Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Contact time - what is considered normal?

(14 Posts)
Bloodywellhowmuch Sun 22-Nov-15 10:35:03

Hi everyone

Recently separated (sure you all know due to previous threads) but facing another dilemma.

DS wants to see his dad regularly (ASD and not liking change aged 13) DD (15) says no way, no how and won't even respond to his texts.

DS said he would like to see his dad one weekend Saturday to Sunday and the next weekend Friday to Monday and dad take him to school. I think that if its what he wants then we should enable it to happen. It makes no difference to me as DD won't go so I'm here with her anyway.

Stbexh says that's not fair to him as it means he never gets a weekend off! And that it means I have every other weekend off. I've pointed out its not for me that he has contact time, it's for him and his children. And if he meant what he said about only leaving me, he should be able to find that time for the kids.

He goes on to say that when he is at home through the week (he works away most weeks) he will have DS over night then but he can't commit to any specific days due to job, I said that's no good as DS needs the structure of which days etc. When asked yesterday if he was having DS next week any time he said 'I'm working way Tuesday and Wednesday I think and maybe thursday' so I said that it wasn't a good enough explanation to have DS as he needs structure.

I know I can't force him to have the kids or make contact time for them but I wondered how I enable greater contact time for DS who says he is missing his dad.

riverboat1 Sun 22-Nov-15 10:51:31

Leaving aside the distastefulness of the 'I need a weekend off' bit...

You must know the nature of his job. Has it always been the case that he needs to work unpredictable evenings / do trips away? If it is just the way his job works I don't see that it's realistic to expect him to be able to instantly now commit to a fixed contact structure during the week.

I'd think this was all the more reason to lock down a weekend contact plan though. I think EOW is fairly 'normal' but how about you propose 3 weekends out of 4 to him, in the spirit of coming to a workable compromise?

DoreenLethal Sun 22-Nov-15 10:55:00

Stbexh says that's not fair to him as it means he never gets a weekend off! And that it means I have every other weekend off. I've pointed out its not for me that he has contact time, it's for him and his children. And if he meant what he said about only leaving me, he should be able to find that time for the kids.

No, you never get a weekend off if your daughter is there all the time.

One regular evening a week plus every other weekend is usual isn't it?

Offred Sun 22-Nov-15 11:10:15

There is no such thing as 'usual' it's down to you as the adults to negotiate between yourselves what is in the interests of the DC.

People will tell you EOW and one night in the weeks is normal but that's just popular myth and IMO quite damaging. Contact should be set up to benefit your DC.

If your ex is reluctant you are right to say you can't force him. If he doesn't accept what ds has asked for you need to find out what the reasoning is behind his suggestion and try and achieve it in a way acceptable to ex.

RandomMess Sun 22-Nov-15 11:16:36

I would counter suggest a Friday evening to Saturday tea time then a full weekend the other one.

That still gives your ex a Sat to go out and a Sunday down time.

PaleBlueDot Sun 22-Nov-15 11:17:16

I think that your ds needs to have quality time with both parents.

If ds is with dad every weekend then when would he have quality time with mum?

Sure you have him in the week but presumably there is school and then relatively early nights for school next morning, of course you would be doing all the routine graft bit surely he would benefit from weekends with mum too?

Perhaps every other weekend is better in these circumstances and a workable routine that you all work to to enable your ds to feel the benefit of both parents?

Your dd may well come round when she sees an established routine

Bloodywellhowmuch Sun 22-Nov-15 11:17:28

I do know the nature of his job, it can be unpredictable, but he usually knows Monday the week before what he will be away the following week (7 days later sort of thing) which is why I know weekday contact isn't going to happen, as he could get a phone call in the morning and be away for the rest of the week. To me it's not good enough to say if I'm home I will have him because this means that DS won't know if he is going to go or if it will be taken away from him (if his dad gets that call and it is frequent that he does) I am then left to deal with the meltdowns and fallout here.

Like I said it doesn't bother me either way what times he has DS,as I am here with DD anyway (why would I want weekends off from my children? I love them and cherish the time I have with them as I know how short life is, but that's a whole other long story) DS just needs it to be fixed as much as possible for his wellbeing.

riverboat1 Sun 22-Nov-15 11:27:29

So if that's the case, either:

A. DS never sees him in the week

B. Your ex quits his job and looks for a new one with regular hours

C. DS compromises - you both work with DS to help him see his dad when possible during the week while getting him to accept there will be last minute changes of plan sometimes

D. Your ex compromises - he tries to negotiate with his job on getting a guarantee of one evening a week he will not be called in

How possible so you think C or D are?

And if neither is possible, which do you want to happen out of A and B?

Bloodywellhowmuch Sun 22-Nov-15 13:10:47

B. Ex is self employed so not quite so easy.

C. Sounds ok and whilst initially DS will say yes, the actuality of handling the fallout from broken promises would be mine to deal with. As that is how DS would see it, that his dad said he was coming for him and then didn't. It would al be my fault for not making his dad do it (yeah I know but autism - the gift that keeps giving).

D. There is no chance of that, he couldn't even find chance (at all) to help me out with the school drop offs when I have to be at uni at 9, over an hours drive away. Back story is he had a 9-5 when I went to uni initially but changed to any time, any where during my first year and said he had no choice (same company, no more money, still self employed) and that I had to find a way to cope.

A isn't what DS wants at all - regardless of what I want.

So, A doesn't work, B won't happen, on past experience D won't happen and whilst C sounds a good compromise I still have to deal with the fall out and melt downs.

I hope I don't sound too negative but I can't really see a way of moving this forward.

Cabrinha Sun 22-Nov-15 13:28:06

Well, there's obviously a whole load of backstory here.

But I think you're being (only going on this post with no background) unfair being snippy about his wanting a weekend off. And you sound a bit martyred about "why would I want a weekend off fromy children".

NEWSFLASH: I occasionally get weekend time away for my daughter, when I see friends, date my boyfriend, just chill by myself... AND I'M NOT A BAD PARENT! hmm

When you live with your partner, it's easy (well, easier) to grab an evening out, or to go to the gym for an hour, or whatever you want to do child free. But when you're into 'contact time' not only don't you have the other parent on hand, there's also a bit of an unspoken understanding that it's contact time so you don't go out. Doesn't sound like your son would take well to being left alone for a weekend evening or with a babysitter? I'm with your XH that he shouldn't have ALL weekends with him.

I'm also in the position of have unpredictable days working away. I do know 2 weeks before, and although I might get a change 1 week before, that's rare. What I do get is delayed flights though - and calling to say I'll be back late so can I collect in the morning. Now bloody lucky for me that my daughter doesn't care about routine. But it doesn't make me a bad person - it's a financial reality for me. That's my job. Yeah I could change it but I'd lose a number of positives that are positives for her, and my XH. (mainly flexibility - he never has to take time off when she's sick as I can WFH)

You know whether you can work towards your son coping with change if agree a week night that is set the week before and can change. How often does it happen that it changes? How much notice does your son need?

If it really won't work, too much stress in the changes then stick to weekends.
But I'd suggest alternating shorter weekends - maybe Fri-Mon then Sun-Mon.

mrsplum2015 Sun 22-Nov-15 13:37:06

If you cherish time with your dc how can you agree to your ds being away every wknd? I would be heartbroken. Every other hard enough as week days you just don't get the same down time but can't believe you are really happy for your ex to have ds every weekend. I would just say every other Fri to Mon and then during the week in between if it works for everyone.

Bloodywellhowmuch Sun 22-Nov-15 16:13:19

I am heartbroken that my son goes off with his dad, I would be more than happy for no contact to happen, but I know my son needs his dad, he is crying for him and asking when he can see him. It's heartbreaking.

I'm not being a martyr to the kids, I have spent all their lives being a SAHM and caring for them (my eldest and his physical disabilities and then the youngest and his autism) I went back to uni a year ago, and I take that as enough of time away from my children.

I don't think any one is a bad parent for having time away from their kids but I do truly think that my time will come when they are big enough to leave, until then I would want to spend time with them (huge back story my younger brother died when he was only 19 and I had part raised him due to my mums chronic illness - so I feel like I've already 'lost' one of my kids and I say that with no disrespect to anyone who has lost a child, my brother felt very much like mine).

My ex's days can change as late as midnight the night before or even on the way to the job he can be sent home, get home and another job come in an hour/3 /5 hours later and off he goes. Or work get cancelled and him find he has 3 days off but only one day at a time.

My son needs to know a couple of days in advance of changes, so that he can be prepared for the change, it has to be suggested first, then told probably and then confirm the change (yes it is wearying, yes it's tedious and yes it stops lots of spontaneity but it's how he is).

I have to have a weekly menu plan of food up all the time so he knows what is for dinner on Saturday well in advance smile

mrsplum2015 Mon 23-Nov-15 06:33:25

I understand you are heartbroken, as I say that's how I would feel. The point is just because your son has suggested it I don't think you need to allow every weekend, I think 3 out of 4 at the most would be fine and explain to your son that you want to see him at least 1 weekend a month - perhaps plan some activities / meals that he will really look forward to at home with you.

wannabestressfree Mon 23-Nov-15 06:45:29

I am with Mrsplum...
I have two boys with asd and we do every other weekend for contact. It very rairly changes..... I don't think you can get annoyed with your xdp as you already know all this about him and his work. He won't suddenly step up because you want him too.
So start with the eow and then let him approach your son for extra if and when he is available. Its him that misses out....
I also live with autism and some things are just out of our control. You just can't micromanage everything....

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now