To think children shouldn't always get a choice about what they do

(78 Posts)
Paaaaa Mon 19-Apr-21 11:27:04

We live within 5 mins of ex. Kids have 50:50 contact.

Ex has a really annoying habit of telling the kids they'll ask if they can come back here if they don't want to do whatever it is they are doing that day.

So say ex wants to go on a walk, I'll get a call to say they don't want to go and they've said they'll ask me if they can come back here whilst they go out.

AIBU to think children shouldnt always get a choice what they do? (Because I know full well that choice would be play Xbox all day!) If we are going for a walk or need to do shopping or whatever else when they are with us then sometimes it's just tough and they come whether they particularly want to or not.

I just feel like it's lazy parenting not wanting to deal with a tantrum about not wanting to do something.

OP’s posts: |
Triffid1 Mon 19-Apr-21 11:28:21

YANBU. But this isn't about the kids having a choice. It's about your ex not being interested in actually taking responsibility for parenting the children or making the tough decisions.

Sstrongtn Mon 19-Apr-21 11:28:35

So ex wants to walk, kids don’t, so he sends them home???

No they either go with him or perhaps he adapts to doing something they would want to do with him!!

Paaaaa Mon 19-Apr-21 11:30:09


So ex wants to walk, kids don’t, so he sends them home???

No they either go with him or perhaps he adapts to doing something they would want to do with him!!

Precisely and then I have to be the bad guy and say no (or not).

OP’s posts: |
EileenGC Mon 19-Apr-21 11:31:01

So he only parents them on the things they like doing? If one evening they said they didn’t want to do homework, would he send them to yours to do the homework and then back again for fun stuff like TV and dinner?

skirk64 Mon 19-Apr-21 11:31:36

Kids shouldn't get a choice. The parent should decide on an activity and the kids must do their best to enjoy it. Otherwise they will never try new things.

Children need to be taught that in life you can't do what you want, where you want, when you want. Most of life is a slog, going to work in a job you don't enjoy, then coming home and having to do housework, all the while worrying about bills.

Love51 Mon 19-Apr-21 11:35:13

I have a bugbear about parents making children responsible for their own contact arrangements. It isn't fair to put that on them and risk hurting a parent (I obviously don't mean if they have something external like a match, I mean when kids flit from house to house on a whim). Either they are old enough to be home alone, then they stay at his, or they aren't, in which case he takes care of them during his time. Ask how he would feel if you sent a child round while doing the big shop / taking another child for new shoes. Would he say "but it isn't my contact time...?"

DarcyLewis Mon 19-Apr-21 11:35:32

Ask him to text you, not call.

Then if it’s a stupid request like this you can leave it a couple of hours before you reply and just say something like “I assume you have found your own solution now”

VettiyaIruken Mon 19-Apr-21 11:36:47

He's trying to wriggle out of taking care of his children.
You need to say no to him. If they don't want to do whatever activity he's suggested that he chose because he knew they'd say no then you bailing him out is not an option so he can pack it in and actually take care of his kids on his time!

Let him know he isn't fooling you for a second.

Flowers24 Mon 19-Apr-21 11:37:33

They should not get a choice, the parents decide !

SympathyFatigue Mon 19-Apr-21 11:39:53

How old are they? Kids are his responsibility while he has them so if it's week on week off, then he parents them.

I could maybe understand if it's a one off or specialist activity that they can't do but not just 'oh little Johnny doesn't want to bake today or go to the park so he's decided to come back to yours'.
I'd wonder if he was mad.

Do you think he chooses activities they hate so he can offload the parenting?

Thatisnotwhatisaid Mon 19-Apr-21 11:40:59

Of course they don’t get a choice. If I let my DC choose they would spend their days playing games 24/7 and would only eat pizza and chocolate.

hellcatspangle Mon 19-Apr-21 11:42:43

YANBU at all. It's up to him and the kids to sort out amongst themselves what they do when he's in their care. I'm with you - sometimes they get a say and sometimes they have to suck it up.

hellcatspangle Mon 19-Apr-21 11:44:40

Posted too soon...was about to add, you need to make it clear to ex that when they are in his care, you are unavailable unless it's an emergency/illness etc. You need to be able to relax and make your own plans, not be on call in case they fancy coming back to yours.

BrumBoo Mon 19-Apr-21 11:45:57

It depends how old they are. Primary aged, yes sometimes you have to suck up a walk or trip to the shops. Aged 10+, I don't think forcing these activities is necessary, but then again I also don't think they need to be sent home unless it takes over 2 hours to do the activity.

LadyJaye Mon 19-Apr-21 11:47:57


He's trying to wriggle out of taking care of his children.
You need to say no to him. If they don't want to do whatever activity he's suggested that he chose because he knew they'd say no then you bailing him out is not an option so he can pack it in and actually take care of his kids on his time!

Let him know he isn't fooling you for a second.


Presumably you have your own plans on such days that don't involve sitting around the house?

SD1978 Mon 19-Apr-21 11:48:28

How often is it happening? Have you considered doing the same?!

GertrudePerkinsPaperyThing Mon 19-Apr-21 11:49:00

Yanbu but this is the kind of shit my ex might pull too.

So your ex gets to do what he wants (the walk) without having to parent the children, because they just go back to yours. And presumably then you have to change plans or drag them along with you?

Not on at all.

A pp suggested getting to text. My ex tries to avoid anything as clear and non manipulative as texting too. Prefers to have me on the phone on speaker so the kids can hear if I say no, or ideally to just turn up at the door.

GertrudePerkinsPaperyThing Mon 19-Apr-21 11:50:53

In case not clear, I agree that you should put your foot down.

Secondary age is a bit different as they can be left alone if needs be.

TheSmallAssassin Mon 19-Apr-21 11:51:17

I don't think it's giving children a choice here that's the problem here, it's that your ex is offering an option that shouldn't be available. Either it's his time with the kids or yours, he shouldn't be offering your time as an option.

LouKelly Mon 19-Apr-21 11:55:22

Firstly no ,kids are children and have no cappacity for understanding the repercusdions of making chouces ,adults make the choices for them ,children get stressed if you give them too many choices ,also if you give them choices you are making them responsible for their actions and the consequences of those actions at faaaar too young an age ,they can become fearfull of making the wrong choice and this can masdively affect their confidence ,you are the parent you make the choices ,secondly this is more about your ex being an arse hole i think ,i dont have to explain that do i ?

Mumkins42 Mon 19-Apr-21 11:57:56

So I actually believe kids should have a say in what they do within reason. If they are asked how often they wish to spend time with their dad and how that also works for both parents I feel this is respectful parenting. Once they are there it is definitely unfair of your ex to do that. It's only fair you say no, this is what we have agreed, all have been consulted and once there you can't be changing plans like that. It does sound like a cop out from your ex. Any problems then he offloads onto you. Speak to him and explain it isn't working for you like this.

LouKelly Mon 19-Apr-21 12:01:44

You are stressung yor kids out ,they are already stressed by the break up and now they must feel like ping pong balls ! Stop it ,take control ! They are children ! Not adults ! Limited capacity ! They must feel guilty and insecure ,you must stop this or they will only get more stressed .

Serendipity79 Mon 19-Apr-21 12:03:39

My daughters dad did this to me for years. I couldn't even go away for a weekend after he once let our then 14 year old "stay with friends" during his contact weekend after I'd specifically told him I was going away for a hen do. But of course she didn't actually stay with friends, because she was a typical sly teenager and she came home, had a party and broke a load of glasses but it wasn't his fault because "he gave her the choice of what to do, and a responsible parent wouldn't have gone away in case her children needed her". He always used to bring them home early, and if I dared to be out then I'd have them on the phone upset that they were going to be there alone until I got back. Any time I told him to pack it in, he just ignored me and continued to do it so I gave up after a bit, made sure they had a key, and was never more than 30 mins from home on his weekends. But this is obviously age dependant!

This sounds like a similar situation - it isn't about them not wanting to do something - if he's anything like my girls dad its about wanting to look like the good guy in offering them "choices" but seeing it as your responsibility to have them back if they feel like it. Its a crap way to behave as a parent IMO, but if its any consolation I'm extremely close to my girls and they know the reality of who looked after them and who suffered from "cantbearsedness"

MintyMabel Mon 19-Apr-21 12:04:09

It depends on the age of the kids.

I’m not a fan of kids never having choices in their life. I remember being dragged around places when I was a kid and it was bloody miserable. I vowed never to do that to my kid. We include her in decisions, that way we can all enjoy our days out.

But, that’s not what’s happening in your situation. Your’s is an ex issue, not a kid issue.

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