I have a 14 and a 12 year old. Their father lives abroad (we have all moved to different countries from where the divorce was issued) and since we moved back to the UK the children have visited him most school holidays.
I offered he could have them 3 weeks over the summer and he opted for 2.
Both children have now said they do not want to go to see him for New Years (my turn for Christmas this year). I have been trying to encourage them as I think they should and have told them "he is the only dad they will ever have". On a rather selfish note, I could do with the break!
They did not have a great time when they were there over the summer - of course I only hear their side. He worked every day and most evenings he would spend bad mouthing me and tell them how ill mannered and badly behaved they are.
For what it''s worth, he stopped paying child maintenance (as stipulated in our divorce decree) over 2.5 years ago and has not contributed to school trips, extra curricular activities etc.
We have now told him they would prefer to stay here over the holidays and he has gone off on one. He gave the 12 year old the 3rd degree yesterday on Skype and my child got so distressed they cut the call and ran to their room in tears.
I answered when their father called back and it was apparently my turn for the 3rd degree; I refused to engage.
He is going to call back tonight and the 14 year old blatantly refuses to speak to him.
He skypes once in a blue moon and apart from the holidays they spend with him there are no further communications. He berates the children over Skype, to the point where he made the 12 year old change clothes since apparently he looked like a "chav". For the record, he didn''t look bad in any way, shape or form and was extremely upset when the call ended. He also berated him for wanting to show him things over Skype (he got a rugby trophy, yay!) and was told that he had to sit down and talk to his dad as "things are just things that gather dust". He totally ignored the fact that this was his child, trying to involve him in their life. It is heartbreaking.
So, very long story short, do I have to send them? I received his permission to move back to UK and in return I signed for permission to "allow the children to visit him in the holidays at his home address".
Both children woke up this morning with trepidation regarding tonight''s call and I want to do what is right by them.
I cant think that it is possible to actually ''force'' a child to do anything against their will. All it is possible to do is use every possible avenue to encourage them to see the benefits of doing anything??? I cant see it is defensible to manhandle children on a plane?
If the agreement specified that you would "allow" the children to visit in the holidays, that is quite different from agreeing to facilitate contact.
The children are old enough to express an opinion and if you allow them to go if they want to, but they choose not to, you are still complying with the agreement.
It is open to your ex to apply to the court for a child arrangements order but ideally you can resolve the situation without going down that route.
The difficulty is that in order visiting their father (if that''s what they want), the children will have to say as much which will be a bitter pill for the father to swallow.
It might be appropriate for the children to put their thoughts into writing and you can discuss the issue with the father in the absence of the children. He might fly off the handle but he needs to be more amenable if he is to win over the children.
In addition to what Charles has suggested, I would also suggest that you suggest to your ex that he comes over to the UK for a few days during the holidays to enable the boys and him to spend some time together in their own town where they feel comfortable and at ease; and can spend shorter amounts of time with their Dad, rather than a full-on extended period of time away from their home.
It must have taken a great deal of courage for your children to tell their Dad they would rather stay home over the forthcoming holidays - perhaps some family counselling may help you and them discuss the issues?
Wow I''m not surprised they don''t want to go and see him if that''s how he is treating his children! Both boys are old enough to make their mind up and I don''t think you can force them! Mybpartners eldest lived with us for three weeks back in the summer because this mum and step dad were treating him horribly. He didn''t want to go back there and we didn''t force him. Hopefully if they don''t go their dad will see sense and realise he is treating his children in a disgusting way!
I really feel for you. Hope this gets sorted soon. For everyone''s sake! X
I wasn''t judging. (Sorry ifbit came across that way)Was just giving her my opinion as have had my step Son kind of go through the same thing and it is very upsetting. I hope they can get it all sorted soon. If anything for the children''s sake.