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Can we get contact increased?

(60 Posts)
Promethium Sun 04-Jan-15 16:53:14

Hi All, we've just had DSS (who's 5) with us since Boxing Day and it's been fab. Every day he keeps asking how long he's got with us and says he wants to stay here. Yesterday he got upset when he asked as we said he was seeing mummy tomorrow (now today). Today then he was asking what we we're doing today and we told him we'd do xyz then after lunch he'd be going to see mummy. He said he doesn't want to go to mummy's. He said "why do I have to go to school tomorrow. Why can't I stay here tonight. I want to stay with you every day and every week." He got really upset about having to leave and kept asking why he couldn't stay.

I don't know why he feels like that. We never slag off his mum. I don't know if how we respond is right but when he says he wants to stay here we always say we'd love him to but mummy (and his little brother) loves seeing him too and can't wait to see him again. We always make it seem positive that he's seeing his mum and say we'll see him soon. DP is in no way a Disney dad. We normally have him every other weekend, he gets homework on a Friday so he does homework here on our weekends and at his mums on her weekends. I think actually we're more strict with him from what I've seen / DP's seen so it's not like he's able to get away with everything here. We make him brush his teeth / brush them for him - whereas she doesn't watch him do them or check he's doing it right or even make him do them, he walks everywhere even though he hates it (except the occasional time DP puts him on his shoulders) as we don't have a car atm whereas he goes everywhere in the car with his mum. We are overall stricter I think, not in a bad way, just in that we won't let him get away with being naughty - if that makes sense. We're not all bad though, he has a reward chart here whereas Mum refuses to have one at her home.

The only thing we do differently apart from reward chart (afaik) is play with him more. He's very much left to his own devices a lot of the time at his mum's. She's got a 6 month old baby so understandably doesn't have a lot of time but even before she was pregnant with DSS's brother she and her DP would rarely get on the floor and play with him. He can and does play on his own at ours but I'd say the majority of the time we do spend time playing / drawing / reading etc with him. Tbh I love it as does DP and we could never just leave him to his own devices all day.

It's horrible when he gets upset about leaving. We currently live too far away to see him more but we're thinking of moving as we'll be closer to him as well as closer to all our family. We'd then be within walking distance of him and his school. Would we be able to get closer to 50:50 contact if we lived closer? It's been a very up and down few years in terms of contact. DSS's mum wishes we didn't exist and has regularly stopped contact in the past. I've no idea how DP managed to get DSS so long this holidays, it's normally a flat out no! They've tried mediation which helped for a few months then contact was stopped again. Solicitor said they couldn't do anything as she eventually said fine we can see him again - though I suspect that was just a crap solicitor! The last year hasn't been too bad, we've seen DSS every other weekend but never been allowed any more. Every time DP asks he's told to F off.

Sorry this is so long but is there anything at all we can do to get increased contact if we moved closer? DP was SAHD until they broke up when DSS was about 9 months so it's not like he only wants to know now.

wheresthelight Sun 04-Jan-15 17:43:03

to be honest it is fairly typical 5 yo behaviour and he probably says the same things at his mum's.

enjoy the fact he likes coming and talk to his mum about more contact once you live nearer

wheresthelight Sun 04-Jan-15 17:43:46

sorry missed the bit about his ex...mediation followed by court would be your only option then

Promethium Sun 04-Jan-15 18:02:52

He never says it at his mums. Contact would be stopped in an instant if he said he didn't want to go to daddy's.

Would the courts actually award extra contact?

elastamum Sun 04-Jan-15 18:09:33

It is perfectly reasonable for your DP to want more contact with his son.

It isn't perfectly reasonable for you to judge his mother the way you do. I suspect that might be part of the problem between you - 'best parent' competitions between divorced parents never end well.

yellowdaisies Sun 04-Jan-15 18:10:08

Do you think it might be partly that it's the end of the holidays? DSS only sees you in the holidays and at weekends, so even if your DP isn't trying to be a Disney dad, DDS is always going to associate your house with being the fun place, and his mum with being the parent that forces him off to school every morning.

I've no experience of going through the courts for contact though so not sure what the chances of getting more contact world be. I'd imagine you'd have to make the move first and then apply.

LineRunner Sun 04-Jan-15 18:12:49

How do you know about the tooth brushing at his mum's?

wheresthelight Sun 04-Jan-15 18:13:41

they wouldn't extend it by mich but they would probably award 50% of holidays and if you lived closer enough for school then you might get a week night. but you would have to move first before weeknights would be looked into

Amd I would be very surprised of he didn't say the same at his mum's as all kids do

Promethium Sun 04-Jan-15 18:32:08

linerunner DSS told us he brushes his own teeth at his mummy's so DP asked her about it and she confirmed he does it himself and she doesn't watch him and only makes him do it once a day at most.

I'm not judging his mum. It's a simple fact she rarely plays with him and doesn't brush his teeth. She has a different style of parenting and that's fine, I was just saying perhaps that's why DSS prefers ours but ofc one can never get a proper answer out of a 5 year old about things like this. They've never been married but DP would say he's the better parent. If anything she's the one making out like she's a better parent - always slagging off DP and saying how amazing she is. It's sad because kids ideally would have both parents who are fab and who get on with one another.

Trust me wheresthelight, we wish he did say it at his mums. At least then we'd know he just simply enjoys being at both places. She honestly would stop contact if he said it though.

Even if DSS hadn't said these things, DP would still want to see him more. He's his Dad and loves him to bits, ofc he wants to see his son as much as possible.

Promethium Sun 04-Jan-15 18:33:21

Oh gosh! Should really preview. I meant DP would never say he's the better parent!!

TravelinColour Sun 04-Jan-15 18:37:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wheresthelight Sun 04-Jan-15 18:44:28

what are her reasons for being so anti contact?

Promethium Sun 04-Jan-15 18:47:27

TravelinColour currently we live too far away. But when this contract ends we'll be able to move to about 10/15mins walking distance.

DP had a hard enough job getting her to let him go to the Christmas concert as well as have him for few hours that afternoon / evening. It was only because he phoned school and they gave him extra tickets that she basically had no choice in him going to concert and then she only let him pick him up from school (as he was there anyway!) and take him for dinner as she was ill in bed.

I wish they got on better. Hopefully DSS isn't aware of the animosity yet as they rarely see each other but he's going to notice as he gets older. it won't be nice for him if things don't improve between his mum and dad sad

SoupDragon Sun 04-Jan-15 18:50:25

I would imagine that you do not have to do the dull stuff with him - like forcing him to go to school. Time with you is fun time (I don't mean in a Disney way, just because it's not school time) This is going to be part of why he wants to stay - it may be different if you were the one taking him to school etc.

Which isn't to say you shouldn't move closer so your DP can have more contact smile

Promethium Sun 04-Jan-15 18:52:35

wheresthelight I honestly don't know. I think it's just a case of they were young when they had DSS and now whilst she loves DSS, she hates the fact she still has to see DP and wishes he'd just disappear - she's made that quite clear in the past. She wants it to be just her, her partner, DSS and their baby. Can't say I blame her in a way, in an ideal world we'd all be in nuclear families and wouldn't have to deal with ex's and contact arrangements. But unfortunately life doesn't work that way and I know id much rather an ex who wanted to be involved than an ex who couldn't give two hoots about the kids.

Whatever21 Sun 04-Jan-15 18:52:48

Promethium - you have judged the mother all the way through
1. She refuses to have a reward chart - no her house her rules, nothing wrong with that
2. She has a baby - so DSS is learning about living in a family with siblings
3.She does not brush his teeth - I do not either, watch but do not do it for them, they have to be independent - different house , different rules
4.DSS says he prefers your parenting when he is with you - you have no clue what he says to his mother

It is nice that you want more contact time for the child, but eow to parenting 80% of the time, which his mother does, are two completely different circumstances. Great that he likes being with you and his father, but I have to say you come across as really sanctimonious.

Too often we hear on this forum about the step children having to fit in with the rest of the family, he has to fit in with the rest of his family at home. Does not mean he should go and live with the other parent,when he comes to you, he is the centre of attention - of course he laps it up. If you have him 50:50 - you will not have the time to lavish on him as you do at the moment.

Promethium Sun 04-Jan-15 19:08:42

The reward chart was mentioned in that I meant we don't just constantly tell him off. She's been having trouble with various things and when DP suggested a reward chart she refused even though it's how we get him to do things.

What's your point about baby? I didn't say there was anything wrong with her having a baby :S absolutely nothing at all wrong with him learning to live with siblings.

Nothing wrong with him doing his own teeth if he did them properly. But how can she know if she doesn't watch him.

I never once said he should live with us permanently. 50:50 is completely different to him coming to live with us permanently. What is wrong with a father (or a mother) wanting 50:50 when they live close enough and have appropriate work schedules that they can both get him to school / pick him up and spend adequate time with him. We spend just as much time with him now as we would do if he was here 50% (or 100%) of the time. We still do all our chores, take him shopping, do everything we would need to do if he was here all the time.

Promethium Sun 04-Jan-15 19:12:51

I did not mean to come across as sanctimonious. I was just trying to say that whilst things are different in each household, we do still enforce rules and the toothbrushing comment was more that he hates brushing his teeth but we make him them whereas mum doesn't - not a criticism just that we make him do something he hates. I know mums sometimes say the kids only like it as dad is being Disney parent but I was just trying to make the point DP's not like that. Apologies if I came across as sanctimonious.

lunar1 Sun 04-Jan-15 19:37:03

Have you got her home bugged? He is probably saying what you want to here.

PeruvianFoodLover Sun 04-Jan-15 19:56:34

op there is quite a bit of recently published information about the conflict DCs feel when "changing homes" - it's referred to as transitional distress or transitional conflict and can happen to children of all ages, regardless of how positive the relationship is between the split parents; it is obviously displayed differently depending on how old the child is.

My DD (who has always been 50:50 care), has always displayed this. When she was younger (we split when she was 8), it was tears and panic attacks - now it is grumpy teenager attitude (she's 14).
We adapted the arrangements to accomodate her as much as we could - transition through school helped (holiday transitions straight from home to home can still cause drama). We changed the transition day from a Monday to a Friday, which made the weekends a lot easier.

This may well be a phase for your DSS - his abilty to cope with the myriad of feelings he has at the point of transition shouldn't be used as an indicator of welfare in either home.

If your DH believes his DS would benefit from a more equal parenting arrangement, then he can seek this (through court if necessary), but that is unlikely to address any underlying difficulties your DasS has with transition.

Promethium Sun 04-Jan-15 20:10:25

peruvian do you think then things would calm down if DP was able to drop DSS off at school on the Monday morning and his mum pick him up after school? And likewise on the Fridays we have him, pick him up straight from school?

I wonder if it's worth trying that for a while and perhaps one overnight in the week. The one evening we did have him for a few hours was horrendous trying to drop him back (with tears etc) so I don't think midweek contact without overnight is a good idea and neither does DP but perhaps a school transition would help.

yellowdaisies Sun 04-Jan-15 20:20:18

I've always found school transitions to be easy on the child in terms of finding out easier to say goodbye, but somewhat more complicated in terms of making sure their belongings are on the right place. They worked well when mine were little though

Promethium Sun 04-Jan-15 20:26:02

I think actually yellow in terms of belongings it might be easier for a school transition. DSS is always in his school uniform on a Friday night which makes Sunday drop offs awkward and he only ever brings his school bag with his homework in, so it'd probably make things a whole lot easier for everyone. Doesn't help with holidays but would at least help during term time. Do they not find it confusing being dropped off and picked up by different people?

yellowdaisies Sun 04-Jan-15 21:01:53

Do they not find it confusing being dropped off and picked up by different people?

Mine never seemed to. It just becomes part of their routine

springalong Sun 04-Jan-15 21:07:46

Peruvian - do you have a link to that research about transition. There are issues for my DS about that - some of what you mention we already do but I would like to see if there is anything else I can do. thanks

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