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What do you think of this suggestion?

(34 Posts)
breaktheroutine Wed 10-Apr-13 12:15:38

DSSs are 17 and 14. Since the court order was issued 11 years ago (DH had to go to court because his ex who had left him after her having an affair, wouldn't let him see the children), access has been strictly adhered to.

The children are "not allowed" to see their father outside of the strict access rota. So this means that DH collects them at 6pm on a Friday, EOW, and returns them at 6pm on a Sunday. They live 4 miles away and both DP & I and their mother live almost next to a bus stop on a main bus route (buses every 5 mins).

So clearly the children are still being treated like very young children. They have no social lives at all and so the access has remained unchanged since the youngest was 3. It is worth including that the children are very frightened of anything that risks annoying their mother (such as being 5 minutes late home on a Sunday evening for example, which apparently sets her off into a mad rage).

The routine has become so entrenched that no-one (except me!) seems to question it any more. So it appears out of the question for example that DSSs are more than capable of, heaven forbid, getting the bus to our house instead of DH driving there and back and collecting them. Sundays in particular are a continuing problem - like most teenagers they get up late and so breakfast is often not until 10 or after for them. Meaning it's silly to have lunch earlier than 1 for example. So in order to have the evening meal eaten on time and all their stuff ready to go home etc., there is usually a mad panic to get the meal made and eaten. This means that often they are hurridely gobbling down their food, not finishing it, leaving the table while I/DH/DS are still eating to run around stresing over being late home.

Now, whilst clearly an option would be to start making dinner earlier, this makes it virtually impossible to do anything in the afternoon such as go out. (worth mentioning that on a "non-access" weekend, we would usually have a light tea at say 6pm/6.30pm. So we change our our routine to suit the mother's insistence that the teenagers are returned to her at 6pm).

Another thread this week has made me question this silly regimented routine on a Sunday. Why on earth are we rushing and stressing out on a Sunday, disturbing a family meal just because their controlling mother insists on having a 17 and 14 year old home at 6pm.

So I want to set about finding an alternative less stressful solution and intend discussing this with DH. Before I do, I wanted opinions on this.

How about we offer DSSs 2 alternatives -
1. We all share a relaxed family lunch as usual, 1ish for example. We then have a light tea as per our normal family routine at 6 or 6.30 (depending on what we're doing that afternoon as a family). DSSs stay to eat with us, but accept this means they won't be home until relaxed meal is concluded, which may mean they're not home until 7.30 sometimes.


2. Lunch as usual, say 1ish, as above. If DSS's don't want to do option 1 in fear of their mother, then they accept this means DH bringing them home before our family tea. This would in reality therefore mean them leaving at say 5.


breaktheroutine Wed 17-Apr-13 06:04:42

Ladydeedy what ages were the children when you managed to break the 6pm curfew in the end?

Interesting that she wants them home to do some specific duties for her. This is also the case here. There's not even any pretence that the curfew is for their own benefit, but that she needs them back to do jobs in the house. Good luck on her behalf they dont have normal social lives to get in her way the rest of the time hmm

Petal02 Wed 17-Apr-13 08:52:43

What would happen when, heaven forbid, DSS1 meets a friend or girlfriend, would he reasonably expect to have to be home by 6pm because this is what mum says?

BTR, I suspect the curfew is only in place to control your DH, and that in any situations where it couldn’t have any effect on your household, then the ex would lose interest ………

breaktheroutine Wed 17-Apr-13 09:01:15

Plus she doesn't need to control anything else because they have no social lives anyway, she's made sure of that

matana Wed 17-Apr-13 10:29:24

Sorry if i've missed something but i would be tempted to say that if she wants them back at 6pm on the dot, she can give them their dinner. And offer that if it helps you'll give them a cooked meal at lunchtime instead. 6pm isn't particularly late for dinner, especially for teenagers. We used to have this problem. Luckily, although DH's ExW is also very rigid, she did eventually concede to DH dropping them back later or sometimes dropping them back for their dinner depending on what we'd been doing during the day.

Another option coming up to the spring and summer if you don't want to do a roast is maybe a barbecue. Much more fun, relaxed and outdoors...

ladydeedy Thu 18-Apr-13 09:17:43

Hi break the routine the kids were around 14 when we broke it. Also I agree, it all about controlling DH and me and what we do with our weekends. We would find it hard to schedule lunch and day out at friends who live a distance away as kids would start getting anxious about leaving straight after lunch in case they were going to be late back if we got stuck in traffic. One day when I had them on my own as DH was away, we were at friends for lunch and one of the kids got a text from her saying they had to be back an hour earlier than usual. This was once she'd heard that we were out
Anything to scupper our plans. We ignored it and I dropped them back normal time. Tough on the kids but they know she is a bully. That's what it boils down to in the end.
One of them came to live with us shortly after as couldn't live with her bullying any more...

Petal02 Tue 14-May-13 11:29:23

Breaktheroutine - how are things, have you finally broken free of your Sunday Routine??????

breaktheroutine Tue 14-May-13 18:42:14

Well we've only had one "normal" access visit since I posted (we were away last time and of course they're not allowed to come outside of the rota). But on the one occasion they were here, we had dinner just after 7 and they were home about 7. No one died.

This weekend coming, DH's sister is coming at 5pm on Sunday, and dinner won't therefore be until 6 at the earliest again. So they'll be "late" home again.

So for now, all is well! I'm gradually chipping away at all those mindless silly rigid rituals we've all been living with.

breaktheroutine Tue 14-May-13 18:42:53

I mean we had dinner just after 6!

taxiforme Wed 15-May-13 00:55:04

We have exactly the same dsc 17 15 and 13 yet the ex lives five mins walk away!! All you have all said us true, on a Sunday night my dss is in fits if they are late, gobbling down supper..

Dss is not allowed to walk up to our house at 13 years old! We live in a small village where he was born and his family all live. It drives us mad to see him so.... Gelded... By his mother's neuroses and my dh likewise by her control!

As for answers.... Like you I am wondering if we will be doing this when they are 35! Eldest dss is doing a levels but gas no ambition to go to uni.

Dh sees the light fortunately but it is killing him as we can only do so much in the time we have. They can't even pack their own cases or know what to wear on holiday!! We are determined to try and make them self suffient independent and questioning. I do try and make them see what is the worst that can happen if they are late???!!!

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