Am I being unreasonable with my ex about our son?

electrolyte

Well-known Member
I am in serious need of some help and advice from anyone divorced with kids. My ex-wife and I are having a lot of arguments about changing access to our 7 year old son and I'd welcome some advice.

First of all some background. My relationship with my wife ended in May 2006. She moved out in July 2006 and the decree absolute was granted in Sept 2007. I stayed in the marital home and as part of the financial settlement I bought her out of her share of the house. She has bought herself a place 3 miles from me.

As she works part-time it made sense for our son to live with her and for him to stay with me a few nights a week. Since July 2006 we have operated a 3 week system. for the first 2 weeks he has stayed with me Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights and I would give him back to her at about 5ish on Sunday evening. During the 3rd week I only have him stay with me on Weds and Thurs nights. I will take him to his before school club on friday morning and she will pick him up after school. This has worked well but of course I miss not having him with me on the nights when he is with my ex. and the judge agreed that this was best for our son when he granted the divorce.

Obviously our son has struggled to get used to the fact that his parents are divorced and we both had to have chats with him explaining that we would never get back together. But he still wants us to all to live together. And who can blame him - he is only 7.

He has recently said that he would like to see his mum for a bit on weekends when he is staying with me and also vice-versa when he is staying at his Mum's. His main complaint is that sometimes during the weekend he is with me I have to do some housework or a job that needs to be done eg put some washing on, hang out some clothes, load the dishwasher, cook our dinner. he would like his mum to be able to come round when I do this and play with him in our house.

I don't think this is a good idea at all. It sends out completely the wrong message to him and will encourage him to think that his mum and dad might get back together. I would also not be able to relax while she is in my house and equally wouldn't be able to relax if I was at her house. I also value the little time I have with him and i don't want her intruding on that.

My ex thinks I am being totally unreasonable. Do you agree?
 

Peridot

Well-known Member
I don't have personal experience of a divorce situation, but I do have a 7 yr old :)

Your position sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I reckon your son is either trying to find a way to have undivided attention at all time, or (far more likely) as you suggest, thinking that it could bring Mum & Dad back together. It would not be fair on him to reinforce that belief.
 

electrolyte

Well-known Member
so she is happy to come to yours at the weekend and play with your son whilst you do some odd jobs?

Yes she is and I don't think this is healthy for my son and I also am not comfortable with this.

I don't have personal experience of a divorce situation, but I do have a 7 yr old :)

Your position sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I reckon your son is either trying to find a way to have undivided attention at all time, or (far more likely) as you suggest, thinking that it could bring Mum & Dad back together. It would not be fair on him to reinforce that belief.

Thanks mate. It is nice to know thatyou agree with me. Does anyone else have an opinion?
 

Abbeygoo

Distinguished Member
I absolutely agree with you Simon.

I think that when your son is with you he is with you, whatever it is you happen to be doing - it also won't do him any harm to learn to be by himself sometimes.

Having your wife over at these times will do nothing for the lad and I think will end with him being a bit confused and also too attention reliant.

I would explain to him that these things need doing around the house (he may want to help!) and if not he can do something to entertain himself - I'm sure he may have homework / toys / TV to fall back on.

I think you need to stand your ground - he is your son and he is spending time with you. Household chores are part of everyday life - you don't want to end up only spending time with him when it comes to going to pizza hut / cinema etc as this won't allow you to build a proper and real relationship with him.

I would encourage him to help with chores where he can - ultimately it sounds like being with his Dad is important to him, not what you're actually doing at the time. I appreciate that some jobs he can't help with and that is where your job as a father is to teach him that sometimes he has to be on his own and he should learn to deal with these times as he grows up.

Just my opinion ......
 

electrolyte

Well-known Member
I absolutely agree with you Simon.

I think that when your son is with you he is with you, whatever it is you happen to be doing - it also won't do him any harm to learn to be by himself sometimes.

Having your wife over at these times will do nothing for the lad and I think will end with him being a bit confused and also too attention reliant.

I would explain to him that these things need doing around the house (he may want to help!) and if not he can do something to entertain himself - I'm sure he may have homework / toys / TV to fall back on.

I think you need to stand your ground - he is your son and he is spending time with you. Household chores are part of everyday life - you don't want to end up only spending time with him when it comes to going to pizza hut / cinema etc as this won't allow you to build a proper and real relationship with him.

I would encourage him to help with chores where he can - ultimately it sounds like being with his Dad is important to him, not what you're actually doing at the time. I appreciate that some jobs he can't help with and that is where your job as a father is to teach him that sometimes he has to be on his own and he should learn to deal with these times as he grows up.

Just my opinion ......

Thanks mate. It is reassuring that someone else agrees with me.

He has complained to his Mum that he gets lonely while I am doing the chores. Because she is soft and tends to do whatever he wants she wants to come round to keep him company. But as you say this will confuse him in the long run.

You are right, I ought to get him to help me. I have tried to get him to help me by paying him extra pocket money but he's not keen to help. I guess I need to try a bit more to encourage him.
 

h4rri

Active Member
I would also agree, my little girl [3 yrs] is always asking about mummy and why she can't come over. I didn't even discuss it with my ex, we have a great relationship and I won't risk that or the relationship with my current partner by having my ex-wife come round all the time.

My time with my little angel is precious and to be honest I like doing little bits around the house with her there, it makes it feel more normal :)

If he's not keen to help then have him wait for you to finish, mine tends to follow myself or my partner round helping as we do things. I think he's just getting upset with the idea you aren't together and trying to get you back together. I remember my little one asking why I wasn't kissing mummy goodbye when I left and getting quite upset, should have seen the ex-wife's face :)
 

la gran siete

Distinguished Member
It is possib;e for as broken marriage to change to a differnt kind of relationship where the two become more like friends( although not closeobviously)My best friend's ex and he get on perfectly amicably anmd share parenting duties quite well. She often pops round to his house and htey discuss things in civilised fashion- no animosity.Its worked out well for the kids who need stabilty. The fgcat yopu dont like her round the house suggest htere are still bad feelings .Kids pick that up which for them is distressing. I would suggest you and your ex draw a line on the past and start building something different.
 

Abbeygoo

Distinguished Member
Just one more consideration ..... if this becomes a regular thing, what happens if and when you have a new partner? Would your ex wife still come over then?

This habit needs to stop before it gets worse I would say ... :)
 

Alan_W

Active Member
Have to wonder on your ex-wife's agenda.

Who does she want to spend more time with at weekends?
 

Toasty

Distinguished Member
Can I offer a slightly different tack? We have two younger children who play with each other when the parents are busy with other things and we have found that this is just as valuable as quality time between parent and child. Could you have your sons friends over now and again instead of the proposed "mum" situation?
 

Jenn

Distinguished Member
Even if you contemplated the idea, how would it work? Everytime you do the washing you have to phone your ex saying "ok i'll be doing the washing in 5 minutes, can you come over for 10 minutes?" ?

It's not practical. And as others have said it's probably not a good thing for your son: he needs to learn that chores are part of life and if he doesn't want to help you then he'll have to wait for you to be done (it doesn't take that long). Even couples living together don't have one of the parents with the child at all time; children spend some time playing on their own (keep an eye on him to be safe).

You and your ex probably feel guilty about how your son may feel about the split and that's understandable but don't fall into the trap of "spoiling" him to remove your guilt (or in this case your ex's guilt). Children are clever and can play on your feelings to get what they want.
Give him all your love and as much attention as possible but make it clear that things are as they are and that's it.
 
Just one more consideration ..... if this becomes a regular thing, what happens if and when you have a new partner? Would your ex wife still come over then?

This habit needs to stop before it gets worse I would say ... :)

I agree

Children are clever little things, even from such an early age - either he is after total attention or is trying to put you two back together again. Either way it is wrong - unfortunately you have to educate him into knowing that this is the routine now and that you and his mum need to live separately.

From my experience, the child visiting the other parent's house, needs to know that life still goes on as usual, jobs have to be done etc. and that there is NO sign of guilt on either side and therefore isn't compensated for by giving total attention or bending to their every whim or request. I know it sounds tough but you are setting the rules for a stable child/adulthood, you don't want to create a spoilt child, you just have to make them understand the best way you can - plan ahead, giving him something to look forward to if he helps you with jobs beforehand.

You don't want to start creating new rules etc. now that, if and when you start a new relationship, that then won't fit in with your new lifestyle also. You can't have your ex around yours just as much as you can't go around there house, it sends the wrong message to the child and they will despise any new partners in the equation in the future.

Couldn't you change your routine and make it every other weekend plus in the week so the routine is easier for him to understand, otherwise he might get to not wanting to come for 2 weeks Thurs, Fri, Sat on the run and want to stop with his mum more if she is giving him more attention ? Say, Weds, Thurs, Fri one week then Sat, Sun and possibly Mon the next week - Just an idea :)
 

hottstuff

Banned
Can I offer a slightly different tack? We have two younger children who play with each other when the parents are busy with other things and we have found that this is just as valuable as quality time between parent and child. Could you have your sons friends over now and again instead of the proposed "mum" situation?

Agreed.
Agreeing to something your child or ex-wife suggests will more than likely lead to problems for you or your son in the long run.
I assume of course both you and your ex-wife have told your son regularly that both of your love towards him will always be as strong and not to worry , just beacuse mum and dad don't stay together anymore doesn't mean mum and dad are not always there for him.
Don't worry mate as long as your son isn't being manipulated by either party into hating the other , or one is missing for long periods of his life , he will get passed this difficult period , and with love from both parties he can carry on confident he has 2 loving parents.
Best of luck:smashin:
 

Kristian

Well-known Member
His main complaint is that sometimes during the weekend he is with me I have to do some housework or a job that needs to be done eg put some washing on, hang out some clothes, load the dishwasher, cook our dinner.

Get him involved and ask him to help? I don't see anything wrong with kids helping out with chores, in fact I see it as a good thing. Might help if both you and your ex both agree that helping with these jobs - at both houses - is a good thing.
 

Nobber22

Well-known Member
Electrolyte - you are clearly not taking your fathering duties seriously in the New Millenium! Your son is bored when he's at your house? So why haven't you bought him a PS3, XBOx360, Wii and 14,000 games? Don't you sit him down in front of the telly and put the cartoons on 24/7? Why doesn't he have all the latest Power Rangers, Transformers and 150kg of Lego to keep him occupied?

I don't think you are taking this divorced parents-thingy nearly seriously enough! :nono:






Just kidding! I second the other posters on here - you are doing a grand job and should resist your Ex's requests to change the status quo. Good luck. :smashin:
 

BiggieBig

Active Member
another one who also agree's.

But then I guess all these suggestions are from a male prosepective..
Women may be looking at it from a completley different angle (Venus)

my 18 month old even at such a young age also want me and my wife beside her. I was talking her to Tescos last night and as I was driving the car out the drive she was shouting for her mummy to come. Like wise when I go upstairs for a few moments to do stuff she will keep shouting papa so that I come down.

Here are my reasons, some of which are already mentioned.

1) It's quite normal for kids to want both parents beside them.
2) How would it work pratically 3 miles is not far but even still take 10-15m
3) False hopes for the child, he also needs to get use to the situation.
4) If your partner comes over for regular vists it could jepordise the relationship that you currently have and as you say works.
 

Johnny Thunder

Novice Member
I agree with your stance mate.

But, like an earlier poster, it does sound like there is another motive from your ex's side of things.
Does she still have strong feelings towards you?
 

electrolyte

Well-known Member
Thanks for all the great replies. There is some excellent advice there. You've all helped enormously. I felt really low with the way that my ex was treating me and our son; you've helped me realise that I need to stand my ground as this is what's best for all of us. Thanks again, you're all great.

Oh and Nobber - he has plenty of toys to occupy himself with. He has a Wii, loads of games (Wii and PC), probably 200kg of lego star wars, 4 light sabers, a darth vader costume, a (small) snooker table, a remote controlled car, 1000s of Yu-gi-oh, Dr Who and pokemon cards etc, etc. Plus he fills up our Sky+ with loads of his TV so he shouldn't get bored.
 

h4rri

Active Member
Heh, if it helps my relationship was *really* sour for a few months, she resented any new partner I had for a while then one day she just twigged she had to move on and it's great now. Like friends again :)

Hope it all works out for you in the end bud :)
 

la gran siete

Distinguished Member
Heh, if it helps my relationship was *really* sour for a few months, she resented any new partner I had for a while then one day she just twigged she had to move on and it's great now. Like friends again :)

Hope it all works out for you in the end bud :)

Precisely how it should be.:thumbsup:
 
when my parents divorced when I was 7 we moved out of the homemwe used to live in and into a house about a half a mile away whilst My dad moved to an apartment 45 minutes away.

I would stay at my dads every third weekend and see him once a week after school. Obviouisly I missed him when I was with my mother as it very much felt like my mum had removed us from what was normal and I wanted to see my dad more.

The relationship I had with my dad after that was he always made sure we were never bored and had something to do making the time spent with him the most fun. Be it going out to eat in the week and the cinema when he would come over and at weekends taking us (me and my sister) out to eat, to the cinema, playstation or to watch Man Utd.

Given my dad has his own business it always meant he was busy and on his phone all the time and it felt like it was distracting from our time.

My advice is to not get your ex round as he needs to get into a sense of normality over anything else, only then can he move on
 

Peridot

Well-known Member
he has plenty of toys to occupy himself with. He has a Wii ... probably 200kg of lego star wars, 4 light sabers, a darth vader costume, a (small) snooker table, a remote controlled car, 1000s of Yu-gi-oh, Dr Who and pokemon cards etc ...

Hey electrolyte ... can I come round and play with him when you're busy :hiya:
 

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