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kate331 12-20-2017 06:00 PM

Christmas Day is becoming a nightmare!
We agreed to splitting Christmas as kids are with Mom on Christmas Eve, then exchange at noon on Christmas Day until Wednesday morning, then we go back to our regular visitation.

Our 7 year old is going balistic about going to Dad's on Christmas Day, as he feels he is missing out on something, and its not on the regular "schedule" of Wednesday night and Saturday evenings, which he is use too, and wants to spend Christmas with his family in his home, and Dad should just spend it here (not going to happen :)) I have re assured him he is NOT missing out on anything, and Christmas Dinner will be on the 24th, followed by Santa the next morning, then brunch, then have fun at Dad's Christmas, where there will be presents and a Christmas Dinner.

The boy is beside himself (he is developmentally delayed, so think more of a 2-3 year old tantrum) to the point of self harm. (Banging head against the wall). I finally found a therapist this year that he seems to connect with and trust me, there is not very many he is willing to talk too. She is recommending that no more overnights at Dad's because she feels this is the cause of the stress. I disagree, in the fact that the child needs to get use to having 2 homes, and its been over a year now since we separated. Dad feels that I am alienating child to not want to go, but I honestly dont think this is the case. Apparently when child is with Dad, he just "wines" to go "home". When in reality he has to get use to having 2 homes. He does have a 3 year old brother, who LOVES going and they are together during visits.

I admit I am finding it difficult being a single parent, and I really look forward to enjoying my one night off a week to regroup, relax or hang out with friends.

The child suffers from severe anxiety and is developmentally delayed, routine and consistency is KEY to him., I am hoping someone who has a child like this give me some advice on how you handled these situations. I would also like to mention, he eagerly goes to Grandma's for sleep overs about once a month, so I am confused about being scared of sleepovers.

This is why I feel so strongly that 50/50 parenting should be the law, and no choice in the matter (unless in extreme circumstances where a parent is unfit) children wouldn't be in these circumstances.

Hope I am making some sense in this post because I am beyond "frazzled"!!!

rockscan 12-20-2017 06:10 PM

Can you ex work with him on some excitement? Maybe take him shopping to pick out dinner and dessert stuff and breakfast food? Maybe take him shopping for a gingerbread house that they will do at dads house?

What does your son like that he can look forward to at dads? Get your ex involved in helping him?

kate331 12-20-2017 06:49 PM

Thanks Rockscan, yes the ex is good at doing activities with the boys, he takes them skating and tobogganing and they love that. He also bought them a real Christmas Tree for his place this year, I do the fake one :eek:. And this past weekend they decorated it themselves. But soon after the fun D7 wants to go "home".

We are both trying to stress to him, how much fun it is to be able to have 2 Christmas celebrations, but S7 is not buying into us.

We also are booth stressing that Dad's family, has lots of cousins to play with on Christmas Day, which my family does not.

This has been hard on the both of us parents.

rockscan 12-20-2017 07:06 PM

Its got to be hard working with a child with a disability. You are doing the right thing by encouraging it. You could also speak with one of the workers at the school and possibly a local group like Autism Ontario for ideas and support.

Ignore your ex when he claims youre alienating them. He will see how things are eventually and maybe push kids boundaries a bit. Perhaps ignore him for a bit longer when hes self harming. See if some of it is attention seeking. Or try to distract him with something else. The holidays are stressful and take a toll on everyone!

kate331 12-20-2017 08:01 PM

Its exhausting!!! And I am exhausted!

Rockscan, I couldn't agree with you more that its attention seeking, but when you have support in place (as we should), they are all over you to meet the needs of the child, above and beyond that of an intact family.

I feel I am walking on egg shells all the time.

v3ktors 12-21-2017 12:23 PM

I don't know that I have a lot of great advice for you, but I do have some experience I can share. I have a child with severe anxiety, and a step-child who is on the autism scale. Though I've had a 50/50 arrangement with my ex since separation, there was a time where my daughter stayed with her mother for a full year and didn't want to see me. Many months later, after a court-appointed lawyer and social worker for my child, their conclusion was (although they didn't come right out and say it) that there was parental alienation happening to some degree. The courts returned our original 50/50 arrangement, and things have gone well for the past 5 years.

All that being said, from the alienation and visitation side of things, my suggestion would be to show a unified message (and maybe you're already doing this). You and your ex should sit with your son and provide the same message about seeing his dad. That way, your ex sees that you are making an honest attempt at encouraging their relationship, and your son sees that he can't play one parent off the other (not that he is necessarily doing that).

I don't have a lot of experience from the developmentally delayed side of things, but I have learned that being consistent in your approach and message is a very good starting point.

kate331 12-21-2017 08:46 PM

Thanks so much for the advice. Today is a much better day. Yesterday I was at the end of my rope listening to the crying that went on for hours. But today its like nothing happened.

v3ktors how old was your daughter when this happened?

v3ktors 12-22-2017 09:17 AM

Hi Kate...glad to hear you've had a better day. Cherish each of those, and remember those during the bad days. My daughter was 10 at the time that that everything happened.

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