EOW Parents with older kids

nikemamaMay 1, 2009

I was wondering when and if the older childern don't want to do the EOW thing anymore? My BS stopped going to his dad's about 9 months ago. They have big problems between them and DS Refuses to go at all.

SC are 13B and almost 12G. They live 50 miles from us so we allow them to bring a friend from time to time. There life is with their friends in town. We live in a town with One caution light and this is the county seat. Last time they were going to a football game BM had made plans for. They were to come Saturday instead of Friday like normal. They ended up not going to the ball game but just stayed home till Saturday. SS wanted DH to wait til 600 to get SD wanted us to come as soon as they got up. DH was mad and upset that they didn't seem to want to come. So now it is time for us to get the kids again. DH is afraid that they will put him off again. The kids are out of School today for a service day and they could have come early but they never asked and he didn't want to put them on the spot. Now he is half afraid to call for fear they will put him off.

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I think your DH should keep trying, understanding of course that at those ages, the kids' lives are their friends more so than their parents. They will appreciate that he shows an interest and wants to spend time with them even if they think they would rather be with their friends. Spending time with dad is important at every age, and they will appreciate it when they are older.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 3:21PM
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Nike, at 12, 13, SS was coming EW and happy to do so. At that time DH said he was going to enjoy it because he knew EW would be over when SS could drive , get a weekend job, girls, friends..He is in his late teens now and can drive, he comes when he can now..I rarely saw the older teen SS because of the same deal when younger was over EW at that age...DH has a fantastic attitude about it tho..He remembers what it was like to want to be with your friends and not your parents..Me too..Guess your DH just has to adjust his expectations , they do grow up and get more independant...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 3:23PM
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My skids are 14G and 11B. And yah around this age they start to have their own interests and stop coming around. And plus if they have a bm who feeds them bs all the time about dad and new wife, it doesn't help eh?...
I told my dh if they dont want to come then so be it. They go through their phase for 6-8 weeks not coming then they show missing us...yes US believe it or not. Apparently they do like me but i dont know anymore..i have my reservations on sd. I know ss likes me but honestly doens't care about anything but games..typical boy. My son is the same way...lol...
Sd has gotten to the teenage boy age thingy attitude etc...etc...so she's a rollercoaster. Which i care not to ride on. Just feel sorry and angry watching my husband have to deal with the swearing and insults and disrespect from her. Side note: i'm so happy i stepped back 2 years ago and stopped putting in energy in her. Very happy so i dont feel used and unappreciated. But i know she appreciates me...its just she is so angry at her dad and uses me and my son as a weapon towards him. Can't blame her 100% on that either. She's got nothing else to hold against him expect the time we spend with dear dad...so...cest la vie! She'll learn just like your kids will when they get older.
Tell your dh not to be afraid to keep calling just like my husband does every second friday. If they dont want to come my husbands response is ok , its YOUR DECISION. You dont want to come and see me. I understand you have plans. Ps. love u ...talke to you next time.
Yes he will be hurt, my dh is hurt alot but the constant phone calls prove and show he does want them and it falls in their court if they do not want ot come. So in the futur you guys are in the safe zone. No bs saying oh you didn't want us to come....nope none of that...your dh calls all the time asks..if they say no..say ok..next time..chow. Evne when he calls, he doesn' thave to ask..he can say so what are you plans this weekend...that way he is not always asking directly as well. Another way of seeing if they will come. Your dh can say. oh we have this planned this weekend, are you interested in joining us? So the focus is not them coming but joining an activity or having a convo about what they are up to over this particual weekend.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 3:32PM
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So Far SD wants to come. SS wants to know what we are doing. He is the one who lived with us for a while. He left back to his mothers. He blamed it on me saying he hated me and wanted it to be just him, Sis and his dad. My oldest is having his birthday this weekend so we are doing thing regarding him. SS is very selfish and cold with me still. I am dealing with that just pretend like I don't notice and go on about my business with the other 4 kids and Dh. I have it in my head that it was either the age or the boy pushing the limit about pushing DH away from me.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 4:41PM
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I've posted before about our problem with this. I have 2 DSS, 13 and 15 who live 2 hrs away w/ BM. DSS 15 stopped wanting to come EOW about 3 yrs ago and it's slowly gotten to the point that things are very strained with DH and him. DSS 15 basically doesn't have time for DH, not to talk on the phone, reply to a text, e-mail and certainly not to visit. It started with him wanting to stay home for some "event" or other that was taking place, and it's gotten to the point where DSS 15 just isn't home when DH shows up to get DSS 13. There's no discussion about it whatsoever--DSS 15 just calls the shots. It is truly a no-win situation. DH could probably FORCE him to come, but it would be a miserable weekend, so DH just allows it. DH is incredibly hurt and saddened by this. DSS 13 has recently started the same thing, primarily b/c he does not like to visit w/o DSS 15. DH does try to make sure that DSS 15 knows that we want him to visit when he can--we also want to avoid any possibility of him saying when he grows up that we didn't try to get him to come! It's hard, but we just try to deal with it best we can.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 5:17PM
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"The kids are out of School today for a service day and they could have come early but they never asked and he didn't want to put them on the spot."

I'm a full-time stepmom to two teenage stepdaughters. I know from experience that sometimes "they don't want to be the ones to ask." They want their mom to request extra time with them without them having to beg her for it. It shows them that she wants to spend extra time with them, not just the obligatory time written in the custody order.

I also know that sometimes they like to be in the position of telling her no - they have other plans. Teenagers are very confusing... Sometimes they do it to show they do have some power in the situation, sometimes they are showing her that "they" don't have time for "her." And sometimes it's just because everything revolves around their friends!! Parents are important ONLY when the teenager's social calendar permits! Or when they're asking for $$!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 10:58PM
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I think that younger than a certain age ---say, 16--- the kids should not be given much of a choice in visitation. (I mean, unless of course there are obvious reasons for them not wanting to go like abuse.) I think that OCCASIONALLY, though, kids of all ages (and their parents) should be able to alter or decline plans for stuff that may come up. But I don't think it should be encouraged that a young child is put in the position of having to be held "accountable" ---or in the worst cases, JUDGED--- for if they feel like doing something with their friends instead once every blue moon that happens to coincide with regularly-scheduled visitation. And of course there's also the fact that giving the kids all the *power* to make those decisions can lead to some of the hurtful behavior mollymcb is describing in her SK's. They are simply too young to be able to make those decisions ---and be blamed for them--- all on their own. Even all through the college years, their own social lives are going to be very important and most younger people don't have the long-term vision or psychological understanding to get that if they cut down too much on visiting their non-custodial parent, in the long-term it may weaken the relationship more so than that with the custodial parent because the nature of blended families is more fragile and the connections can be harder to maintain. They are just young people living their lives, going to school, learning about the world of dating, work, discovering themselves, etc. It's not very reasonable to expect that THEY will make the best decisions about nurturing the relationships with their parents, whom they rightly expect will love and welcome them unconditionally, but which unfortunately may not happen in a blended family.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 10:18AM
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Selfish isn't the word!! We talked to them before we left the house drive 50 miles to pick them up only to get to their driveway and say "Well, We would rather stay the night with So and So, BOTH of THEM!! I was SOOO mad but tried to act like I didn't care at all. Then THEY acted like they were supprised that DH told them that he would not come back on Saturday to get them. He said because I'm not driving up and down the road all weekend. I was so proud of him because he is often a doormat for what his children want and in turn what EX wife wants.

SS says that maybe he will come next weekend. That isn't going to happen, First of all it is Mothers Day. Second We aren't having him be the tail the wags the dog. We have been married under a year and enjoy our weekends WOK. So to have a child who openly tells us all that he wants is dad to divorce me so it can be just them again. Nope Nope Nope!!! He will, at 13 boy, hold hands with his dad in the mall so I can't. He will not speak to me at all. To have it just Me DH and that mess all weekend because he was to busy to come when it was time, NOT! He lived with us for 5 or 6 months, then he for no good reason decided that he hated me and wanted to move back to his mothers. So he did. He is welcome to spend any and all the time he wants move back even but he is setting us up to put DH in a spot to force him to pick BS vs. Wife. It isn't fair for him to do that to DH. DH is an amazing husband and father, most loving person you could ever meet. He breaks his back to make these kids happy, SS is playing DH fulled my EX wife.

DH talked to SS many times over the weekend and was a little blue but did much better then I expected. His work was talking about lay off's again too but even with all that we had a great weekend. I made my first better then s-x cake and we went to the farm with mine. It was nice having a low drama weekend.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 11:28AM
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I would advise anyone getting a divorce to be brutal on how far away a parent can move, and consequences. Ideally and parent without custody should be close enough that it is not a big deal for kid and kids friends to visit. Both parents should be able to attend kids school stuff, not just teacher conferences, but ball games etc, without it being a big deal.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 11:30AM
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DH does visit often with the kids. SD is going out for Softball and we will attend, When they bowled we attended every week, he has gone on field trips with SD since we have been together, took SS to a PRO NFL Football game. We have open our home to their friends and even Ex wife's nephew came and spent the weekend with us once (when his parents wouldn't let him stay at her house). Before they entered Middle School he would go have lunch with them and so did I.

It wouldn't have been a big deal if we didn't get all the way to their drive-way before they decided they didn't have time for our weekend. I had postponed my own sons weekend plans to have time to get them. I also don't think the BM should give the go ahead for plans on weekends that are not hers to make the call on. At the very least she should have made sure that the kids let us know before getting to her house that they weren't coming.

Also it is in DH divorce papers that he and ex should only live 50 miles apart and that is where we are. DH relocated 80 miles to be with me. This is were my 3 children and my life was when we go together and 12 miles from where DH was interviewing for a job when we went on our first date. He got the job, the wife the house the kids the 3 dogs and life goes on. Ex wife is mad because she is sitting in their old house with the kids and a looser BF.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 3:19PM
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"I would advise anyone getting a divorce to be brutal on how far away a parent can move, and consequences."

This would be great in an ideal world where everything is certain and guaranteed but is completely unrealistic when it comes to people's lives, jobs, etc.

My DSS has run his tail off for DSSs and has a couple hundred thousand miles on his vehicle to prove it. All they have to is get in the car and come. DH is the one who gladly would leave work early without complaint to pick them up at their door 2 hours away and get them back to our house at a decent hour, then work extra hours later to make up for the time lost. Many, many weekends DH would go get them on Friday night, bring them back to our house, spend every waking minute devoted to them and whatever they wanted to do, then return them on Saturday evening or Sunday morning to accommodate this activity or that one, again gladly. DS and I (and our extended family) would re-work our lives around DSSs, such as postpone putting up the Christmas tree, reschedule vacation, reschedule meals, parties etc., etc. so they could be part of our family. On the other hand, DSSs could care less what everyone else has sacrificed for them.

We had a similar experience on the no-show. DH drove almost 2 hours to their home (again leaving work early) before getting a text (that was sent 1 hour into the trip but not received til later due to lack of service) that they weren't coming. NO regard for DH's time and money spent. As a result, DH now calls to confirm they are coming to avoid this. What this has come to mean is that he is then told (usually by e-mail reply of BM, who cannot possibly call him) that they do not want to come. Still, DH tries to call and text DSS 15, who won't bother to answer. DSS 13 does seem to be ok emotionally and not detached, though he also begs off coming most weekends.

This is heartbreaking for my DH. Looking back at how close he has been with them over the years, I never would have guessed it would turn out like this. I don't know what to tell him, but he does not deserve this. I try to support him to continue to try to see DSSs when they are willing (such as when he travels to that area for work) even if it's just to take them out for a meal. I can't help wondering how many times he's going to be kicked in the teeth by them before he just gives up trying. A lot of dads would have thrown their hands up in the air by now.

What keeps DH going is thinking that SOME DAY maybe they will grow up and realize that they had an incredible father. Perhaps this will help your DH as well. Best of luck to you. It is a bumpy ride!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 5:10PM
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Nothing is certain in this world, but actions have consequences. If you move away from your child, there will be logical consequences. Kids, especially when they get older, want to be with their friends. The children did not ask for a divorce and should not be made to feel grateful as to dad sacrificing to drive to them. Thats part of being a dad. The mere act of moving away is going to send a message -- and if to accomodate a SM? What woudl you think?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 7:41PM
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KK, custody says they should live no more than 50 miles apart and that's where they are. I do not see a big deal with dad relocating since it is still within 50 miles. also SS used to live with dad. it is not like dad abandoned him. he moved to moms recently because he didn't like that dad is married and has no plans to divorce nikemama. LOL

nikemama, it is too funny that SS doesn't want to come visit but when he does visit, he holds hands wiht his dad at the mall (what's up wiht that?). If he is that attached (like a rather young child) and wants dad to himself, why doesn't he want to come more often? seems like he contradicts himself.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 8:15PM
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FD, what I was saying is that people should consider this when they get divorced, and realize the problems moving can create, not that anyone violated agreement -- I realize he didnt.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 10:19PM
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He contradicts himself all the time. He wants to hate me because I am with his dad. At the same time the man that his mother moved into their home within weeks of DH leaving is his buddy. Goes and plays football brags to DH about how they are watching "the game" or what ever. This man is a drugie, goes on spells where he will steal everything out of the house and pawns it for drug money, spits on BM, has been to prison twice since they have been together. At which time BM has started seeing another man until looser returns. He sent me a message saying he wanted just blood related family no body eles. So where does looser BF fit in??

The difference is I have had the same job for years, don't do drugs don't drink but maybe one beer on the weekends we don't have any kids. I was great with him and still am even hurt feelings and all. If he wants to come this weekend even after fussing on here, we will go get him. What my big offence is, I have children, sons even. SS seems to like my boys but I am sure he hates that his dad is with them when he is not. Even so he was here with us for months. SS wants us to entertain him like his dad did when the divorce was new. When DH had Credit Cards to burn and lived rent free with his parents, and was on bend and knee begging the kids to want to do something with him. Now we are together and money is tighter. Not only because DH has a family, I support my own weight, but DH has suffered lay-off after lay-off sometimes long sometimes short but still effects free money, all the credit cards are coming back to haunt. Also DH does have a life outside of work and hoping that the kids will find time for him. He talks to the kids every day without fail.

BTW DH's children we refer to as "The Kids" Mine are often refered to as "The Boys" Mostly because it is easier as he has a boy and a girl and I have all boys. We started that early so that we didn't say "mine and yours."

SS holding hands has everything to do with coming between DH and me. We hold hands all the time. He would like DH to still think of him as the little boy he was when DH left the home. He puts on baby like act because he gets away more of this bad behavior with his dad this way. I have a 16 year old so I know what 13, 14 in AUG. looks like. It isn't hard to tell when you see him with his friends turn it off. It would be different if he was a simple child and that was his way, but to me it is like lying to my face to act that way.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 10:34AM
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KKNY, I never said my DH moved 2 hrs away to accommodate "me" and that is not what happened, if that is what you're suggesting. If you're referring to accommodating "me" with scheduling of events, although the main accommodations have had to be made by DH's family, but YES, I think that FAMILIES have to consider what others have going on. My point is that WE always consider what they having going on and work around it.
You are a bitter, jealous BM and attack SMs no matter what, so you have no credibility with me. To say that a logical consequence of a parent living 2 hours away--who has worked hard to maintain a good relationship and has more than exceeded his financial support obligations--is that the parent should be treated with total disrespect and disregard is utterly ridiculous and shows how you are so biased that your opinion is irrelevant.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 5:23PM
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And I'm bitter?

What I said is that when parents move, they have to consider that there will be logical consequences. How would you feel if a boyfriend moved 2 hours away, but said, oh honey, I'll see you EOW and an occasional night?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 5:45PM
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You know, I just don't know where the he** you are coming from.
Yeah, when your divorcing you really think about how far away you MAY have to move in the future....whatever!
My skids mom lives about 60 miles from us. She comes into town every week (sometimes twice!). Still doesn't bother to call or come and see her daughter. So your little idea still doesn't work in the best of circumstances...ie, if the non custodial parent has the ability to be in close proximity to the child in order to arrange a visit.
My sons dad lives over 300 miles away....i don't bitc* at all about when he comes to see him. When he can, great. If he can't, fine. Just let me know at least 24 hours ahead of time. I am so flexible you could call me Gumby!
Comparing a b/f to a kid is like apples and oranges dear.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 3:27AM
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Really? You dont think children have feelings? I agree it is not right when parents dont spend time with kids, including your skids mom. As to your sons dad, the point I am making is it is not about how YOU feel, its about how the KIDS feel. Its not all about you.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 7:53AM
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I don't think there is a person on here that doesn't care about how the kids feel. The kids are the whole point the way I see it. In my case DH would have moved to this area regardless of if we had got together or not. The day we meet in person the first time was the day he interviewed for the job he has now. DH drives for a living so driving to see his kids is not the point. My beef was that they knew we were coming but didn't bother to tell us they weren't coming. I don't blame the kids I blame their mother who is the adult who should have called or asked the kids to call. Either way someone should have.

IMA if you have a boyfriend who wants to see you EOW and some nights he isn't your boyfriend YOU are his booty call and that is all together another story. The relationship between your children and a boyfriend are not compairable.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 10:02AM
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I think when a person moves away from someone who loves him, there will be hurt. The further away, the more hurt. It is on the parent, not the child, to make up for that move. When a parent moves so far away that driving over is an effort, it only makes things more difficutl. My comments were directed at you specifically, only that in general, a lot of these arguements and hurt is minimized by not moving so far.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 1:50PM
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KKny, of course kids have feelings. That is so not the point. How far away a parent moves does not make those feelings any less.
Apparently you completely missed my point, and did not even read what I posed, as anyone who did can tell that I put my son first and foremost. His feelings are all I care about. That is why I said I am as flexible as Gumby when it comes to when his dad can come and see him and take him for visits etc. Do not even recall or can I find where I said anything was all about me lol. But hey, whatever...you obviously have some weird bone to pick with certain topics here.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 3:16PM
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Everything you write is all about you, and how you feel

"My sons dad lives over 300 miles away....i don't bitc* at all about when he comes to see him. When he can, great. If he can't, fine. Just let me know at least 24 hours ahead of time. I am so flexible you could call me Gumby! "

I have to disagree -- the further a parent moves, the harder is it to have normal relations, as in NCP going to kids games, etc, without making a production of it. I commend you for being flexible, but again this is not about you.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 3:29PM
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Nikemamma, unless yoru dh puts his foot down and also clearly defines himself and your relationship, you will always be second fiddle to this kid.
Sorry, i just a firm believer that kids are UNDER the relationship. In any circumstance. That means the couple comes first. Not the kids. You never let a child run the family, family decision. Always maintain direction between adults. Not the child. THe child wishes are to be considered. Not taken at a whim because he or she wants it.
Its not normal for a boy of that age to hold hands with daddy. He's not a baby. Its actually psychologically disturbing from my perspective. My sd is 11 and he never holds hands with dad! He hasn't since he was 6!!! And evne if my dh tries he protests now.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 3:36PM
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LOL kkny....again, not sure how i ever said it was about me.
Holy shi**!

Since you do not clarify, I will attempt to read between the lines with you...I am assuming that you think my son is damaged now that his dad lives so far away and that he is probably harboring some ill will about that situation somehow....is that about the gist of it??? That all kids will have some sort of contempt about a parents living further away?

Speaking for myself.
He is a happy, healthy kid. He loves his dad, he is happy to be able to spend whatever time his dad can with him. That is their "normal relations", as you put it. For them. My son doesn't have games...he doesn't do sports. He does do music and whenever he had a big concert his dad did come to those. Since he has been in high school he isn't in any special orchestra yet. But perhaps his sophomore year he will be, and I have no doubt that his dad will show up if we let him know the dates.

That is called communication kkny, and it generally works when both sides have the best interest of the child in mind.. I am happy to be able to say that we do work together for our son. I am fortunate. I like to get along and be reasonable. Hooray for me? No, hooray for our son. He is the one who benefits from my flexibility and his dad willingness to travel. So i suggest you stop implying I think this is about me.
Get a clue and stop thinking everything revolves around your own personal view of the world.

For the topic of this OP....if my son didn't want to go see his dad....well I would have a conversation with him and wonder why. There was only one time in his 15 years that he didn't go see his dad and that was due to last minute planning and he already had preset plans. So a bauble in communication can occur in even the best of circumstances but it did not impede anyone's relationship. He does not stay for the entire summer, he usually goes for 2 weeks at a time in the summer. That is the longest, simply because he gets homesick. Gotta luv him lol.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 4:07PM
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Hi Nike,

I have three stepkids and I found that by age 16, my oldest SD wasn't really living the EOW life anymore (even though on paper that was the arrangement). She had a boyfriend, friends and lots of activities. Her life evolved into needing a single home base, although she did come by for dinner frequently. We let her go, and it was a good decision. She's grown up now and we have a good relationship.

It's important to be sensitive to the fact that teens need to build their own lives and that constantly shifting houses is disruptive. However, it's not okay for kids to be rude or inconsiderate. If they make plans with you, they should honour them.

Kids can behave in very self destructive ways. They'll cling to an unreliable parent and be completely obnoxious to a loving "safe" parent. It sounds like your SC's are very angry and they're taking it out on you. Have they had any counselling?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 6:21PM
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They'll cling to an unreliable parent and be completely obnoxious to a loving "safe" parent.

This is very true. It is because they want to unreliable parent to actually be the opposite and they hang on to that fantasy as long as they can. They are obnoxious to the "safe" parent because it is safe, they know that they can misbehave (to a point) and that parent will still love them and be reliable. They are safe to vent around and the other parent is not. Its messed up isn't it....

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 2:04AM
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I think I understand what KK is trying to say here as I'm dealing with it myself.

SD's non-custodial BM recently announced she and her 2nd husband were divorcing and she would be moving about an hour farther away (she's about 20 min. away now) because it would be closer to her family and better for her and her 2nd daughter. This obviously hurt SD - she felt as if she was being forgotten in the choices that were being made. BM was thinking about herself, thinking about her sister . . . but what about her? BM already comes to very few activities, sports, etc . . . now what would it be like? Additionally, visitation would have to be less because the schedule we have now wouldn't work with the distance. Though SD had wanted to cut back on mom time anyway, it still hurt her to have mom tell her there would be less time.

It's all about perception with kids, I think. A move may be the best and most logical thing for everyone involved, but the kids may not be mature enough to see it that way.

JMO . . .

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 10:08AM
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I still disagree, you say a move may be best for all involved -- but is it really best for the child left behind? Maybe you are saying that the moving parent has no choice finanically, but I dont think it is right to say the child may not be mature enough to see it that way. It is a balancing act, and the child is losing. And hurting.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 10:38AM
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I haven't read ALL the posts but did read the ones written by OP. So, here's my little opinion for what it's worth.

You haven't been married long and want to enjoy weekends without kids... your DH left his kids to be with you... he thinks it's wise to punish the kids because they are testing him... I don't think that you and he have thought about what YOU TWO are doing that is making the situation worse.

It's not that I think it's acceptable for a kid to say 'come get me' and then refuse to go when you arrive. Dad should have said, 'get in the car', end of story. But, I would assume the kids are testing dad to see how devoted he is and if his love is 'unconditional' and when he says "I'm not coming back to get you on Saturday", then it tells the kids 'it is conditional'. In a situation where the family is still intact, it would probably be different if dad makes arrangements for a kid and the kid changes his mind and dad says no to the next time. But, when you have kids that probably have some abandonment issues, you have to consider the motivation behind what they are saying and doing. The same thing comes to mind when he, at 13 wants to hold dad's hand at the mall... he's testing if dad loves him more than you. and really, dad should love his kids more than you... the kids are a lifelong commitment, marriage isn't always (at least 50-60% of the time). I also thought the same thing when he raves about his relationship with mom's BF. Maybe he feels that way or maybe he just wants his dad to 'think' he feels that way so dad might get jealous and be more involved. Kids that want their parents attention will spend more time trying to figure out how to get it... they will say what they think the parent will react to... they will test and try the parent.

My SD is dealing with abandonment issues and it totally crushed her when her mom moved away to be with a guy. She has cried that mom's BF is taking her mom away from her. Mom spends too much time with BF's kids, etc. But, when she is upset with us, she will tell us how much she loves him and calls him dad, etc. I'm sure she likes him as he's a nice guy.. but she is jealous and isn't as crazy about him as she will lead us to believe at times. I've also seen her do the same thing with her mom... when she wants her mom's attention, she'll tell her mom about all the fun stuff I do with her to make her mom jealous. If that doesn't work or she wants a different reaction, she'll tell her mom how horrible we are to her so her mom will give her whatever we won't. (She knows how to play both sides) She does it much more with her mom because her mom ignores her and we don't.

As for the hand holding... when we are out, I don't even bother trying to hold his hand because it's not worth upsetting the kids. My kids don't like it when we kiss in public (and I'm talking about a peck). We don't refrain just because the kids don't want us to do that, but what is it proving to do those things. We could say "we're the adults and you kids have no right to tell us what to do" and that would be true. But, then there's bad feelings from the kids to the new partners and hugs, kisses and hand holding are not so important that we will let it cause disharmony... blended families have enough struggles as it is.

As for moving away, I don't think the number of miles matters when the kid feels 'my parent loves so and so more than staying here with me'. It is the parent's responsibility to keep up as much contact to make up for leaving as possible. and it's completely different thing when a parent moves for a job, than when a parent moves for a relationship. Kids can understand that dad needs to work to make money to take care of me... but it's harder to understand that dad loves his girlfriend enough to leave and spend less time with me so he can spend more time with her...and her kids... and if the move was made because it is less disruptive to the new girlfriends life (and HER kids) then the kids would probably resent it even more. The biggest beef I've had with SD's mom moving, was THE WAY SHE DID IT. She is an extreme case, no advanced notice... she let us know AFTER she was moved. She left for a guy.. not just any guy, a guy she only knew two or three weeks. and she tried to get SD excited about it, like it was a GREAT thing.... talking about their wonderful house... his dogs.. his kids... Yeah, SD acted excited on the phone with her mom but spent weeks in her room balling her eyes out. Then her mom would cancel weekends, or leave her at grandma's house at noon to go back to BF when she was supposed to keep her til 6... and so obviously, the level of contact went from 50/50 to a day and a half each week... which was shared with a new BF that BM wanted her to call dad (with his kids) & be one happy family. It would have been different if she had spent every minute possible with her kids and called her daughter every evening at bedtime and show SD that SD was a priority... but her moving away the way she did said it all to SD and her mom did nothing to make up for it. The parent that moves away HAS to do more to make up for it because kids are not always able to be forward and honest with the parent because they fear the parent will stop seeing them altogether and they already fear (with good reason as moving is proof to them) that they are less important and less loved than the person they moved for.

That's just my nickel's worth of opinion.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 10:49AM
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"It's not that I think it's acceptable for a kid to say 'come get me' and then refuse to go when you arrive. Dad should have said, 'get in the car', end of story. But, I would assume the kids are testing dad to see how devoted he is and if his love is 'unconditional' "

Imamommy, I am sure that many kids do play games like that to test their NCP, but is there a point where the NCP should just give in b/c the child REALLY DOESN'T want to come? You sound so convinced that they should adamantly require the child to get in the car, and if the child is secretly hoping that is what will happen, then that is a good thing. But what if, after the child (and I mean a boy of 13 or 14) is compelled to go, he spends the entire weekend looking like he is in pain (when he is visible at all) answering only when spoken to and then only in 1 word sentences, and three days before the next scheduled visitation, he throws a fit and cries that he does not want to go? This is exactly what my DSS15 has done. He is into the drama and plays it to the hilt. I think each situation is different and the answer is subjective. I'm not even saying I know what the answer is in my DH's situation, as we've spent many hours talking about this. My DH HATES controversy. He would rather just let DSS stay home than make him come and have him create misery for everyone else (and apparently be miserable himself, or at least appear to be.)

Also, a separate issue is that my DH has tried to deal w/ this by finding other ways to visit on DSS's terms, but lately, that is not working. For a while, DH would try to arrange to work in DSS's area on visitation Fridays and go to any practices they had and take them out to dinner. He also would text/e-mail/call DSSs a few times a week. DSS 15 had a birthday recently, and DH had e-mailed and called BM and DSS for a week or more trying to find out whether we might be able to see him for part of that weekend or to make alternative plans for celebrating with him. DH had arranged his work to be in DSS's town on Friday and knew that DSS was having his big "friends" party on Saturday and BM's family's party on Sunday, so DSS had no birthday plans for Friday. DH called and texted DSS that he was going to be in town and wanted to take him out for his b-day. NO RESPONSE! I think this is downright rude and hurtful and DH should sit down DSS and tell him that, but he won't. He just internalizes the pain this causes him.

Now I can see in your situation that the BM is undependable and selfish, to name a few adjectives. My DH is neither. Yes, he has had to miss most activities that took place during the week, but he has gone to many, many things on the weekends and has even missed work at times to go to school events during the day. He has ALWAYS spent 100% of the non-sleeping hours of visitation time with DSSs, and I don't mean just sitting on the couch like a bump on a log, I mean, playing catch, shooting hoops, going to movies, playing guitars, playing board games (we used to have "family game night)--all things a concerned, loving father would do. (I am 99% certain that many times DH packed into as much or MORE time with DSSs into visitation weekends than many fathers who live in the same house with their children.) He is very light-hearted and cracks jokes all the time, keeping the atmosphere fun. I have always given them plenty of space to be alone yet always try to make the home loving and pleasant by cooking their favorite foods, planning activities they would like. My DH also pays a very large sum of CS and has NEVER even been late on a payment, to my knowledge, which is the past 10 1/2 years, in addition to providing all medical insurance and the majority of what insurance does not pay, in addition to very generous gifts for Christmas, b-days, and "for no reason at all other than I love you" in between.

I give all of these details to show that the fact that DH lives 2 hours from DSSs does NOT justify being ignored and disrespected. We "get" that they want to spend time with their friends and we respect that. But they should be learning, if they don't know already, that their dad at least deserves to have them answer the phone when he calls or return a text message, even if they are too busy to visit.

Thanks for letting me vent!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 11:54AM
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Molly, We in the same boat. That is exactly what is going on with us. DH does so much to support, love and entertain the kids as much as he can. He is way up on the curve of being a great dad. The kids and the EX feed on drama. It SUCKS!!!

SD got a cell phone for Christmas. She will not call DH when he calls her she is short and says can I call ya back? She never does. Then Ex calls DH says that SD no longer has a cell and can we help pay her $400 phone bill. NO!!! She will not call, she will not visit and BM gets her a phone and keeps no kind of control on it. Thats her baby!!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 12:13PM
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oh well, she got her the phone. let her pay the bill eh???
i do not agree with any teenager havinga cell phone unless they have a job and pay forit themselves. ! lol...gets her a phone and then asks for bill helping..yeah right...

I'm still a true believer that if a child doesnt' want to come, especially at the age of 14 or even at 10...that he shouldn't be forced. Nowif it becomes a habit then its up to dh to scrap it out with ex wife and tell her encourage it, its not right i miss every weekend...etc.etc...
But at 14,15,16, these kids are old enough to start making decisions and they begin to learn like all teenagers. They want their friends, bf, gf..etc..etc..i rather not have a kid who is sour and miserable because they didn't wnat to be here.
I wouldn't want to be forced to go somewhere...why should they?
For your Dh, there is nothing stopping him from calling and just saying hello and keep open communication. He doesn't have to always ask them down. Just call and see how they are doing and tell them he loves them. Thats all. In the end if he keeps consistant phones calls, letters, emails and holdshis ground...i'm not saying every day...once a week or so..calls them for bdays and arranges the odd visit or so to keep in touch....when they get older they will remember.
But i can also understand when they dont answer the phone or return calls...it hurts as well for my hubby . There also comes a time when people throw in the towel. There is only so many times as well you bang your head on a brick wall.
Happens to my dh alot. He calls, they ignore, play games...change plans..and he finally says, love youbut you dont respect me, by for now,,,call me when are settled and we can talk nicely. goodbye.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 12:44PM
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Well, my opinion was based on the limited information that was given and it really contradicts itself to say the child holds dads hand at the mall but doesn't want to visit.

To give up so easily when the kid may be saying they don't want to go because they want the parent to push it and prove they really want it to happen rather than feeling like the parent is only doing it out of obligation... that only gives the child the impression it's out of obligation. If it's an ongoing battle EVERY time and the visits are miserable (and you have talked about it and tried to resolve it), then yeah kids might start to make a decision... but if you don't talk it out or try to find out the reasons behind it or if you just give up because it's easier for you or everyone else (which is still another way to say YOU)... then that is not being a good parent.

If my kids didn't want to visit me, I'd sure want to know why and what can I do to change your mind and what's the problem???? I wouldn't say, okay...see ya! Sure, it might be less hassle to not deal with it, but how is that going to impact the relationship now and in the future? I've always wondered how people end up in estrangements... and I think I'm starting to see how it can happen. I mean, I have a strained relationship with my mom but I call her on her birthday, mother's day and we see each other on holidays... and talk occasionally. But, the more distance a parent puts in a relationship, the harder it is to recover from it later on. Kids don't always have the capacity to understand the ramifications of their actions and if THEY are trying to put distance as kids... they may not grasp what that will mean 10 years from now. It's a bit different when a grown child puts distance from an unhealthy parent.. so that's not what I mean here.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 1:36PM
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If my kids didn't want to visit me, I'd sure want to know why and what can I do to change your mind and what's the problem????

Yep, that is what I said too ima.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 1:51PM
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I may be a little naive, but I think if you are a good parent and have a good relationship with your children, they will want to spend time with you because they miss you. Even at older ages. However, I can understand that it won't be every other weekend, etc. as it was when they were younger. But if the children don't even return phone calls, emails, texts, etc., then there is something going on there that is worth exploring to mend the relationship. Teenagers can be callous, but are not that callous.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 3:04PM
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Ima, The thing with SS has been going on for sometime. I have posted much about it. He lived with us and moved back to his mother's partly because he was homesick and to protect his mother from her unhealthy relationship with a deadbeat BF. Also he is super jeolous of the fact that I have 3 other sons and he doesn't like splitting time with his dad and the new family. He went so far as to tell DH did he ever think that he would pick me over DS. This kid was the best man at our wedding. He really just wants his dad to divorce me and I haven't done anything but be good to him and his sis and make his dad happy. DH is an amazing father and husband. There isn't a day that goes by that he doesn't call and talk to his kids even if they don't have time to talk to him, he calls every single day no matter what. It does hurt his feelings like crazy but he loves them like no other.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 3:34PM
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"If my kids didn't want to visit me, I'd sure want to know why and what can I do to change your mind and what's the problem????"

I AGREE 100% and in my case, I have told DH that. He has tried to talk to DSS about "why" he doesn't want to come. DSS says only, "I don't know why. I can't explain it to you or anybody else. I just don't want to." If that were MY child, I would say "I don't know" is not good enough but DH feels nothing else will do any better. He has talked with BM about it, and if she does know what it is, she plays dumb, b/c she only says that SHE doesn't know. BM is also one of these people who sticks her head in the sand (DH calls her "mentally lazy.") Given DH's propensity to avoid confrontation, I can see why they stayed married so long despite all the dysfunction in their relationship.

"I may be a little naive, but I think if you are a good parent and have a good relationship with your children, they will want to spend time with you because they miss you. Even at older ages."

As to this comment, although I do think that sounds naive, particularly when you are dealing with teenagers, I can't say. This is my first experience with teenagers since I was one! My situation was that my parents actually were separated for 3 years while I was in high school. NOT ONCE did my father initiate visitation (or pay any child support for that matter) and he lived with his mother in the SAME TOWN, 5 miles away! He also went to NONE of my activities growing up when he lived with us or after he left, and I'm sure he never asked how school was going. IN fact, when he did live with us, he came in most nights after I was already gone to bed and was still asleep when I left for school. We had a VERY strained, distant relationship then and into adulthood. (He has passed, God rest his soul.) My DH's time devoted and interaction with DSSs is in stark contrast to what I saw growing up. I truly don't know WHY DSS is treating DH this way. DH's theory is that he likes "drama," and perhaps enjoys the persona of his life being "screwed up."

I am sorry to hijack this thread with my own crap! I was trying to give some insight to the OP. I appreciate everyone's constructive feedback. May God bless us all!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 4:34PM
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I've raised 3 teenagers and they may act like they don't want to be around parents but they want to know you care... that you are there. The ones at home are 19 & 20 and still like hugs & high fives. (and they have their moments of "I'm a grown up, leave me alone... don't tell me what to do... I'd rather be with my friends)

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 6:55PM
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