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When do dcs get a say re contact?

14 replies

Temporaryanonymity · 04/11/2018 15:43

We don't have a court order or anything like that and have beem divorced for ages. Children are 13 and 10. The eldest no longer wishes to spend Christmas with the other parent (we alternate) and wants me to raise it.

I am happy, obviously, but think that I should probably make him go on the basis he might regret it when he is older. He is a bit teenagery and probably only doesn't want to go for fairly rubbish reasons. Equally I would much rather have him around too!

They live full time with me and visit the other parent during the school holidays only. I have always facilitated the contact on the basis it was better for them to have a relationship but at what age should I take their views into account?

OP posts:
MrsBertBibby · 04/11/2018 16:52

There isn't really a magic age. If he hasn't even told you his reasons, then he should go.

WendyCope · 04/11/2018 16:57

Here, (Spain) I believe it's 12. His feelings should be taken into account.

Starlight345 · 04/11/2018 17:01

As he is 13 no court order wouldn’t be made to go but does he want to be separated from brother at Christmas?

MissMalice · 04/11/2018 17:01

It depends on the maturity of the child as much as the age.

Lots of people will say 13 is plenty old enough to decide and in some ways I agree however it’s important to remember teens need boundaries. This is the worst time to be letting them play you off against each other.

I would be happy if mine said something along these lines (it’s always nice to be “chosen”!) but I make myself think about what it would be like to be on the receiving end of it. What happens when he’s 15 and doesn’t want to see you on Christmas Day and his Dad won’t follow the agreed plan because you didn’t? Won’t feel so good then...

Taylor22 · 04/11/2018 20:37

To be honest if he only goes during school holiday then that is not a home. And I would always want to be home for Christmas.

It could be that he has just found his voice. Does his father live a distance away? Do they speak often?

Temporaryanonymity · 04/11/2018 23:45

They don't speak often, no. There is pretty much no contact in between visits.

Missmalice, you've articulated everything I think. It's important to me that he maintains a relationship with the other parent. I won't go into details here but if I hadnt forced contact it probably won't have happened at all.

I think he is getting fed up being away from his friends and xbox. He isn't allowed to take it there; not by me, I don't mind.

I shall hold firm. He usually enjoys it when he gets there but he does get angry before he goes. His younger brother is still happily going along. They wouldn't be bothered if they were apart for Christmas. There are other siblings at the other house...

OP posts:
TheOrigRightsofwomen · 05/11/2018 02:45

How is your relationship with your ex ie is this something you could raise with him and you all talk and come to an agreement?

"Making" a 13yo do anything isn't really a good idea, but the child having to accept that his dad wants to see him and that you support this, is quite different.

Seniorschoolmum · 05/11/2018 02:53

I think you need to talk to your ex. How is he likely to react? What’s the issue with the xbox?

My ds is 10 and already making “don’t want to go, it’s boring” noises so I’m expecting the same in a year or so.

Birdie69 · 05/11/2018 03:03

Mine made the decision at 13. She had a boyfriend and wanted to see him instead. She and her younger brother were not very amiable at that time so it wasn't an issue. I think the other parent actually liked it, since she was pretty abrasive at that time anyway.

LemonTT · 05/11/2018 09:37

I would take account of the younger child’s views too. Is it possible to have a talk with the ex about the older one. Explain he is going into stroppy teen mode and discuss whether you need to change things a bit. It will apply to holidays as well and that might be a bigger issue for you.

SummerGems · 05/11/2018 09:50

mine was thirteen when he first stopped going to his dad’s at Christmas. The reason then was that eXH would have been separated from his newborn over Christmas as his new dp insisted on going to her parents whether ex was there or not. Hmm But although we both made that change for Christmas I was still very much encouraging him to go for regular contact at that point on the basis that at thirteen although they are old enough to be heard, they are not necessarily mature enough to understand the implications of cutting contact altogether iyswim.

He’s sixteen now and hasn’t stayed there for two years. However he has contact with his dad only outside of the home as he refuses to have anything to do with his dad’s partner.

Wanting to stay home on the xbox isn’t a good enough reason to not go iyswim. And I would very much be discouraging a situation where one child goes and another doesn’t unless there was specific abuse involved. Ll

Ragwort · 05/11/2018 09:59

I thin if he's old enough to make the decision then he's old enough to have the conversation with his father himself and not expect you to be the 'go between'. And what will the younger child do?

And really ask yourself how you might feel when he doesn't want to spend Christmas with you.

Temporaryanonymity · 05/11/2018 22:17

For various reasons I can't talk directly to the other parent.

Of course I would be gutted if my son didn't want to spend Christmas with me. I don't think I have actually said anywhere that this is a situation I am confortable with. In fact, I have gone to enormous lengths to facilitate contact, as I consider it to be important.

I'm not really following why it would be so bad for the children to be separated? This wouldn't be an issue for either of them and in fact both really enjoy one to one time and rarely, if ever, get it.

I don't think it is about staying at home with the xbox. I think it really is about not wanting to be away from home. when he is with the other parent he is not able to exercise the same level of independence as he enjoys at home.

I too think he will live to regret easing contact. I also know that I will be the one that will have to persuade him (he will resent me) and I am already bad cop when it comes to everything else!

OP posts:
MissMalice · 05/11/2018 22:32

And maybe when he’s a bit older he’ll look back and be immensely grateful that you made him go.

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