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to expect ex-H to take teenage kids to their weekend activities

(21 Posts)
Lokina Fri 06-May-16 16:01:16

Ex-h lives 10 miles away from where the kids and I live. They are at an age now where their activities largely happen at weekends - sports, etc. They go there EOW and He always tries to arrange it so that even on his weekends, I have to do all the ferrying around. He's never once watched them play in a match, to the point where he will drop them off at one and drive off instead of staying to watch.

If they never went to his, I wouldn't mind doing it all alone, as I could plan for that, but I often work on weekends when they are with him. The combination of changing match/training times and his lack of cooperation means they end up missing stuff and he tells them the reason is because I wasn't prepared to pick them up and take them.

They never do anything else "worthwhile" when at his - just sit at home doing nothing much, which he says is his right because it's "his weekend". But they are teenagers!

I'm finding it really hard to know what to say to them. As background, their dad also pays no maintenance at all, as he says he has no income. But can afford to support himself quite comfortably apparently without a job. I work full time.

AIBU to expect him to take an interest in his kids' interests and help out a bit?

whois Fri 06-May-16 16:21:15

Not U but at this stage your children know what a lump he is. I think you need to tell the kids that they need to arrange travel to matches. On your weekends you're more Han happy to do it, but you can't do it on their dads as you need to work. They can either get him to take them, or arange lifts with friends. Or walk/cycle/bus whatever.

Lokina Fri 06-May-16 17:27:14

It's quite hard to arrange lifts because I don't think any of the other kids go from our direction. But I will ask the coach to confirm.

It is just so frustrating being the one who works, busts a gut to get the kids to week time stuff, and on the weekends they're at home, while their dad does nothing, but emotionally blackmails them into going to his house EOW, where he just expects them to sit and do nothing, because that's what he likes doing!

They will get to university age and have nothing to write on application forms because they have never been able to commit fully to any activity because of this. He won't even allow them to have a Saturday job - or at least not on "his" weekends.

Fourormore Fri 06-May-16 17:42:56

Once they're old enough to have a Saturday job, they'll be too old for contact to be enforced.

If the kids are teenage, they're old enough to express their wishes to their father. It doesn't sound like something worth getting worked up about to me.

Lokina Sat 07-May-16 07:45:22

They do express their wishes. They just get a massive guilt trip laid on them as a result: "don't you want to spend time with me?" Etc. He considers it their duty to want to just hang around his house doing not much (which is what he likes doing), rather than his duty to support them and encourage their interests. It drives me mad. Everything they want to do is a constant battle with him - why should kids have to argue with a parent over simple things like wanting to go to football training, or a friend's birthday party?

rainbowstardrops Sat 07-May-16 07:58:31

If he doesn't pay any maintenance then he wouldn't be seeing them full stop! He should at least take them to the park for a kick around or something.
I think your children need to be suddenly busy some weekends.

Pisssssedofff Sat 07-May-16 08:12:08

My 15 year old has already voted with her feet. They just won't put up with it in a few years.

Pisssssedofff Sat 07-May-16 08:12:37

What actually does he do for them ?

Fourormore Sat 07-May-16 08:14:35

Is there a court order in place?

Chocolate123 Sat 07-May-16 08:22:09

My ex used to do this so mine said unless he brought them to matches they were staying at home where they could get lifts from other parents. He wasn't happy tried with emotional blackmail but they didn't budge. He brings them reluctantly now most times cause otherwise the kids just didn't see him.

Lokina Sat 07-May-16 08:56:23

No court order in place, but years of emotional blackmail have been effective and they rarely refuse to go to his as a result. He does nothing for them, apart from exist in the role of "dad". He doesn't turn up to parents' evenings, school concerts, sports matches, nothing. He is not interested in his children other than as possessions, hence he likes to keep them in his house at weekends and occasionally take them out to his friends' houses. Anything they want to do off their own bat is discouraged.

I will start to encourage them to find out about lifts from other people, so they can make their own arrangements.

corythatwas Sat 07-May-16 10:11:52

"They will get to university age and have nothing to write on application forms because they have never been able to commit fully to any activity because of this. "

I can see what a selfish arse he is being and how annoying this is, but please let me assure you (as a university tutor) that we couldn't care less if someone has played for their team or not, unless they are applying for a sports programme. What we want to see in our seminars are students who are interested and go beyond basic requirements in our subject. And a general air of initiative and thinking round problems is always helpful. But primarily we need to know that they are going to turn up in seminar and be prepared to think actively about what the seminar is about.

Still, he is a selfish arse and I wouldn't blame them if they voted with their feet or at least negotiated a better deal with him.

3littlefrogs Sat 07-May-16 10:21:16

They need to develop strategies to stand up to the emotional blackmail (AKA emotional abuse/controlling behaviour). This is very important for their emotional health and future relationships.

You all need to make a big effort to look into alternative transport. If they are teenagers they are old enough to say that they will meet him for a meal AFTER the sporting activity. They are old enough to look into getting to their hobbies under their own steam anyway.

allowlsthinkalot Sat 07-May-16 10:29:56

YANBU but why can't teenagers get public transport?

Fourormore Sat 07-May-16 10:42:00

I agree with 3littlefrogs. I think ensuring that your children are able to stand up to emotional abuse/manipulation is far more important than attending sports. If they are with you 12 days out of 14 then you've got a far greater influence over them than their dad has, so that works in your favour. Schools/GPs may be able to signpost you to services that can support this as well.

I think it's also worth bearing in mind that children of divorced parents often say one thing to one parent and another thing to another parent. It could be the case that they're happy enough with how things are. My dad never really made much of an effort with me in terms of activities but I just liked spending time with him.

If they are teenagers, they're old enough to hear the truth but worded in a way that doesn't sound like slagging their dad off (because that's never pleasant as a child, even if one parent is a selfish twat).

Lovewineandchocs Sun 08-May-16 14:07:03

OP how old are they? And is there a Contact Order in place? If so, perhaps it needs to be varied as the welfare of the children is paramount in family law and it doesn't sound as if they are getting what is best for their welfare when they are with him. If no order, just an arrangement, then you can vary this and let him take it to court if unhappy. In any case, I think a discussion with your kids is needed-full and frank, without slagging their Dad off in any way, to see what arrangements suit them best, such as being able to go to their activities, parties etc and go to their Dad's afterwards. This may vary week to week but could you plan according to the calendar and give their Dad enough notice that e.g one of them has a birthday party 2-3pm but will go to his afterwards. Then present this as a united front to their Dad as, this is what they want and what's best for them. He won't like it, but it will be up to him to do something about it legally.

RaymondinaReddington Sun 08-May-16 14:29:35

Oh my god Lokina. Are you me?
Exact same situation re emotional blackmail to kids, total lack of 'parenting contribution' (financial, homework, clubs, interests, parents evenings). EOW contact = computers, new games, watching tv and sleeping late.
Kids can't join any clubs for weekends as he wont take them on his weekend.
I'm exhausted trying to run them to stuff in the week as well as work since get no help.
Kids 9 and 12 have admitted that they wish it wasn't every other weekend but they won't say to him as they already have to shoulder him up emotionally.

Would love to know how to break the emotional control but, given how long I was unable to recognise and escape it I'm really not sure where to start. Reading the responses with interest......

RaymondinaReddington Sun 08-May-16 14:35:33

Also recognise that they do love him and want to spend time with him. I have never asked them if they don't want to go as I think thT would be emotionally manipulative on my part. I have inferred that they are unhappy with dropping 'real life' eow by their unguarded comments re: wanting to relax at home, not wanting to pack up their clothes to go, feeling pressured re homework because it has to be done at odd times to accommodate their away time.

Fourormore Sun 08-May-16 14:48:14

And those unguarded comments can be little more than shorthand for the more unconscious thoughts of "I wish you hadn't got divorced. I wish we didn't have to split our time between you and dad".

Nanny0gg Sun 08-May-16 15:16:35

* have never asked them if they don't want to go as I think thT would be emotionally manipulative on my part.*

I have no experience of this situation but surely they need to be able to be honest with you about their feelings? So as long as you phrase it in such a way as to not guide them or expect a particular answer, shouldn't you ask the question? It might be a relief for them.

RaymondinaReddington Sun 08-May-16 15:50:41

Nannyogg: possibly but they get so much manipulation from ExH side I am worried about doing the same. My parents divorced and I can remember how difficult it felt as a kid trying to say the right thing to everyone.

Of course fourormore. I would be inclined to think that this would be the issue. It is the real downside to divorce and split families. I can appreciate that it is important for regular contact with both parents. Co-parenting seems like the ideal way to do this. However, we don't really co parent. They have a nice home, which I provide. Good school, which I entirely deal with. Friends who I facilitate by having over, talking to parents, returning lifts etc. Pets who I care for etc. everything is very busy including shoes, haircuts, seeing friends, doing homework etc to keep eow free. Every other weekend they desert all the to go to his home which is a bachelor pad. He is not big on cleanliness or tidiness. One has to sleep in the lounge as there are only 2 bedrooms. they entirely miss any home activities including friends, parties etc. It's not possible to have significant interests.

I think this is quite damaging for them. Like the OP I struggle to understand what is the most reasonable way forward.

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