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At what age should a child start to have a say?

Posted by on Nov. 27, 2013 at 3:21 PM
  • 28 Replies

Today we ran into an issue with visitation, and DH asked SD what she wanted to do about it.

The CO says that exchanges take place at 5pm, so we had made plans on Friday under the expectation that BM would be picking SD up at 5pm. Well, today BM emailed DH and said she wanted to pick SD up at 3pm and asked if that was something they could work out.

DH asked SD what she wanted to do, if she wanted to go with BM at 3pm or if she wanted to stick with her plans and go with BM at 5pm. SD chose to go with BM at 5pm so that she could still do what she had already planned for Friday.

Friday is opening day of this super huge holiday bazaar. SD has saved up some money and wanted to get her siblings Christmas presents (really, she is SUCH a sweet person). And SD and I had made plans with MIL to go to the holiday bazaar together, do some shopping, have a girls lunch, and just hang out that day. If you've followed some of my previous posts regarding SD, this isn't something she often gets to do due to her school and therapy requirements.

Anyways, SD said that she definitely wants to wait until 5pm to go with BM, but she asked that we not tell BM that she made the decision because she doesn't want BM mad at her. DH replied to BM and said, "Unfortunately SD already has plans that day and won't be available until 5pm."

SD seemed to really enjoy the ability to make that decision on her own and that we were supportive of it.

We try REALLY hard not to schedule anything on BM's weekends. And we always tell SD to talk to BM about things that happen at school or with friends during BM's time. Those are obviously BM's decisions to make. While BM lives in town, she usually takes 75% of her visitation out of town at her BM's house so anything that may be going on with SD's friends or at SD's school are kinda out of the question when they leave town. But, SD is 13, and is really wanting to be able to do more with her friends and with her youth group.

Should DH discuss that idea with BM? I mean, BM isn't involved with school or youth group or with SD's friends, but DH tries to share as much information as possible with BM to keep her informed. It would just be nice if BM made an effort to let SD participate on her weekends that they stay in town. 

by on Nov. 27, 2013 at 3:21 PM
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Replies (1-10):
momof2ex1
by Ruby Member on Nov. 27, 2013 at 3:32 PM
I'm pulled on this. To take my dd out Of the equation I asked the judge to consider ordering to let her decide on some social activities. They decided that school related functions she can decide on. If she doesn't want to sign up then she doesn't have to. If she wants to - each parent has to make sure they get her there on her time.

The only problem I see with opening that door is in the event that you do make plans and she decides she wants to go do something else. Or if BM has plans and she decides to do something else. While I try to accommodate my child's wants as much as possible there are still times she must do things she doesn't really want like going to the store or family photo day. There would need to be some veto power and it would really require mom and dad working together to make this work. Otherwise they could find themselves in a tug of war and sd in the middle having to choose.
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weaveress
by Bronze Member on Nov. 27, 2013 at 4:00 PM

when she is 18 or 21(if she wants help with college) is what I have told her. we go by the CO 98% of the time. we are flexible if necessary but not over stupid stuff. Like BM wants to take all the girls out to pizza on our time. 

HopesNDreams
by Silver Member on Nov. 27, 2013 at 4:10 PM
SD didn't really make that decision - you did. You asked her input, considered it, and made the most reasonable choice.

In my eyes, when a change is asked for, you grant it if it will work. In this case, it doesn't because of previous plans. SD has nothing to feed bad about.
newstepmom61811
by on Nov. 27, 2013 at 4:41 PM

To me so very much factors into how much input the child is allowed...First, the maturity of the child, are they really doing it without manipulation. Second, the relationship of the child with each parent. I feel each parent deserves a relationship with the child. When SD13 wants to alter or plan anything on BMs time we DO NOT agree to anything, we MAKE SD discuss this directly with her mother, respectfully, as any child should, and negotiate it with her mom. It is her time with her mom, if any plans are going to happen, her mom will have to get her there. We will not intervene. Her mom is allowed to make these decisions with her child and negotiate directly with her without a drop of DHs or my input as to her time with her daughter. They have to learn the boundaries of their relationship. Third, the custody time split. We have 90% of the time so in the earth shatteringly rare occasion BM asks for a special day or occasion with the kids, she gets it 100% of the time. She gets so little time anyway. My conscience doesn't allow me to do differently. That is the way we choose to err. Even though she has choosen to be uninvolved DH and I don't "punish" her for it by keeping the kids away just because "it's not her time". If the time is available, she asks for it, she gets it. Her own behavior has lead to very shaky relationships with her kids, that is punishment enough for her without DH's or my interference. Those are the factors that have lead to DHs and my flexibility with the kids.

Derdriu
by Gold Member on Nov. 27, 2013 at 4:48 PM

This is a grey area.

The scenario you gave with the 3pm vs. 5pm early pickup was your DH's call.  Since he didn't care one way or the other, asking SD how she felt about it is no big deal. 

Aksing BM to stay in town or encouraging SD to ask to not take visitation is an entirely different scenario.  SD needs to understand that that is BM's choice and respect her mother, whether she likes it or not.  Your DH can talk to BM about SD's social life and how important it is, but at the end of the day, that's BM's call.  And the last thing you want to do is interfere between SD and BM. 

Ultimately, the age of decision is 18.  How flexible each parent decides to be on a situational basis is up to that parent.

pepper504
by Gold Member on Nov. 27, 2013 at 4:50 PM

I don't get what the big deal is.  Plans were made, the CO says 5pm is the pick up and BM was asking if SD could be picked up a couple of hours earlier.  SD wanted to follow through with the plans and therefore, it is being done.  No biggie.

I think that your DH needs to cross that bridge with BM as social events come up.  Anticipating is only going to make you all stressed. 

pdxmum
by Platinum Member on Nov. 27, 2013 at 4:50 PM

I don't really consider a couple of hours a change in visitation.  In my opinion, changes in visitation are decided by the child when they turn 18.  Just like my kids don't get to decide on curfew or if they can go to a movie fridaynight, they always ask permission.  For instance, Tuesday night DD17 wanted to go out with BFs sister.  So she asked me if it was OK.  The same would have happened if it was going out with BF.  

The girls are with their dad for Thanksgiving and it is his weekend.  DD19 is home from college and leaves Sunday again.  I asked BF if I could have them to celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday night.  He said OK.  Then the girls and I realized they wanted to spend the night.  I asked them to check with their dad.  He will probably be fine with it.  BF and I respect each others visitation time, finally, so when we ask for changes, it is no big deal.  

baparrot2
by Platinum Member on Nov. 27, 2013 at 4:51 PM

That is laughable. you'll see.

Quoting weaveress:

when she is 18 or 21(if she wants help with college) is what I have told her. we go by the CO 98% of the time. we are flexible if necessary but not over stupid stuff. Like BM wants to take all the girls out to pizza on our time. 


Tinkerbellmama
by Platinum Member on Nov. 27, 2013 at 6:07 PM

That's my worry. If we give her ultimate control over what she does when, it's going to cause more problems.

I just hate that she misses out on so many school and youth group events because of visitation. BM only takes SD out of town so that BM can go out. SD spends all of those weekends alone with BM's mom.

But, I guess that's BM's choice to make on her time. 


Quoting momof2ex1:

I'm pulled on this. To take my dd out Of the equation I asked the judge to consider ordering to let her decide on some social activities. They decided that school related functions she can decide on. If she doesn't want to sign up then she doesn't have to. If she wants to - each parent has to make sure they get her there on her time.

The only problem I see with opening that door is in the event that you do make plans and she decides she wants to go do something else. Or if BM has plans and she decides to do something else. While I try to accommodate my child's wants as much as possible there are still times she must do things she doesn't really want like going to the store or family photo day. There would need to be some veto power and it would really require mom and dad working together to make this work. Otherwise they could find themselves in a tug of war and sd in the middle having to choose.



jules2boys
by Gold Member on Nov. 27, 2013 at 6:57 PM

My boys have negotiated their time with BF from an early age, it's part of parenting, IMO.  They don't get ultimate decision making power but they have been taught to negotiae for it.  They do it with me 6 days a week and BF his 1 night a week.  The older they get the more activities they want to attend that aren't near where BF can get them to/from (BF lives an hour+ away). 

Things began to change more as they got older and stood up for 'their' time more.  It's not just 'my time' or 'BFs time' but their own time too. 

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