Children being away from mom to visit dad

RYLIE - posted on 04/20/2015 ( 11 moms have responded )

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My boyfriend (and father of my child) is working on getting joint custody of his 2 boys from a previous marriage. We live far away so he can not visit as often as he would like. Their mom agreed to let them come stay with us for 10 days this summer, they are 2 and 4 so that seemed like a fair amount of time to start them out with. He wants to increase the time they are here by a couple days each year until it is a 4 week visit after school gets out and a 3 week visit before school starts so that they can gradually get used to being away from her for longer amounts of time. She seems to thing that that plan would mentally harm them and they would think that she abandoned them... Her idea is to keep it at 10 days until they are 6 and 8 then switch to a 4 week visit at the beginning of summer and a 3 week at the end. I don't understand how springing a huge visit like that on them is in their best interest. I think that she is just being difficult because I know that both of them can understand the concept of vacation and also understand when you tell them that mommy isn't coming on the trip with us. Any insight or suggestions would be wonderful.

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Ev - posted on 04/20/2015

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I have never heard of visits with either parent like this case having any damage on the children unless their mom makes a big issue out of it then it will cause issues.

Raye - posted on 04/23/2015

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I think the kids will be fine, and not emotionally damaged at all with either arrangement. If they have a pretty good relationship with their father, then there's no reason that the longer visit would be a problem. So many moms are so self-righteous... "only I know the meaning of every whimper my child makes", "only I can comfort them so they sleep well", etc. And while it's true she may have a better understanding of them because she is in their lives every day, it doesn't mean that the father is incompetent or that the kids will suffer without her for a couple of hours, days, weeks, whatever. She *wants* to believe that they would be so emotionally distraught without her, so she's trying to transfer that onto them. And I'm sure they will miss her, but not to the extreme that she's making it out to be.

My concern is that you would agree to her plan and then, in a couple years, she would say they're still not ready and try to back out of the longer visits. You still have time to discuss this with her, and reach a compromise. During their visit with you, maybe their dad should text/email her pictures of the kids enjoying themselves, so she gets the idea that they're fine. Don't be mean about it or do it in a way that says "I told you so". Say they love her and miss her, but that you're having a good time together and enjoying the visit. She may be upset that they're not screaming on the floor without her, but it will probably also ease her mind to know that their father CAN actually take care of them.

Dove - posted on 04/20/2015

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My son did suffer emotionally w/ the long visitations w/ his father, BUT... he also doesn't see him any other times in between. He also KNEW that I hadn't abandoned him... even at 3 years old he knew that he had visitation w/ his dad and that mommy had to stay home. It's not a hard concept for a child to grasp.

Jodi - posted on 04/20/2015

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If he is there every other month for a week, then I'm not seeing the issue with going straight to a 4 week stint in a few years. Yes, the mother might be just being a little difficult....but from her perspective, your boyfriend is also holding out to get his way so is being just as difficult. Unless you plan on going to court and dragging this argument out, your boyfriend may need to compromise on this one. Either option would work for the children, so to argue that one or the other is in the children's best interests is a bit pointless.

Dove - posted on 04/20/2015

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There's really no reason that they can't do a 4 week stretch in a year or two... especially not w/ him being that involved. My youngest was only 3 the first time he spent 4 weeks straight w/ his father.

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Jodi - posted on 04/20/2015

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No, it won't cause them mental harm, but neither will the visits suddenly going from 10 days to 4 weeks in 4 years time.

RYLIE - posted on 04/20/2015

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That makes sense. Do you think that her statement about them being away from her for more than a week is going to be mentally damaging for them is true? Or is it just that she doesn't want them to be away from her? She says that being here for an extra 2 days next summer when they are 3 and 5 will cause them mental and emotional anguish.

RYLIE - posted on 04/20/2015

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he visits every other month when possible for a week. We can not afford to make the trip more often than that. But he does skype with them to maintain a relationship. I wish we could visit more often.

Jodi - posted on 04/20/2015

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In that case, I think your boyfriend should focus on establishing more regular visits throughout the year if he is concerned about the impact of a sudden 4 weeks with you guys, rather than a gradual increase of one visit per year.

RYLIE - posted on 04/20/2015

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We take them out on day trips when he goes to visit them. They were not old enough to come visit us before this summer, it is a 13 hour drive with two adults, it takes much longer with children so we didn't want to put them through that long car ride before the youngest is 3 (turning 3 this summer).

Jodi - posted on 04/20/2015

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I don't think either option will harm them. By the time they are 6 and 8 they will be well equipped to cope with the 4 weeks. I can't see that increasing it by a couple of days each year is going to have any impact at all on that. I'm assuming dad has them at other times throughout the year too? That is more likely to affect them coming for a long period of time than anything else is.

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