Back down and save the children feeling conflicted?

(31 Posts)
Andsoitbegins88 Fri 01-Jan-16 15:04:46

We've got the DSS's this evening and we have booked to go to see Star Wars. DP has just spoken to the eldest DS (12) who said his Mum has told him he can't watch Star Wars with us as she wants to watch it with them. So now he's saying we can't go to the cinema as his Mum will be cross.

Just for completeness, when Spectre came out DP told his ex we were taking the boys to see it on his weekend and she said no, she didn't want him to. No reason why or any explanation, so we went anyway. DP said she's never enjoyed the cinema and he often went alone with the boys so assumed she was just being difficult. Anyway, she called whilst we were at the cinema, DP text her to say he'd call when the film was over and she went apeshit. Drove to the cinema (30 mins from her), was calling him continuously and texting telling him how outraged she was he went against her wishes etc etc. Thankfully she wasn't allowed past the cinema staff but was threatening to come and remove the boys from the cinema. Still no real explanation why, DP said that if she particularly wanted to see Spectre with the boys then she could have articulated that but, given that she doesn't enjoy the cinema, he couldn't understand why she was so angry he'd taken them; she didn't really respond except with abuse.

So now she's explicitly told the eldest DS not to see Star Wars with us, what do we do? He's clearly uncomfortable and in the middle, poor chap, but we've booked and paid for it. And this is just her being controlling and manipulative, as standard. Part of me wants to ignore her but I know she'll take it out on the DSSs, so would you be the bigger person and lose the money already spent to save the children the hassle?

swingofthings Fri 01-Jan-16 15:17:02

So considering what happened, your OH didn't think of asking his son first about going to see it before booking it?

Personally, this to me strikes of your OH being controlling and manipulative. Your SS has said that he doesn't want to see it because he wants to go with his mum. Maybe it is because he saw Sprectre with you so think it is fair to see SW with his mum? Is that so unreasonable?

As to assume that because she didn't want to go to the cinema with your OH when they were together so therefore can't possible now wish to go with her own son, how short-minded. Clearly didn't consider that maybe she TOO had already booked it. Or maybe she has no-one else to go with (unlike your OH who can got with you).

I really feel sorry for children who are stuck in between such selfish parents. If you know you are going to do something special with your child that the other parent might want to do to, how hard it is to mention it before booking and talking to the child about it and then come to a compromise?

Yes,you should lose the money because it was your OH's fault for going ahead and booking it before discussing it with his son first.

cannotlogin Fri 01-Jan-16 15:25:45

I'm not sure it's controlling or selfish to want to take your child to the cinema. It is pretty...weird to freak out to the point of trying to physically remove your children from the cinema or indeed, controlling to tell your ex he can't see a certain film with the children because you want to see it. Star Wars has been out for a couple of weeks now - if she was that desperate, she's had plenty of time to organise it. I do agree, given her reaction to Spectre, that it would have been sensible to check prior to booking tickets. It probably does feel like the OP's DH is getting to all the fun stuff but I am guessing that's all she needs to say and he will back down?

OP - I don't know the answer. It is clear your DSS will be uncomfortable if he goes to the cinema today. That might be reason enough to back down - phone the cinema and see if you can get credit given that you haven't seen the film yet? They can then release the seats for someone else to buy them so it's potentially them getting the money twice over?

LineyReborn Fri 01-Jan-16 15:30:51

My ExH used to do this, ie take the DCs to films that I had wanted to take them to see. I sucked it up but it didn't make it right, especially as he only saw them once a month (his choice) but I suppose it gave them something nice to do together.

They - your OH and his Ex - could both do with making an adult agreement to alternate 'big film' screenings.

Andsoitbegins88 Fri 01-Jan-16 15:47:47

swing thanks for the response, if she wants to take the children then he wouldn't have a problem at all; it just needs communicating. He's the least manipulative person around but perhaps booking it was hasty, as you say. He didn't think the reaction last time was genuinely about the film, which is probably why he went ahead. Her wanting to go to the cinema with her children isn't hard to understand at all, that's not the point. The point is she doesn't go with them, it just seems she doesn't want him to. But that's fine, if she really doesn't want us to then she just has to say and be clear about why; she wasn't last time which is why it's confusing. She hasn't mentioned it to DP, so how is he supposed to know? You could equally say after the spectre incident she could have asked him not to take them to Star Wars, but she hasn't.

cannot I think the reason I'm saying its a bit controlling is because she doesn't actually take them to the cinema, but of course I absolutely understand why she would want to enjoy that kind of thing with her children. I'm not blaming anyone, just want to do the right thing by the children but preferably not lose money - the cinema isn't cheap after all!

liney you're right, some communication between both of them would absolutely help & stop this type of situation arising.

newname99 Fri 01-Jan-16 17:44:15

Has she had the opportunity to take them before now? I actually think her extreme behaviour last time was aimed at controlling you so that your dp feels afraid to book anything without referring to her first.

I guess your DSS has a choice to go with you or his mum, he shouldn't feel afraid to go now.If his mum hasn't booked it then where is the harm? A parent can't fence off activities for such an event as a film.

I would hope your DSS can make a choice, now with you or at a known date with his mum.Hopefully he doesnt feel afraid to make a decision that will anger his mum

Andsoitbegins88 Fri 01-Jan-16 18:19:06

I'm inclined to agree newname she's had plenty of opportunity to take them. She's done similar with trampolining recently - said she didn't want us to take them trampolining with no real explanation why, then the following weekend actually booked a trampolining spot for them during our weekend. Maybe she just felt bad about saying no the weekend before, but the inconsistency and lack of explanation is confusing at best.

The eldest DS was really reluctant to go so we've binned the idea and we're watching old Star Wars episodes instead!

OutToGetYou Fri 01-Jan-16 18:46:06

Well, the boy can go twice, he'd probably want to anyway.

We have a bit of this, the dm always promising dss stuff like taking him to see certain films, taking him to Disneyland etc, and then never doing it. We just ignore her now. But he's 14 so can make his own decisions.

He still gets manipulated by her though - two weeks ago dp suggested by text to the ex that she take dss to see SW as he really wanted to go and we hadn't had time, then he was with her, then we were going away. She texted back that she couldn't because it would be too busy (yeah, cos when we go to the cinema they keep it empty for us...). Dss later told us that she had left him home alone all that day while she went shopping and had gone out with a friend in the evening. We took him to see SW on our way to our Christmas venue - after we'd seen it he said "my mum wanted to take me to see that" (drives me crazy, but it's not about me).

She would never have taken him, she just says that stuff to make herself sound good.

Let him decide - he can see it with you and then again if she takes him, or you don't go and he waits for her to take him (while hell freezes over).

Bluelilies Fri 01-Jan-16 19:07:09

You've already booked it. It's been out at least a fortnight so she's had plenty chance to take him herself. She's no right to dictate that you don't go. He'll probably be happy to go twice

So go, and enjoy it.

Things like that really shouldn't be so complicated.

Andsoitbegins88 Fri 01-Jan-16 19:51:59

I have a feeling it's going to be the same this time out, next week she'll probably suggest we take them to see SW smile

Andsoitbegins88 Fri 01-Jan-16 19:55:19

We didn't go blue - eldest DS has said he'd be betraying his mum by going with us (not sure where that wording has come from) so def didn't want to push it. It's not fair and she could have taken them, but him feeling so torn isn't fair. Lost the money but it's a lesson learned I suppose hmm

Creiddylad Fri 01-Jan-16 22:07:02

My exh and Dh's ex used to do this. Even though the kids live with us, the kids would tell us that we could not take them to see X film. Then they would wait weeks to be taken and it would not happen. It is a control thing.

Now mine are teenagers and prefer to go to the cinema with their mates.

swingofthings Sat 02-Jan-16 10:06:25

You could equally say after the spectre incident she could have asked him not to take them to Star Wars, but she hasn't.

Maybe she worried that if she did, which would have been imposing her ways, he would have reacted defensively? Also, it might be that as DSS is becoming a teenager, she is starting to expect him to communicate with his dad about what he wants to do, which is indeed what he did. I still feel that the error in this instance was to book the session without first asking, non her, but DS.

Things got a lot easier with my ex when we gradually stopped communicating between ourselves and let the kids say what they wanted to do. It's a lot easier to respect what your child wants than your ex.

neonrainbow Sat 02-Jan-16 10:11:23

She sounds like a fucking nightmare.

Lweji Sat 02-Jan-16 10:15:59

IMO there's fault on both sides. When she said she didn't want you to take them, then the reply should have been the truth, that you were taking him and she could take him for the next big one (we've known about SW for at least a year). Or arrange it to be the reverse.
Instead he just goes along and books things and goes behind her back without discussing anything.

As it is, it does look like he is just as manipulative and playing tug of war.
Poor boy.

ProbablyMe Sat 02-Jan-16 10:22:35

She sounds completely mental to me. My exH often takes our DS's to the cinema, never crossed my mind to think I could claim a film as mine. How daft! It's about the kids enjoying themselves not competing for who does what!! Nuts!

ProbablyMe Sat 02-Jan-16 10:23:18

And why should she get to dictate when her kids go? They have two parents!

LizzieMacQueen Sat 02-Jan-16 10:28:07

From her behaviour over the Spectre movie I would suggest that she is still very raw from the break up. Is it possible that she's still in love with your DP?

Sunbeam1112 Sat 02-Jan-16 10:34:06

I've arranged to go to the pics to see a certain a film and ds dad has went and took him. It is quite frustrating as the main parent. Its rare we get to go as we have younger children. Your dss mam did overreact but if you knew she was planning on taking him why go? She told you not to take him to see that specfic movie so why go ahead and book it? They was clearly a reason. I think both parties are in the wrong here. You for going agaisnt her and the mum for her OTT reaction

DelphiniumBlue Sat 02-Jan-16 10:39:38

I think you made the right choice not to take them, no point in upsetting the DC. As a stepchild myself, I used to hate being caught in the middle, even if unintentionally. I frequently had nightmares about it.
However, dp and his ex need to have a chat about how to manage this in future. It does happen that there is an issue over this in non- blended families; I have had to suck up Ds going with other people when I wanted to take him myself, and it happens more as they get older - standard birthday outing at 13/14 is film plus food!

sandgrown Sat 02-Jan-16 10:40:15

I booked to take all DGC and their parents to see Star Wars, followed by a family meal, on 23 December. We would not all be together on Christmas Day so it was our pre- Christmas treat. It was booked in October and DS told his ex. When he went to pick his son up she had already taken him to see the film. She said he did not understand some of it so he could see it again! angry

wannaBe Sat 02-Jan-16 10:44:17

We're talking about a trip to the cinema here not a once in a lifetime experience.

Op's dh is not obliged to ask his ex whether it's ok to take his children to the cinema. If she wants to see Star Wars with them then she is still perfectly at liberty to do so. It would never occur to me to run past my ex that I was intending to do x or y with ds and would he mind - surely doing that just opens up the possibility for one or other parent to retain control in a long-since ended relationship. Yes, there are some activities which I know ds might prefer to do with his dad such as going to football or cycling or indeed watching Star Wars, but if the possibility arose for him to do those things with me then I don't need anyone's permission to do so. To suggest that the op's dh is at fault here is ludicrous.

As for the ex driving across town and causing a scene at the cinema, I would be questioning just what kind of parent would do that. Certainly not the kind who has her children's best interests at heart.

Lweji Sat 02-Jan-16 10:58:13

We're talking about a trip to the cinema here not a once in a lifetime experience.
You realise it's Star Wars? wink

I'd be upset for anyone to take ds to see it, because I'm a fan.

In this case neither gets to dictate, which is why they should talk about it and agree on a plan for such activities rather than just to book it regardless or prohibiting activities.

CheeseandGherkins Sat 02-Jan-16 11:02:42

Andsoitbegins88 you're not sure where the wording came from? Well seeing as he is 12 I would presume from his own opinions and mind. Why do some people always try to blame (the insinuation was there) the mother for what a child says? Children, especially older ones as in this case, actually do have their own opinions. Shocker I know...hmm

Fwiw I agree with swingofthings

SundayGirl86 Sat 02-Jan-16 11:17:58

I agree with wannaBe and think that if you concede to this kind of control you are sending a strong message that it's okay for her to behave like this in future - and it's not.

It's not about the dad dictating either - it's about him being able to decide to do things with his children during their time together. Yes, ideally, it would be great if both parents could discuss this but it doesn't look as if they're able to.

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