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Deciding on an access routine for four-year-old DS - how often, him to Dad or Dad to us, and how much do we listen to DS's wishes?

5 replies

honeydews · 07/05/2009 01:38

DS's dad and I are separating fully, after spending 18 months apart trying, on and off, to repair our relationship.

In that time, DS's dad has come to see him most evenings after work, to help settle him for bed, and been welcomed into our home.

Now we are going our separate ways, we feel our lives should be more separate, too. We each need the space and privacy to move on. However, this seems incongruent with advice to allow the child access to either parent as much as/whenever he or she would like. Surely XP can't keep coming by every evening (even though this would allow the most access with the least disruption for DS)? But equally, it would be disruptive for DS to have to pop out for a few hours most nights in order to see his dad.

Oh dear - it's very late, and I'm not articulating myself very well.

Essentially, we now need to put in place a more 'official' access routine for a little boy who's used to seeing his dad every day; who is very attached to me and doesn't much like separating from me; and who we don't want to be ferrying back and forth disruptively frequently. And XP and I don't want to be tripping over each other as we try to move on (although I should emphasise that we are friendly).

We wondered about XP coming here Tuesday and Thursday evenings to help settle DS to bed, and DS staying one night per weekend with his dad. Does that sound workable for all of us? Enough access?

And we wondered about asking DS what he would like to do. I thought it would be good for him to feel involved and for his wishes to be valued ... but I don't want him to feel he is having to choose between us. Argh!

Tips on workable access arrangements for younger kids, please! Thanks.

OP posts:
OldLadyKnowsNothing · 07/05/2009 01:56

Whatever you and your now exDP decide about access (and it's really good that you're being so friendly now) I don't think it's a good idea to give your 4 year old too many choices/too much input into what's going on. He needs to be told that "this is how it is" - if you allow him to "choose" he'd "choose" daddy to be living with you, and not understand why that can't happen. No child - even those living with both parents in a happy and settled relationship - ever has "access to either parent as much as/whenever he or she would like" because parents need a life/to go to the loo too.

Only you and your ex know what is workable for you. The rest of us have no idea.

The rest is up to you and you ex - I wish you both (and your DS) well.

solidgoldSneezeLikeApig · 07/05/2009 02:01

Your plan sounds fair and workable to me - it's about the same amount of time as my DS sees his dad (though in our case, DS dad and I were not a couple when DS was concieved and he has never lived with us so it's slightly different in terms of how DS percieves it - though I think he would like us all to live together). Bear in mind that things change as DC grow up, and the more amicable you are, the easier it is to negotiate changes when necessary.
Good luck with it all.

GypsyMoth · 07/05/2009 09:37

i then there is least disruption for that time.

would work towards what will suit best once ds is in full time school. build up to it slowly. the standard seems to be every other weekend,and one mid week overnight,and half of holidays.

i'd start working towards that now in good time for school starting. do it slowly if possible.

cestlavielife · 07/05/2009 11:33

reality is he will need to get used to being ferried between his two houses. mnaybe best start as you mean to go on.

having dad put him to bed in mum's house may confuse the child. dad was here when i went to bed - why isnt he here in the morning?

at dads house dad puts him to bed; at mum's house it is mum. now you have two houses, two beds. that is his reality he has to get used to....

i have a friend who has had to make the change - pvsly ex came and put child to bed at her house twice a week - and it hasnt been easy - she says would have been best to start from beginning with clear division. bedtimes at mums house are with mum. bedtimes at dads house are with dad.

if you ok with ex visiting at yours - to avoid him travelling on week nights - then have the ex leave before the bedtime routine.

also agree that at four it is you as parents decide what is best for him - an agreed weekly schedule you can mark on a calendar for him.

my split was clouded by otehr issues but ahving ex come round every day/when he felt like it was totally unworkable and i should have said from start - tues and thurs 5 to 7 pm . then you leave, before bedtime routine.

norksinmywaistband · 07/05/2009 11:39

I am separated atm ( not sure long term or not)
We have 2 preschoolers.
H comes round on Tues and Thurs evening - I go out for a run then round to friends for a coffee.
H spends time with the DC does bath and bed routine, I turn up just in time to kiss goodnight.
They spend one weekend night a week at his place.
This works for us, the DC are not confused about Daddy not being here in the morning, and love the contact time.

TBH if it works for you all then thats the way to go.
Long term we will stick to this arrangement as H cannot do early weekday mornings with the DC as he leaves early for work

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