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Parenting a preteen can be a minefield. Find support here.

Preteens

Work and school runs

38 replies

Dontknowowt · 10/05/2021 03:00

Bit complicated but...

I have two children - 11 and 14. A controlling ex who hates my guts. Arrangements are changing from 7 years of being 50/50 to 14 yo seeing me just every other weekend and 11 yo every other week Weds-Sun. This was decided by courts as it is (apparently) the boys wishes.

From September this year, 11 yo will be attending same school as his older brother.

The older son will of course be collected at 3.30pm every day by his dad.

Problem is the 11 yo and pick up time Wednesday and Thursday (I don't work Fridays so non-issue).

My hours of work are school time 8.30-4pm min and these are non-negotiable. School finishes at 3.30pm.

What my eldest used to do between 3.30pm and 4pm-ish was go to after-school hub to do some homework, he was more than happy with that until I could pick him up. My work is about 8 mins drive from his school.

However, I know my ex will say he is to pick both boys up so that youngest doesn't have to wait for me to finish work and then drop him over when I'm home around 5pm.

Now this may on the surface sound reasonable. You haven't met my ex! He has deliberately messed up my kids to have less contact with me as is and I know him interfering with the contact I have remaining will just make matters worse.

I can't afford not to work but I can't afford to lose my youngest any more either.

What should I do?

OP posts:
FortunesFave · 10/05/2021 04:21

I know you say it's non negotiable but are you absolutely certain they would not be flexible at work?

Other thing is why can't your youngest catch a bus? Both of mine have done that since 11.

Dontknowowt · 10/05/2021 04:45

@FortunesFave I work at a school and specialise in supporting with high-level SEN (often on a 1:1) so I can't leave until they all have at the very earliest. Due to the nature of the cohort it is often the case that they don't leave school until around 3.40, and it of course can be a little later on occasion.

My ex says that expecting the boys to get public transport is...and I quote..."child abuse" and so now, as usual, my boys are singing from the same hymn sheet as he is.

My youngest would in reality be fine to hang on after school for half an hour in the hub. My eldest said it was actually helpful as he could crack on with a bit of homework rather than leaving it until last minute!

But this is until his dad tells him he doesn't have to because he can pick him up. Then I will be in the shit from ex and both kids. Threats of court again etc...

OP posts:
FortunesFave · 10/05/2021 06:17

I have a friend who has gone through similar (parental alienation) and I have an idea how stressful this must be for you.

The other option would be for your son to attend a club immediately after school or pay a childminder...or you could pay a childminder to take him to the club.

Or have a friend pick him up. I know that court is awful...the last thing you could do is go back to court. Awful I know.

WinnieTheW0rm · 10/05/2021 06:45

Expecting secondary pupils to travel independently to school, using public transport if necessary, is not child abuse (I assume he means neglect?).

What would happen if you just told DC2 to come home, or go from school to somewhere he can wait for you (cafe, well-frequented park, other indoor options will be back shortly)

Make it a treat - something 'grown up', chance to hang out with mates etc.

And yes, if necessary I would beg parents of one of his friends to have him round both days EOW for the first term or so. Set the pattern that he isn't there to,be picked up, and get it firmly established that when he goes to his DDad's he does X and when he's coming to you he does Y.

Also, I can't see a reason not to use the after-school school homework club until you can get there. Your ex isn't going to be allowed into the building to take him

Dontknowowt · 10/05/2021 07:48

Thank you. I don't have any friends at the school, I don't know any other parents of the kids thst go there. It's about 9 miles away from home. It wasn't the school I'd have chosen for them but ex took me to court re that too. Judge said he could get four buses reasonably as I was working a different job then. But ex after court said no, that was neglect.

OP posts:
Christmasfairy2020 · 10/05/2021 18:54

Why does your ex have custody ? Have you tried to get custody if he is been nasty

ivykaty44 · 10/05/2021 18:59

What would happen if you ozzed how much of a favour that would be?

Of course not a favour to you but to your youngest

Mine just used to enjoy walking home with their mates and I’d get in about 20 minutes afterwards

They enjoyed the responability

ivykaty44 · 10/05/2021 19:00

Sorry didn’t see your post about being 9 miles away
Could your dd walk to your work?

Dontknowowt · 10/05/2021 22:03

@ivykaty44 Work is about 3.5 miles away from his school.

OP posts:
FortunesFave · 12/05/2021 07:02

[quote Dontknowowt]@ivykaty44 Work is about 3.5 miles away from his school.[/quote]
So he could get a bus. I used to walk 3 miles to school and 3 miles back from age 11 onwards.

It would be fine. You're going to need to talk plainly to your kids about this situation.

Dontknowowt · 12/05/2021 07:11

@FortunesFave His dad (my ex) kicks off if I tell him to do that. My son then agrees with ex and says it's "cruel" to make him get two buses home (there is no direct route).

But I agree with you, as did the judge when considering that his school was a way away.

OP posts:
nimbuscloud · 12/05/2021 07:15

Could your dp collect him?

Dontknowowt · 12/05/2021 07:52

@nimbuscloud No. He takes him in, but his hours of work are 9-5.30.

OP posts:
FortunesFave · 12/05/2021 08:54

Can you get an aupair or childminder for the days you can't get him from school? There must be tonnes of young trainee nursery nurses and similar who would be glad of the money. It wouldn't cost a lot.

FortunesFave · 12/05/2021 08:56

Another option is for you to drive to your ex's and collect your youngest yourself from him. What would happen if you suggested that...if he wanted to drive him home? What sort of issues do you see arising? Would he for example, try to convince the youngest to stay at his during your contact?

Allthingspeaches · 12/05/2021 09:02

Genuine question but if the days are court appointed doesn't that mean he can't interfere and pick up DS2 without going against the court order? They're your days and you have final say. Or is that not how it works?

FortunesFave · 12/05/2021 09:53

@Allthingspeaches

Genuine question but if the days are court appointed doesn't that mean he can't interfere and pick up DS2 without going against the court order? They're your days and you have final say. Or is that not how it works?

Men like OP's ex don't care. He knows OP will have to take him back to court for breaking the order and that's a long, expensive and painful journey....she'll have to put her children through that again...risking alienating them further.
Dontknowowt · 12/05/2021 11:50

@FortunesFave You are spot on. Been taken to court by him at least seven times in seven years because that's what he does if I don't comply with his requests/expectations.

OP posts:
Dontknowowt · 12/05/2021 11:51

@Allthingspeaches It would be, but he doesn't care about that.

OP posts:
Dontknowowt · 12/05/2021 11:53

@FortunesFave He becomes aggressive towards me during direct contact.
My partner and I don't earn enough to be able to afford that option sadly.

OP posts:
Dontknowowt · 12/05/2021 11:54

And yes, he would hold on to son. He's already told him the fact that I can't collect him until after work shows I don't care about him and I put my work first.

OP posts:
FortunesFave · 12/05/2021 22:28

Start looking for a young woman/teen who wants to earn some extra cash and employ her to pick your son up and drive him to your place of work.

Look on Facebook....you want a home help. It would also suit a retired person. Yes it's only once a week but some people have low incomes and would be grateful to earn a bit more.

Dontknowowt · 12/05/2021 22:35

@FortunesFave We don't have the money for that - between us we only earn about £28k per year.

I don't think it unreasonable that he waits half hour for me to collect him, although I know my ex-husband will!!

OP posts:
Christmasfairy2020 · 13/05/2021 21:44

Take him to court for full custody your his mum!!

kittenhug · 14/05/2021 00:16

Your situation is difficult and I can understand from personal experience, about your concerns about your Ex. It seems like whatever you say they will follow what Dad says. Hand holding as have been there and understand, especially when your decision are always wrong in ex opinion and says that to the kids. Is there anyway to get the court to say that he should go home on the bus without it fully going back to court or the solicitor sending a letter that it is your decision given that it is your time with DS. Although I can see that that might not make it better. Could he start walking to your work on an agreed route and you pick him up along the way when you managed to get away. He could also walk with some friends if they are in the same direction, or walk to a friend house in the same direction and pick him up somewhere near, gives him independence and time to spend with friends too. Word it that you trust him and want to give him more independence.

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