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Single Parents - Divorced Adults Group Message Board › Lekshmi Discussion - When does your child's opinion count?

Lekshmi Discussion - When does your child's opinion count?

A former member
Post #: 181
What age do children make decisions on how often they want to spend with their other parent? The situation that is currently arranged is I have more placement then my ex does now. I have two daughters ages 111/2 and an 81/2 year old. They have to go three weekends in a month to their dads. My oldest daughter does not get along with her father at ALL. When I inform them they are going over to their fathers for the weekend they start to freak out on me...! My oldest is seeing therapist at this time because all the self esteem issues and emotional trauma she's having with her father. The therapist and I are going to work out a schedule. I'm just nervous if he comes back to me on this and get nasty with me. I have also felt I can't leave one out over the other in this decision making. Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.
A former member
Post #: 182
I reposted the above discussion from one of the meetups. Not sure I have enough information to give advice here. The hardest thing for me was stepping out of the relationship between my children and their father. While it is true I facilitated much of his relationship with his children during our marriage, it is up to him to facilitate it in our separation. If he is not getting along with one of them and WANTS to fix it, then he needs to find himself a therapist for the two of them to go to. If he does not want to fix it, then that is his choice and it would be sad for your children, but it is HIS choice. If he chooses not to work on his relationships with them, then he likely won't have one once they turn into adults - again, this is HIS choice. I suppose this would make the time spent with you even more valuable to them. It would probably be wise to focus on YOUR relationship with them - which is something you have a lot of control over - rather than get overly involved with your exes relationship with his children - which is something you have pretty much no control over (especially once you are divorced) and the anger will eat you up (adversely affecting the relationship you have with your children). If you already have the majority placement, is it really necessary to keep fighting with him over what he is/is not doing? Like our GAL told me, he will be their dad no matter what and that is a choice you made - you cannot choose whether or not he is a good one and the law does not require it. Personally, I would rather have my children remember all the good times they had in their childhood spent with their mom (and their dad too if he steps up to the plate) than memories of constant court battles and hours spent in therapy offices trying to sort out why dad doesn't act right (according to mom) and why mom made such a big deal of it.
A former member
Post #: 15
Short answer on age: 14.

Long answer on experience:I recall a family friend where the daughter accessed the courts and made a request to stop paternal visitations. She prepared an objective list of why paternal visits weren't beneficial to her development (I recall one item was: need to practice violin each day. Father keeps temp at 65 degrees in house preventing my instrument from keeping tune or something to that extent.) She won her request and no longer was required to visit him.

Personally, I've been struggling with this too. When I first separated, it was my then 13 year old daughter sending me texts of complaints about her father and his parenting during their visitations. I would try to send her suggestions on how to navigate. Finally, I just felt it was too toxic and told her to talk to her dad and if she wasn't able to navigate that, I was willing to take her to an objective third party (therapist) to help her figure out how to navigate. She stopped complaining to me and I think her relationship with her father improved. I simply think she figured out her own techniques for working with him.

Now, three years later, my 12 year old son has begun something similar. He started with 1001 reasons not to go to his dad's. It would be pick up time on a Friday, and he simply refused to leave my house and go with his dad. Now, there's a good reason I divorced his dad he is indeed a self-centered pain-in-the-butt, but I have asked my son and I'm confident that his dad isn't abusive. My son finally begged and pleaded with his dad enough to convince his father not to push it. So here we are now: he's with me 100% of the time. I do insist that he still sees his dad for a couple of hours a week (two evenings a week - no overnights). I keep telling my son that it's important for him to have time with his dad and to talk to him about how they could be better together.

I simply feel that with family, it's important to spend time together. I'd like my son to get back to spending more time with his dad, and I always try to emphasize that his dad loves him and cares about him even if he doesn't like the way he displays it.

Bottom line: I'd try to give your ex a heads up saying something to the extent of "hey, just an FYI, I'm having a tough time with the kids right now. They are very adamant that they want to spend weekends with me or they don't want to spend weekends with you. You may want to sit and talk to them about it.." or if your situation with your ex is like mine (option number one is blow up at me), I'd simply say to my kids "You need to talk to your dad about this. I cannot navigate this for you. It means more when it comes from you directly to him than it does coming from me"

My sympathies.
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