the invite over to him - totally his responsibility to deal with the invite, from deciding (hopefully with dc) whether they will attend, responding, sorting out a card/present and getting them there and back.
Sometimes they can go, sometimes (if there are already other arrangements) they can't - exactly the same as invites they get on when they are with me.

Occasionally invites cross over a normal handover time - in which case I discuss them with their dad and we agree on the arrangements.

I wouldn't dream of accepting an invite for a time they with their dad, nor would I make any promises to ds's at to whether they could go to it.

But, we only live 20 mins apart - so it is easy for them to attend from either house.

Personally, from where you are at the moment, I would take dss to the party - but make sure that his dad makes it clear to his mum that in future any invites that occur in the time he is with his dad are passed on for his dad to deal with - that his dad isn't prepared to have his mum dictate what happens in his time with his son.
And then enforce that in the future if his mum choses to make the decision herself, by not taking him.

I would then make sure you do as my ex does - take over full responsibility for all arrangements concerning the party.

JumpingJackSprat Wed 17-Apr-13 17:12:15

Thanks for your replies everyone. if dss really wants to go of course we will take him but its the fact we werent asked and now hes at school this is going to happen time and again so wanted to get some more perspectives. DPs ex moved away hence the distance and has recently cut contact from every weekend to every other. ill speak to dp tonight. smile

balia Wed 17-Apr-13 20:54:39

If it helps, this was one of the excuses reasons that DH's ex went through a period of using. In our case, (we live 20 minutes from DSS)DH agreed happily to take DSS to parties, but this was refused - he was expected to return DSS to his Mum's house and pick him back up from there - thus one party could effectively wipe out a whole afternoon of contact.

When DH was next at court, ex made a big song and dance about how vital it was for DSS to attend parties - and one of the reports we got said it was important, but NOT at the expense of time with the other parent.

purpleroses Wed 17-Apr-13 22:06:44

I think what you need to do is to cut his mum out of the conversation altogether - your DP should ask her nicely if she can pass on invites to him (by email if necessary) in the future so he can decide if DS can attend. That's what I always do with party invites for my DCs that fall on ex's weekends, and my DP's ex does similarly with the DSC - she tells DP of the invite and he sorts it out. Sometimes they go and sometimes they don't.

There's no easy answers - it depends on how much he wants to go, what other plans you have, and how often he gets these invites. But it's your DP's decision to make after speaking to his DS (and you)

IME - 5 year olds quite commonly invite the whole class to parties. Some will love to attend everything going (my DD did) but others (like my DS) are really not that fussed and probably just as happy to spend an afternoon bumbling around with dad. They tend to get somewhat fewer invites as they get a bit older, and start to have firmer groups of friends.

allfornothing Thu 18-Apr-13 00:12:25

Purple, while I agree completely with you that neither parent should make decisions on behalf of the other, I disagree that one parent (mum, in this case) should be 'cut out completely' and am surprised that such a hard line attitude should be taken when it comes to parenting a child.

My view on parties is that in most 'together' families, the child would be able to attend parties, social events, trips, etc and the parents would accommodate this and consider it a normal part of family life. The idea that a child's time needs to be split according to the preferences of the parent that the child is with on that weekend is really quite sad. I fail to see why the child has to pay for the fact that his parents have split up. Notwithstanding huge distances between families (as in the op), to take the approach that 'my weekend-my decision' suggests that the child is paying for the life choices of the parents.

Xalla Thu 18-Apr-13 06:40:56

We do what Chasing Squirrels and Purple do; if the invite is for Dad's time it goes to him and he deals with it. If it's for Mum's time it goes to her and she deals with it. Like Chasing Squirrels though, we only have a 30 minute journey between the two houses.

If a school party falls on Dad's weekend it's nothing to do with Mum and vice versa.

The only time this wouldn't happen is if say it was a party from Mum's side of the family and it fell on Dad's weekend. In that case, if Mum really wanted DSD to go, they'd swap a day - DSD would spend the day / night with Mum instead and Dad would have an extra day / night to compensate for it.

I think if your DSS's Mum is insisting he attend this party, your DP should possibly return him to his Mum in the morning and ask for a days contact in lieu.

Ledkr Thu 18-Apr-13 06:55:48

Parties are so important at this age so yrs I'd be led by him but surely if its your weekend then you just take him to his parties and activities as you would do if you had him full time.
Fwiw I don't think twice about accepting invites for dd and just discuss it with her dad but we live close so easier.
Just keep the child in mind and you won't go far wrong.

NotaDisneyMum Thu 18-Apr-13 07:00:54

My view on parties is that in most 'together' families, the child would be able to attend parties, social events, trips, etc and the parents would accommodate this and consider it a normal part of family life.

I think that entirely depends on the family and the priorities they have.

While some place a high value on a DCs social life from a young age at the expense of "family time" other "together families" prefer to focus on home and family at weekends. I don't see why DCs with separated parents are any more likely to suffer ill effects; in fact, it is possible that one parent will more accommodating than the other and the DC may well end up going to more parties than if their parents had remained together!

NotaDisneyMum Thu 18-Apr-13 07:04:39

Fwiw I don't think twice about accepting invites for dd and just discuss it with her dad but we live close so easier.
Just keep the child in mind and you won't go far wrong.

But how on earth do you know that Dad hasn't got something else planned when you accept? Does he provide you with an advanced schedule, or do you expect him to change his plans to accommodate parties you accept?

Xalla Thu 18-Apr-13 07:24:09

That is true Disney. There are 'together families' in my son's class whose children never attend any of the parties because they have a particular family activity they prefer to do.

purpleroses Thu 18-Apr-13 08:35:14

allfornothing - The idea that a child's time needs to be split according to the preferences of the parent that the child is with on that weekend is really quite sad - I don't see anything sad about the parent they are with whose plans may need changing to accommodate a party being the one who decides whether the DC can go. It is a bit sad if the DC really wants to go to a party and can't, but that's their parent who's looking after them's decision to make. It's no more the mum's business to decide whether the DS gets to attend a party when he's with his dad, than it is up to his dad to decide whether he can go on the weekends when he's with his mum. I presume that if the OP's DP found an invite in his DS's bookbag for a party when he should be with his mum, he would pass it on to her to deal with. And she should do the same with him.

Ledkr Thu 18-Apr-13 08:44:40

No disneymum he doesn't provide me with a schedule but his weekends are very relaxed anyway, they cook or go out for lunch, take dd and his dds to the park or occasionally have a day out.
I mention she has a party and he either fits it in with his day or changes his day.
We use that age old skill of communication and compromise which I know isn't as easy for other people.
We have been split a long time though and are pretty good friends so I'm aware im lucky. His dds come to my little dds parties.

Ledkr Thu 18-Apr-13 08:50:27

else planned when you accept? Does he provide you with an advanced schedule, or do you expect him to change his plans to accommodate parties you accept?

No but I expect him to change his plans to allow his daughter to do something she enjoys and wants to do.
Also as the get older there will be other stuff,dance shows, school fetes, brownie or guide camps etc . It's not fair for then to miss stuff just because their parents have split up.

bluebell8782 Thu 18-Apr-13 09:23:15

It's common courtesy to inform the other parent about a party invite/activity etc.. I imagine most loving parents wouldn't say no to their child going to a party on their contact weekend but there certainly is the exception of plans being made and being difficult to cancel.

The parents have split - normal family procedures don't always apply. The other parent just needs to leave it up to the one for that particular contact time - to me that's just basic respect for the time between the child and parent and parent and child.

NotaDisneyMum Thu 18-Apr-13 10:25:47

I expect him to change his plans to allow his daughter to do something she enjoys and wants to do.

What if there's already something planned with Dad that she wants to do and enjoys?

What if his car is off the road and he can't get there?

What if they've got a weekend away to visit DGP planned?

DCs can't always do everything they want - or does this only apply to together families? What about RP? Do they always accommodate their DCs wishes and wants? Or is that expectation reserved for NRP?

allfornothing Thu 18-Apr-13 13:34:35

I struggle to understand the contradictory nature of some opinions on here at times. On one hand we hear that children in blended families are entitled to normal family life/have two homes etc, and on another hand hear that children spending more time with parents is more important than attending parties. I just don't see that in any in family set up (whether together, blended or whatever) that it is considered best for the child to spend every minute with parents having quality time, than being with friends from time to time. If the family is a family, then surely this involves helping the child fulfil their social needs, as well as you would say, physical or educational needs?

MirandaWest Thu 18-Apr-13 13:39:38

If either of DC has a party to go to that's when they're with XH I'll check with him to see if he's doing anything with them that weekend and then accept. Or he'll accept. As we live about 15 minutes apart that makes it easier than if we were further apart. I agree with other posters that being able to communicate about it makes life easier. If there were a party one of the DC really wanted to go to and wasn't able to because of something else XH was needing to do then I would probably take the DC.

MirandaWest Thu 18-Apr-13 13:40:24

Although both DC know that sometimes they can't go to parties and its just how life goes.

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