daughter visiting father for the summer

tdav1March 8, 2010

My daughter (9 yrs old) is supposed to visit her father in Colorado (we live in New York) for a month this summer. He is arranging for her to attend a day camp while she is there. My daughter has told me, through her tears, that she doesn't want to go to the camp. She wants to see her father, but going to camp is scarey. She did this last summer and it was difficult for her because she doesn't know anyone. When she starts at the camp, other children have already been in the program and have already developed relationships. I attempted to talk to her father about this, but he is firm that she has to visit for a month. I suggested she visit for a week or so and he take time off of work. According to him, this is not an option. (Let me add that twice last year he took a week off to take a vacation in NY and did NOT visit with his daughter.)Does anyone have any suggestions on how to make this easier for my daughter or how to convince him to change his plans? I hate seeing my daughter so upset.

Also - if anyone is dealing with a mother or father who moved away - any other advice you may have would be helpful. My daughter feels alone because other friends of hers whose parents are divorced, see both parents regularly.

Thank you!

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What does your parenting plan say?

I know sometimes there will be a clause about 1st right of refusal if the child is going to be with a caregiver for more than X hours in day. (IE--meaning if your DD is going to be spending 8 hrs a day in camp, you might be able to excercise first right of refusal, and say she should instead be with YOU.) The problem is--this would CLEARLY apply if you lived in the same state but since she's visiting her father in a different state, it might not apply.

I would ask an attorney.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:21AM
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"(Let me add that twice last year he took a week off to take a vacation in NY and did NOT visit with his daughter.)"

Does this sound like a man who puts his daughter's interests first? Not to me... If he travelled all the way from CO to NY and did not visit his daughter while he was there, he sounds hugely selfish...

Which unfortunately means that I doubt anything you say or do (short of a court order) will convince this man to put his daughter's interests first now -- at least, not if it's inconvenient for him. A small adjustment? Maybe. A big one? Doubt it.

I'm not excusing him -- but put yourself in his shoes for a few minutes. I'm assuming he works all day, so he will need some form of day care for his daughter. What do you think it should be? If you can think of a better option...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 11:27AM
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Sweeby, OP did try to offer options. I would at first send an email to him, stating just what you said, that DD does not want to go to camp, as other kids have already started, and she will not have relationships, and suggest he look for a specialty camp that starts when she gets there (possibly OP could also look long distance). Possbily X does not understand that girls are different than boys as to friendships v. sharing activities. Discuss that briefly in email and that she was MISERABLE in camp last year.

good luck.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 12:16PM
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Could she go for longer than the month and start the day camp when everyone else does? Then she could get to know people at the camp. My gut instinct feels that he won't give up any time because it could affect his child support.

Unfortunately, what happens in the other parent's house on the other parent's time is up to that parent... unless her health or welfare is at stake, not a whole lot can be done... without a court order. It may not feel fair because we don't want to see our children unhappy or miserable, but that belongs to dad, not you.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 4:32PM
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I think the problem with letting DD go early is that school ususally goes longer in NY.

Like I said, I would send email to dad explaining how DD was miserable in camp and why. SAVE ALL CORRESPONDENCE. At some point you are likely to want to get visition limited as it is clear dad doesnt care about DD.

Go online and research other camps with other start dates -- although gut feel is where I live, all day camps, kids form freinds with who they go to school with. As she gets older, specialty camps (sports, theater, computer etc) may be more activity oriented, less friend oriented. Whatever camp DD goes to call the director ahead of time and explain situation to him/her.

Dont be afraid to tell DD to tell her dad how miserable she is at camp. One time my X was taking my DD to something she hated and she cried and threw up in car. He finally got message.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 4:45PM
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I suppose one difference between my SGS going to day camp in Arkansas while he lives and goes to school in Iowa is that he does start the camp when the other kids do.

SGS spends the day after school gets out in May until 3rd week in August with his dad. He's been doing day camp four years now and this summer will be the 5th. He's 13. He looks forward to it and he does see a few of the same kids from year to year. One boy he stays in contact with via emails/phone calls during the school year.

Is it really camp (activities, food, whatever) or is it really just not knowing anyone when she finally arrives? I guess I'm finding it hard to believe that the camp does not work harder at being sure the late arriver fits in. Usually all kids are assigned buddies/partners, the young counselors try hard to include all kids and the kids are kept far too busy to notice anyone else is a 'stranger'.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 5:31PM
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My guess is Dad doesnt try to talk to camp director to smooth the approach here. I also think there are major differences between boys (activity oriented, generally) and girls (friend oriented). Again, exceptions to every rule.

I dont find this hard to beleive at all.

In my distict, school will go to June 25th this year, IF there are no more snow days.

OP, also, please read your parenting plan carefully. Many times they read NCP gets child one week after school ends. Doesnt matter how many make ups for snow days.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2010 at 5:36PM
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