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(94 Posts)
Libby10 Wed 27-Feb-13 17:57:30

Hi everyone

We have always had a very rigid rota right down to organising bank holidays a year ahead in January. Now all the SKs are over 18 this has seemed more and more bizarre - especially as it continues during the holidays. Now we only have on SD aged 18 at home. When she started 6 form DP suggested we move to EOW but her mum wasn't keen. DP left it but asked again at the beginning of this year when she asked about bank holidays. She agreed and we started the new rota at the beginning of this month. SD has always been happy about this when asked.
This w/e SD asked if we could go back to the old rota. When DP asked why she was quite evasive but it became clear that it was her mum and her mum's BF who have been complaining - DP thinks the problem is that his ex's BF is unhappy because she didn't ask him before agreeing to the move. I really don't want to move back to the old rota - EOW suits us much more. DP is unhappy that his ex didn't speak to him directly rather than through SD and just said that we should give it a bit longer before deciding. He has said that if SD keeps asking we should change back but I am really not happy about this as it seems we've got caught up with an argument that is nothing to do with SD and the rota.

Viviennemary Wed 27-Feb-13 18:09:56

I don't quite understand why you have the rigid rota for older - children that is over 18's. What was the arrangement before it changed to EOW. So at the moment you have your SD at home all the time apart from EOW. But you need a rota that suits everyone at least most of the time.

Libby10 Wed 27-Feb-13 18:17:14

Before we used to do 50:50 over a fortnight so 5 days one week and 2 days the next. EOW means we have her for the same time but is more manageable especially during the holidays when her 2 older brothers join the rota. I never imagined the rota would last this long and EOW seemed a way of easing the SKs into a more relaxed routine.

Petal02 Wed 27-Feb-13 18:31:32

Will reply properly when dinner is over, but this is a subject very close to my heart. Why on EARTH do older teens, especially once they're as old as 18, need an access rota? Who benefits?????

Petal02 Wed 27-Feb-13 18:49:56

One quick question: how old are the other 'children' - you mention there are older brothers? This is really scaring me, as I have DSS18 who still has rostered access, the arrangements are a lot better than they used to be, but we still have to do the same times each week.

purpleroses Wed 27-Feb-13 19:00:26

Alternate weeks at each house must be a bit of a pain for DSD though - however old she is - unless you live very nearby as it means there aren't any days of the week that she's always at the same house, whereas the 5-2 -2 -5 split that you used to have would presumably have meant there were fixed weekdays that were always at yours and fixed ones with her mum.

Is she going off to Uni this autumn? If so, why don't you just stick to what you had til then? Agree that once they're all at uni a fixed bit of each holiday time at each house would seem sensible, with less chopping and changing.

You seem a bit unclear what you want though - if you want to treat the DSC as adults, then your DP does need to negotiate with them directly, not via their mum all the time.

Petal02 Wed 27-Feb-13 19:29:09

Why is any sort of rota required Libby? If the girl is 18, with older brothers, why can't they pop in and out depending on what other things are going on in their lives? Surely a strict schedule can't work for them? Although I can understand why the ex might want it - if she's anything like my DH's ex, she''s hellbent on ensuring that our lives are restricted by non-flexible arrangements, and she also insists that DH does a very specific amount of parenting each week, she views any sort of flexibility as an opportunity for DH to shirk his responsibilities.

Libby10 Thu 28-Feb-13 07:32:14

The boys are both in their early twenties. DP's ex lives very close and so there is no problem with SD seeing her mum whenever she wants - DP has told her this.
DP asked SD first about changing the rota. She was fine with it. He has talked to all of them about not feeling they need to have set times to see him. He won't be offended.
Petal - I don't think its to ensure DP doesn't shirk his duties. My view is that DP's ex has always been very protective of her own time away from the kids. Even to the extent that when the boys have been home from university on our weekend they have always stayed with us - again DP has said its fine if they also want to stay with their mum instead but they always fall in with what she wants to do.
I find it completely bizarre that we are still doing this with young adults. Last summer when they were all home really reinforced this for me. DP is very sensitive about ensuring that they don't feel unwanted but this message really needs to come from both households.
I prefer EOW just as a means of breaking the pattern of the same fixed days every week.

Petal02 Thu 28-Feb-13 14:23:25

My view is that DP’s ex has always been very protective of her own time away from the kids

I suspected this might be the case. So in order to protect this time, she insists that adults (I’m not calling them children, because they’re not) live by a rota? Wow. It’s definitely a similar principle to DH’s ex; we’re paying maintenance til DSS18 finishes his A levels in June, but the ex has always insisted that as maintenance payments were calculated around an specific, fixed arrangement, that any less contact on DH’s part would be “chargeable.” Therefore if the rota arrangement is strictly adhered to, she can ensure that she doesn’t have to have DSS for any more time that she’s paid for. It really is a “time is money” situation, however if we ever take DSS away on holiday with us, it’s not like we’d ever claim a maintenance rebate (god forbid) but even the slightest reduction in contact on a particular week can result in the ex threating to get maintenance reassessed.

We even had a ridiculous situation once, whereby DSS went away for the weekend with the school, which coincided with an access weekend, but we had to make up the time we’d missed – the ex wouldn’t let DH “get away” with an extra child-free weekend.

And whilst I understand that every ex-wife should have some child-free time and an appropriate amount of maintenance, it’s when this is upheld to the enth degree, even when children grow into adults, that is becomes unhealthy.

DP has talked to all of them, about not feeling they need to have set times to see him

And this is surely the best way forward with young adults? Can’t they be ‘based’ at one house, and then visit the other parent on an adhoc basis, depending on what else is going on in their lives (or the lives of their parents)? Just out of interest, what’s the worst that would happen if your DP turned round and said we’re simply not running any sort of rota any more? The ex can’t enforce it, I doubt the children would put up much resistance and then you could have a more age –appropriate arrangement?

DSS18 is about to take his driving test, and as we’ve already bought him a car, DH is firmly of the view that once he’s fully mobile, there’s absolutely no need for any sort of rota, as he’ll be able to make his own way to see us, without needing lifts. God knows what the ex will make of this, she’ll probably implode, but this will finally be the end of the rota.

You really shouldn’t be in a rota situation with over-18s.

allnewtaketwo Thu 28-Feb-13 14:56:47

I would put money on DSS1 (now 17) adhering to the rota while he's at university.

Petal02 Thu 28-Feb-13 14:59:12

Allnew - are you expecting DSS will choose a Uni close by, so that he won't need to leave home (and can therefore continue with the rota during term time)?

Libby10 Thu 28-Feb-13 14:59:28

Petal - I agree completely. When I got together with DP it never occurred to me that we would be doing this once the kids reached 18. I always assumed they would vote with their feet/make their own arrangements by this stage. It is nothing to do with money as this was all agreed by court order and not subject to how many nights DP or his ex had the children.

I can guess what would happen if we just said we won't have a rota any more. In the past we have had tears/tantrums/the full works whenever DP's ex has not been able to "her" time away from the children which is why we ended up with such a rigid rota. I also feel its a way for DP's ex to maintain a presence in our lives as we have to agree holidays etc.

My gut feeling is that SD will be swayed by what her mum wants. DP has said that we have to have an arrangement that works for everyone and EOW is at least a step in the right direction so hopefully we can hold on to that at least.

Libby10 Thu 28-Feb-13 15:02:47

Allnew - both SS just fall back into the rota during the holidays. They aren't close by but as I said earlier - it applies even when they come home for the odd w/e.

purpleroses Thu 28-Feb-13 15:09:33

If her mum's that keen on her own time, and money doesn't come into it, would it be better to suggest that DSD lives with you most of the time, and just visits her mum when it suits her?

Seems a bit odd for a mum of an 18 year old to be craving "her" time. I can understand it better with small children - she might have somethign she wants to go to on a fixed night of the week, and like to keep that day child-free, but with an 18 year old, would have thought they could each live their own lives. Is the relationship rather strained between DSD and her mum maybe?

Petal02 Thu 28-Feb-13 15:16:38

It’s also a way for the ex to maintain a presence in our lives, if we have to agree holidays etc

I totally understand that dynamic.

Seems a bit odd for a mum of an 18yr old to be craving ‘her’ time

I quite agree, but why should the OP and her DP run their lives to indulge the ex?

Libby – at what point do you expect this to end?

Libby10 Thu 28-Feb-13 15:55:16

At the moment I can't see it ending until they have finished university and wonder what will happen if any of them want to live at home after that.

DP wanted to split the summer holidays more flexibly last summer. We took the SC away for a fortnight and the ex went away with her BF for a week but she still insisted that we do the rota for the remaining weeks. Her "her" time has always been sacrosanct - I don't really get it either now they are all able to fend for themselves much more easily.

DP has suggested a range of alternative options to the SC and reassured them that he won't be upset if they wanted to spend less/more time with us. In the end we always seem to end up with the pattern that suits his ex. It's a real shame as I feel that by continuing to treat them as children we are not giving the opportunity to make decisions as young adults.

Has anyone successfully stopped a rota like this.

allnewtaketwo Thu 28-Feb-13 16:00:15

Yes Petal, I'm 99.99% sure he will go to a university within 5 miles of his house and that his life will be much like it is now. Living at home and coming EOW to ours like the judge said when he was 6.

I have somewhat of a plan though - DSS2 will be 16 in 3 years. Until then DSS1 will "feed off" the strict access arrangements for DSS2. But DSS2 is a different character and more questioning of silly rules his mother makes. I think when DSS2 is 16 there is a good chance we can agree with him that strict EOW arrangements are no longer required and he can come around more flexibly. That would have the benefit also of a natural end to DSS1's strict EOW visits (by which time he'd be 20 hmm)

Petal02 Thu 28-Feb-13 17:03:13

it’s a real shame, as I feel that by continuing to treat them like children, we are not giving them the opportunity to make decisions as young adults

Absolutely. For years, on the (very) rare occasions when DSS wanted to partake in any activities or anything social or extra-curricular, these things could only happen if they fitted in with the rota. If anything fell on an access weekend, he wouldn’t tell us, as his mother has brain washed him to think that access weekends should be intense, 1-2-1 contact, not “interrupted” by any normal teenager activities. The only exception that springs to mind was a weekend away with the school, when he was approx. 13. God knows how that was allowed to happen.

He has been indoctrinated to believe that life follows a rota, that the rota is non-negotiable rather like night follows day, To be honest, he’s become quite institutionalised by it.

I managed to get an amendment to the EOW arrangement about six months ago, although we still have an arrangement which means that DSS has exactly the same visiting schedule, week in/week out. He took up a part time job in his home village, which is quite some way from our house, and still wanted to do this job on access weekends, which meant that DH used to spend hours driving him to/from our house for the start/end of his shifts, whereas if he’d been based at his Mum’s on those days, he could literally just walk round the corner. So basically it was either cease the part time job to accommodate the rota (and believe me, we came close to this) or tweak the rota to accommodate the job. So DSS now comes to us Thurs evening til Sat lunch time week, rather than Thurs evening til Sun evening EOW. It’s “little and often” rather than a four day stay each fortnight. Neither DSS nor the ex were particularly happy about this, but DH (unusually) stuck to his guns.

Allnew – fingers crossed your plan works out, but how insane that your eldest step son will still potentially be following the rota age 20 …….

allnewtaketwo Thu 28-Feb-13 17:17:45

Yes and he has zero inclination to get a part time job so there's no break like that. Apparently he's too busy following DH around asking what he's doing next

thelionessrichie Thu 28-Feb-13 18:14:43

This is ridiculous. 18!?!?! I had my own home at that age. FFS. Why doesn't the adult have a key to both residences and nice freely between the two..?

Petal02 Thu 28-Feb-13 18:25:18

Yes, it is indeed ridiculous. But it's how to challenge it successfully that's the issue - for years the rota was revered like the bible in our household.

Libby10 Thu 28-Feb-13 18:49:44

They all have keys to both households but like Petal we have not been able to break free of the rota.
Unless it comes from the SC and/or both households can agree a more flexible set-up you seem to end up in deadlock.

allnewtaketwo Thu 28-Feb-13 21:43:35

It's got nothing to do with keys. In our case, DSS1 is institutionalised by the rota. Not helped my his controlling mother and his utter compliance. She will simply not "allow" him to see his father outside of the rota. Keys or no keys.

Petal02 Thu 28-Feb-13 22:14:37

Keys wouldn't help us either. It's simply a combination of the ex insisting on the rota, DSS clinging to the rota, and DH not wanting to rock the boat. He's always had a misplaced fear that any conflict may mean less contact - however experience has proven the reverse to be true; if we upset the ex she tries to "punish" DH by insisting he has extra weekends with DSS. And DSS just wants to cling to his Dad, and any upset makes this worse.

So no amount of keys will remedy this.

theredhen Fri 01-Mar-13 07:22:38

This is starting to happen to us. dsd1 aged nearly 17 is sticking to the rota when I thought she might be being more independent.

I naturally thought her social life would be taking off now but it seems to have slowed to snails pace, shes refusing offers of party invites and just sitting at home instead.

I think she's actually got a very difficult task, by telling her dad she's not coming this Friday night for example, she fears upsetting him (it won't, he promises me) if she then says she'll come next Tuesday instead, she risks incurring the wrath of her mum. I think she's been hanging on for her younger sister to start doing it but then she moved in with us and threw the whole thing out.

I believe dsd1 is being held back by living to a rota and I do honestly think that when she goes to work next year, she'll finish work on a Friday and come to ours til Monday morning and just sit around looking bored instead of getting on with HER life rather than that of her parents.

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