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Advice please-Holiday edition

Kee-khe's picture

My DH and would like some advice in regards to my SD's visitation for holidays. 
For context, I mostly Nacho parent, I have 3 littles of my own with DH and I'm his support person when it comes to advice and such for SD10, but hardly choose to get involved. We have a good relationship overall, she trusts me a good amount and when she's with us I always make sure she's treated equally to my 3 toddlers. Her dad and her are pretty close but there is a bit of a language barrier as DH speaks only Spanish but sd understands it well, just doesn't speak it much.  So sure, they may not be able to communicate very well but they do. 
  Lately we've been noticing that  she's becoming very distant to her dad and siblings and has willingly chosen to miss out on activities with us. This year we were low on funds to celebrate thanksgiving on the exact day so we postponed her visit for the following Saturday to have our own little family "thanksgiving dinner."  I let BM know this. Long story short, SD refused to come have dinner with us and chose to wait until our scheduled weekend, to visit. (EOW schedule) This obviously upset DH and I hate to see that because he is such a great father and has done so much for her and has been put through so much by bm just to have a relationship with her. 
  My question is, how do you put up with these kinds of situations? Where it's become very noticeable that Sk prefers to visit dad only when something "fun" is involved or out of convenience? 
Now sd decided she won't spend Christmas with us but does want to join us on a trip to a Christmas theme fair.. and that we can have her for New years instead -.-

im trying very hard to not grow resentment towards sk but Im at a loss on how to help DH with this situation. Any advice for him? 


ICanMakeIt's picture

When she is visiting her dad, especially at 10. Is there no formal CO dictating the schedule? If so, stick to it, he is the parent.

Also maybe they should spend time learning each others language - not being able to fully communicate in an already tough parenting situation is going to lead to further distance and increase the amount of possible miscommunication between them as she gets older. 

justmakingthebest's picture

How is the relationship with BM? Is it fairly easy going or is it hostile?

You shouldn't let kids decide when they are going to come over, they come over at the scheduled times. Now, technically she did this. She didn't want to come over until her scheduled time. That is fine. Your DH is going to have to learn to live with things like that, especially as she get's older and has more friends, activities and social life. She is still a little while out from that, but not much. 

I agree with your DH learning her language. He really needs to take the time to do that and show the effort. She isn't going to want to communicate with him as a teen if there is a barrier, especially with things that are more emotionally and hard. 

Kee-khe's picture

Things are now very civil with BM, there hasn't been any conflict in about 2 years now, though we pretty much parallel parent. There's not very much co parenting and DH is already pretty used to the fact that she pretty much calls the shots on anything regarding SD. Of course he does draw the line if she tries to overstep on his time or regarding payments. There is no actual CO set up & never has been. 
  DH is well aware that he has to learn English & has been working on that. 

ESMOD's picture

If there is a CO.. it should be stuck to.  A 10 year old does not get to dictate whether they come or not.  It makes it too easy for them to just cherry pick their visits and as you see.... leads to mild estrangement from the family.

Now.. I will also allow that as kids get older.. they may have legit conflicts for special occasion activities.. like a BFF's birthday party or a family visiting from out of town.. or sports event (not ssure how far you live as to whether the sports events and friend's party would be able to happen via dad taking her).

but the default should be that she comes on her assigned days.. it helps you plan.. helps her mom plan appropriately.  It sounds like your thanksgiving was not on his weekend.. so that would not have been a good time to plan that.. and in stepland.. sometimes kids will spend on holiday with one parent vs the other.. a small second celebration can be had when they next visit as appropriate.. (thanksgiving might not rise to that need.. but Christmas would.. or a birthday)

Kee-khe's picture

I understand that. There is no CO in place but we do have an EOW agreement. And typically if there's any activities we'd like to take her to (either party) we're able to agree peacefully on a solution or weekend switch. Here's the thing though, BM never lets her visit for Christmas. We've asked to alternate years or something of the sort, but at the end of the day, she's never allowed to visit then. 
  SD isn't allowed to be out of her home with BM other than for school. She doesn't get allowed to visit friends or any extracurricular activities, so I'd say those reasons don't really apply in our case. I know, very unfortunate, not sure why they have her live like that. We like to think of her time with us as a break from being cooped up on technology, to socialize and such. 

CLove's picture

BM has a very tight leash on SD. Its possible that she sees your DH as "Disney Dad".

I agree w the others - do not let the child decide - they arent old enough to understand the repercussions of their decisions.

ESMOD's picture

Ideally you would have a CO.. makes it more official.. but if the schedule has been pretty set for a while.  I think that your DH needs to be less flexible when it comes to requests from his daughter to skip visitation on his "normal" visitation times.  

He also needs to put in a better effort to learn to speak her language (I'm assuming it's english and you live in an english speaking country).  I'm sure learning the language would be helpful for him for more than just his daughter's relationship but it should be important enough for him to do it for her alone.  He should also be working with ALL his kids on speaking his language.. being bilingual is definitely an asset and a gift he can give to them.  helping them may help his language skills too.

Visitation is for her to be part of his family too.. not just for the exciting bits.

Rags's picture

Period. Dot.

Once there is a CO, BM can be managed.  Regardless, a minor child gets no say in when they visit.  If there is a CO, then it is firmly on the calendar.

IMHO of course.

Kee-khe's picture

I appreciate your comments and will share these thoughts with him. Hopefully it'll help him establish something more firm moving forward.

SeeYouNever's picture

We went through much the same thing at about the same age, for us this was the beginning of the end when SD started having a choice.

My DH and BM had a CO but they never really followed it. A CO is only as good as the parents follow and enforce it. If they don't then it's worthless.

BM also never let us have SD for holidays because she didn't want to, and if DH didn't use the CO to force her, then she didn't have to.

After a while BM started giving SD a choice of how she wanted to spend her weekends. Of course BM would plan all these fun things and make it competitive with DH. For a while he even fed into it and both he and BM would compete to plan the most fun thing for SD so that she would pick them. At its worst SD would refuse to come and visit unless we were taking her to a hotel or a resort or some other expensive fun thing. He would end up spending hundreds of dollars just to be able to spend some time with SD and it wasn't sustainable. The next month when he suggested she come to our house and we just hang out as a family she said no and the next month and the next month...

Now SD will only visit when DH's side of the family if there is some sort of party that doesn't interfere with anything on BMs side. She's with BM for most holidays but BM allows her to come for birthdays and weddings and things like that. Since she only agrees to come around for fun things the relationship has gotten pretty shallow and we only see her a few times a year.