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12 yr old wants a choice in time spent with other parent

Hi, after a bit of help nutting out a situation that has developed over the last few months.

Master12 has started saying (and with more regularity as time goes on) that he doesn't always want to go to his fathers. Up until now I have been saying that it's his father's time with him (and younger sister) and he will be going. He still wants to go most times, just not every time.

Ex is not overly reliable and thinks nothing of cancelling his time with the kids, most recently for this weekend. The Ex has even lied about his medical state as an excuse not to have the kids. I've tried to accommodate Ex where possible with swapped weekends etc but I can see it is making Master12 feel unsettled, which then affects his behaviour - I cop a lot of his anger and frustration because I'm the "safe place" to vent to.

I guess I'm trying to find a way to balance Master12's need for a degree of control over what is happening (typical at this age) and his right to spend time with his father, and the fact that Master12 is feeling like his father doesn't see him as a priority.

So I'm in two minds about what to do. Should I keep making him go each time or do I say woah-up, this is having a negative impact and something has to change?

Is 12 just too young to to have SOME say in how his life is organised?

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it."
Bill Cosby
Firstly Tulip, do you have orders in place? This would have a breaing on the responses that you may receive.

I can understand the ambivalence of Master12. The situation sounds similar to mine, which now seems so long ago. But in my situation there were no orders, and there was never any attempy by the father to make any provision for regular time to be spent with our child.

Sadly, my former Master12 who is about to become Mister18, has spent very little time with his father in the past 6 years, and "Dad" lives within 5 minutes of us.

If you have orders, and they state that the children spend xyz time with the father, then really, you should be following those orders. If you wish for them to be changed to reflect the wishes of Master12, then try to organise mediation etc.

If you have no orders, absolutely try to encourage Master12 to spend time with his dad, and maybe still try to organise mediation.

I fully understand where your Master12 is coming from in relation to feeling that he is not a priority in his father's life. And I know how you feel about being the "safe place" to vent.

Do you have some other strong male role models in your lives. I have been lucky enough to meet a man who tries so hard to be involved in his son' slife, even though there is now half a state separating them. This man has shown by his actions to my nearly 18 year old son, that there are fathers out there who care, and that not all men are like his own dad. Something, which this site has also shown me.

Does your school have a guidance officer? Sometimes, just by having a chat with them, some benefits can be gained.
Hi Boots, sorry for taking so long to reply - life got a bit crazy!

Yes we do have orders, by consent. I don't intend to contravene them, although there is a provision for flexibility by mutual written consent. I have many times agreed to the Ex making changes to the times he has the kids as long as he puts it in writing for us both to sign.

Anyway the kids have gone off for their Christmas block time, Master12 didn't mention not going so I didn't say anything about him not going. There were a few big sighs and grumbles about getting organised to go, but that isn't unusual at this age!

I think if he continues to not always want to go in the new year I will have to look at mediation. And hopefully this time the Ex will attend (he refused point blank in the lead up court last year, we brokered the consent orders outside the court room)

Luckily Boots I have a wonderful, caring partner who has been through similar as a child, and is dedicated to the kids and I  :wub: Also my parents are very involved with the kids.

I think I just needed to vent a bit of frustration, and your reply has reminded me that I'm not alone in beating my head on this particular brick wall!!

Thanks again

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it."
Bill Cosby
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