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to think DS's bio father's sudden discovery of xmas is just an attempt to throw his weight around

(28 Posts)
whitby Fri 24-Dec-10 12:28:33

DS's bio father has never observed xmas, nor do his parents. He was raised hardline atheist and they didn't even acknowledge it in a secular way once he (only child), was out of childhood.

DS is 10. Every year I have invited his father to come over to ours for xmas (he lives 5 mins away). Every year he has refused. So every year DS has had xmas with me, DH, DD and DS2 (4 and 3), and our extended families.

Then his bio father would have him from boxing day and take him to see his parents for a few days (they live four hours away).

This year his bio father has decided he wants DS for xmas, and that "in our situation" people alternate xmasses. So he is proposing that next year he will take DS on xmas eve and take him to visit his parents for xmas eve, xmas day and boxing day. So DS will miss out on xmas and seeing his relatives and everything we've done every year since he was born, and be stuck inside with his elderly DGPs, no tree, no santa, no presents and no siblings.

AIBU to think that's just really crappy? I have offered for DS's bio father to have him for longer, to have him before xmas, all sorts - including driving the 4 hours each way to get DS and bring him back so he can spend a bit of xmas with us.

DH has to go back to work on the 27th every year, which DS's biodad knows, so things get back to normal with a bump around then anyway.


Pantofino Fri 24-Dec-10 12:30:57

What does your DS think about this? At 10 I would have thought his wishes should be taken into account?

WilfShelf Fri 24-Dec-10 12:33:18

Surely this ought to have been sorted out by now so your son knows what he is doing?

If his father is planning to celebrate Xmas than YABU - he should be allowed to have Xmas with his son, even if you don't approve of how he celebrates... If not, it's more tricky. If he doesn't celebrate I think you're reasonable in saying your son has the right to participate in an important family ritual.

whitby Fri 24-Dec-10 12:40:52

DS has been told by his biodad it's what WILL be happening next year so he's just accepted it. He'll probably get a bit tearful nearer the time. His biodad isn't great for considering his wishes (on DS's birthday he refused to participate in DS's dearest wish, which was 'all of my family' having a big meal together - he and his parents (who had come down for the weekend to see DS), stayed at his house while we all (including my parents and DH's parents), had a big dinner five minutes away. DS is just used to it now.

WilfShelf he is talking about NEXT year. They won't be celebrating xmas at all - they are still hardline atheists, don't have anything in the house. No tree/presents/carols/etc. Every year since I have known him (12 years), DS's biodad has spent Xmas day alone by choice.

They will be getting DS a gift apparently.

JoBettany Fri 24-Dec-10 12:42:55

Pantofino is right. Your son is old enough to have his wishes taken into consideration.

whitby Fri 24-Dec-10 12:45:31

By who, though, JoBettany? His biofather has said "it's not fair that you've been with whitby every single year, it's my turn to have you, you're coming to see your DGPs with me next xmas". Because his biofather wants to do it, DS will too. He is very sensitive and always wants things to be 'fair'.

I don't want to start trying to encourage him to say he wants to stay with us, he'll just feel bad.

AuntiePickleBottom Fri 24-Dec-10 12:46:55

i would put my foot down and say no, as they don't celebrate christmas it seems unfair on a child to be in a house away from all the festivities.

now if the father do celebrate xmas i would be saying it only far to take turns enjoying xmas with the child

JazzieJeff Fri 24-Dec-10 12:46:58

Whitby I do sympathise, what does your son think about all this? I agree with previous posters, he is old enough to make his own choice. You wouldn't want him to grow up and resent you for not allowing him to.

togarama Fri 24-Dec-10 12:48:16

At age 10, I'd leave the decision to your son. He may want to spend time with his dad, regardless of xmas. At that age, some kids would value the time with a parent more than all the traditional trimmings.

I'm also from a non-religious family and there's no tree, carols or decorations. Sometime between November and February we're all likely to buy one another a present but no one wraps and gives them on 25 December after secondary school age.

It's still a good opportunity just to go home, have a big dinner and see the rest of the family.

theevildead2 Fri 24-Dec-10 12:50:00

That's crap, get him to confirm WHY he wants DS.. AT least make the fucker admit he's just playing games. ((unless maybe he is trying to get ds to learn about athiesm?? I'm an athiest though and I don't see the issue with celebrating a traditional holiday.))

whitby Fri 24-Dec-10 12:53:13

if it was his only opportunity to see his DGS and his biofather I'd be fine with it (really) - I've altered plans and holidays for similar reasons before.

But his biofather takes the whole two weeks off, always (and is doing so again), he KNOWS that DH can only take the three days off and that DS's other DGPs will only be down for the 24th-26th.

DS is fine with it though he'll be sad when it rolls around. If he were to (thinking ahead), tell his biofather he wanted to stay with us, though, biofather would go off on one about my manipulating DS and his legal rights etc.

I don't want to cause bad feeling, DS is VERY sensitive to that. I think my best course of action is to act like it's all fine and find some way of getting DS and the smaller DCs up to see their various extended families after xmas too? If I act like it's no big deal maybe DS won't feel he's missing out so much?

tograma, I don't have any problem with people NOT going all out for xmas, but DS has had the same, big family xmas every single year since he was born so it's what he's used to. And we're all used to having him around, too

whitby Fri 24-Dec-10 12:55:04

theevildead2, I did ask him why all of a sudden he wanted to do this, he said "just because my family is smaller than yours doesn't mean I don't have equal rights, I should never have let you have DS every year anyway, it's time things changed".

Hard to argue with really.

ChippingIn Fri 24-Dec-10 12:56:56

Yes you are right - it's all about flexing his muscles, not what is best for DS.

I think the best thing is not to think about this anymore until next year, or it will spoil this Christmas for you.

Then I would tell him it's not happening. He has never celebrated Christmas, he has never once wanted to be a part of Christmas for your son and starting at 10 is just too late. He can continue to have him Boxing Day or he can take you to court - his choice.

You could ask DS, but as you say, he just wants to keep everyone happy and really, at his age he shouldn't have to worry about that. Also, he's wont really appreciate what it will be like at his Grandparents who don't celebrate Christmas, he'll have a miserable time, knowing what he's missing out on and it's not fair on him.

ShanahansRevenge Fri 24-Dec-10 13:00:05

Say no. All those who are saying your DS is old enough to choose are a bit full on imo. At ten he cannot possibly envision his feelings in a years time with NO Christmas!

Utterly crap...unless they at least do a tree, a special meal with crackers etc and gifts...then tell your ex your son cannot go.

JoBettany Fri 24-Dec-10 13:07:38

Well, just now would not be the best time to have a conversation about it anyway.

However, hopefully it would still be possible to have a chat later on in the year and encourage him to discuss it with other family members and his friends. Perhaps, for him, the best thing will be to go for one year.

Neither you nor your son have to do what he wants.

I know it's not easy OP. My DS just left to go to his dad's for Christmas and I will be on my own.

Bathsheba Fri 24-Dec-10 13:18:15

If your Ex doesn't celebrate Christmas then surely he can have him for 3 random days....

It seems mean to insist the are 24th, 25 and 26th December when he will be missing things at yours...

Cna you suggest he has him on 27th, 28th and 29th - after all, if the 25th is just a normal day at his it shouldn't matter...

ccpccp Fri 24-Dec-10 18:17:56

"Hard to argue with really."


He isnt being unreasonable. He isnt trying to mess with this Christmas. Hes just saying next year he wants DS.

He is being completely reasonable.

I think you have to assume they are going to celebrate christmas for DS benefit if they have specifically asked for that time. He'll probably have the time of his life and be utterly spoilt with presents.

Kitta Fri 24-Dec-10 19:17:52

Am I being a bit dense here, but if Bio-Dad is atheist why the insistence on having son for Christmas?
Particularly if it’s never been an issue before?

It seems very mean of Bio-dad, to deny his son the fun of Christmas just because!
Has something else happened that is making him feel insecure about his relationship with him?


HecTheHallsWithBoughsOfHolly Fri 24-Dec-10 19:24:33

What if you said to him that since he will be having his son for christmas, you are going to bring your celebration forward and have christmas the day before christmas eve.

And act like it's no big deal to do that, and you will just enjoy everything as normal.

Maybe if he sees that him having his son for christmas is not actually going to be a problem or upset you or anything, he'll lose interest if it is about causing problems and being petty with you?

SkyBluePearl Fri 24-Dec-10 19:27:10

I'd let him go once and then speak to your ex about it being sons choice from now on - and hes old enough to decide if he wants and athiest or festive Xmas.

missmehalia Fri 24-Dec-10 19:38:53

Totally agree with Bathsheba. This is power play.

If Christmas doesn't mean anything to Bio or his parents, then why does it have ANY significance to them what few days over Bio's 2 weeks off that they have DS? I wouldn't mind betting that DS has said something innocently to him in the past about what a fab Xmas he's had with you, and Bio is jealous and wants to try and outdo you. Though, TBH, how on earth he'd do that in a household like that is beyond me. Either that or Bio feels there is implied criticism of his Xmas-less upbringing, and wants to show DS that 'his way can be fun too'. Why don't they have a blast together at NY?

The trouble with asking DS what he wants to do is he may end up feeling he's on the game show from a nightmare - he may feel responsible for upsetting someone no matter what he says.

Maybe ask him what his preference is, but make it clear he's not responsible for anyone's feelings in the matter. The only thing anyone's interested in is that he has as good a time as possible, and manages to see as many family members as possible without knocking himself out. Relaxation time is important for him too. Whatever happens one year can be changed the next if he's not sure.

Bio can't just change things after 10 flaming years, I'm betting someone or something is putting pressure on him.

I also agree with the person who said this is not a good time to agree to any future arrangements. How about discussing it in the summer, when it's months away, and maybe in the meantime Bio has him for a great time at Easter, or whatever.

mamas12 Sat 25-Dec-10 01:32:06

Hmmm yes what has changed recently?
Poor ds he is between a rock and a hard place having to choose between you.
If you really think that he would miss out big time and feel left out and have a awful xmas without you. (sounds ike it) then I would go all out and tell ex and ds after xmas of course that it's just not on sorry and that's that end of discussion.

Anniegetyourgun Sat 25-Dec-10 10:07:55

Might have had a discussion at work with a bunch of other dads, who would naturally be shocked that he never has his son for Christmas, so are urging him to insist on his right to take turns but without understanding the background.

Hec's suggestion of bringing the fun stuff forward (if practical for DH's work) is excellent. I mean, some countries do it on Christmas Eve anyway as the day itself is for religious observance, so you wouldn't be doing anything very peculiar. Also agree that if you don't seem worried then Bio-father may well change his mind later.

ohyaychristmas Sat 25-Dec-10 19:45:44

Why is he referred to as bio-dad?

Isn't he just...the dad? As is, not step-dad? I don't understand. Has your DS been adopted by your DH?

I think it's perfectly reasonable to alternate Christmases.

It's perfectly reasonable for him to want to pass on his traditions and ideas, which seem to be that some perfectly reasonable people don't make a fuss about a Christian religious holiday.

ohyaychristmas Sat 25-Dec-10 19:46:57

Why is he referred to as bio-dad?

Isn't he just...the dad? As is, not step-dad? I don't understand. Has your DS been adopted by your DH?

I think it's perfectly reasonable to alternate Christmases.

It's perfectly reasonable for him to want to pass on his traditions and ideas, which seem to be that some perfectly reasonable people don't make a fuss about a Christian religious holiday.

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