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To not let XH take DD(10) on holiday

(24 Posts)
TwinklesFanatic Sun 31-Jul-16 19:05:41

XH and I have 2 DD (14 & 10) we've been divorced for 6 years, he sees them every other other weekend and has them overnight once during the week every fortnight, so all together he sees them 6 times a month.

Every summer he takes them away for 2 weeks.

DD2 (10) has Autism, she's non verbal except for a handful of words but she can understand 90% of things told. She's hypersensitive, can't handle having her hands dirty or wet and is very aware of light and sounds, so struggles to sleep. She's also not very good with new people

XH who's taken them away before and is perfectly aware of DD2 struggles, has just booked them a camping trip for a week with his entire family, his parents, aunt's, cousins etc.

A camping trip! Where they sleep on the ground and inevitably get dirty and wet with a large group of people that DD hasn't seen in years.

If I could believe that XH would keep his attention on DD2 throughout the trip, make sure she was comfortable and happy as she can't really verbally communicate then maybe I would consider it, but it's usually left to DD1 to handle it when they go away with him.

We don't have a court order, it's just an informal arrangement, but I'm not agreeing to this.

Wolfiefan Sun 31-Jul-16 19:10:02

Eek! Sounds like a nightmare. Could he do a weekend camping to show him how hard it will be?
Would there be camping pods or static vans they could use to help her keep away from mud, noise and light late at night/early morning?

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Sun 31-Jul-16 19:10:05

On the face of it, YANBU to not want her to go, but have you talked to him about it? Why does he feel this is a good idea? Does she have any support from medical specialists who could speak to both of you, to either put your mind at rest or convince him that isn't the best idea he's ever had. Is she worried about it? Can she/ would she tell you if she was worried? What about your older DD, how does she feel?

Missgraeme Sun 31-Jul-16 19:13:49

I suggest u go along with it - his child also and he is entitled to make plans. Then stand by your phone and be prepared to either collect your child or be in for them returning early! Then u aren't the party pooper and he has to admit he made a mistake in the first place. If u dont get a phone call then maybe it is going well and so u should be pleased.

YouCantBeSadHoldingACupcake Sun 31-Jul-16 19:28:28

YANBU that sounds like the worst possible holiday for poor dd. I wouldn't let her go

TwinklesFanatic Sun 31-Jul-16 19:32:38

Wolfie, I don't really know the set up, just that they're all bringing tents, XH & DDs will share a teepee like tent.

Billy, she has OT but next appointment isn't until September, I could phone up but the best I could do is leave a message and hope she replies, I doubt her therapist would agree to this idea. DD2 understands that its camping and that they'll sleep on the floor but doesn't grasp what it entails, for e.g that sleeping on the floor will be uncomfortable. DD1 doesn't want to go but that's just her being a surly teen who can't survive without wifi.

MissG what I'm worried about is XH not realising how distressed DD2 could be and dumping all the parenting on DD1 as he tends to do when they go away, so not getting a phone call doesn't mean that everything is going well, it could mean that he's just mentally checked out as a parent.

wheresthel1ght Sun 31-Jul-16 21:01:51

Yabu to not want him to take her away but I do firmly understand your reasoning.

I think the best action is to help her prepare for it because if you say no you will be the bad guy regardless of the reasons behind your decision.

Can you get a cheapy tent (decathlon do pop up ones for about £15-20) and help her "camp" in the garden a few times so that she gets the chance to acclimatise to things - might also give you a good grasp of how she will cope? Plus this makes it look like you are onboard and helping even if actually you are trying to prove why it is a bad idea.

Ultimately he is her parent too and just because you are not together doesn't mean he doesn't have to make fuck ups in his parenting choices - admittedly it isn't great when kids are upset/unsettled in the process but we have all made fuck ups and kids survive!

Good luck!

Sirzy Sun 31-Jul-16 21:07:34

I think you need to sit down with him and have a serious discussion about how it will work. Is it somewhere close enough you could pick her up if things didn't work?

Can you build up the "camping" side with her? So start by camping in the lounge, then a tent in the garden and see how she copes?

cowssheephens Sun 31-Jul-16 21:15:08

This sounds like a complete nightmare for DD2 and potentially unfair for DD1 who might be picking up the pieces. There is noway that I would let my DD go knowing that she would be constantly struggling to hold it together and unable to cope with the situation. No fair to put that stress on any child.

Wolfiefan Sun 31-Jul-16 21:16:18

How do you know they would sleep on the floor?
What about the idea of a short break first?

elastamum Sun 31-Jul-16 21:18:05

The only thing you can do is discuss your concerns and if he insists on going talk to him about how to make it comfortable and fun for her.

You can get a pretty good camp bed these days. Topped with a sleeping bag, pillows and her duvet from home there is no reason she would be uncomfortable and he could do a couple of practice nights at home beforehand with everyone using their camp beds. Does she have ear defenders? Ear plugs are a godsend on campsites. Get them to take a few favourite books and things she likes to ply with to make it homely etc, and lots of comfy warm clothes

Babywipes are a must, for keeping hands clean, and make him take her favourite breakfasts snacks etc., to make it more like home

Greaterthanthesumoftheparts Sun 31-Jul-16 21:19:21

If it's a teepee type tent it's probably pre-erected with a fixed wooden floor and proper beds, why don't you ask him? We've just been camping, we were dry and clean and didn't sleep on the floor. I think you should ask him about the arrangements before you decide for yourself how it might be.

cestlavielife Sun 31-Jul-16 21:27:11

Ask him which camp bed he has. There is no need to sleep on the floor.
If she has wellies and decent rain gear she doesn't need to get too wet.
It s good she tries new experiences.
Let him handle it.
If it isn't working because of the camping element he will have to go to a b and b but I think you should let her try. She may surprise ypu
My ds with asd and sld no speech (tho uses ipad) has just come back from weekend at outdoor centre with volunteers doing zip wire climbing sailing... all stuff I would never imagine him doing. Let her go and get the experience and let her dad deal.

cestlavielife Sun 31-Jul-16 21:33:24

She also doesn't need to get dirty and wet . She will be in a dry tent and if it rains well it rains... same as going out on a rainy day. They will stay in tent or go to a pub or cafe.
Tell dd1 to enlist help of the wider family if she needs watching. I think you need to let her go. s only by doing new things that you expose her to new situations.

DrunkenMissOrderly Sun 31-Jul-16 21:36:36

How would you feel if he forbade you from taking her on a holiday of your choosing?

chickensarethebest Sun 31-Jul-16 21:48:39


The fall out after this will probably be horrendous - for her, for DD1, for you - he gets to go home and you all manage the damage done.

Don't do it. It is so inappropriate - holidays are supposed to be fun or at least in her comfort zone - this is as far removed as it could be. Maybe see if DD1 wants to go and have time without her younger sibling?

Really, just tell him no. This is about DD2's well-being and that should be prioritised above her father's inability to see her needs.

Fourormore Sun 31-Jul-16 21:52:40

I don't think camping is like it used to be. We started camping as a family last year and we don't get dirty or wet.

By all means raise your concerns with him but I think YWBU to refuse consent.

Missgraeme Sun 31-Jul-16 22:24:09

Maybe make sure a few of the relatives have your mobile number so they can let u know if your dd is OK?

SlightlyperturbedOwl Sun 31-Jul-16 22:27:39

Suggest a trial night camping in the garden first?

Muddlingthroughtoo Sun 31-Jul-16 22:39:35

Surely as her father he would have thought about this already and decided she would be able to handle it. Have you spoken to her about it? He loves her and I doubt he would put her in situations of harm or indeed leave her in them if she gets upset.

cestlavielife Sun 31-Jul-16 22:48:17

He has been taking her away every summer . He must have dome idea...Let her go. It s easier not to let our sn kids go out their comfort zone but let her and him try.

Imaginosity Sun 31-Jul-16 23:07:34

I think some people positing above may not have experience of autism so may not understand how much of an issue that might be. My DS is 6 and has high functioning autism and is well able to communicate - but in certain situations he can't cope and gets very distressed. It would not be fair on him to push him into a situation like this. We we t to see a children's film at the cinema today and normally he's never scared of films but there was something about this film that really upset him. I had to take him out after ten minutes and he doesn't even want to talk about it now. I was glad I was there with him as I could read the signs that he was getting distressed and do something to prevent it getting worse.

I would feel very anxious myself if DS was off with someone in a potentially stressful situation without an adult keeping a close eye on him and really looking after him.

Camping doesn't have to be uncomfortable - we use airbeds and bring sheets, pillows and blankets from home. So it's not really sleeping on the ground as such.

Could she get a small tent to share just with her sister so she's not in close quarters with people she's not familiar with and has somewhere to retreat to?

Sounds are one thing that can be an issue when camping - most campsites are quiet at night but occasionally you get a noisy group and there is nothing stopping the sounds travelling.

Would the light from torches upset her?

What would your ex say if you explained your worries to him - would it cause problems?

cricketballs Sun 31-Jul-16 23:36:07

Op; I'm writing this post as a DM of DS2 (17) who is ASD and MLD.

There have been many instances that I've been convinced that due to the 'normal' behaviour/issues that he has day to day he wouldn't cope with something - I have been wrong 95% of the time.

DS2 also has an issue with cleanliness at home and out (I have to ensure that I always have wet wipes available) but he's gone camping with his college, he slides in the mud playing cricket however in the home/family environment he can't stand any sort of dirt on his hands.

Don't step in, give her the chance to try it; if it doesn't work then your xDH will have to sort it, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing you have tried to giving her a full experience (which shouldn't always be positive in order for her to make progress)

Mycraneisfixed Sun 31-Jul-16 23:44:15

Make it easier for everyone. Neither DD goes.

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