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At what age can they decide for themselves on contact?

(8 Posts)
GinandChocolate Fri 16-Sep-11 12:39:20

DC are 7 and 9 they spend alternate weekends with their Dad but often don't want to go.

I have been making/persuading them to go for 3 years. At what age should they be allowed to make up their own minds?

cestlavielife Fri 16-Sep-11 13:40:54

probably when they teenagers but it is not one single answer

depends a lot on the reasons for not wanting to go.

any welfare issues etc

chelen Fri 16-Sep-11 16:16:38

Hi GinandChocolate, just wondered if you have any idea why your children don't want to go? We have had occasional rumblings of this here (altho none for the last four months or so so maybe a phase), we've always just made it clear that we think SS should go and will enjoy it when he gets there, but I have wondered if the rumblings get louder at what point should we pay more heed.

Have you talked to your ex about it, does he expect you to make them go or does he know why they don't want to?

GinandChocolate Fri 16-Sep-11 16:37:02

Yes there are issues. Social Services were involved last year. However the issues weren't sufficient to stop contact although this was significantly reduced. They used to spend 50% of their time with him.

They tell me he shouts a lot

Mostly they are quite philosophical about it when I say they have to go. But sometimes they get very upset.

GinandChocolate Fri 16-Sep-11 16:40:56

Oh and when I discuss with ex he says they are fine and want to go really. He tries to make out that they tell me what I want to hear. I don't think this is the case. I know when they are lying because they are not very good at it.

He buys them stuff and thinks that's enough to make them like being with him. They tell me Dad buys stuff but doesn't play with them.

chelen Fri 16-Sep-11 16:52:57

It sounds like there are some things that could upset the children then. Is there any way you could speak to a solicitor about what might happen if they really refuse to go & you don't make them - we have had questions before (regarding whether mum could suddenly demand changes to contact) and found seeing a solicitor very helpful as they can give advice about potential outcomes.

I know lots of people use the 'he doesn't want to come' line when what they really mean is 'I don't want him to come cos I'm angry with you' but there are times when the kids really don't want to go, for valid reasons, and it is better for them to be listened to.

It sounds like you have two questions really - what will happen if I don't make them go, and is it in their best interests to make them go.

GinandChocolate Fri 16-Sep-11 19:18:28

Thanks chelen. Good advice.

You are right about my questions. I think my main question is whether it is in their best interests to make them go.

I do think when they are teens they will decide for themselves. By that point of course the fact that he spends lots of money on them may be more appealing. grin

I have said no when he has asked for extra days and they don't want to go because it disrupts their routine. His reaction is to try to bully everyone into his way of thinking.

It was a bit depressing to hear a 7 year old say 'I have to go because Dad has rights'.

chelen Fri 16-Sep-11 19:29:27

Yes, that does sound a depressing thing to hear.

You're obviously thinking such a lot about what's best for your kids and that can only be good. I know how worrying it can be tho, my SS is currently not massively keen on mum's at the mo cos she doesn't spend time with him - but when he's older maybe he'll enjoy being unsupervised and be able to get away with murder there? Some teenagers are swayed by money etc, but some are actually razor sharp and can see thru b*llsh*t from miles away, so it could go either way.

Fingers crossed it all works out for them - we should compare notes in about 8 years time!

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