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help.... where do you draw the line?

Here's the question, where do you draw the line (or where would you draw the line) in a situation where the other biological parent wants the child to visit but wants you to pay for it, or pay a majority, and doesn't want to provide you with information?


Here's the scenario, my daughters father has had on off contact for the past 5 - 6 years, my daughter is now 7. Last year we entered a parenting plan and this year she was supposed to visit him for christmas.

I called in August and began planning christmas. Looking at flights andtravel times and school term dates etc.

I called again in Sept when he still hadn't began organising anything and expressed my concern for prices time off work etc over christmas is we didn't get organised.

In Oct they emailed me with 2 options for dates.

so i looked at flights etc, emailed them with prices and asked to split the bill 50/50
They said no, insisted that they would rather drive a portion of the trip (10 hours)

i said ok, i'll fly her there you drive her back send me an email with the itinary

Weeks later they emailed asking for the flight confirmations and i emailed back saying i'm still waiting on their itinary

They emailed me with this:

Think we have been pretty clear on what is happening. We are of course arranging our travel details to suit you!

We can not give you times dates etc for the pick up as we are waiting on this information from you.

her return trip will be as follows:

Walgett to Inverall Dec 29th - Stay overnight in Inverall
Inverall to Lismore Dec 30th - Arrive at her Nans approx lunchtime.

the father is going to try and ring tonight, would be much easier to arrange via telephone with a confirmation email. could you please answer your phone as the father has not been able to speak to her for awhile now,

Thanks

(i've edited out names)

So my question is am i allowed to spit the dummy now?
I've written a huge email about how this process can not keep happening, it happens every time we have planned access, and how i want just a few simple thing:

make sure you supply me with options for travel and flights and dates
make sure you supply me with information on the overall itinerary including sleeping arrangements and care arrangements
Make sure you supply my daughter with information on anything that may have changed since her last visit, this may include sleeping arrangements and care arrangements
Make sure contact in between visits is regular and consists of a number of mediums
Save time by answering emails with the information requested
Don't leave things to the last minute and chop and change


Where would you draw the line?

Do the share parent and ask for more/less?

Or if you don't share parent what would you ask for?

My partner thinks i am asking too much but i ask for the same thing from my mum and the school if they are planning on taking my daughter overnight.

Should i send the email?
I'm a mum and nope I would not send the email.

As frustrating as it is you need to let go a little. You sound very organised. You need to respect that others may not be.

In short they may not know everything they have planned for her visit.

Rather than demanding information and sending emails back which also sound frustrating take a step back.

It is resonably to know the following:
- Someone (generally Dad) knows what time the flight will arrive and someone will be picking the child up from the airport (it doesn't really matter who!)
- The time the child will be dropped home (the fact you know the trip home plan bonus!)

And ask (not tell) if it's possible to have some phone contact will your child is away.

It's hard being a full time mum and letting go a little.
wow i don't know how you could let your child go with so little information

I definatly want to know the address she will be staying at and a contact phone number

given that both her dad and his new wife have duel residency with australia and new zealand i want to have regular contact just to make sure she's ok and still in the country.

i wouldn't even let her go on a school excursion without adresses and emergency contact numbers

i don't need to know every minute of every day but i do need planning information

my daughter needs to know, for example, that because of the new baby she no longer has a bedroom at her fathers house, or she's sharing her room etc etc

i don't mind flexibility and spontinaity but her father tends to take that, in the past, as 'hey i don't feel like driving her home' which equals me driving 10 hours there and 10 hours back

parents don't plan to fail, we don't plan for our children to be injured or die, but we do suffer the consequences when we fail to plan.
Motherwolf, be aware, that just as the father cannot dictate what the sleeping arrangements are in your home, neither do you have the right to dictate his. And why doess "your" daughter need to know. She will be spending time with her dad, the sleeping arrangements are those for that household to discuss and arrange. You do not HAVE to have that information.

You have come across as being very negative towards the child spending time with her other parent. You have referred to her as MY child, when if you are speaking/emailing the father, it should be OUR child.

And I would hazard a guess that they were waiting for you to advise them of the flight details FIRST, so that they, because they were drving, could then plan their trip. Because what would be the point of them saying that they were going to drive back on the 29th and 30th if you were then going to turn around and book the child's flight for the 27th, thereby giving them 3-4 days.

It really doesn't sound as though your parenting plan has been of any benefit. Did you prepare it through mediation, or is it something you came up with and got the father to agree to or vice versa?

Parenting plans should already contain things like contact at school holiday time. Being vague leaves too much room for anything and everything. How is that area of the plan actually worded?
My sons spent time with their dad and I did not even know if he had a house ( he did not, it was a tent) and I just bit the bullet so to speak and let them go more than once for extended time as it was his time (and yes tents are ok for a holiday). We all survived and although it was hard for me I did not make my exhusband explain himself to me.
Sometimes he was late, unreliable and did not do as he said he would, but his sons grew knowing him. That was 20 years ago.
You can not always know what is happening, but if you know he would not harm his daughter than everything else should be for her benefit.
Boots said
Motherwolf, be aware, that just as the father cannot dictate what the sleeping arrangements are in your home, neither do you have the right to dictate his. And why doess "your" daughter need to know. She will be spending time with her dad, the sleeping arrangements are those for that household to discuss and arrange. You do not HAVE to have that information.

You have come across as being very negative towards the child spending time with her other parent. You have referred to her as MY child, when if you are speaking/emailing the father, it should be OUR child.

And I would hazard a guess that they were waiting for you to advise them of the flight details FIRST, so that they, because they were drving, could then plan their trip. Because what would be the point of them saying that they were going to drive back on the 29th and 30th if you were then going to turn around and book the child's flight for the 27th, thereby giving them 3-4 days.

It really doesn't sound as though your parenting plan has been of any benefit. Did you prepare it through mediation, or is it something you came up with and got the father to agree to or vice versa?

Parenting plans should already contain things like contact at school holiday time. Being vague leaves too much room for anything and everything. How is that area of the plan actually worded?
 

Boots, thanks for your comments. A few things lost in translation

- i refer to the child by her name but i edited out names for this message board so the my child/our child thing isn't applicable.

- yes the parenting plan was prepared through mediation, we are both supposed to fly however one parent wants to change that to driving at the last minute (not me)

- children have a right to know what's going on especially when visitation is so traumatic. my/our child has stressed herself into hospital before so i believe there's good reason for her dad to call up and say (for example) 'we've moved house [insert childs name] you're room now has a view of blah blah' or what i'm more worried about 'the new babie is sharing you room or the new baby has your room and you are sharing blah blah' there's no point in  a child showing up on the day and walking into the room that used to be pretty pink and all their but is now blues and reds and all new babies. It is a simple matter of easing the child into the situation. It's called transitioning and a mnadatory requirement for school, daycares, preschool etc so it's not a far fetched request.

No need to hazard a guess, here's how it goes… i plan school and uniforms and homework and swimming and nippers and her birthday and easter and tuition and the dentist and speach thearpy and well i could go on.

He plans her holiday with him. (he should, he doesn't, but he should)

i've done it all these years so i know it's possible for one party to do the research and then get the information to the other for approval and then do the booking.

Yes you're right, i need to go back and re-read the parenting plans exact wording but the reality is that i've planned every other trip this year and i've footed the bigger bills so why can't he share the load?

And in responce to:

"My sons spent time with their dad and I did not even know if he had a house ( he did not, it was a tent) and I just bit the bullet so to speak and let them go more than once for extended time as it was his time (and yes tents are ok for a holiday). We all survived and although it was hard for me I did not make my exhusband explain himself to me.
Sometimes he was late, unreliable and did not do as he said he would, but his sons grew knowing him. That was 20 years ago.
You can not always know what is happening, but if you know he would not harm his daughter than everything else should be for her benefit."

I agree, tents are still great places to live, but i'm not raising a puppy here guys, i'm raising a human being with rights as a child to have their basic needs met (in a tent or a house it doesn't matter which). If you don't stand up for your childs rights than don't expect anyone else to and 20 years ago the incidence to deaths in care and abduction was lower but still 1 child harmed is 1 child too many. How would you feel now if that 1 child harmed WAS YOUR CHILD? still rate yourself as a top mother (if something had gone wrong?)?

And to point out something most of you are assuming wrong, the father and i were never married or in a relationship, the child did not grow up with him nor do i know his manerisms or at home attitude or friends etc.

Last edit: by motherwolf

motherwolf said
- yes the parenting plan was prepared through mediation, we are both supposed to fly however one parent wants to change that to driving at the last minute (not me)
Parenting Plan = Informal unenforceable agreement.

Parenting Orders = Formal and enforceable.

http://flwg.com.au/plans/pg/start
kalimnadancer said
My sons spent time with their dad and I did not even know if he had a house ( he did not, it was a tent) and I just bit the bullet so to speak and let them go more than once for extended time as it was his time (and yes tents are ok for a holiday). We all survived and although it was hard for me I did not make my exhusband explain himself to me.
Sometimes he was late, unreliable and did not do as he said he would, but his sons grew knowing him. That was 20 years ago.
You can not always know what is happening, but if you know he would not harm his daughter than everything else should be for her benefit.
 

Just wondering how you organised these access visits if you didn't have the opportunity to ask about the location/tent/house thing? Perhaps you knew him well and could put 2 and 2 together to know he was just running late and that there was no serious trouble but most of us would be neglagent mothers not to 'try' and keep our children safe even when the danger turns out to be minor.

Don't get me wrong, i have a friend who lives in a bus with his son, he's a single dad, but he asks the same question i do of the mother when it's her turn to have access (and gets a similar argument lol).

It is all about keeping the children safe.
Motherwolf, it is okay to ask, just don't demand an answer. As I said, you have no say in what the arrangements are in the other household, just as they have no say in yours.

Yes, it might be nice for your daughter to know the sleeping arrangements, but she doesn't HAVE to know. They may be doing things as a surprise.

As for knowing the address, that can be tricky. As long as you have a contact number, sometimes that is all that is given (and this can be directed by the courts). I know of a few people who have only advised the other parent of a phone number, and a postal address. So you may be on a hiding to nothing with that request.

How much information have you given the father? And what sort of things do you think he doesn't have a right to know?
I think you have a right to know WHERE your child will be staying(if theres a cyclone in XXX and you assume child is in XXX but child's other parent has moved and is now in YYY then you end up panicking if your child is ok or what for no reason).

The trip thing is a bit of a grey area- how can they plan when they will leave to pick her up if they don't know the flight times, but then how can you book a time/flight for her if you don't know when it is suitable for them to pick her up( you book flight for 27th- they turn around and say oh we can't do that day you have to change it- you've booked- your screwed!)


The issue with bedrooms would be a big factor- you as one parent need to prepare your daughter for the visit this may be anything from trying to help her get excited to explaining what she will do- I know my child loves to know what we are planning to do for her holidays etc…  it helps a child to understand if they know what is happening.
School teachers tell students what they have planed for the day- they don't just turn up at school and find out they're going on excursion that day….
you need to mentally and emotionally prepare the child for the visit so you do need to know the sleeping arrangements and maybe even some of the activities.
Same as the father should be asking what has …. been up to lately(has been attendign dance classes/has been actively involved with some valunteer organistation etc..), what is she interested in at the moment(she used to love painting last time she visited but now she likes to read) etc… so he knows what things he can plan to do with her that will be of interest to her.
Funny you mention the cyclone situation, Jayden. We actually had that happen, the mother took the child to another location, did not advise the father, and invariably when the child told the father what town he was in, it was a bit disconcerting when it turned out to be a town already on cyclone, and the cyclone came through when the child was there.

In our situation, the mother has frequently taken the child to other locations, even during school time for long periods of time, and has NOT advised the father that they are not in their usual town of residence. The mother states, that the father DOES NOT have a right to know where his own child is. So in fact, it goes both ways.
Boots said
Funny you mention the cyclone situation, Jayden. We actually had that happen, the mother took the child to another location, did not advise the father, and invariably when the child told the father what town he was in, it was a bit disconcerting when it turned out to be a town already on cyclone, and the cyclone came through when the child was there.

In our situation, the mother has frequently taken the child to other locations, even during school time for long periods of time, and has NOT advised the father that they are not in their usual town of residence. The mother states, that the father DOES NOT have a right to know where his own child is. So in fact, it goes both ways.
 

Both you and Jayden have very valid points. I stand with Jayden on wanting to have information so things run smoothly, what is wrong with a 5 min chat or email that can make the world of difference in preparing the child? Is 5 mins too much to ask of the other parent and if so what time will said parent have for the actual child?

I think he has equal right to know everything. Yep i mean everything, if i was going on a date (before i met my now partner of 4 years) that inevitably would effect the child and i was always happy to introduce any developing relationship to the father before the child. He had no final say in the evolution of the relationship with me but he does with his child.

If he want's to discuss alternative schools i'm there, if he wants her to give his beloved football a try as her next sport then lets do it, if he thinks that …. music is inappropriate then i'll ban … music in the house - sadly he doesn't want to put the time into day to day care. He just wants chrismas and easter and birthdays. The fun stuff.

I posted the exact same discussion (as this started out to be) on another board and we're now talking about the possibility of doing skype homework sessions. So he can get involved at some point in time during the week and not just communicate but help out too. We're only talking about the logistics of the matter and not his willingness to get involved but there's got to be more than just weekly phonecalls (if he calls), sharing this parenting thing means the good, the bad and the ugly. The late nights sewing costumes for tea parties and school plays, the crying over the lost pet and the mad dashes to the docters because of a myterious rash. (if only he wanted to know about the school play, if only he cared about the illness' or even knew she owned pets)

I think parents should have nothing to hide (excluding of course cases of violence and abuse and matters where hiding is safer for the child)

And if you have nothing to hide then why can't you communicate?

And if you are failing to communicate then you are creating problems for the child and the other parent that don't need to exist.

And when you are creating said problems you are building a negative environment that the child must live in.

Which means that in some way you are harming the child, on a sliding scale yes but harm just the same.

And does it hurt us as parents to share that information? (again excluding those situations where there is violence etc)

And if it doesn't hurt us we should want to share it, at least with the child that we love.

It might not work everytime but does that mean we shouldn't try to make it work? And try again. And try again? If nothing else we can die knowing we gave it our best and didn't just hope everything would be ok, we made every effort and we worked hard because we love our children and for them we would do anything.

**************

So here's an update:

Yes i booked the airfares

Yes i'm still waiting for him to decide if he will/wont pay anything

And nope she hasn't spoken to him in three months and yep she's excited and stressing herself. She's already misbehaving in class, she can't sit still and she's very wingy and clingy and all the usual signs of a child under stress. I have to be very happy and smiley about it all. We're writing stories about the trip to daddies (which is hard with so little info) and looking at the calender, learning lots of different xmas traditions because things will be different. If i'm lucky she won't start vomiting - which leads to dehydration and her going into hospital again.

Yes, simply leaving a child in the dark can be dangerious to their health.

We're talking about a child that i can chuck on a ski slope on a snowboard for the first time ever and she's "bye mum" off, not a problem, had never even seen snow before. But she knew what was comming, we watched 'shreduation' together (the kids snowboarding show on nick) and printed maps off google (great way to teach kids how to read a map and fill in holiday drive time - appoint a child navigator).

But all she knows at the moment is that she won't be home for christmas and that scares her.

so with the addional info do you still think the 'dont ask don't tell' policy of some seperated parents is ideal? (general question, not aimed at anyone inparticular)
My boys had a mobile phone as they grew and that was a contact point for them to me and me to them. I did not ever know for sure where they were when with their father, but I knew that he would keep them safe and we were both liberal with collection times and allowed a 1 - 2 hour window. Most times I had a general idea of there whereabouts.
I did worry, but I knew that they needed to spend time with dad. We communicated and stayed able to talk as they grew.
Now they are adults we rarely see or hear from each other.
Sometimes you have to trust your expartner. We could not live together, but that did not mean that he stopped being a careing dad and as long as trust was there I knew our sons were OK.
kalimnadancer said
My boys had a mobile phone as they grew and that was a contact point for them to me and me to them. I did not ever know for sure where they were when with their father, but I knew that he would keep them safe and we were both liberal with collection times and allowed a 1 - 2 hour window. Most times I had a general idea of there whereabouts.
I did worry, but I knew that they needed to spend time with dad. We communicated and stayed able to talk as they grew.
Now they are adults we rarely see or hear from each other.
Sometimes you have to trust your expartner. We could not live together, but that did not mean that he stopped being a careing dad and as long as trust was there I knew our sons were OK.
 

Trust is a wonderful thing and i am glad you were able to keep that between you.

forging it from nothing is proving to be difficult.
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