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Access schedule for teens?

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  • Access schedule for teens?

    I have sole custody and I am the children's primary residence. Currently the father has access every Wednesday night and every other weekend. The children are 13 and 11.

    My ex is applying for more time with them. The older child is interested in having more time with his father but not a full week on, full week off schedule. The younger child is reluctant to spend more time with his father than he already does.

    That said they both have a good relationship with their dad and talk to him regularly on the phone when they are with me. My phone calls are not returned and I rarely get through to them when they are at his house.

    I have read the other posts and most seem to apply to younger children and relatively amicable parents. That is not my case. There is mild alienation (of me by the father) & regular abusive communication from father. We are unable to communicate or make joint decisions. I am concerned that he will continue to shut me out of the boys' lives the more time he has with them.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on what an increase in access might look like that would suit teens and their needs, be fair, but not be 50/50?

    Also, the boys have always been together when they're with either parent, I don't like the idea of splitting them up because despite all the upheaval and contention, their togetherness and common experience have been the one sure thing. All the same, given their differing preferences, does anyone have anythoughts on the effect/issue of siblings having different access schedules?


  • #2
    As you know, the kids are old enough for their preferences to be considered. I don't think you can look to a standard that should apply. You and Dad know the kids better than anyone. Look in your heart and do what you think is best. I don't know how the father is going to be able to shut you out of their lives with less than 50% time

    Obviously the 60/40 rule will be a factor because of money. Hopefully that will not be the most important one.

    There isn't really much you can do to control Dad's alienating behaviour. It must be very frustrating, but continue to take the high road and trust that your kids will decide for themselves that it's inappropriate.

    Try not to sweat the fact that you can't through to the kids when they are with their Dad. They don't really have a whole of time with him and it's their time together. If the kids want to talk to you they will call you.

    I hear what you are saying about the kids being together being the best constant they have had. I feel the same way about my two kids, 7 and 5. But they are getting older and even though you understandably see them as your babies, that might not be as important as it once was.
    Last edited by dadtotheend; 12-31-2009, 01:16 PM.


    • #3
      Have you asked the boys what more time with dad might look like to them? Maybe it is an extra night, or going to a hockey game, a movie? They are old enough to know what they want, and it is best if they get a say. It doesn't mean they don't want less time with you, they are at the age when they need to bond more with dad. You are right to try to make that happen for them.

      As for not being able to contact them, do they have cell phones? I know you might think it is a little young, but it would give them the freedom to talk to either of you whenever they needed/wanted to. It would also open up the opportunity for them to email/text their dad and develop a closer relationship. It might seem too young, but it is an option.

      This isnt something that you should let be decided by the courts. If the communication between you as parents is not positive, can you sit down with a neutral party to work out something? It doesn't have to be a mediator, maybe someone who also knows your kids and can look for what is best for them?
      Last edited by billiechic; 12-31-2009, 03:52 PM. Reason: spelling


      • #4
        The younger child is borderline, but your oldest would be able to give his opinion if it goes to a hearing. His wishes would be taken into consideration.

        Perhaps you could sit down with him and ask what he would like in terms of more time.

        Maybe he's getting to be an age where he wants some 1 on 1 time with his Dad. If he's ALWAYS with his sibling, maybe he's looking for more personal attention.

        Since he's old enough to be asked by the courts for his opinion, I'd start with that myself. Then at least you can go back to his father with an offer that's reasonable.

        As far as not being able to get a hold of the children while they are with their Dad....yeah it sucks, but it's not terribly relavent. Worse comes to worse, get a pay as you go cellphone for the older child, give it to him for his visits with Dad, just in case you need to get a hold of him in the event of an emergency. (Don't use it "just because")


        • #5
          I wouldn't give a kid a cell phone just so they can call me. I hope that they are not being denied from calling you as opposed to your phone calls being ignored or not heard.

          They should be able to call you on Dad's phone at their request, without sneaking around to the back yard with their cell. My guess (out on a limb again) is that they are not being denied, but that they are simply doing other things.
          Last edited by dadtotheend; 01-03-2010, 10:33 AM.


          • #6
            I would tend to agree with you, my suggestion was moreso if it was a real sticking point for her. IF there is an actual emergency and there's no way to contact Dad/boys, then it might be a sore point.

            A cellphone that can be held onto for a true emergency might be useful if it's an issue of the phone being out and out ignored.


            • #7
              My daughter's just about to turn 13, she's had a cell phone for almost 2 years since she started taking public transit to school (they only bus here until grade 5, she is in a gifted program a bit out of our neighbourhood).

              When it's time to call and see if she's ready and packed to come over, or how long they will be should I start supper, etc etc etc I much rather phone and talk to her than go through my ex. Since she has the phone anyway, my ex and me both tend to call her cell, it's just been normal and easier. The only issue is, at her age she forgets to charge it periodicly, but generally she's pretty good. She and her friends are 21st century kids who prefer text messaging and MSN Messenger, she's never gone over her minutes and barely calls her friends for more than a minute to confirm where they are meeting.

              As far as splitting the kids up occasionally, my daughter called me a couple of days ago and begged to have a day away from her little brother who was driving her crazy, so I said she could stay an extra night with her mum, and we'd get a makeup day to go to a movie next week. They've been around each other 24/7 since the holidays started and she's not used to that.

              Just to keep in mind, when we were together as a family I'd often take one or the other out to play, to the park, for a walk, shopping etc, they were never together 24/7 as a family, we would always split off and do whatever. Now, with 2 kids and one parent per house, it's harder to give them individual attention anymore. So having nights where each parent has a kid has worked for us.


              • #8
                Mess, you should be a mod.


                • #9
                  I actually read that as "God"!!


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