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Wat would you say is the ultimate 'arrangement' for DC's...

(28 Posts)
Miren Tue 25-Feb-14 14:13:08

when in a 'split' family?

I have 3 children, 8, 5 and 3yo. 8yo DS is from a previous relationship and I'm well aware that he faces more problems than my other two. Just wondering what the arrangement people consider the best?

mumblechum1 Tue 25-Feb-14 14:58:49

Arrangements in what sense?

Miren Tue 25-Feb-14 15:02:35

Contact with both parents.

FrogbyAnotherName Tue 25-Feb-14 15:08:36

The ideal is whatever works best for everyone.

There's no point in one parent agreeing to something that is going to leave them simmering with resentment - no matter how good it is for the DCs, it will eventually leave the DCs feeling conflicted and torn.

It needs to be given time - my DD was 8 when I split from her Dad and we both agreed on 50:50 - but it took 18 months or so for everyone, including DD to settle with a few hiccups along the way. It would have been really easy to change things, leaving one or other of us seething with resentment for years afterwards. Helping DD work through it with the help of a play therapist has resulted in her thriving in both her homes and families now.

Accepting that one parent may be in a very different place and unable to distinguish their own feelings from their DCs is important. It is very easy to be so single minded on doing what is right for the DCs that results in the DCs being more conflicted and disrupted because the other parent just isn't ready.
This is possibly the hardest thing to do, and can rob DCs of a close relationship with one parent - but if the alternative is no relationship at all, then sometimes a parent needs to let go of holding quite so tight, in order to stay in their DCs lives at all.

That doesn't really answer you're question, does it?!?

Xalla Tue 25-Feb-14 15:11:27

Not sure there is one tbh. Depends on distance, work, space and a multitude of other things!

When we lived in close proximity to my DSD, I think the arrangement that worked best was EoW and an overnight each week plus half of school holidays. Shared bday, alternate Xmas, Father's Day with DH, Mother's Day with Mum etc.

My DH had 50:50 for a while; firstly in 5:2:2:5 arrangement and then in a week on / week off arrangement. The 5:2:2:5 was OK, the week on / week off was hard all round.

Now we don't live in close proximity to her and she spends term time with Mum and all school holidays plus every third weekend with DH.

Parsnipcake Tue 25-Feb-14 15:12:28

The best arrangement is one where the adults can put their own feelings to one side and centre arrangements around the child - easier said than done! For us it meant dad and stepdad would both supervise/ attend birthday parties, dad occasionally stayed with us and holidays and Christmas had to be negotiated creatively. Generally my son did 1 night a week and alternate weekends, but these were very flexible arrangements depending on what each family had going on.

Petal02 Tue 25-Feb-14 15:30:39

The best arrangement is one where the adults can put their feelings to one side and centre arrangements around the child

Not sure if I agree with the above - you can't run two households, working patterns, other siblings etc around one child.

Xalla Tue 25-Feb-14 15:36:00

Agreed Petal. There may be more than one child involved and their interests may conflict. What was deemed 'best' for my DSD by her parents (namely that I be her primary carer 50% of the time) certainly wasn't 'best' for my DC.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Tue 25-Feb-14 15:43:44

There isnt a one size fits all solution- not even within the same family and things change so what migjt have worked 3 years ago wont work for two teens and a primary age dc (example family)

Petal02 Tue 25-Feb-14 15:47:11

Yourebeingasillybilly you're so right that things change, which is why "set in stone" arrangements can cause problems as life marches on. Flexibility is important.

Miren Tue 25-Feb-14 15:48:28

Thanks for the replies.

I feel that after 8 years of it not being right, we are finally getting there. EOW for two nights and midweek overnight. Dad coming in for a chat when it's pick up/drop off. I think it's finally on it's way to 'perfect' for DS1.

However, now DS2 is suffering badly and we have quite severe behaviour problems when DS1 is away. He has been over to DS1 Dad's for a few hours to play, but it seems to have made it worse.

Can't help but feel it will never be 'right'

Miren Tue 25-Feb-14 15:49:25

Oh how annoying - WHAT! not wat - gah!

YoureBeingASillyBilly Tue 25-Feb-14 15:51:02

Is ds2 dad your partner? Could his dad make a point if spending some one on one time with him (and planning it witj ds2 so its to look forward to) when ds1 goes ti his dad's?

Miren Tue 25-Feb-14 15:53:52

Yes, my husband is DS2 and 3's Dad. We do try and arrange special time - but with DHs job and DS3 to consider, it's tough

Loveineveryspoonful Tue 25-Feb-14 15:56:18

It took a few months for,the dust to settle after my divorcing exh, ds was 3, and saw his dad regularly at our home. Obviously this was uncomfortable all round. But as exh was from another country, temporarily unemployed, there was a chance he'd scarper with ds... When he found employment and a flat to cater for overnights I could relax too and it's been eow and week at Xmas/ny, a week during summer hols etc. but a never more than a week at a time (things got easier when he remarried to a wonderful woman who likes ds and brings stability to time spent with dad).
My dsc first came eow and came for dinner twice a week (with me shopping and cooking as dh2 had to collect them after work and then bring them back after). This then changed to one overnight midweek after 2 years, thank god - the traveling backwards and forwards was a nightmare for the kids as we didn't have a car then.
Since nearly a year now we have dss, 13, 50:50, dsd, nearly 17, comes sporadically. Its interesting how the boys felt pretty much at home with the new situation right from the start, dsd has never reconciled to her parents splitting up (they already "visited" their dad for 2 years before we met) so whatever arrangements were made the boys were fine, dsd is never going to accept it regardless what we do sad.

Petal02 Tue 25-Feb-14 15:56:45

After 7 years of access arrangements I've come to the conclusion that even with all the best intentions, blended families don't work very well for anyone. I know lots of us live in such arrangements these days, and its sadly a sign of the world today, but I don't think there is a 'right answer.'

YoureBeingASillyBilly Tue 25-Feb-14 15:59:05

I can understand that. And ds2 is still very young to be able to verbalise his feelings, whether that be lonliness or jealousy etc. i think possibly distraction might work at the point of ds1 leaving (if possible). Try to busy ds2 with a task/game/helping you or DH in the garden or upstairs and dont have a build up to ds1 leaving. Try and get him ready with minimum fuss.

Miren Tue 25-Feb-14 16:00:35

that's what I'm worried about Petal - there will always be someone who suffers sad

Miren Tue 25-Feb-14 16:02:06

YoureBeingASilly - you might have a point there about when DS leaves, usually he's collected from school, but this week it's been from home, maybe why DS2 has been more volatile.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Tue 25-Feb-14 16:12:07

Mid term this week? Yes boredom mixed with normal sibling squabbles and the 'obviousness' of ds1 leaving is probably what is going on. Try distracting if possible.

Miren Tue 25-Feb-14 16:16:13

He goes through stages - a few weeks ago he was quite bad. He couldn't sleep and spent an hour drawing pictures for his DB. He even wrote a letter asking for him to come home. They are very close and inseparable when both here at the weekend.

The contact has just been upped, so I don't think that's helping.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Tue 25-Feb-14 16:18:14

Aww! Wee pet. Does ds2 ring when he stays with his dad? Or skype? Might be an idea to let them say night night to each other on the days he's away. Even just over the phone if skype not possible.

purpleroses Tue 25-Feb-14 16:32:54

I think that one of the things to consider when you have children in the household who come and go at different times is to try and get them out the way of each other's handovers - ie see if your DS1 can be collected by his dad when your younger DCs are out of the way, or let his dad get him via school or a friend or something.

My DD used to do EOW from a Friday night but then changed over to going to her dad's on a Saturday morning - which was after the DSC had arrived for the weekend. She never wants to go any more - even though I know she has a good time at her dad's, it's just she feels she's missign all the fun at home. It's easier not to notice what you're missing if handovers are via school or at a time when there's noone much to be leaving behind, or to be left.

You might want to try and get a few more play dates set up too for your DS2 so he's not feeling too lonely when DS1 is away.

Miren Tue 25-Feb-14 16:46:53

That's a good idea Yourebeing. Will ask DS1 Dad - although I don't want him to feel that we're imposing on 'his' time.

purple yes usually pick up is from school.

I suppose when DS3 gets a little older they may become closer so it will be easier.

ElenorRigby Tue 25-Feb-14 18:02:52

It's probably been said but the best arrangement for any separated child is when both parents can "box" their own hurt and put that to one side.

They then are more free to work together to truly do the best for their children. <rare> sad

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