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whats usual re parties?

(86 Posts)
JumpingJackSprat Wed 17-Apr-13 12:56:56

Dss lives with his mum a 4 hour round trip away atvthe moment we have him every other weekend. his mum has accepted a party invite for sunday afternoon which means that rather than leaving ours at 5pm to take him back we will have to leave at 12.30 when we havent seen him for 2 weeks. is it unreasonable for us to say that dss wont be able to attend birthday parties on access weekends unless theyre actual friends? My understanding is that this party is a "whole class" affair. Dss is 5.

allnewtaketwo Mon 22-Apr-13 20:59:46

Yes, and I think it needs to start early enough before it the rota is so engrained that it is no longer questioned. For example if a 14 yo is adhering to the rota to the letter and has no social life, it's a bid red warning signal. One I tried to point out but was ignored. We're seeing the effects now 3 years on from that with no end in sight. The rota still rules.

willyoulistentome Mon 22-Apr-13 20:55:56

Yes - it is pretty sad. My DSS is also 18 now, and stopped coming EOW at about the age 14 when the older two girls also started wanting to go out at the weekend with their mates instead of coming to see us. I think you do need to let the kids have say iin what they want to do at weekends, where reasonably possible.

Petal02 Mon 22-Apr-13 20:38:29

Willy, I think the strict adherence to the access rota is 90% to blame for DSS18's "failure to launch." Access rota came first, life/development/normality was not a priority.

allnewtaketwo Mon 22-Apr-13 20:37:09

That's pretty sad willyoulisten, and hardly in the best interests of the child

willyoulistentome Mon 22-Apr-13 20:21:10 a random party invitation is one thing. Sorry to lead the conversation slightly off track, but what do you intend to do when DSS says he wants to join a weekend football club at home?
Just wondering what folks have done/would do about that? Years ago my DH wanted to enrol his son in OUR local rugby club, but it was pointless as he would never get picked due to missing EOW. Same would apply at the Mums end - 90 mins away. Neither would budge on access rights, so sporty DSS could never do any weekend sport.

Petal02 Mon 22-Apr-13 20:03:33

Disney parenting need a thread all if its own!!!!

NotaDisneyMum Mon 22-Apr-13 19:55:43

And a lot of RP expect the NRP to do so, and complain bitterly when they don't!

balia Mon 22-Apr-13 19:50:18

Well in fairness I would be tempted to as well, if I only saw my DC's for such a small amount of time.

Petal02 Mon 22-Apr-13 19:31:09

I take your point Balia, but should point out that lots of non-resident Dads DO clear the decks (excellent expression) and create a bubble-like existence for their children!

balia Mon 22-Apr-13 18:08:40

Excellent post, NADM, exactly what I was clumsily trying to express. The 600 hours thing - that's just basic hours in a day (over a 4 week period) for the purpose of showing the ratio of time and how unbalanced it is. You can chose any way of measuring you like - so long as you apply the same criteria to time at Dad's/NRP's because DC's sleep when they come to the other parent's house too, you know, and need meals preparing and putting in the bath and clothes washing and shoes finding and taking to sporting activities and shopping to do and all the other ordinary stuff life is made of. Most Dad don't or can't live in a bubble and clear the decks totally when DC's come over - and if they did it would be Disney parenting and hardly healthy for the DC anyway!

NotaDisneyMum Mon 22-Apr-13 09:55:50

I know it isn't the same for all NRPs but my ex certainly wouldn't swap roles with me if I gave him the chance - it's too much like hard work!

That's not the case in the situations described here though, isn't it? In most of the cases described, the RP refuses to "allow" the NRP to play a more equal role in the DC's life, and at the same time, insists that the DC's time with the NRP is reduced further by prioritising the DC's activities such as parties and clubs above the DC's time with their NRP.

If a DC witnesses one parent placing a low priority on the (often very limited) contact that they have with their other parent, this influences the value that the DC places on that contact themselves. Like the RP, they begin the believe it's not important or valuable, and are comfortable with ever-diminishing contact, "after all, the RP thinks that school friends parties are more important". It's only later in life they may realise what they missed out on - and if they are lucky enough to have the chance, they may be able to build a relationship with their parent then.
In my opinion, there is nothing more important than the chance for a DC to understand the value of a relationship with their parent.

Galangal Mon 22-Apr-13 08:21:39

I don't understand the 600 hours either. I too get a couple of hours in the evening, taken up with chores, homework, activities, cooking.

mumandboys123 Sun 21-Apr-13 22:21:09

I didn't suggest, balia, that the RP should have their 'quality time' made up, I merely commented on the fact that my quality time with my children is very important to me, but there is an expectation that I ensure that our children are involved in various activities (not just parties) at the weekends. That time is never 'made up' to me in anyway. Either I forgo the activity (and do exactly this sometimes) or I ensure that our children are able to participate in a range of activities in the way that their friends are. My ex would soon start shouting if I didn't allow our children to participate

I'm not sure where you get the 600 hours from - does that include sleeping time and the time children are at school and parents are at work? I also stand by the fact that I don't get quality time with my children during the week although I accept the fact that it is time my ex doesn't get. I have about 2 1/2 hours a day during which time we are getting dressed/undressed, eating, tidying up, putting washing on, having a bath, finding shoes, dealing with school paperwork etc. I know it isn't the same for all NRPs but my ex certainly wouldn't swap roles with me if I gave him the chance - it's too much like hard work!

balia Sun 21-Apr-13 20:25:58

If either parent is going to be completely rigid and unreasonable then no system is going to work well for the DC's. And my point was not necessarily that all contact time should be 'made up', but that refusing to do so on the grounds that an RP has as little quality time as an EOW NRP is nonsense.

But how can it possibly balance out for the child when they spend so much more time with one parent? In our case, DSS got 74 hours with Dad, and nearly 600 hours with Mum. And if this limited time isn't prioritised (and certainly from our experience of the court process, Cafcass and other professionals, it should be) then what message is that sending the DC's? That time with Dad is optional, if a better offer comes along that's fine? It's not silly to make sure that the bond between parent and child is maintained, and the best way to do that is regular, quality contact. Attending a single party may not have a huge effect on that, but it's easy to say that parents should support children's social lives when you see your child every day. When attending a party takes 20% of the time your child has with you when he/she is awake, it's a very different thing.

Petal02 Sun 21-Apr-13 17:03:18

I should add that regardless or how desirable (or otherwise) it's deemed to make up for any missed time, sometimes it's simply impractical. DH's ex used to insist, with mathematical precision, that any lost time was re-paid to the point that if we'd been on holiday for a fortnight, DH would be left with a 'debt of time' that was almost impossible to work off, unless he took time off work to facilitate extra access, because there are only so many evening/weekend hours in the week. As I said, compensatory access is a slippery slope - and time spent at parties can soon become the least of your worries.

Petal02 Sun 21-Apr-13 16:41:14

But i still don't see the sense in making up a couple of hours that a NRP may lose if the child attends a party. So if Jonny attends a party from 2pm-4pm on an access weekend, his Dad can claim back 2 hours at a later date? This is just silly and the 'balancing the books' parenting model is a very slippery slope. Surely both parents will take a 'hit' on their time at some point, to the point that it balances itself out in the long run?

balia Sun 21-Apr-13 15:49:22

Can I just come back to a point made upthread about not replacing time that the DC miss with Dad because

"even if you're a resident parent, if you work long hours you might not get much more 'quality time' than a NRP"

Unless the parenting is 50/50, and particularly if the contact is the EOW, this is a staggeringly ridiculous justification for not replacing the time. I work full-time but the impact this has on my time with my DC's is NOTHING like the lack of time DH has with his DS. He gets 4 overnights a month. At the time his ex was insisting that parties were more important, DSS was getting 74 hours with his Dad per month. Trust me, that is nothing like having your child living with you, even if you do work long hours.

And later, when DSS told Cafcass how desperate he was for more time with Dad, he certainly didn't say that he would rather attend parties, or do more hobbies.

Alwayscheerful Sat 20-Apr-13 14:54:01

rarely shown .. dam phone!

Alwayscheerful Sat 20-Apr-13 14:53:01

OP, sorry I was so ingrossed in the thread that I forgot your original post, my daughter has a little one and finds the party circuit expensive, exhausting and time consuming at the best of times , but as a family they are managing the situation by being selective.

As a blended family we found it very difficult because the Ex did not allow it, ocasionally on a Friday, she would send an invitation (but sometimes 2 ,one for saturday and one for Sunday) plus present all wrapped and insist the youngest DSS was to attend, with no regard for our plans, the childs wishes or the convenience, so I can sympathise with you, I would say start as you mean to go on, explain its fine this time and time with DSCs is precious, so please check next time. In an ideal world she should check your family plans before accepting or pass the invitation for your family to reply to. In practice this is courtesy which is shown.

JumpingJackSprat Sat 20-Apr-13 13:09:59

Good post alwayscheerful. thats the way i see it. my op probably made the situation out to be more fraught than it is. on this occasion we are taking him to the party and if the same situation arose again we would do again unless it clashed with something we had already arranged. dp's ex wasnt underhanded about the invite or anything like that but i just wanted to see how other families manage in case of any potential conflicting arrangements etc later on.

Alwayscheerful Sat 20-Apr-13 10:13:05

Sorry missed a comma in last sentence
Parties are great for children,

Alwayscheerful Sat 20-Apr-13 10:10:47

Children go through phases of receiving no party invitations, invitations every week and sometimes two per weekend.

Families can find themselves ferrying children from swimming to dancing to a party on a Saturday. And again on a Sunday. Petrol and gifts are expensive and the amount of time involved is huge and sometimes dominates the weekends.

Two parent families and split families should both consider balance in family life. Life is not all about what children want or what they need sometimes it is about what the adults want and need too. Weekends can be about pleasure but they can also be about rest and relaxation and that includes children and adults. I think getting the balance right is important, children need to enjoy themselves at the weekend but not at the expense of adults. It is good for cHildren to return to school on Monday rested and relaxed, Sometimes just chilling at home as a family is more important than another party, good for adults and children. It can help to teach children to be selective to help them make the right the choices eg choose the party on a Saturday? Or the party on A Sunday? The party 10 miles away or the party round the corner? Choose between a
family occasion at their grandparents or best friend party. Life is full of hard choices and it is never too early to teach life skills.

For some families it works for Saturday to be a busy day and Sunday to be a relaxing day, others just run around like headless chickens all weekend insisting children should go to every party they are invited to. Parties are great for children visiting grandparents, time relaxing as family and family outings are good too.

In split families balance can only be achieved with communication, I do wonder if ex partners are sometimes more interested in control than balance in their children's lives.

Galangal Sat 20-Apr-13 09:43:23

Your ex sounds a nightmare allfornothing. And I agree, going to a party or even parties isn't going to jeopardise a relationship with a parent. It's what you do in the time you do have them that counts.

allfornothing Sat 20-Apr-13 08:36:43

I hardly think attending a party would negatively impact on the ability to cultivate relationships with parents and siblings! Isn't that a bit dramatic? Unless you're talking about the child literally being busy with parties and events every weekend, (which wouldn't be acceptable), then I still believe they have the right to that time with friends and parents should, where possible support it.

brdgrl Sat 20-Apr-13 02:14:25

But surely time with a parent isn't only for the kid's benefit. It is also for the benefit of the parent. Can we all stop pretending that adults are meant to be selfless and see their time with their children ONLY in terms of the benefit to the child? Obviously a child's needs come first - but there are also the needs of the parent, and often of other children as well. It is not regarding a child as a possession to acknowledge that the love a parent feels for a child is by nature possessive and motivates many parents to actually want to spend as much time as possible with the child. I suspect there will be times over the coming years when I refuse to let DD attend a particular social event because I want to spend time with her. Selfish? OK...

A kid may want to go to a party. Does he/she have a need to go? Possibly, or possibly there is a need to go "to parties" more generally but not to each and every party specifically. Does the "need" for the party trump the need of the child, in the long-term, to cultivate a relationship with both parents? Or with half-siblings and step-siblings?

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