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Experiences of balancing teen DSC social needs with non-res parental contact(5 Posts)
Does anyone have any experience of how to work this out please? DSC is 16, lives with us full time, spends half holidays and ad hoc weekends with their DM (weekends generally chosen by her to fit in with her own social schedule, generally every 3 weekends, sometimes just Sat night, sometimes Fri and Sat). She lives 90 mins drive from us.
We are now at the point where DSC would like to socialise independently with their friends and also to get a part time weekend / holiday job. But this isn’t easy if they have to spend half holidays with DM and some weekends.
It feels like a really unfair aspect of divorce that the DC don’t get to do “normal” stuff and participate how they would if their parents hadn’t split up and DM moved. But equally of course they want to see their DM and she wants to see them.
Any ideas that worked for others please?
I think separated parenting of a teenager is really hard work especially when social lives become a priority it the child's mind.
We have my DSS week on week off and it's still hard because he's never home and I'm starting to feel like we barely see him.
I think the weekends might be something you all have to discuss, if their mum is fitting them around her social life then she'll also need to learn it will be fit around the child's plans as well. But the child also needs to learn what plans are big enough to cancel time with their mum. E.g a preplanned outting/gathering is fine but not just because they want to hang out for a few hours last minute.
Unfortunately holidays might to harder to sort out. It's a mixture of teaching the child they should go to their mums so all plans should be made around that and being able to say actually they've made important plans I want to be home for.
It's also whether the mum does anything during that holiday time with them or just goes to work and leaves them to it.
At this age the child gets a say, what do they want?
At 16 SC makes their own decisions re contact with NRP. If that means the mother will have to do the travelling to accommodate SC having part time job she will have to adjust.
My SD lives with us full time and rarely sees her mother but when she lived with her mother she saw her father when it suited her and around her social life..which meant not that often..She also refused to on holidays with him as had her own plans..Separation from parents is part of growing up, not spending half of holidays with a parent at 16 would be natural.
My DSD is mostly with us and at a senior school that involves school every Saturday morning and matches most Saturday afternoons. It means she only really sees her Mum on Saturday nights / Sundays and she often doesn't want to if she gets an invite elsewhere or if we're doing something here that might involve one of her friends. It is tricky but you can't tell a teen what to do re. contact - a court wouldn't support it. In addition DSD chooses to flexi-board at school 2 or 3 nights a week and stays at school until 7:30 / 8pm on the nights she doesn't board to do prep so it's not like DH sees much of her either.
I don't feel like we see much less of her that we will do out other DC when they're that age. They're all social kids with a slew of extra curricular activities.
However, I do suspect one of the reasons DSD chooses to board is because she got so fed up of having to live between two homes. I think she felt the need to forge her own path earlier than most and I really don't blame her!
Thanks all for the insights. I agree it should be up to the DSC at this age. But it’s hard to get a balance when they also need a relationship with the non resident parent and that parent also wants to earmark some weekends for doing stuff together.
I can see it is tricky but also the older DSC is now stuck in a bit of a contact-schedule pattern and this is affecting their ability/ willingness to apply for holiday jobs, which is worrying given they are now away at uni. I don’t want the younger one to find themelves similarly “stuck”.