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Who decides the 'rules'?

(41 Posts)
happy2bhomely Fri 22-Jul-11 18:16:36

Ok, this is a 'who is being unreasonable?'

My Dsis has just called from work to tell me that she is fuming with ex for letting their 7 and 8 yr old boys go to the park alone. He has them for the day because she is working. He normally has them overnight every other Saturday.

The park is next to a block of maisonettes where he lives. He lives with his mum, dad and brother and his 'new' girlfriend (of 4 years) is visiting with their baby. The children cannot be seen from the windows.

Dsis has told him that the kids are too young to be playing out unsupervised, and she wants him (or his girlfriend or family) to go down and watch them or she wants them indoors. She doesn't let them play out at home. I don't let mine play out either. We live in London in an area that many would call rough.

Ex has said that his family and girlfriend are in agreement with him that the children should be allowed to play in the park unsupervised. The kids are loving the freedom they are getting.

Who gets to decide? My idea of shared parenting (whether together or separated) is that you make decisions together, compromising and respecting each others opinions. It is not about each parent making up their own rules, so they contradict each other and confuse the kids. I don't think that Dsis should be laying down the law (ex doesn't have PR but they are both their parents!) but ex shouldn't disregard her concerns and do what he likes!

So, who is being unreasonable?

niceguy2 Fri 22-Jul-11 18:18:53

His time, his rules. He is the judge of what is fair & reasonable.

Sirzy Fri 22-Jul-11 18:21:20

They are both being unreasonable if they haven't discussed things like this and decide together.

That said if they don't make the effort to get together then he can't be blamed for doing what he thinks is acceptable

LynetteScavo Fri 22-Jul-11 18:22:43

Difficult one, but personally I think the mother all ways has the last say. <runs>

FabbyChic Fri 22-Jul-11 18:23:02

They aren't too young, but should be monitored from time to time.

niceguy2 Fri 22-Jul-11 18:23:19

Lynette, why?

sleepindogz Fri 22-Jul-11 18:24:09

he has care for the kids, his call on what his rules are

TartyDoris Fri 22-Jul-11 18:25:19

They should be fine. There's 2 of them, so they are not "alone".

spookshowangel Fri 22-Jul-11 18:25:28

think your sis is being overprotective for what its worth, but they should have the same ball park rules to keep the kids as stable and happy as possible and in a good routine, so same bed times and bath nights and punishments and going out rules.
they need to have a chat or if they cant do this with out a slagging match the a few emails.

Cocoflower Fri 22-Jul-11 18:25:28

The dad is. He can't leave them totally unsupervised, especially in what you call a 'rough area'.

I would say he is putting his childrens saferty in jepordy so he is unreasonable.

worraliberty Fri 22-Jul-11 18:30:30

He is responsible for his own kids when he has them...same as the Mum is responsible when she has them.

giyadas Fri 22-Jul-11 18:31:00

It is his decision but I can see why your Dsis doesn't like it, they should be supervised or at least checked on regularly. She'll just have to hope that nothing happens which proves her right. I'd be worrying the whole time they were with him if it was me.

Sorry but it's his decision what he does with them when he has them.

Turn it on it's head - suppose he was trying to control what your DSis did with them when she had them?

worraliberty Fri 22-Jul-11 18:32:21

The OP hasn't mentioned what sort of area the kid's Dad lives in though...might be nice and quiet and not 'rough' at all.

BitOfFun Fri 22-Jul-11 18:32:24

It's up to the dad to decide how things are on his watch, unless the children are at serious objective risk. What age they play out alone at is not one of those exceptions, IMO.

happy2bhomely Fri 22-Jul-11 18:33:23

Would it still be 'his time, his rules' if he was letting them cross roads to go to the shop, or climbing on roofs like the other kids are doing or riding their bikes in the road? It's fine to say his rules if he's not putting them in danger but what if he is?

fedupofnamechanging Fri 22-Jul-11 18:34:03

I think the dad is being unreasonable. The mum is the primary carer and if they cannot come to an agreement that they are both happy with, then it should be the primary carer who decides.

Incidentally, i don't think it matters if his parents and new girlfriend think it's okay - these are not their children so it's nothing to do with them.

If I was the mum, I'd not let anyone put my DC at risk and I'd tell him if he can't look after them properly (and that means being with them and not letting them play alone in a rough place) then he doesn't get unsupervised access.

Cocoflower Fri 22-Jul-11 18:39:57

"It's fine to say his rules if he's not putting them in danger but what if he is?"

I totally agree with you.

The only thing that comes first is children's wellbeing and safety. I think your dsis is making a reasonable request to make sure this is met.

snicker Fri 22-Jul-11 18:42:44

I think "his time, his rules" for things that are within the normal range, things that a significant number of parents would allow. As its normal to allow 7-8 yos to play in the park next to your house then it should be his call.

I don't know what should be done if one parent want the other to do insane, age inappropriate things such as 7yo play COD or 3yo play out alone. My friends ex has contact every other weekend (fri after school til mon morning) and one overnight midweek and allegedly has never fed them a non takeaway meal (inc breakfast) or made them do homework in the last 3 years. It pisses her off because she has to be the bad parent, feeding them broccoli and telling them to study but there isn't anything she can do.

happy2bhomely Fri 22-Jul-11 18:43:09

He lives on a council estate in a deprived london borough. He lives 15 minutes away from their home, so she knows the area well. It is not uncommon for children as young as their ages to be 'recruited' into gangs. The kids are very naive (due to being kept indoors, but better than 'streetwise' imo) Sister has received a bbm message from local school warning of a local attempted kidnapping of a 12 yr old girl. There were about 15 stabbings reported in a 2 mile radius last year (mainly involving young black males, but still relevant I feel) So that kind of rough!

pointydog Fri 22-Jul-11 18:45:29

The sister is being unreasonable (although it's not anything to do with unreasonable or not).

He is a parent, he is looking after his children, he is making decisions.

Cocoflower Fri 22-Jul-11 18:49:21

I dont think leaving a year 7 old unsupervised, especially in the environment the op describes is 'looking after' the children!

Would it be ok to leave them at home alone and unsupervised too then while dad had a couple hours out? No it wouldn't!

pointydog Fri 22-Jul-11 19:03:10

SOme people think differently

happy2bhomely Fri 22-Jul-11 19:12:08

The thing is if/when something bad happens, then what? My Dsis gets to say 'I told you so!' But what use is that to the kids then?

He has returned the kids to her with sunburn before, claiming 'they wanted to take off their t-shirts, it was hot!' They are friggin ginger-they burn within minutes-he, as a 'responsible' parent should know that!

He lets them travel in his girlfriends car with no booster seats because they won't fit in the back with the car seat!

His Mother smokes (cannabis)and drinks heavily-Dsis has said she does not want her being left alone with them and he mumbles about it being her house and she's their nan.

She has tried talking to him. He agrees when they talk, but then he does what he wants anyway. She normally only finds out because the kids let it slip and then she questions him and he admits it. She wants him to be an equal parent. She wants her kids to be kept safe.

pointydog Fri 22-Jul-11 19:14:40

There's a lot more going on here then than playing in the park. It seems as if no matter what anyone says, you'll come out with another string of incidents.

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