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At what age is it reasonable to stop going to their dad's?

(13 Posts)
StuntEgg Wed 10-May-17 19:40:59

Question for single parents really, but all opinions welcome!

XH and I have been apart for more than 10 years, but we have always shared care of DCs. They spend 3 nights a week at his and the rest with me. But now that they are close to adulthood (16 and 17) they are less inclined to go their dad's, as he's a grumpy bastard at the best of times and it seems to be constant lectures or arguments. Plus they have social lives now.

They haven't asked if they can stop going, but I get the feeling it's not far off and I want to be ready to deal with it because - and I know this is massively selfish on my part - I really love those evenings I have to myself and can't bear the thought of them ending!

DCs are at each other's throats all the time at the moment, and I get so sick of the arguments, the slammed doors, the stomping up and down the stairs, the loud crappy music, and general teenage angst. Sometimes I am just hanging on by the fingernails until it's time for them to go and slam their dad's doors instead.

I realise they are actually young adults now and I couldn't force them to go if they didn't want to, so I'm just wondering how other parents have managed this. At what age did yours stop regular visits, and how did it work? A gradual scaling down of visits perhaps? Or did you persuade them to keep going into adulthood? Or am I just being selfish and I should be delighted that they'd rather stay here all the time and argue with every bloody thing I say?

Allthebestnamesareused Fri 12-May-17 13:33:34

As we live 2 hours apart once DS got to 6th form and had a Saturday job we switched to just school holiday contact by mutual agreement as we both agreed it was sensible for DS to have the job to learn the value of money and have some responsibilities.

Goingtobeawesome Fri 12-May-17 13:36:32

Are you suggesting they don't see their dad any more or just that I don't sleep there?

VerySadInside Fri 12-May-17 13:37:46

At 16/17 I would let them decide when and where they want to be. Give them keys to each and say if they want dinner you need xx days notice but leave it up to them. That's what they'd be doing at that age if parents lived together, doesn't need to be any different.

Goingtobeawesome Fri 12-May-17 13:46:43

They don't sleep there blush.

lalaloopyhead Fri 12-May-17 13:47:16

I have dc that are 17&15 and since eldest has been working at the weekends contact has become less and less. We've never had any particularly formal arrangements but generally settled at every other weekend as I had to do all the driving (50mile round trip).

Now they have social lives they often don't go even when they could, but I leave it to them to communicate with their Dad and take them over if they ask, where convenient. I have no idea how he feels about this as we no longer have any communication, but I am assuming if he had a problem with it he would let me or them know.

StuntEgg Sat 13-May-17 00:35:19

Thanks for the replies - only just spotted them.

It looks like travel added into the mix was a contributing factor to the decline of visits, which we don't really have to worry about, as XH just lives 10 minutes away.

He won't give them a doorkey though, as he rents and he thinks the landlord will object to anyone other than himself having keys.

Are you suggesting they don't see their dad any more or just that they don't sleep there?

I think they'd rather not go at all, although the haven't said that in so many words. Sometimes when they have known in advance he's in a foul mood they've asked if they have to go, or have come back complaining that he's just yelled at them the whole time, so I reckon they're having a phase of not liking him much at the moment.

DC17 finishes school this year and it sounds weird for a young working adult to still be going their dad's for shared custody. But I want them to keep going for as long as possible! I feel they are worse than toddlers at this stage and I need some "me time" more than I did when they were younger. But I guess I'm going to have to bit the bullet on this, aren't I? Jobs, girlfriends, college, independence - don't really go hand-in-hand with being forced round to your dad's.

Hmm, thanks for your replies folks, I'm going to have to start adjusting, I think!

FeedMeAndTellMeImPretty Sat 13-May-17 01:28:55

StuntEgg I feel your pain! My DCs are between 10 & 18 and the oldest now doesn't really go to his dad's due to having a girlfriend, weekend work, after school stuff with mates etc.

I do miss my night off but I'm hoping that once he can drive he'll maybe pop over to see his dad on another night during the week and maybe take the others along too. I do have a rule though, that if it's the night the other DCs are at their dad's DS1 has to sort out his own transport etc, I'm not running around after him and if I go out to eat with DP, DS has to make his own food etc so it's at least a bit of a night off.

If your boys won't go anymore then maybe you need to get them to cook you a meal or help you out while you relax one evening a week so that you still get some peace?

startagainagain Sat 13-May-17 08:40:23

My DC are 13 and 15 and dad lives 3.5 hours away. I've always been keen to encourage them to go in term time (every other weekend) in addition to hols as otherwise they just don't have that continual relationship.

Sometimes my DD (16) has found it harder, and if she's had a special activity (not just town for coffee or something) then she has stayed.

I'm in same boat as she ends Yr 11, and will probably be getting a job and have a more active social life/boyfriends. But I also feel that they need that time with their dad (and I need a rest too!) and that when they are 23, hopefully they will have a better relationship with him because they persevered with seeing him, if they didn't I fear they'd just drift apart. It's also completely different at his house, and gives a different perspective for the kids and him being so far away, I'm really at the coalface doing endless lifts and all the parenting decisions and work, so it's also for me to have some time where I don't have to do all that?

AnnaNimmity Sat 13-May-17 08:43:15

My 16 and 18 year olds now decide for themselves which means they don't spend the whole weekend with him anymore and arrange to see him when they want - they'll usually see him for lunch or dinner on those weekends or the cinema

I make my 14 yo see him though overnight

Like you I look forward to weekends on my own with no cooking, mess, teenage aggro but hey ho!

TalkingBoutMoney Sat 13-May-17 08:48:06

What if they see their dad at different times? You wouldn't have an empty house, but it would be far quieter, and some time apart might mean your DC get along better.

swingofthings Sat 13-May-17 10:31:54

It was a gradual thing with my two. They are 17 and 14 and 14yo acts more like a 16yo.

At first, I thought ex would go beserk because he's always been very vocal about his time with them (ie. ok for him to change as it suits him, but not the other way around!), but as it happened, I was much more respectful of the kids starting to have more of a social life than I'd expected. He does moan sometimes with DS14 who is making more and more excuses (and even stopping to pick up the phone), but I know the reason DS doesn't want to so often is because he gets very bored as his dad never does anything with him. He just hangs around and he rather do this here where he has his own bedroom and peace quiet (rather than having to entertain his SS).

In the mist of it, contact has become very much regulated by the kids and he and I are fine with this (and very luckily with the kids, with my OH and Ex's partner too). They also now almost never go at the same time. DD isn't going this week-end at all as she's got an event today and will be revising tomorrow, but she might go the whole week-end next week. DS would have normally gone last night, but he has training this morning so will go afterwards, and then return tomorrow morning as he has a game. It's very fortunate that transport is close by so they don't rely on us to get to each other's place.

Trills Sat 13-May-17 10:51:19

That's rubbish about the landlord and they keys.

Either he's unreasonably nervous about security, or there's another reason he doesn't want them to have a key.

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