'forcing' vs 'neglecting' decision made - long
The current dilemma; when the skids come to our place they say we 'force' them. But we know from the past that if we are flexible and let them come and go as they please (= as BM decides..) they are made to believe that we 'don't care about seeing them'
It's a catch 22, you can never win.
We talked to the counselor about this and she discussed it with her clinical supervisor as well. Her advise to us is to look at the family dynamics as it is for the skids. They spend 10 days with BM and 4 with us every fortnight, so their loyalty will naturally be with BM. Also the counselor acknowledges that the skids have a carer-role for their mom, so they feel bad leaving her to come to us. The counselor has seen the skids a few times now and she is right in saying this. The skids feel huge guilt over 'leaving' their mom to come to us. They always need to check in with her to see if she's ok and then of course she is not, adding to their distress.
Since we can't change that and the skids have that role whether we like it or not the counselor advises us to let the girls go. Give them their freedom and flexibility. Let them come to our place and let BM disrupt our visitation every single time. It is less stressfull for the skids if they don't feel like we keep them away from their mom (and from their role as carer) and we need to look at the kids' best interest.
The best thing we can do is to be supportive of them and to accept that they have this role. Accepting does not mean agreeing of course, because it annoys the h*ll out of me, but I do realise that it's not in our power to change it either.
We have always tried to protect them from the madness and the ridiculous responsibilities. For the skids to have a break and a rest and just be kids when they come. But it's not working out that way, disappointing but true. We can't stop them from feeling guilty and we can't make them be just kids and 'forget about the b*llshit' for 4 days a fortnight. The harder we try the worse it gets.
The counselor says that if the skids feel supported and loved by us they will have a better experience coming to our place. Even if it's just for one night. That is still better than 4 'forced' days. She says it's the experience they have with us that matters, not the amount of time they are spending with us.
So here we are. We agree with what she says, and we are going to let them go. We were already leaning towards that, but she put it into words really well. We will not announce it to the skids as such, because that will go straigh back to BM, but we will implement it on a day to day basis. So for example when they get to our place we would be one step ahead and ask the skids if they want to ring their mum, rather then waiting for them to ask. These kinds of things should make them feel more relaxed and supported and therefore happy.
I hope I'm ready for all the disruptions though, BM will make the most of it I'm sure...