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To discourage him from coming home early?

(25 Posts)
JustWhat Sun 25-Jun-17 11:21:02

DS's weekend with his dad (sees him EOW and once for tea during the week). He's 11. He's usually back at 6ish but has just sent a message asking can he come back early (2ish) to go to a summer fair at the local park with a friend. I've gently tried to encourage him to stay with his dad as he enjoys spending time with him. DS has said he'll stay, but reluctantly and is now sulking according to dad. I just worry that allowing him to choose to come home when he likes (it's happened before) or not go if there's a better offer might mean it happening more and more often and I feel I should be encouraging time with dad. I feel awful he now won't be going (it's raining though and looks to be not much of an event for their age group anyway) and almost feel like I've said he can't come home!! Aaargh.

Shylo Sun 25-Jun-17 11:24:24

Why didn't your DS ask his dad? This is really a decision for them rather than you I think ....... however, that aside, this is a few hours at the end of the weekend that DS has asked to spend with his mates, not just come and sit at home and I'd be inclined to let him go

FortyFacedFuckers Sun 25-Jun-17 11:28:50

I think it's really up to his dad but I do think it's a shame if he is having to miss out on events with friends.

JustWhat Sun 25-Jun-17 11:32:38

I agree and am a bit miffed they're both asking me to decide. I put it back in their court and they decided he'll stay but now I feel bad! Just to make it clear I said I wasn't saying he couldn't come home, but that it was his time with his dad and he should talk it over with him and they should decide together. I just know that if he comes back now for this, it will be the same next time just to go to the park or out to play etc ('X has invited me and everyone's going'). I just want to do the right thing for his relationship with his dad too. He does play out almost every day of the week so sees these friends all the time and will see them for an hour or so when he gets back tonight.

Swatsup Sun 25-Jun-17 11:37:11

Just wondering how much time a 11 year old boy would spend with his dad if both parents were together. Ok they would probably see them every evening but wouldn't spend all of every other weekend just with them would they??

Rainybo Sun 25-Jun-17 11:37:53

I have a DD (12) with the same arrangement of EOW and one night in the week with my ex.

They are getting to the age where friends become more important than family. I don't feel they should be stopped from socialising because they feel obligated to spend time with a parent. If you were still together, your DS would have likely been able to go.

That said, it's for your ex to understand this and decide accordingly, not put the ball in your court.

RandomMess Sun 25-Jun-17 11:51:53

How far away does his Dad live? Perhaps it's time to review the way contact is organised?

His Dad's should be a base at weekends just like your home is (I presume)?

JeanSeberg Sun 25-Jun-17 11:52:56

As you mentioned in your OP this will happy more often as he gets older and does more things with friends at the weekends. And that's fine. How far away does his dad live?

JeanSeberg Sun 25-Jun-17 11:53:44

*happen

WaahImTellingTheDorchester Sun 25-Jun-17 11:58:03

They're both asking YOU to decide?!

Time for a word with Dad (if possible) where you point out to him that it's time he stepped up a bit more rather than reinforcing the image of himself as not-quite-a-full-parent 'optional extra'? Sorry if that's off beam. In a way, quite right to keep you in the loop. But I can't help feeling that if Dad had taken control of this - maybe offering to take him to the fair? How far apart are you? - or firmly saying that there are plans, and doing stuff with him HIMSELF - then this just wouldn't come up.

Dad needs to put in the effort to make sure he's not seen as a 'chore' too. It's not for you to police.

Rudi44 Sun 25-Jun-17 12:00:45

I think it's fine for him to leave early, an 11 year old will want to see their friends at the weekend. Agree with the comment that Dads house should be a base, maybe he could have friends around there as well?

Goldmandra Sun 25-Jun-17 12:01:37

It seems unreasonable for a child to be obliged to spend time with a parent just because that's when contact is arranged. Your DS is going to end up only being able to see his friends every other weekend and that is at a cost of missing out on similar time with you.

He needs to be able to build firm friendships as well as maintain his relationship with both his parents.

In future, I would ask him and his dad to work out a way for him to be able to spend time with his mates on the weekends he has contact.

Contact is meant to be about a child's right to have a relationship with the non-resident parent, not the child's obligation to make that parent feel wanted. It shouldn't be to the detriment of wider social relationships.

MissHavishamsleftdaffodil Sun 25-Jun-17 12:02:34

Children start to have their own social lives at this age, their lives start to begin diverging from being wholly family based and as pps have said it's going to increase as he gets older. It's a good sign of your and ex's parenting that ds has the confidence, independence and friendship groups that he's able to do this. Ds has the right to use his free time as he chooses, and trying to get him to 'give' his time to ex because it's ex's scheduled time to 'have' him isn't going to work out well in the long term. Especially if ex lives far enough away that ds can't use his house as a base to see his friends and go to the events he wants to.

JustWhat Sun 25-Jun-17 12:12:56

Ex lives an hour and a half away.

NapQueen Sun 25-Jun-17 12:14:41

Cant dh take him to the fair then drop him home after?

Id say to ds "Im not in, im running errands so i cant take you to the fair. Ask dad to"

Thetruthfairy Sun 25-Jun-17 12:15:00

Your ex should be the one to bring him to these events, go to a coffee shop if needs be, then drop him with you at your agreed time.

CrownOfPrawns Sun 25-Jun-17 12:16:20

He doesn't just randomly want to come home early, though. He wants to go to a specific event.
He's asked his Dad, who has said wtte "Yes, if that's OK with your mother."
I don't see any problem with that.

noitsnotme Sun 25-Jun-17 12:19:08

Dad has to make the decisions in his time, I'd say. But I'd hope he makes the right one, or your ds might start to resent him and not go there at all. My ds went to his dads yesterday at 12. He then went out with his pals, and ended up at sleepover. Today he's going to a party at 1pm and will come back to me when it's finished at 5pm. Dad has barely seen him. But it was the same for me last weekend! He stays with dad 2 school nights and 1 Sat EOW.

Ex also has a 14yo ds who lives about 90 mins away. She hardly ever comes over now, maybe once every 6 weeks, as she wants to see her pals. I can see how the distance will make this hard for you all.

JustWhat Sun 25-Jun-17 12:22:29

Yeah...it's so bloody hard at times to do the right thing. It's because of the distance and my fear of him losing his relationship with his dad that I try to encourage it. I have to add he loves his dad to bits and loves going there generally.

keeplooking Sun 25-Jun-17 12:26:15

It becomes increasingly the case from 11/12 upwards, that they start to want to spend more time doing their own thing, than with either parent. It must be difficult for the non-resident parent to come to terms with this, and not see it as a rejection.

It's great that you are encouraging him to spend time with his Dad, but be careful not to make your ds feel guilty about wanting to spend time with friends, rather than his Dad. It's absolutely normal for dc to start wanting to spend some free time away from parents, and as pp have said, probably wouldn't be an issue in other circumstances.

He shouldn't be made to feel as though his parents' emotional well-being depends on him. (Not saying you're doing this, that comes from my own experience!).

diddl Sun 25-Jun-17 12:28:01

"my fear of him losing his relationship with his dad that I try to encourage it. "

But preferring to be with friends isn't really a reflection of how you feel about your parents, is it?

RandomMess Sun 25-Jun-17 12:34:53

His relationship with his Dad isn't your responsibility otherwise as soon as he's old enough it would just disappear anyway!

Bobbiepin Sun 25-Jun-17 12:40:28

Is it possibld that this is dad checking with you that its ok for DS to come home early rather than have it look like he's shirking his responsibilities?

TheFatOfTheLand Sun 25-Jun-17 12:42:23

If it's not something that happens all the time and is for a specific event then I don't see the harm. His Dad can take him to the fair and then bring him home afterwards.

The last thing you want is for him to start resenting the time he spends with his Dad if he feels that it's some kind of duty.

MissionItsPossible Sun 25-Jun-17 12:42:54

Yeah...it's so bloody hard at times to do the right thing. It's because of the distance and my fear of him losing his relationship with his dad that I try to encourage it. I have to add he loves his dad to bits and loves going there generally.

Just echoing what others have said really. At eleven, especially just starting at a brand new school typically at that age, you can love your parents as much as possible but at that age who would you rather hang out with, your parents or your friends!? The distance between you both makes it a bit difficult otherwise I would have suggested maybe a night in the week to make up for it.

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