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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1  
Old 01-01-2015, 10:30 AM
Unevenplayingground Unevenplayingground is offline
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Default Visitation issues...

So it has been awhile since I posted, quick scenario, child lives in Ontario with mother, we now live in NS. Child comes to visit over Xmas, March break every second year and a month in the summer.

Problem, my step-son says he doesn't want to come this year for March break, he says travel is to much, it does take him by car and plane 3-4 hours each day of travel, 2 days total, so 6-8 hours in all. He does not seem to want to come at all, he is 14, but what do you do?

This is the response my husband gets from his ex:

"I just got off the phone with (son14). He is stressed out and upset. He doesn't want to go down March break and he said he tried to tell you and your wife but you didn't listen. I told him to talk to you and he is afraid to. So I am letting you know. If he doesn't want to go i dont think we should force him ."

(my husband asks why he is stressed)

I don't know why he is stressed - maybe you should try to talk to him. I don't think that you were listening to him when he was talking to you - he doesn't want to go - it is a big thing to make him go somewhere for a week where he doesn't want to go and hate it rather then let him be where he wants to be and enjoy it. I agree that it is important for him to spend with your family - I just don't agree with forcing him to go if he doesn't want to go - he is not a little kid anymore - he has his own mind his own feelings and his own likes and dislikes - I think we need to respect what he wants and doesn't want."

So basically we get zero support from his ex when it comes to my husband and their son. There is no encouragement to maintain a connection from her. The funny thing is when we went through custody with her in court, son (at time 11) wasn't allowed to have his own mind and thoughts because he wanted to move with us.

So basically do we back off and let him do what he wants for March break and risk him hating his father or force him to come?

If he stays home he will literally sit alone in his room with his computer. His mom and step father will both be at work, here we can take him to do things that he enjoys.

We kind of feel like we just can't win here, she has most of the year to program him against his father, what do you do??
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  #2  
Old 01-01-2015, 10:46 AM
Berner_Faith Berner_Faith is offline
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In my personal opinion, at 14 he can basically decide what he wants to do. At 14 he most likely has other interests, like friends, sports, etc., these things will be more interesting to him then spending a week away from them. I am sure you and your partner knew this day was eventually going to come and unfortunately that is what happens when you live so far away from the children.

I wouldn't be blaming this on Mom for her lack of support, because she really cannot do much. It seems the problem is at your house, not Mom's. His son doesn't want to come to his house, he should be focusing on why this is and really listen to his son, and not interrupt him. Placing the blame on Mom for not encouraging him to come is not a solution. Dad needs to get to the root of the problem. I am sure he will find out that son doesn't want to leave behind his life to go spend a week with Dad. Most 14 year olds spend their school breaks with friends, hanging out and having fun. His son is missing out on all of this by having to spend his breaks with Dad.

Just because he chooses to stay home, doesn't mean he hates his father and it doesn't mean Mom is programming him against his father. It is a fact of life with teens, they don't want to hang out with their parents, they would rather be out with friends.
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:52 AM
Unevenplayingground Unevenplayingground is offline
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Thank you for your reply, input appreciated. It is hard to convey the full history in my post but there is definately programming that goes on. We did think this would happen, but what would your opinion be if it was literally the way I am explaining it?

I get the step mom/mother issues, but take what I am saying at face value, would you have the same response? Because at the end of the day I don' matter, what matters is that they maintain a relationship. And my step-son will literally be in his room not socializing with anything but a computer. Is it still the same answer for you? I'm being genuine in my response by the way, we just want to do the right thing and are looking for opinions...
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Old 01-01-2015, 10:55 AM
Unevenplayingground Unevenplayingground is offline
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Something else, my step-son used to be very social, the parents used to share custody but he would end up with father about 85-95% of the time. Work related move, now son sits in his room on computer. This is what son tells us and his grandparents...
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:08 AM
Berner_Faith Berner_Faith is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unevenplayingground View Post
Thank you for your reply, input appreciated. It is hard to convey the full history in my post but there is definately programming that goes on. We did think this would happen, but what would your opinion be if it was literally the way I am explaining it?

I get the step mom/mother issues, but take what I am saying at face value, would you have the same response? Because at the end of the day I don' matter, what matters is that they maintain a relationship. And my step-son will literally be in his room not socializing with anything but a computer. Is it still the same answer for you? I'm being genuine in my response by the way, we just want to do the right thing and are looking for opinions...
Yea my response would be the same. I am also a step mother and we live only an hour and a half from Mom. We have the kids every other weekend. There are times when we have the kids and they want to go back to Mom's. This week is one of those times. We have had the kids since boxing day and have them until Monday. For the past few days they have been asking how much longer until they go back to Mom's. This is of course a little upsetting to my fiance, however he knows that due to our distance (even this little) that his children are closer to their mother. We do what we can to be there for them, but we are unable to relocate closer at this time. Eventually we have plans to move closer. We understand that eventually we will have no choice but to pick up and move if we want to see the kids because they are going to be teens and they are not going to want to leave their lives behind.

Now, according to the kids they do nothing at Mom's. They are up at 5am to be at the sitters by 6am, Mom goes to work and the sitter gets the ready for school. Mom picks them up at 6pm and D6 is in bed by 7:30 and S9 at 8pm, so they really don't do much at Mom's. When we talk to them during the week or on the weekends when they are with Mom, all they have done is play on their ipods. We cannot control what goes on in mom's house, when the kids are with us, they are allowed 2 hours a day on their ipod. Except Mom tries to facetime them constantly, last night Mom facetimed them at midnight to say happy New Years... this was fine, but then Mom started crying and saying how much she missed them and how she wanted them to come home and she was having a hard time without them.

You can't control what Mom says to the children, you can't control what they do at her house, all you can do is control your house and the relationship you and your partner have with his child. That needs to be your main focus.

I suppose technically you could force a 14 year old, but once they hit 16 you lose that control so if you force him now, he will resent you and your partner and once 16 hits you may not see him for a long time.

I still feel you need to figure out what the underlying problem is. Leave Mom out of the equation, even if she does run her mouth to him. Dad needs to have a one on one and really listen to his son.
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:20 AM
Unevenplayingground Unevenplayingground is offline
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I agree, you absolutely can't control the other parents choices. And my step-son doesn't complain about sitting around on his laptop, he likes it. We just find it concerning because he doesn't seem to have a life. His last conversation before coming he told his father that he was very lonely. We are so far away and seem to get conflicting stories from him, it makes it so hard to know what to do. And really how much can we do? Work wise moving where his son lives is not possible right now, probably not for another 7 years, by that time he would be 21 and we will still have youngsters to raise here. Do you think there might not be an underlying problem, he just might not want to come and we have to accept it?
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Old 01-01-2015, 11:22 AM
Unevenplayingground Unevenplayingground is offline
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Also, what do you do when your partners kids say they want to go home? Do you take them or do they end up staying the whole visit?
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Old 01-01-2015, 02:58 PM
Berner_Faith Berner_Faith is offline
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The kids always stay the whole visit. We have never returned them early. We just let the kids know that we understand they miss mom and they will see her in a few days and then we change the subject and play a game or watch a movie. It is natural for kids to miss their other parent. When they are at Mom's, they miss us too. In fact when the kids get excited to see us Mom has asked the kids why they hate her (this has come from both kids on different occasions and Mom has not denied saying it.

I don't know your situation, but given the age of his son, it is possible he is just getting tired of the travelling. I truly think Dad sitting down and talking to him and finding out what the issues are, is the only option. Dad cannot get upset if son says he doesn't want to make the long trips anymore. Dad has to be understanding. He can be upset in private but if he shows son his emotions, his son may feel horrible for expressing his feelings.

Is it possible to do shorter trips? I know flights are not cheap, but maybe he would feel better about visiting for 3-4 days, rather than 7? Or Dad could always plan a trip to visit the son?
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Old 01-01-2015, 03:18 PM
Unevenplayingground Unevenplayingground is offline
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Yes, they definitely need to sit down and talk. My husband is a very easy person to talk to, and they used to have such an amazing bond, hopefully he can find out what is going on. It is such a tread lightly thing. I offered my husband for me and the kids to leave for the week if he came, maybe it is me and he finds it to hard to say.

Actually for the last March break my husband flew there to spend time with him. So he only has had to travel two times a year. We definitely can't swing extra flights, my husband is medically getting relieved from his job and things are going to be tighter than before.

I really appreciate your input, it is helpful to have somebody not emotionally involved to bounce off other ideas or options!
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