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Help! DP's ex won't let him go to DSS's football practice

(42 Posts)
kkas Thu 25-Oct-12 19:35:46

DP and his ex have a shared residence order that stipulates care on alternate weekends. DSS is 6 and has recently joined a football club, which practices and plays games every Saturday.

DP's ex has indicated that she does not want DP to attend the practice or any games on the Saturdays that DSS is in her care. She thinks it will be "confusing" for him to have both parents there and she does not want him to have to choose between the two . We have tried to reason with her to say that there is no need for DSS to feel like he has to choose - it will remain clear whose care he is in each Saturday, and it will actually show him that both parents are working together to support their child. She doesn't seem to get that point.

Last week it came to a head when DSS asked DP to come watch the game when it wasn't "our" weekend. DP said he would go but then ex emailed DP to say if he didn't confirm he would not go by 6pm the night before, then she wouldn't let DSS play in the game at all. Manipulative, much?!

We emailed her back, calling her out on her manipulative behaviour, but DP agreed he would not go this time, as of course he wanted DSS to be able to play. DP was forced to explain to DSS that he was no longer able to go, and when DSS asked why, he said that "mummy doesn't want me to be there". We have had another email from ex this week indicating that DSS lashed out at ex about her not letting DP go to the game and is now very upset about the whole thing and blaming this all on DP! Can't she see that this could all be prevented if both parents just attended?

DP has asked ex if they can discuss and set some ground rules for attending the children's activities when they are in the care of the other parent, as we are worried this may start happening more frequently. And whilst it may only be weekly practice/games now, what would happen if this were a big cup match or something else very special? We also don't want DSS to think that DP doesn't care or want to attend, but it's difficult to convey what is really happening to a 6 year old without undermining the ex in DSS's eyes, which again, we would like to avoid, if possible.

We have suggested mediation or Relate to try to involve a neutral third party (who will hopefully help ex to see how unreasonable she is being). She hasn't said no yet, but I'm doubtful it will get off the ground.

Has anyone else dealt with a similar situation? What worked for you?

DizzySometimes Thu 25-Oct-12 22:33:33

Missymoomoomee – I was applying my situation to what you had said, because my husband goes to events that his son is at. Now, my stepson’s mother hasn’t said he can’t go, but she’s not said he can either. However, it’s my husband’s view that he would like to support his son as much as he can, and that’s what he acts on. And, it’s outside contact time so, by your logic, DH shouldn’t be there and is intruding so his mum should be the only one who gets to see most of his band performances because they are outside his contact times. From what you had written, it was implied that intruding on contact time was manipulative, so apologies if I got that wrong.

Sassybeast Thu 25-Oct-12 23:14:08

Beingbooyhoo - if that's the best counter 'argument' then you can come up with, then there really is no point wink

The very fact that there is a court mandated contact order in place is clear enough evidence that this has not been an amicable split. Of COURSE a 6 year old would like both mummy and daddy to be there. But's it clear that mummy isn't comfortable with that arrangement and it's also well evidenced that kids do pick up on their parents anxieties and concerns and if mum isn't comfortable with Ex being there, then it may impact on the child. Daddy sticks to HIS contact weekends, and mummy sticks to hers. For 'cup' matches (and there won't be many aged 6 wink ) try and reach a compromise.

But it's very obvious that dad is using this as an opportunity to get one over on his Ex. Again, manipulative behaviour and absolutely no need for it to have become such a huge issue. And possibly suggestive of a man who really doesn't give a shit about the feelings of the mother of his child.

BeingBooyhoo Thu 25-Oct-12 23:24:00

if what is the best counter argument? confused i asked a question. i haven't stated my counter argument yet. i note you haven't answered my question. i'm guessing that's because you know what point i was going to make. wink

BeingBooyhoo Thu 25-Oct-12 23:25:11

and i dont think it's very obvious at all. you're just guessing what both parties' motivations for doing what they have done are.

follyfoot Thu 25-Oct-12 23:32:06

My DH went to all of my DSS's football matches whoever's weekend it was. His son really wanted his Dad there and thats what really mattered surely? I'm fairly sure that his XW didnt want him there, but it was about what was right for DSS.

DizzySometimes Thu 25-Oct-12 23:38:41

Exactly, follyfoot Surely discomfort can be borne if it's what the child wants, and is what's right for the child? The idea that the child's rights in this instance should be subjugated due to mum's feelings is wrong, IMO. There'll be enough instances where he has to do without one or the other parent - why add more unnecessarily?

There have been threads on here where the children's feelings are put second to mum's, and this can lead to all kinds of issues. For that reason, I'd want to try and get a resolution to this asap. It may seem a small issue, but I wonder if mum's requests will grow and become more demanding.

missymoomoomee Fri 26-Oct-12 00:44:22

Dizzy thats not what I was implying at all. I'm not even sure how you jumped to that conclusion tbh. My 'logic' is that kkas DH has contact every other weekend, his ex has said she didn't want him at the matches on the weekends she has him as she is there watching him, he said yes anyway, knowing it would be a problem, and then told his DS it was Mummys fault. It doesn't apply to your situation in any way.

In an ideal world parents would get along for the sake of the kids, in reality, it may be better for parents to stay seperate to save them arguing in front of their child which would be far more damaging imo.

allnewtaketwo Fri 26-Oct-12 08:58:54

I think that if the little boy wanted both parents there, then the parents (in this case the mother) should bl**dy well just get over themselves and their own anxieties and makle the occasion as nice for the child as possible.

Yes children do pick up on a parent's anxieties. If the mother gets anxious with seeing the father at theses sort of occasions then she needs to find a way to sort this out, fast. It is not the father's role to compensate for the mother's anxieties by letting the child down, or by putting the child's needs last.

DH's ex still (11 year on) gets highly stressed (and angry with the DCs, now teenagers) when DH has the "audacity" to turn up at, for example, school events his children want him to attend. That is entirely her problem, not DH's, and not the childrens'.

Attilathehun Fri 26-Oct-12 09:51:14

If a mother posted in AIBU that she wasn't allowed to watch her son play football because the father didn't want her to, he'd be labelled a controlling, abusive bully.

We have lots of separated parents at our football matches, you can stand miles away from each other if you want.

What's in the best interests of the child?

zanywany Fri 26-Oct-12 12:25:03

My DS (12) plays in football match's every weekend and both myself and my XH attend whether it 'our contact' time with the children or not. We do this as our son would like both of us to be there supporting him in something that is important to him. Personally I don't like my HX and his girlfriend being there because she takes over my 'Mum' role whilst she is there, all over my daughter calling her darling/babes and chatting to all my friends. I bite my lip and smile because it is better that she is taking such an interest in my children than not.

SelfishCrocodile Wed 31-Oct-12 12:15:29

I'm sorry but all of you who are saying that the OP's DP shouldn't see his son on his XP's weekends are talking shit. Put the child at the centre of this for one minute and surely you can see that. If a child wants both parents at something as innocuous as a football match then surely it is beholden on the adults, I repeat ADULTS, to try to support their child. This is not bowing to the demands of a child, this is supporting their child in the best way possible, by letting them know that their love for him over-rides any bitterness between them. My XH and I regularly go to kids events together for just this reason and our, repeat OUR (as in both of us being equally responsible for the happiness and security of OUR DCs) children are not confused by it, don't believe that mum and dad are getting back together because they see us together and are reasonably accepting of new partners. This, I believe is due to the fact they are 100% confident that we both put them first and because both XH and I talk to them about the things that bother them.

When one party has residency as in this case it is a ridiculous notion to make their time exclusive. As people have said before, what are you going to do when it comes to events held on weeknights? Also, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will come a time when the XP wants her child's father to take him somewhere on a weekday, then I'll bet the OP's DP would be villified by exactly the same group of people for refusing- nothing like only seeing things from your own POV. Routines are great in their place but become ridiculous when there is no room for flexibility or for putting the emotional needs of a small child first.

All you single mums out there who deliberately restrict your child's contact with their fathers without good reason, and by this I mean the belief of potential child protection issues, should be throroughly ashamed of yourselves!

seeker Wed 31-Oct-12 13:09:25

If the child had an uncle on his father's side would it be reasonable for the child's mother to say he couldn't come and watch his nephew playing in a match?

OP, your dp was wrong to say that he couldn't go because "mummy doesn't want me to"

I think he should just go and watch. He can stand at the other end of the pitch. Why shouldn't he?

theredhen Wed 31-Oct-12 13:53:30

I've seen this happen. Dss mum didn't want dp there at football.

Dp went along anyway. Dss completely ignored his dad even when spoken to directly by his dad out of, I suspect loyalty to his mums wishes.

That's what a terrible relationship can do to the kids and in that case I think dp was wrong to continue going because apart from anything else it taught dss that its ok to blank his dad and there will be no consequence.

Dss no longer sees his dad.

pixiestix Sun 04-Nov-12 14:39:06

<waves> to Kkas. Hello lovely! All the old Frolickers were wondering how you were getting on. We are mostly over on FB nowadays. I hope everything is good with you (despite the unreasonable ex!) grin

wannaBe Sun 04-Nov-12 15:06:05

wtf is this notion of his time, her time? This is a child we're talking about here, not some toy that everyone gets to have a turn with. angry

I am currently going through a split and where possible we are going to parent our ds 50/50, however there are going to be instances where ds for instance wants to go to football games with dh (they are season ticket holders) which will involve being out of the house on a Saturday. Should I prevent ds from going on some of the weekends that fall on my weekends because it's my time? Who's that about then? my child whose best interests I should have in mind? or me me me me me... hmm

If the woman has issues with her child's father being present for a two hour football game which falls on her weekend, to the extent she would prevent him from playing then she clearly has massive insecurities and is making her child suffer for them, and that's not on.

I don't get it - really I don't. Surely having divorced parents is hard enough for a child without starting to demand that you each get a piece of that child on your terms without the child having an input in any way even when it's something as important to the child as a football game.

It wouldn't even occur to me to say that DS couldn't go and watch his beloved football team just because it's my time. Instead I'd like to think that we could compromise and that there will be other times when I want to do things with ds/him with me and so we make the time work for us that way.

But instead we have these parents who use their children in their power games and fight over whose turn it is. angry

The pair of them need to grow the hell up.

ProcrastinatingPanda Sun 04-Nov-12 15:16:46

Why cause all this trouble, I really don't understand it. Why is your partner insisting so much on going every weekend, would it really be that difficult to go just on his weekends? You can discuss big matches and come to an agreement but to insist so much that your partner has to be there every weekend despite his mother making it clear she'd rather you just stuck to your own weekend is strange, I'm not so sure that she's the manipulative one in this situation.

Pick your battles, let her have her weekend with her son and just stick to your own weekend, making allowances for big games. And please don't in the future tell the poor boy "mummy doesn't want me there." He's only 6, he doesn't need to be involved in the disputes.

NotaDisneyMum Sun 04-Nov-12 15:49:55

wanna and panda I agree with both of you!

In an ideal world, parents wouldn't "fight" over the time the DC's spend with each of them, or try and divide it up like a DVD collection, but when one parent does do that, the other has a choice.

The rational parent can ignore the irrationality of the other parent (in the OP's case, Dad can go along to the football match anyway, regardless of Mums opinion, because his DS wants him there) or the rational parent can change their behaviour in order to protect the DC from the irrational behaviour of the other.

Yes, in an ideal world, both parents should be able to attend events that a DC takes part in. But if tension between the parents will have a greater negative affect on the DC than the absence of one of the parents, then the best thing for the DC is for the rational parent to bow out gracefully and share other special moments with the DC's.

You can't reason with the unreasonable - but you can minimise the affect that unreasonable behaviour by one parent has on the DC's.

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