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11yr old given the right to decide not to visit anymore

(13 Posts)
kalpamum Mon 22-Apr-13 15:08:50

Me and OH been together 6yrs. Been living together for 5ys. His Daughter was introduced to me and fitted in straight away. I have a DD the same age and they have got on brilliantly. We moved house when me and partner moved in together so that DSD would have her own bedroom and a fresh start for everyone.
Over the years Exwife has been very controlling. About 4 yrs ago it was made very clear to me what I could and couldn't do with her and I have taken all this on board for a happy life. Things have got worse - I am not allowed to give opinions, I tried to support her with Maths as she is struggling but was told to stop. Ex wife complained to OH that I have looked in her school book recently ( I did as I am interested how she is doing only looked, not to comment)
DSD was coming every other weekend Fri to Mon morning but since Sept this has changed to every 3 weekends and back Sun eve. When OH has shown any dissatisfaction over this new arrangement he has been told he is not putting his daughter first and this is what SHE wants. In my opinion Ex has always used OH as a child minding service when she is working. Have her on a Wed night but when Ex not working Oh gets a text saying 'you don't have to have her as I am not working' Again when challenged we are told we are not putting DSD first and thinking what is best for her.

DSD has been tense whilst visiting, texting her Mum all the time including lies about situations. The other weekend the 2 girls had an argument where I didn't give DSD the right response she wanted to hear so she carried on and said she hated me and had no respect for me and brought up a list of things she is not happy about which are all history, she could not say what has happened recently to make her unhappy coming. Since this Ex wife made a big fuss, To try and make thinks better I have sent her an email asking again what needs to be changed to make DSD visits as pleasant as possible.
This Fri OH went to pick her up to be told she never wants to come again, she has never wanted to be part of another family and only done is to please Dad. She wants things to go back to how they used to be and just see Dad. Ex wife thinks that all should be done to give DSD what she wants.
Practically I can't see how this can work. OH has no family near by so it is not as if he can pick her up and take her to visit someone else. How can he entertain an 11yr old girl for a day on a regular basis.
I feel gutted that a girl of this age can say they don't want anything to do with me and my DD after 6 years, I have bent over backwards to make things easy for her but I have just been pushed further and further away. OH is in a right state as he doesn't know what to do. As one of my work colleagues has just said to me should an 11yr have that decision to make and where does OH stand legally.

NotaDisneyMum Mon 22-Apr-13 15:38:26

You are living the life my DP and I lived three years ago - the circumstances are almost identical!

My DSD, at the age of just 12, was given by the court the right to decide whether or not she wanted to see DP. Legally, she was considered "Gillick Competent" and therefore any order was subject to her "specific wishes". It of course led to her "wishing" not to see her Dad, in order to keep her Mum happy and on side. A few weeks later, DSD gave DP an ultimatum - she refused to have anything to do with him all the while he was involved with me.

DP (and I) made a lot of mistakes in response to DSD rejection - but despite those, DP was the first person his DD called when, 2 years later, the arguments between her and her mum resulted in physical violence. DP and DSD have slowly rebuilt their relationship, despite her Mums resistance and active disapproval. what is key is that DSD has said, many times since, that she wished that she had not been given the choice - it would have been easier to have someone tell her that she HAD to see her Dad and not have to choose which parent to upset.

Check out the Centre for Separated Families, Karen Woodall's work and The Family Separation Clinic

Petal02 Mon 22-Apr-13 15:39:07

She wants things to go back to how they used to be, and just visit Dad. The ex-wife thinks that all should be done to give DSD what she wants, but practically I don’t see how this can work

There was another thread running recently, about a very similar situation.

I’m not sure how things stand legally, but morally 11 yr olds do not get to call the shots. And that’s because they’re 11. If you went through with these demands it would mean your DH having to spend time away from you and the rest of the family, in order to indulge DSD, and this is ridiculous. I’m not surprised the ex is keen to this to go ahead; she’s probably smirking at the thought of all the trouble it would cause.

Stick to your guns, and don’t let an 11 yr old and a manipulative ex dictate your homelife.

Jan45 Mon 22-Apr-13 15:42:07

Gawd, you can't win huh. Sorry you are both being persecuted like this, seems awfully unfair. But, go with it, your OH will have to just take her out somewhere and then return her home if she's insisting she's not coming to the house. I don't think that was a fair comment about ex using OH as a babysitter, he is afterall the dad.

Play the game, do as they wish, I'm sure it will pass, sounds like the 11 year old is in a huff over something, probably a telling off or something equally stupid. But also remember, this is for your OH to deal with and sort out, not you, she's not your responsibility, I would step back a bit anyway and not get so involved, it will only mean you feeling let down and you'll never be fully accepted so don't put yourself out too much.

Alwayscheerful Mon 22-Apr-13 18:02:00

If the Father is "allowed" to care for his daughter when her Mother is working and "not allowed" other weeks, how can it be anything other than being used? I can certainly understand the OP feeling her DP is being used as a babysitter. The contact time should primarily be for the benefit of the child and her Father and yes it's great if it helps Mum too.

Alwayscheerful Mon 22-Apr-13 18:08:56

Sounds like a simple case of jealousy, you built a good relationship with your DSC and her Mother is feeling threatened, this is more likely to happen if the Mother does not have a new partner. Chances are the little girl with become difficult with her Mother and eventually your DSC will ask to spend time with both again, in the meantime you will all feel heartbroken but try to resist giving in to the Mother' demands.

kalpamum Tue 23-Apr-13 11:39:39

Mother has not got a new partner. I am trying very hard at the moment not to give my opinions to OH so he has time to think things through. I just know that whatever OH suggest regarding seeing DSC will not be good enough for Ex. I can't see how picking her up and taking her out all the time is going to work, maybe work now but what about in the depths of winter. He barely has any money due to still paying the full mortgate on Ex's house and trying to lead another life so he will be restricted on how to entertain DSC.
I don't know how he is meant to cover school holidays and Ex will still expect him to do this. He only has five weeks leave and we as a couple have always taken them together and done things as a family with DSC. In the past when he has expressed that he cannot have her due to work commitment's she has told him that is his problem to sort out and he needs to put DSC first and share responsibility of child care.
Both myself and my DD get on very closely with OH parents now who live 6 hours away. We only get to visit 2/3 times a year and DSC has always come with us. I feel so upset that both myself and DD probably won't get to visit as OH will have to start just taking DSC.
I just feel so bitter at the moment and it is not helping as OH not talking to me about it.

sanityseeker75 Tue 23-Apr-13 13:03:25

If you live together and have a child together it is completely unreasonable and impractical for his arrangements with DSC to be separated from you and DD.

He may not want to talk about it at the moment - may be a bit shell shocked and hurt my DSD behaviour but he needs to be made aware that should he choose to bow down now then actually he is putting his family at risk - can you really see yourself being happy at him going to see DSD, needing money to entertain her. If you are struggling financially you will resent this more as it will limit money that can't be spent doing family things.

It makes me a bit shocked and sad that people think that it is ok to let a child dictate - basically she has been pulled up on something and therefore she is now saying she doesn't want to come again and face any consequences.

So what happens if mom gets with someone in future and DSD doesn't like him? Is mom going to stay single forever in case DSD gets upset and decides that you and OH are going to be a better option. OR if mom puts her foot down in a few years because she is a teenager and a handful because her spoilt behaviour means she is used to dictating the rules of the house.

I can't get my head round it at all, my ex has been a right knobhead at times in past and there has been times when I have threatened to reduce access but it is important to me that DS has a relationship with his dad, if his dad is a prat then DS will make his own mind up about him when he is old enough to make an adult decision about how his relationship with his dad should be.

I don't consider him to be old enough yet and he is nearly 14 and certainly not off the back of finding out it was because he had a telling off because he had done something wrong>

NotaDisneyMum Tue 23-Apr-13 13:05:27

kalpa this will be very very tough on your marriage.

If you and your DH want to survive the next months and years as a couple, I suggest you find a way to work together NOW, before it gets worse (and it will).
My DP and I did various courses and programmes together as well as some couples counselling sessions - find out what works for you.
There will be times when you will need to disengage - ask him to seek support away from you - just to retain your sanity. There willbe times when he'll shut you out. Both of you will feel rejected unless your relationship has strong foundations.

There is no easy answer to dealing with your DSD behaviour all the while it is supported and facilitated by her mother. One thing I do know is that DP and I couldn't have done it alone. We have had excellent support from local family support workers, youth counselling charities and the national Centre for Separated Families.

This WILL destroy your family unless you and your DH work together from the off.

Alwayscheerful Tue 23-Apr-13 13:12:25

If you live together and have a child together it is completely unreasonable and impractical for his arrangements with DSC to be separated from you and DD.


NotaDisneyMum Tue 23-Apr-13 15:27:52

My DP did manage to maintain his relationship with DSD independently from me for over 12 months - she never stayed over, obviously, but she did come to the houae; I either went out or made myself scarce.

But - it was part of a managed reintroduction to the family that everyone involved had agreed to; DSD knew it was temporary, I understood it was part of the process and DP knew that I wouldn't accept it forever. DSD and I now spend regular time together and she even works for me!

While it is very disrespectful for the OPs DH to expect her to accept this arrangement without discussion, in some circumstances, it can work.

xuntitledx Tue 23-Apr-13 16:56:40

I think it's nuts to even suggest, let alone consider, 1:1 time with your husband and his daughter without your involvement.

I agree that it's important for all parents to spend some 1:1 time alone with their children but not all of the time and certainly not at a child or ex-partner's demands.

I'd insist on keeping the arrangements as is and letting it all blow over...

Hareseeker Tue 23-Apr-13 23:09:11

I think you have been very supportive of everyone in this situation including the ex.
I am amazed quite frankly that another person is allowed to dictate what happens in your house under the guise of what the child wants or what is best for the child.
You have had some excellent advice from people far more experienced than my self in this situation. That said, our house starts at our front door and apart from essentials my DP and I manage our house, no one else.
I'm so sorry that you are having to go thought this.

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