Kids don't want to go to their dads - what age is reasonable?(20 Posts)
Pretty much does what it says on the tin.
What age did your kids decide they didn't want to go to the ExH's EOW and you allowed it?
Not my kids but my parents divorced when I was 11 and when I was 14 I was allowed to choose when I went to see my dad. Not because I had a problem seeing him, just that my social life was more important!!
This is my eldests reasoning, he's only 12 though.
My youngest is 7 and this isn't really so much of a problem with her at the moment but I do get the odd weekend where she would rather do other things! obviously she is far too young to be deciding so I make her go anyway - just looking for what sort of ages other people's children started getting their own lives with friends etc and didn't go EOW religiously
My sc are 9 and 14, they still come to us for the wkend, unless they have a party to go to. or their mum wants them for whatever reason.. then we just swap the wkend if need be,
Is there a way that the social stuff can be part of the dad's weekend?
If my DSCs were allowed to choose not to spend our nights with DP he would fight it (and be devastated).
But we all live close together so they don't have to miss anything when at ours/their mum's.
I live 2 hours away from him and his partner (he moved to be with her) so unfortunately not! This is the problem
My eldest had a couple of weeks where he didn't want to see his dad. He was 12 at the time and had a good reason for not wanting to go so I was ok with it (parties etc aren't a good enough reason in my book until they're a bit older or it's a special occasion) He did then go back to seeing him regularly.
We are just starting to encounter this with ours (12 and 13)so I'm watching this thread with interest. In our case it doesn't help that their Mum repeatedly gets a bit further away each time she moves and it's a bit of a trek for them now which I think they find tough at the end of the week when they probably just want to chill out.
I'm a bit uncomfortable with children getting too much choice with seeing parents. Teenagehood is quite a vulnerable time really, and whether they like it or not, gaining different perspectives and being 'parented' by BOTH parents is maybe more important than when they are small.
They wouldn't have this choice at all if parents were still together.
But I can see that becoming an adult, you want to move into your own life, seeing friends at weekends more etc. So some leeway is fair enough. But be careful it doesn't just sidle into one parent. Or into punishing parents as in my DSCs who just moved to the 'easier' one and basically got into a load of trouble with the most lax parent!
Surely it is about trying to understand the reasons and then see whether these can be resolved. Does his dad know how he feels?
My kids are starting to spend less time at their dad. They are 13 and 16 (about to turn 14 and 17). The reason the oldest is not going as often is purely down to her increasing busy life over the week-end, not just going out with friends, but working, volunteering, doing tournaments etc....
My DS is also cutting short his week-ends. His reason is that he is bored there. Unfortunately, their dad don't do much with them and never has. He has never taken them on a holiday and never do days out, so they are in the house all day long. He doesn't have friends there and live in a flat in town, so not much chance to go out and make some. His going is determined on what he can watch on TV (he loves his sport!).
My position is that it is between their dad and them. I don't think their dad is too bothered though and sees it as them growing up. To be fair, I don't see half of them as I used to either as they spend a lot of time in their room or out and about.
I'm starting to feel that my DSD at 13 is ready to make her own mind up about contact. She gets very different things from each home (I think she gets more love and nurturing from her Mum while she gets more social life / activities / support with schoolwork here). I think she's getting to an age when she should be able to decide what she needs when and it's very unfair to impose a strict contact routine on her.
I have to admit, it would be easier for me and I suspect all the adults involved to stick with the contact routine. When I read posts on here about teenagers rocking up announced, sometimes with friends and expecting to be fed it does make me quake in my boots a bit....
I have to say I am surprised ex and his partner haven't complained yet about their coming and going. I think (certainly hope) that it is because they are very self-sufficient and their SM really enjoy their company, so I genuinely think she does mind. It has been installed in them that they have to give 24 hours notice for cooking purposes if anything. They would never show up and expect to be cooked a meal, and never bring friends over.
I also think my DSD needs her Mum to be on hand through adolescence. I just don't feel equipped to deal with it. It may be something that's personal to me and my own inadequacies but I doubt it, I suspect other SM's feel the same. DH is often not here and I'm very aware that I'd struggle to be emotionally supportive to my DSD with all the teenage stuff. I had a pretty rubbish relationship with my own Mum and didn't have any sisters. I remember feeling totally lost for those years (I was assaulted at 14 and never told anyone) and I'm already extremely anxious about being able to support my own DD's through them let alone DSD. DH is not particularly communicative or in touch with his feelings either so even if he was around more, I don't reckon he'd be much help to DSD. I just feel that enforcing a 50:50 contact routine on her is totally inappropriate. For any teenager really but possibly more so for a teenage girl. Obviously there are SM's who have closer relationships with their DSD's and maybe things are different then. But my relationship with my DSD is focussed on meeting her practical needs. Of course I cuddle her and mop up her tears but we don't spend hours on the sofa chatting. She gets that from her Mum.
I think 12 is definitely old enough to have a say in when they see their dad, what patterns of contact work, and to change it around a bit from time to time to fit with their social lives. That's likely to take a bit of compromising from everyone and good communication so that you and your ex are always clear where he is, and know who's feeding him.
However I think it's too young to be allowed to make a decision that could cause them to lose a relationship altogether by stopping contact just because it's a bit of a pain to keep up. 12 year olds live in the present and may not really appreciate the long term consequences of repeatedly dropping visits. I think 16 or so is a reasonable age to move to a much less frequent visiting system if that's what they want - more like a student back in the holidays.
Crusoe I feel very similarly about my teenage DSC. We had a 50-50 split with two of them last year and I don't think it worked well. Nobody was really meeting their emotional needs. We now have one full time and the other is now mainly with her mum and I think that's better for both of them.
My Dp's DD is 13. She hasn't been here for nearly a year. Prior to that she was here twice in six months.
There has been no reasons given and her mum won't respond to texts or emails asking why DD won't come here anymore. DD won't talk to him on the phone either.
She used to come here EOW until her mum moved her away just over 2 years ago. Contact deteriorated rapidly at that point. Dp was still out of work after having his accident and we were struggling to put food on the table, nevermind suddenly finding £60 a month for petrol to collect and drop off twice a month. Her mum refused to facilitate contact by helping with travelling (either doing pick up or drop off which would have just about been affordable). So it dropped to once every 5 or 6 weeks and then there were endless excuses about why she couldn't come.
I do feel that her mum is happy with this and doesn't realise that she's basically destroying the relationship between my dp and his dd. He has tried repeatedly to talk to his dd but she won't respond at all. Without knowing why she won't come, he can't do anything else.
My ds is 9 and I am really struggling with him not wanting to see his dad for the one sole day per weekend because his dad does nothing, never has done (thought he might actually be a better dad once we had split) but that was just wishful thinking. I have tried to encourage ds to see his dad because I think it's important and can see that it could be only too easy to lose that contact if someone didn't try and it's only so many hours but equally I am not going to force him. I feel guilty and feel sorry for ds every time he 'has' to go. My ds shouldn't have to be one making all the effort so for me, I think he is old enough.
I also think my DSD needs her Mum to be on hand through adolescence. I just don't feel equipped to deal with it. It may be something that's personal to me and my own inadequacies but I doubt it, I suspect other SM's feel the same. I completely agree crusoe. I bought this exact issue up with my DP who bought into her mother's view that I was a being awful for even raising the fact that she needed some time with her mother through teenagehood.
ExW was vehement that our house was 'DSDs home' - and that she didn't ever have to go to her mums.
I guess every family is different. My oldest dd, stopped when she was 18 just because she rather spend time at her boyfriends! Middle dd 16 comes and goes as she pleases which I think is healthy at that age and ds, bit younger is more regular, but his dd doesn't fuss if he has a full schedule and doesn't want to. Kids need more freedom as they get older, then there isn't the push/pull effect and they find they want to go rather than have to. Friends are top priority at this age for kids and it's a long life ahead. You let go bit by bit, year by year and the kids will thank you for it when they're adults. Letting go for parents is key, but 9-12 year olds dictating the score is a bit young I think.
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