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Decreasing access because Son's grades are failing

  • Onelife
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  • Senior Member
10 Nov 07 #6317 by Onelife
Topic started by Onelife
Hi all

At a recent target setting meeting for my son at school, I was told that he looks set to fail his GCSEs in several subjects, including Maths and English.

Currently my 2 children see their father on the following rota:

Week 1
Monday 2 hours
Weds 2 hours
Fri 6pm to
Sat/Sun 6pm Sun

Week 2
Tues 2 hours
Thurs overnight

I am considering asking my ex to reduce his midweek visits to maybe just once - wednesdays, so that my son can get into a better routine for him, as opposed to his father, and really knuckle down with studies.

Does anyone think I'm being unreasonable? I'm so tired of being told I'm unreasonable by my stbx, but I dont want my son to fail his GCSEs.

Is anyone elses children struggling as a result of divorce? I'd love to hear how you dealt with it.

  • sexysadie
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10 Nov 07 #6323 by sexysadie
Reply from sexysadie
To be honest, I think that it's more important for your son to see his father. On the other hand, he needs to be able to take his homework and study there.

I don't think it is really fair to restrict access because your son is not doing well at school, unless that is something that is suggested and instigated by your son himself. Otherwise it will feel like a punishment, and a pretty big one at that, for academic failure.

Lots of children start to do badly at school because they are unsettled by divorce. It's not the end of the world; they can resit and catch up later if they are allowed to work through that and become more emotionally settled.


  • Fiona
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10 Nov 07 #6328 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
Sadie as usual is talking sense. I think we're too ready to blame divorce for poor educational, emotional and behavioural outcomes. Children usually readjust to their parents' separation and most are fine. The main features associated with poor outcomes seem to be poverty, ongoing parental conflict and multiple changes to the family structure rather than the actual family breakdown.

Also teenagers may be affected by development factors or personality pre-dispositions not related to divorce. I remember once a happily married parent (who happened to be the head of PE at our school) remarked how he thought exams were at the wrong time for some hormonal teenagers who are distracted by many other things going on in their lives at that time.

So I wouldn't jump to conclusions and I'd be very wary of making matters worse by ratcheting up any sense of grievance. If you have recently separated or divorced being consistent with the existing contact might actually help your son readjust sooner. Having said that, your current arrangement does seem to involve frequent short spells of contact which might be more appropriate for a younger child and there is some scope to look at less frequent longer periods. Perhaps you could suggest an extra overnight on your ex's weekend and/or one overnight during each week as a way of amalgamating the hours.

From what you say above it sounds as though your ex isn't involved with the school which is a shame because he might be more ready to take things on board if he was told directly that your son is having difficulties instead of through you.

  • Onelife
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11 Nov 07 #6367 by Onelife
Reply from Onelife
Thanks guys

My children are 14 and 10, and I was thinking of suggesting he had them overnight every wednesday and then had them every other weekend as usual.

My ex isnt interested in either school, he didnt even attend the meeting though he had over 6 weeks notice. I attend most parents evenings alone. He doesnt make sure that they complete homework, even though I make sure they take it with them, and make sure he knows that they have homework to do.

Sadly, even after he has had them on a weekend, the first thing they do when I get them back is get their homework out, and often I am completing it with them until 9pm.

  • ladysmith08
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  • Junior Member
14 Nov 07 #6654 by ladysmith08
Reply from ladysmith08
Hi! My children are 7 and 4, and my eldest really struggled with her father and I separating. She completely fell apart, and as a result I took her see a counsellor. During the time she was seeing her counsellor it was suggested to me that I temporarily stopped access to enable her to sort her head out. It went on for a total of 6 weeks, during which time neither her nor her younger sister saw their father at all. They were able to speak to him whenever they liked though. We have found that stopping access for those 6 weeks was the best move - my daughter was able to feel 'rooted' in one place, rather than to-ing & fro-ing between her father & I, & it enabled her to sort out her feelings & emotions. As a result she is dealing with everything much better.

I know you are not considering stopping access completely, and I also respect the views of the other members of this forum. I think each situation has to be looked at on it's individual merits, and a decision made. What may be suitable for one family may not work in another. I just wanted to share my views and experience with you. XX

  • Fiona
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14 Nov 07 #6661 by Fiona
Reply from Fiona
ladysmith, primary aged children often feel quite vulnerable when one parent leaves the home and their survival instinct can kick in making them cling to the other parent for fear they might leave too. Sometimes they also feel responsible for the welfare of the main carer. Usually this all passes once they have had time to readjust and they are fine.

However, frequently separating parents misunderstand what's going on and the NRP interprets it as the PWC being obstructive and turning the child against them whilst the PWC concludes contact between the NRP and child would be seriously destructive to the child and should therefore be terminated. Both you and their father have done well to avoid this. :)

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