whats usual re parties?

(86 Posts)
JumpingJackSprat Wed 17-Apr-13 12:56:56

Dss lives with his mum a 4 hour round trip away atvthe moment we have him every other weekend. his mum has accepted a party invite for sunday afternoon which means that rather than leaving ours at 5pm to take him back we will have to leave at 12.30 when we havent seen him for 2 weeks. is it unreasonable for us to say that dss wont be able to attend birthday parties on access weekends unless theyre actual friends? My understanding is that this party is a "whole class" affair. Dss is 5.

allfornothing Thu 18-Apr-13 13:43:55

And also, I honestly think its not as easy to say 'just pass the invite on to whichever parent and let them deal with it'.
I am friends with many of my child's friends parents. More often than not the invites are handed straight to me or I'm contacted directly by phone. We live in a small community etc so it's rarely possible for me to get away with simply passing an invite on. A lot of the time, I help my friends out at parties or they make it a bit of a social occasion for all...so it just makes it more difficult to leave the rsvp up to my child's dad. She missed her own best friends birthday last summer because it was 'his day'.
Her best friend. She was absolutely gutted. If she has a brownies event that falls on his day, he takes that day back off me because according to him, it's my fault that she's a member of brownies in the first place.
It's all so damaging.

bluebell8782 Thu 18-Apr-13 13:50:56

allfornothing - I think it's important for children to enjoy social lives as well as family time but I think what you've pointed out depends on how often the NRP gets to see their child.

In my case we are only allowed EOW, Sat morn to Sun eve, so not even a full weekend. If my SD has a party Saturday we can't see her at all for the rest of the weekend as we are not allowed to take her to any events etc.. so then we don't spend any quality time with each other for another two weeks! I realise my situation isn't the same as a lot of everyone else's but if a family live together this sort of thing doesn't matter so much. When a family splits, the whole 'family-time' is so different and just isn't as easy as all that. I don't believe though that even the NRP expects to spend every minute with their child.

purpleroses Thu 18-Apr-13 13:52:08

allnew - but the answer to the problem you describe is not for the mother to just start making unilateral decisions about whether the DCs can do parties on their dad's weekend. It's for their dad to be a bit more reasonable and accommodating about letting them do some things.

My DD missed a close friend's party at Easter, because her dad was away with her. It's quite normal to miss some parties - could just as easily have been me away with her.

If you're demanding that your ex takes DD to parties on his weekends (especially ones when you'll be there anyway helping out) then I can see why he would consider this effectively making that "your" day, and demanding one at some other time. Much better to let the DCs work it out with their dad direct.

Latemates Thu 18-Apr-13 13:52:15

all for nothing:
yes a normal family life and i don't think anyone disputes that where possible the parent caring for the child at that time should take child to a party if it is feasible. The problem is one parent should not dictate what parties/activities must be attended when the child is with the other parent.
We often get demands to take a child somewhere, if we do not give an immediate affirmation response all hell breaks loose. A fact of life is sometimes other factors mean that it is not possible for the child to attend everything. This would be the same in any family situation.

Sometimes other things may have been arranged for that date that can't be changed. There may be transport difficulties or any manner of things could be happening that prevent that parent being able to take a child to one particular party.

Sometimes - it has occurred that the child doesn't want to go but one parent demands it as a way of preventing that child time with the other parent.

Each situation is unique but I believe that invites should be passed onto the parent the child is with at the time of the party and that parent can respond. There is not need for the other parent to be involved or cause upset for the children by starting rows.

bluebell8782 Thu 18-Apr-13 13:52:56

Just seen your next post! In your case I think your ex is unfair in that sense. Again, I think all our opinions are based on what we are experiencing - so all different smile

Latemates Thu 18-Apr-13 13:58:18

All for nothing ;

I think you need to decide if the child attending a party so you can see the parents you are friends with is your focus or if its the child attending the party which is important.

The father is more than capable of phoning the parent to reply about a party, he is more than capable of taking the child to the party and if they need helpers he is more than capable of helping.

it is good for both parents to get to know the parents of their childrens friends and if you stop interfering you may be surprised that your child ends up getting to go to far more parties and events

allfornothing Thu 18-Apr-13 14:08:57

I don't get all this reference to 'demanding' . There's a fair bit of transference going on here, perhaps from your own experiences which is fair enough, but not exactly fair to assume we are all doing the same.

I don't demand anything, I ask. The idea that just because I might also be present at an event, its an underhanded by me to 'have another day'. Why would my presence at a 2hr party be so abhorrent that another day should be given to replace it? That smacks to me as treating the child as a possession and the other parent as beneath contempt.

allfornothing Thu 18-Apr-13 14:10:29

'Stop interfering'

Jesus, why the contempt for the other parent. Really, why?

Galangal Thu 18-Apr-13 14:14:41

I let xh know there's an invite and ask if he's ok with it during his time and ok to do the running around. I do the RSVP and buy the gift etc because he just wouldn't.

If she has an event from one of her activities then I do the same - I let him know that she'd like to go but do all the arrangements/packing/paying myself. I give him loads of notice and he even gets the emails about events directly, so he knows they're on. He has recently moaned that there are activities on his weekends and it limits his contact. He'd have a point, but he had the dates of the activities before he agreed to have her that weekend, when I asked when he'd like her instead he couldn't tell me, he refused to have her for the whole weekend when there was an activity for part of it, and he refuses it when offered in the school holidays. So it is more about finding a reason to have a go than actually wanting to spend more time with dd. In principle though, if he wanted her for an extra weekend because she was busy doing other stuff while she was with him I wouldn't mind, I think that's fair enough.

I think it's a case of being respectful of the other parent's time and choices about what they do. I wouldn't want him telling me what to do when dd was with me, and I don't tell him either.

purpleroses Thu 18-Apr-13 14:16:40

Asking is only asking if the other person has the right to say no without further issue.

If the invite is already accepted, the DC told they can go, and the mum has offered to help out at the party, then "asking" the dad if they can do the party isn't really asking at all, is it? Wasn't meaning to suggest you shouldn't attend the party, but it does suggest a bit that it's a social thing you want to do with your DC, not some independent part of their life that their dad should honour really.

Hence the right thing to do being to pass the invite on to the other parent (or fine to ask, if you do so before comitting the DC to attending).

NotaDisneyMum Thu 18-Apr-13 14:58:06

I just don't see that in any in family set up (whether together, blended or whatever) that it is considered best for the child to spend every minute with parents having quality time, than being with friends from time to time

I agree. A NRP who encourages their DCs to spend time with friends and doing activities while in their care is to be commended.

But why is it the responsibility of the RP to arrange this? If the NRP has made arrangement for the DCs while they are with him - why should those arrangements be set to one side in favour of plans made by the RP?

It's quite possible for a DC to have friends "at Dads house" that Mum doesn't even know! DCs may be members if clubs, do activities or socialise with others all on "Dads time". The assumption seems to be that "Dad" is sitting around waiting to make the most of every second of contact he has - which he should give up if Mum says there is something more important for the DC to engage in.

Latemates Thu 18-Apr-13 15:32:19

I think you will find that if you read post carefully I am clearly using demanding in a personal experience not referring that all parents are demanding.

I suggested you stop interfering in the fathers time as you may then find the child is taken to more things. Result the child attends more parties/or if father doesn't take child he/she is no worth off as he is currently refusing anyway. If the focus is the child attending parties then you can pass this on to father direct surely. Why not give it a try to see what happens?

allfornothing Thu 18-Apr-13 15:51:31

I fail to see how occasionally attending the same event as my child (close family friends) should result in ex being given that time back. I've attended many events/parties as the only parent without her child, because dd was with ex that weekend. I haven't held it against him because that's his time.. It's pretty bizzare that you have concluded from that that I interfere in my ex's time with dd.shock
What I do not think is fair, is keeping dd away from important events like her best friend. I'm unsure if its because I might have been there (I'm best friends with her mum) but either way, it stinks to punish a child like that and even stinkier to demand that if dd attends a brownie trip or whatever, that that time should be given back to him. She is a person, with a life of her own and a social calendar of her own. She is not possession to be split down the middle!

And 'demanding' was used by purple,
who made the assumption that I 'demand' anything at all.

Galangal Thu 18-Apr-13 16:00:04

I think it's fair enough if the activity means they dont see the other parent much. My dd sees precious little of her Dad as it is. He loses out on so much that I get to do with her ( his choice) that I can only see it as a good thing if he wanted some more time with her.

purpleroses Thu 18-Apr-13 16:14:17

allnew - maybe I've got you wrong - but if you don't think that it's up to your ex to decide whether DD attends a party, then you're deciding for him, then that's demanding that he does what you decide he does isn't it?

allfornothing Thu 18-Apr-13 16:23:24

Purple, yes you have got me wrong. If there is a party/event/outing/invite/activity of some sort that falls on ex's weekend, I ask him if he'll take dd. 9 times out of 10 he refuses. He even refuses to take her to an activity that she's been attending for two years, despite agreeing to it at the time. After he refuses, that's the end of the discussion. I do not demand anything whatsoever.

Doesn't mean I don't think it's lousy behaviour though and can't have an opinion about it, does it?

allnewtaketwo Thu 18-Apr-13 16:28:38

"She is a person, with a life of her own and a social calendar of her own. She is not possession to be split down the middle!"

I think this attitude is healthy. I've seen the devastating after effects on a much older child who is so used to being treated like a moveable chattel that he sees himself thus even age 17

Petal02 Thu 18-Apr-13 16:41:40

I just don’t see that in any family set up (whether together, blended or whatever) that it is considered best for the child to spend every minute with parents having quality time, than being with friends from time-to-time

Whilst I totally agree with this, many people view “access” as time that should be spent on an intensive, 1-2-1 basis by the child and parent. Which then leads to the “you can’t go to the party as it’s an access weekend.” And beyond that you end up with silly situations where a couple of hours here and there could end up being “refunded” because people get so anal about it.

I fail to see how occasionally attending the same event as my child (close family friends) should result in the ex being given that time back

Exactly – when you end up operating a credit/debit arrangement it just gets ridiculous. It’s more like banking than parenting when you have to “balance the books” like that.

Some ex wives don’t care if their children get reduced time with their Dad, whereas others insist that Dad does a very fixed allocation of parenting each week, and if Dad “gets away with“ a few hours one afternoon while the child’s at a party, he’ll have to do some extra parenting at another time so that he’s “done his share.”

Ledkr Thu 18-Apr-13 16:51:20

Mine is an eleven year old girl and trust me when I say there is nothing more important to her grin if his car is off the rd then ill take her or he sees her another day. For us it's no big deal but I am fully aware it's different if there is a big distance involved or no way of changing the day.
Dd sees her gps at a separate time as we are still on great terms.

Ledkr Thu 18-Apr-13 16:52:23

The use of the term "our weekend" is a bit misleading. It's also the child's weekend.

Petal02 Thu 18-Apr-13 16:58:01

Yes, it is also the child's weekend - but when you've got one (or both) parent who insists on exact allocations each week, you can see why problems arise.

allfornothing Thu 18-Apr-13 17:05:24

Wise words petal, put much better than me!

mumandboys123 Thu 18-Apr-13 18:39:48

oh I hate the party thing....we have 3 children. My ex refuses to take them to parties as a general rule, although if asked, he'll say that he'll take the child and I go to the trouble of buying a gift and card and send it with the invitation and they don't attend...I never see the gift again and the fact I demanded (which I don't - I always ask and am always happy to decline an invitation) makes me unreasonable and encroaching on 'his' time with the children.

From my point of view, as a full-time working parent, even as the resident parent, I don't get a lot of time with my children. I very much value my quality time and that is split between my ex and I. Who is going to 'refund' me 'my time' if I do what the children want and take them to parties when they are with me? From my perspective this is just another one of those things that the children will remember - who did their best by them and who played games.

SoWhatIfImWorkingClass Thu 18-Apr-13 20:19:53

In a very similar situation, DSD's mum arranged for her to go to her friend's house for a sleepover ON HER DAD'S WEEKEND. She just texted him on the Thursday telling him she had arranged it for the Saturday night. He wasn't happy as we had already made plans to do stuff as a family and said she isn't going and that's that. He stood his ground as he should do. DSD's friend started crying in the playground and her mum started hurling abuse at my DP in the street, calling him a "tight arse" and a "selfish bastard". She has a huge grudge against him now over one little sleepover that didn't go ahead due to his ex's thoughtless last minute planning with this psychotic mum at school.

Petal02 Thu 18-Apr-13 21:05:17

Mumandboys - you make an excellent point: even if you're a resident parent, if you work long hours you might not get much more 'quality time' than a NRP, yet no one 'refunds' lost time if the child goes to a party on one of your weekends.

I used to have similar discussions with DH: if DSS ever went to any sort of event on an access weekend, the time would have to be made up so that the books balanced (the ex was a very stringent book keeper) yet who ensures the RP gets a ''credit' for parties taking place in her time????

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