Hi all. I have 2 young, fantastic kids who I miss terribly since I moved out of the family home six months ago. They are a girl of 5 and boy of 16 months. I see them every Saturday 0900-1800. Not long enough. Now that I have bought a smart 2 bed flat and have a bedroom for them I want to have them both stay overnight. I know my 5 year old daughter really wants to stay over (she keeps talking about it) but I also know their mum will be reluctant, saying that the 2 kids come as a package and as the baby boy is so young, she won't be happy with them staying over. I think this is rubbish as they will both be happy with me and I have a cosy room with cot and bed waiting for them. I am a good father and the kids love spending time with me. I just want the extra quality time of putting them to bed, reading my daughter a bedtime story and waking up with them in the morning. Not too much to ask for I wouldn't have thought. So, now that I am moving into my new place in 2 weeks I want to start the discussions about access. As the kids are so young, I want frequent access. As I work long hours (my x doesn't work at all) I would want alternate weekend access (all day Sat through to 1800 Sunday) and the weekend I don't have them for both days, I'd like to see them at some point over the weekend, maybe half a day or even full day if possible. I take my daughter to school every Thursday morning so it's great to see her briefly then. What's the view out there? Am I expecting too much? Do you think the boy is too young to stay with me. He's not breastfeeding and is perfectly happy with me during the day I do see him.
You are not asking too much to be able to see your children more, you are their father. Why shouldn't you be able to put them to bed, read them bedtime stories, etc. You don't stop being their daddy just because you no longer live in the same house.
I don't think there is a right or wrong answer and in these circumstances going to court would produce different results depending on the worker/judge involved. Not that I'm saying court is the answer, it most definitely isn't and should always be avoided if at all possible. If you can't agree mediation is a much better way forward to resolve issues relating to children.
There is no single approach to contact and arrangements differ according to the needs of each family. Because your son is so young I think you would be looking at more frequent contact than once a week for shorter periods and gradually introducing longer periods, including overnights, from about the age of two but it really depends on how secure and confident he is.
I find if you put the children's welfare at the centre of decision making the answers usually are very clear.
Hi PN, only just managed to check your forum posting so sorry for the delay. Personally I don't think your son at 16 months is too young to stay over night with his father, presumably you were hands on when you were a family together so from that point of view your proposals sound really reasonable. What I would say to bear in mind though is that your ex probably has a lot of worries surrounding the children - yes I know dad's worry too but hear me out - and knowing how I was with my children at that age I would suggest you speak to her face to face about the matter. Show understanding and empathy for the fact that you know it will be difficult for her to be parted from him overnight but that you would speak to her immediately if there were any difficulties i.e. him crying for mummy etc and ask her to trust you in the way that you trust her having the day to day responsibility for the children now as a single parent. From experience I know that hearing from you that you have as much right as her to overnight access with your young son will be like a red rag to a bull and it might seem that you are placing less emphasis on her role as the childrens' mother. I do believe that mums and dads have equal rights in respect of the children and I strongly believe that children are not items such as CD's and knifes and spoons to be argued or fought over but there will always be a difference between mum and dad in that mum carries the child within her for 9 months - ask other mums on wiki you cannot describe in words the feelings and emotions you feel at that time and I think those memories stay with you for a lifetime. ( I do of course appreciate that not all mothers share this maternal feeling I don't want to sound too generalising about it). I have contact issues with my ex-husband in respect of our children aged 11, 9 and 8 and I constantly tell him that I believe he has as much right to contact with his children than I but that he cannot and should not bark orders at me as to when, where etc he will have the kids. Gently, gently catchy monkey pinotnoir - I hope my perspective helps and that you come to a satisfactory arrangement, and quickly, and that your ex will feel assured that her "baby" son is in equally safe hands to hers - his dad's hands. Keep us posted PN. Kind regards, Jeannie
Whoa, I think the point being missed here is that in child development terms son is at an age when the part of the brain which controls emotion is developing and for children's mental well being attachment is a consideration. That's what Cafcass and social workers would be considering.
Thanks Fiona, that's very helpful. A quick scan of this would lead me to believe that as a very important secondary carer with whom my son has developed a predictable and safe affectionate bond, there should be no reason why we don't continue to develop this relationship (I am sure others would interpret it differently). As long as the primary carer (Mum) is not around and is being replaced by the secondary carer with the well established safe and affectionate bond (me) then I see no problem with my little lad spending Sat/Sun with his daddy. No doubt others would disagree.....(e.g. his mum)
It all depends on how secure his primary attachment. Obviously if your ex ?wife doesn't work there are better chances your son's attachment is secure. The more secure he is the more confident and outgoing he will be the more able he is to cope with different situations. If he isn't that secure now he will be in a few months and in fact from about 24 months of age the relationship with the primary carer can become too intense and that isn't healthy either.
There is a distinctly different, but equally important role of the second main carer which allows children to emotionally become independent. When there is no distinction children can be confused and apart from attachment disorders seen in children there is a risk that childhood attachment problems are a factor for adult psychopathology eg personality disorders, psychosis, delusions. So it's important to get it right now.