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How old is old enough re contact

  • Kazzabell80
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23 Sep 12 #357492 by Kazzabell80
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Hi all.

I am hoping that someone can answer the following question for me.

How old is old enough for a child to decide that they don''t want overnight contact?

My dilema is that my 12 yr old daughter and her brother were at their Dad''s last night. Basically it ended in tears. Big time.

Their Dad works on Sat nights, so do I. MIL always looked after the children before we seperated and now that STBX is living with her, that arrangement has continued although the children have been staying overnight down there (instead of her staying overnight with us as she did previously).

I won''t go into all the details (I have I have already blogged about this today to vent). There was some altercation at MIL''s last night with resulted in STBX dragging daughter out of bed (not physically), telling her to get dressed and dropping her off outside my place of work at 9pm (I work in a pub/restaurant).

Daughter is now adament that she doesn''t want to stay down there again. So I have made alternative arrangements for next Sat night, although her brother will still be staying at MIL''s/STBX''s.

I have been encouraging both children to see their Dad and stay overnight, but my suggestion of me picking them up once I had finished work was refused. It was overnight or nothing.

She was so distressed when she wondered into the bar, sobbing her heart out with her back-pack. I was so panicked as no-one knew how she''d even got there and she was in to much of a state to even talk, she just sobbed :(

I am reluctant to put my foot down completely but if the stays are too traumatic for her, then surely in the interim, it would be better that they ceased?

What would my position be on this?? Any ideas?

  • humdrum
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23 Sep 12 #357493 by humdrum
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12 is old enough to decide. You don''t want to risk a 12-year old girl running away from something she feels forced into.

  • u6c00
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23 Sep 12 #357495 by u6c00
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Would your daughter be willing to go for non-overnight contact?

Your ex has done an awful lot of damage to the relationship and it''s going to take a lot of effort on his part to rebuild his relationship with her. He''s breached her trust in a terrible way.

12 is old enough for her wishes and feelings to be taken into consideration but probably not be the only factor.

The problem is when we talk about wishes and feelings, these things don''t become relevant until you get into court - a situation it might be best to avoid. (Sorry to say I''m not familiar with your story so I don''t know what stage you''re at).

If it were me I would write a letter to your ex and explain that your daughter is very upset by the turn of events and adamant that she does not want contact. Explain that you support contact generally but that you feel that it will be necessary to work to rebuild the relationship. Perhaps investigate counselling and let him know what he needs to do to move forward.

Personally I think that what he did was dangerous and absolutely inexcusable. It is still in your daughter''s best interest to have a relationship of some sort with her father though, but it might need to be redefined.

If your ex is unable to take responsibility for his relationship with his daughter then it''s possible that contact will be lost all together.

If he is the vindictive type then he might start proceedings for enforcing the contact order. If you expect that to happen then you need to preserve the text message conversation with your daughter and ask any of your co workers if they would be willing to write down their experience of last night down while it''s fresh in their minds as it may be needed for a statement later.

If you write to him then you place the ball in his court. You''ve outlined your daughter''s position (do make the letter all about your daughter''s feelings, not your own) and what he does next is up to him: give up on the relationship, work to rebuild it or try and go down the court route.

In the meantime work on counselling for your daughter whatever his response and try and encourage some non-staying contact.

  • rubytuesday
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23 Sep 12 #357496 by rubytuesday
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Kazzabell, I read your blog this morning, and have been thinking about your daughter and this situation today.

I think, for the next scheduled weekend, if she is still adamant that she is refusing to stay overnight, then let her stay with you, but suggest that she spends some of Saturday at least with her Dad.

Contact is for the benefit of the child, and if the child is receiving no benefit, and is able and mature enough to express his/her concerns and wishes with an understanding of the situation, then those concerns need to heard and taken into account.

Currently, Dad isn''t around much during his parenting time due to working a night shift, then sleeping most of Sunday - personally, I think he is a fool to not make the most of his parenting time, but that''s not the point. While spending time with extended family should be encouraged and supported, your daughter is the most important person in this situation.

You have offered an alternative in that you have offered to collect the children after you have finished your work that night, but it has been rejected without discussion and without an alternative that is focused on your daughter being put forward by your ex.

Courts tend to start listening to a child from around the age of 12 years, although I''m aware of a case where a child of around 6 was permitted to express their views to Court.

If MIL looking after both children isn''t going to be a working, long-term arrangement, then either you or he needs to reconsider working on the Saturday nights.

  • Kazzabell80
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23 Sep 12 #357499 by Kazzabell80
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Thanks for your sound advice everyone.

I like the idea of writing him a letter outlining our daughter''s concerns. There is no way that I would be able to actually say it to his face as he probably wouldn''t allow me to finish. And the fact that it would put the ball in his court would be a good thing as she will need to see that the effort is 100% coming from him.

I do feel that it would fall on deaf ears and the letter will end up in the bin.

I have asked her if she is ok for the other days that we have scheduled for this week and she is unsure. They would generally be STBX picking them up from school, making them food and then taking them to their various extra curricular activities (I would then pick them up from those club/s). I suppose at the moment it is still very fresh in her mind, so will leave it for her to decide.

I really don''t want to pressurise her into anything as she is at an age that she could become a balanced young woman or could just rebel completely :(

I will also ask some of my colleagues if they would be willing to write down the events of last night, just in case. I also intend keeping the text messages.

If it comes down to it, I would happily give up my Sat evening work. My children''s welfare is paramount.

  • hawaythelads
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23 Sep 12 #357500 by hawaythelads
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Obviously he will know that he has been out of order.I would think that he will sort it out at the pick ups with her before next Saturday.
Obviously I''m a non resident father and I had one occassion when my daughter on a Friday night after coming home from a party at 9.30pm then point blank refused to go to Leicester the next day with me because she had another party although it had been agreed and we hadn''t gone on the Friday to accomodate the first party.
Anyway after telling her off she threw an hysterical fit crying screaming bla bla bla it was like being back with her mother anyway she went on the phone mid hysterics to her mother I''m scared completely nplaying both ends off against the middle.
Anyway I talked to her mum and said I can''t have all this her screaming the place down in flats 12 year old girl with 40 year old single bloke I''ll be getting arrested for being a paedo.I''m bringing her home she''ll have to stay with you.this weekend.
I told my daughter on the way back she was out of order and subsequently sorted it out with her that I couldn''t accept her behaving like that and she''d been out of order on the Monady.Then she apologised and that was that.All I''m saying is 12 year old gals what mine is are hormonal they are starting to get a bit mouthy especially with the mobiles facebook etc etc.
So you might be best to just pull him about what he has done wrong dumping a 12 year old girl off at your work without notice when it was his fecking problem to deal with.
I reckon he was drunk personally and isn''t the same scenario at all but without being there you don''t know for sure what''s kicked off.
Just trying to give you all the angles to consider before you jump in.
Don''t you talk to Granny at all?Can u sort it out with her that obviously it was badly handled by him and has upset her?

All the best
HRH xx

  • disneybunny
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23 Sep 12 #357502 by disneybunny
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Having had a 12 year old and now one coming up 12, I agree with Hawaii. Despite mine being boys the teenage years are a minefield of emotional ups and downs. They love you one second then hate you the next, mine currently want iPhone 5''s and I swear if they were talking to their father they would be saying how evil I am not buying them one each. Such is life with older children.

Ps I hate auto spell checker it invented a new poster

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