Kamee - posted on 12/28/2010 ( 30 moms have responded )
I have been divorced for nine months now. Because of the divorce my boys and I had to move to a new town closeby, very close to my family and many of our friends. After the divorce was final, Dad relocated to a town an hour and a half away from us (a very expensive coastal town, with absolutely no possibility of us being able to relocate anywhere nearby, even if I wanted to.) He now has parenting time every other weekend.
My problem occurs when my boys want to take part in different activities. My boys have both always been heavily involved in community activities: sports, church groups, music lessons, scouting, etc. Because of this I thought that getting them involved in activities in our new town would be a great way for us to get our lives back on track.
I signed both boys up for Little League, thinking it would be a good way for them to make friends before starting a new school in the fall. Well, Dad refused to take them to any of their games that happened on his weekends. (Which hurt my boys feelings especially badly since Dad was always willing to take his GF's son to his soccer games.) He never gave me a reason why he wouldn't take them, and even told me that he would, but when I would show up for those games, my boys wouldn't be there. Missing weekend games was kind of okay for my younger son, who was playing t-ball, but my older son was constantly ridiculed by his teammates and made to sit out of the games that followed Dad's weekend because of the missed games. (I did talk to his coaches and explain the problem, but was given the "rules are rules" speech.) Obviously, my son wound up being the outcast of the team (the exact opposite of what I wanted to happen!) and wound up quitting the team (something that I NEVER allow normally, but given the circumstances, I was heartbroken for him.)
Since then, Dad has refused to agree to let my younger son participate in wrestling or either boy to participate in basketball because they would interfere with his weekends. My oldest son is very involved in scouting, having been a cub since he was a Tiger Scout, and is in his first year of Boy Scouts. Weekend camping trips are a common event and obviously occur on Dad's weekend sometimes (as well as mine.) Twice since September, my older son has timidly asked Dad to go camping with the scouts instead of going to Dad's on his weekend. The first time he did let him go, but only after MUCH DRAMA, several phone calls, and tons of tears. The second camping trip is coming up January 7th and we once again are expereinceing DRAMA! Dad is now telling him that unless he spends 4 days of his Christmas vaca with him (including NYE - my holiday) then he won't let him go on the trip.
This is driving me CRAZY!!! The divorce was difficult enough for us all and my older son is still in weekly therapy sessions dealing with all of the changes (divorce, move, new school, Dad's surprise wedding and a new baby on the way, just to name a few...) I just want my boys to be able to develop their new life here. Shouldn't their Dad want that for them too???
Does anyone know what I need to do to solve this problem? What does New Jersey law say about this? It's called Parenting Time, not "Dad Gets To Do Whatever He Wants To Do Time!" On my weekends, I have to miss spending time with my son if he goes camping or has a sleepover with friends and I have to spend my time shuffling kids around from place to place. Plus, I still have to get kids ready for school, do homework, take them to their weekday activities, go to doctor appointments regularly, etc., etc., etc. My point is, just because I have the boys more often, I never stop being a parent and just do what I want witht he kids. Don't dads have to follow suit? How can I encourage him to start being the ather that my boys need?