Thursday, August 28, 2008

Should She Stay or Should She Go Now?

I am having this huge dilemma.

My daughter, Claire, is 13 and hates going to see her dad on his visitation days. Now Claire is my calm, non-dramatic daughter, giving that award to her oldest sister. Other than the occasional emotional meltdown, she is your typical teenager with the slob-like tendencies to stuff dirty clothes wherever she can hide them so when I do the room check it appears clean, mumbling like a cartoon character and the non-stop texting of her friends. She is very intelligent (like scary smart) and we have such, deep conversations sometimes that when she asks me something, I can hear crickets chirping due to the deafening silence of ignorance on my end.

About a month ago she asks me if she has to go to her dad's on his weekend. She then tells me how her dad's wife treats her, putting her on a guilt trip for not living with them and some other things that made my blood boil. So, because I am so smart and have like 56 yrs experience in child psychology (NOT), I say, "Well, Claire, the judge said every 1st, 3rd and 5th weekend." (just state the facts,ma'am)
"But mom, Cassie said the judge told her when her parents got a divorce, when she turned 11 she could choose who to live with. So why at thirteen am I made to go to a place that I don't like or want to go to?!"
"You should call your dad." (pass the buck...)
"He won't answer his cell phone. He says it's for HIS use and if he wants to speak to someone, he will call them."
(Reason #473 that I am so glad I am not married to him anymore.)
"You need to talk to your father about how you feel. I bet you can work something out with him."
"Mom, come on. She makes the rules and he follows them. I can talk to him until I am blue in the face, but he is going to do whatever she tells him to do."

So she has avoided going to her dad's for three weekends now. She has had some legitimate "skip" excuses, but he is getting wise on her and said something to me about it yesterday when he picked up Cooper.
"Jill, I really need your support on this," after telling me I am setting her up to think she can make all the decisions in her life and that she is only thirteen and a child blah blah blah.
"You gave up your right to ask for my support when you filed for divorce six years ago, John."
So he slams his car door and leaves and goes to preach to his congregation of unsuspecting lambs, seething with anger and hate for me.
I walk back into my house and smile, proud of myself for standing up to him.

So, oh-wise-beyond-your-years Blog Buds, what is your opinion on this? Should I allow her to call the shots or should I make her go?


amelia bedelia said...

Wow, Im first! you already know my opinion sister....i will call you later.

Leslie said...

Jesus, Mary, Joseph. I wish I had the answer, but my crystal ball quit working. Seriously though I haven't a clue.

kwr221 said...

Hmmmm. I wish I had the answer. She has some valid points. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink....

Is there a way to delve deeper? I mean if she goes and resents it - that can't be good for a relationship with her father. If she's forced to go - that can't be good for a relationship either.

So, I'm more interested in the unwritten dirt - he's a pastor? And an ass?

QueenofPlanetHotflash said...

She needs to tell her Dad how she feels, even if he doesn't listen at least she would be able to express her feelings. She should not be forced to go and miserable, but this could lead to a visit to a lawyer and back to court in order for her to have her opinion heard. From the sound of it he will use the legal route. She is miserable there but brings it back home to you. It's hard one thing never talk bad about Dad to her but listen when she expresses her emotions and stand beside her. He unpicked you to be in his life, so you owe him nothing, but she's yours forever. Just my opinion :o)
P.S. Been there done that, stood beside my daughters decisions.

kwr221 said...

So he slams his car door and leaves and goes to preach to his congregation of unsuspecting lambs, seething with anger and hate for me.

So who's seeting with anger and hate for you? Him or his flock?

aterilli said...

Wellllll, this is what I would do - if you will recall, I went through a similar situation about 21 years ago with Gigi. She would scream and look at me out the window like she was being kidnapped. Very upsetting. I told her father, SFB (remember...s@*t for brains) that he could take me to court, throw me in jail, whatever, but I wasn't sending that kid again till she wanted to go! So there, that's what you do. You might suggest also that he and Claire should go to dinner - just the two of them, spend some one-on-one, father/daughter time. How can he argue with that. I bet Claire would go for that too. Anyway, I sure hope everything works out - keep me posted.

Ronda's Rants said...

God, I love that new favorite!
I always go for the compromise..not sure that is spelled right..
Anyway, I like the idea if Daddy and Daughter Dates until she likes him again. HIS problem, really. She is 13 after all, not 3. I think if you present it as an idea...for him.He did ask for your support... He might just accept it.
Sorry, best I got!

jill jill bo bill said...

kw-mmm hmmm. both. And he is seething. Unless he has used me in a sermon, which wouldn't suprise me.
Queen-You are right, but that would cost him $ and she won't let him spend it on frivalous things like his kids.
Ang- I forgot about that!!! They are having dinner as we speak. I told him to pick her up from athletics. We will see...

jill jill bo bill said...

Ronda- I was posting that comment the same time you were. So yes, they are out now without the wife and hopefully they can come to an agreement. it's not him she hates. It's heeeerrrrr. She is scary mean.

I would take her, but she's kinda biggish. But I could probably get one good punch in. ha

Sidney said...

Weelll now...I'm in a similar situation, sans new wife (but since he has some physical issues in the southern regio....oh wait, that's not what we were talking about...)Tori, my oldest at 17, has only been to "visit" him once since we split up 19 months ago. My 13 yr old son will go, but it's only when he can have one-on-one time with him, cuz doncha know he can't stand his sibs & doesn't want to be cramped in a two-room apt with six people. My 11 yr old son only goes occasionally also. Even though the decree spells out visitation and it's a "right", I don't think anybody should be forced to spend time with someone that they don't want to, whatever their age, even though he is the parent, but I think it's good for them to go so they can get the full picture so that they can't come back later with anything against you.

I agree with Queen...let her make the decision. If they can decide who to live with at 11 or 13 or whatever it is, they should be able to decide to visit or not.

careysue said...

Well...this is my opinion, I started letting my kids decide when they wanted to go to their dads. Which isn't very often. They're older and have friends, and things they want to do on the weekends. Plus, my ex lives 3 plus hours away! yeah!

I really wouldn't make her go.

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

Ditto Leslie on the JMJ reference. I think she is certainly old enough to know where she is comfortable. If she doesn't want to be there, why should she have to be? Maybe you should call the judge?

iMommy said...

Any chance that a mediator would help here to give your daughter a voice and also some real authority to make some choices about how she wants to spend her time? Or maybe just to sort out and express her feelings to her dad?

jill jill bo bill said...

squid-HA! the comment about your ex is so funny! And I wish my ex wouldn't be so controlling.
CS- I can only dream of him living 3 hrs away...alas it's 17 minutes.
AFF- I have no idea who the new judge is or I wouldn't just call him...I would make him cinnamon rolls!
iM- I wish she had one, but getting one now may take some time. But I will look into it.

UPDATE: She went with him after practice, just the two of them, and talked. She wasn't as open about heeerrrr as she wanted to be, but Claire is going to go this weekend and come home early on Sun. Only because dad and heeerrr have to get stuff ready for a craft show and don't have time for the kids then. sigh

Swirl Girl said...

Not for nothing - but is it possible that 'she' maight not be as bad as all that? Not that your daughter isn't telling the truth, but 13 year old's know how to push the right buttons to get you to react. Maybe there is another reason she doesn't want to see her dad, that isn't dramatic at all (like she's missing a party, or going out with friends or something) but she knows that that alone won't get her out of it, so she says the wife is a meanie.

I could be totally waaaay off base here, but I am just playing devil's advocate here. As I am wont to do.

Kelley said...

Okay...well I'm new to your blog and can't believe at this early point in our relationship (ha) that I'm going to comment, particularly on something so important.

I have several ideas about this. Some of which contradict the other but that just further shows how complicated this is. I have been your daughter (not literally of course). I have been right where she is. And, can I just say that she SO has a right not to be mistreated and she SO has the right to her own opinion but, at the same time, she is really (emotionally and just maturity-wise no matter how mature she is for her age and no matter how strongly she feels about it right this minute) not necessarily capable of making this type of decision (without help). Yes...she knows for sure what she feels like she wants to do right now but does she know or understand the regrets that she may have in the future because she won't be able to get that time back (nor will he but we can only control ourselves)? I think that her Dad needs to know how she feels and if you can't tell him, she can't tell him or if there is no one who can moderate between them, maybe she can write him a letter. And I don't think that it is AT ALL unreasonable for her to insist that she spend time with her Dad without the hag. And...if Dad CHOOSES not to agree on some of her terms then HE is really the one in the end who will be responsible in the end.

Amy Amy Bo Bamey said...

Well being that I have been in her exact shoes I think you should let her call the shots.

I did not care for my step mother either and it just made me miserable each time I went there. She was extremely jealous of me and actually cut my hair in my sleep. Yeah BIYATCH!!

I feel bad for her because she probably does not want to hurt her dad's feelings so she is torn. I have totally been there.

Tiffany said...

Maybe tell her dad that she only wants to spend time with him and not the wifey. Oh who the hell am I kidding. I have no clue. I can't even get my kid to wipe his own ass.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

"Should I allow her to call the shots or should I make her go?"

Tough one. I think that the "right" answer will change from day to day. If my kid was in the same situation, I'd let her call the shots, but that's us. Me. Both.

Precious One's dad DIDN'T want to see her, which is both a releif and a huge bother to me. She still makes an effort to stay in touch with him, probably much to his annoyance. SIGH. Keep us posted! (Oops, little blog pun there, nyerk nyerk)

Deb said...

I'm a little behind on this one, but I just picked myself and my family up off the floor after laughing our a$$e$ off from a text message/voice recording I got from whacko. When each person was listening to it, after me of course, I knew which part they were listening to based on how hard they were laughing, snorting, blowing things out of their noses, crying. It was THAT funny!

Now, as for Claire, IMO I agree with her. She is old enough to know that she is being treated unfairly by the step beast (sorry) and knows she "shouldn't" have to be treated that way, so I say she should get to decide. Now, since I have never been through anything like this, that isn't worth much, but it's all I got.

jill jill bo bill said...

SG- Nope. She IS that bad. My adult kids won't even go over there when she is home.
K- Good thoughts to consider-definitely.
AABB- She cut your hair?! O.M.G. How did your mom not kill her?
T- That's FUNNY!! And I am hoping the "date time " will suffice.
JP- As the kids get older, He has been known to fade into the woodwork.
3D- was that not THE funniest? I hope that made your day! And thanks for your comment,chica.

Scary Mommy said...

I don't think a good relationship can come out of forced visits. Do you think it may just be a phase? I wouldn't force it, but that may not be the right answer. Just mine. :)

georgie said...

Oh I think I do have expierence with ex was not apart of the beans lives until a few yrs ago-and he tells the beans that they can choose what they want to do-well they were soooooo thrilled to have him back in their lives-they started wanting to go to his house on my weekends... his house was the fun house,no rules and since he doesnt pay child support regularly he had tonsss of cash to buy their love too.

I put my foot down and said my weekends are my weekends and it is NOT my fault you just now woke up and realized you do have 2 other children...

Over the years the beans became hip to him and started seeing him in a different light-no less than 5 women in and out of his life,no stability yada yada yada

They started not wanting to go to his house and I said "well your dad DID say you could decide" he wasn't happy that I turned that back around on him...the sad part to me is if it's his weekend and the beans have an activity he says"just have your mom take you and I will get you on sat night after the rodeo that gets over at 1am" yeah maybe I am bitter BUT I have NEVER said one bad word about the man in front of the beans...

Oh shoot I just used the comment section to go on a rant sowwwwy jill jill bo bill!

My whole point is at this age yes I feel they should be allowed to choose as long as they dont choose to go on my weekends LOL

Hank E. Pankie said...

Let's see here...

I have great knowledge in this area, being as I can see it from both sides. The Step-Mom refuses to let MY father to help us pay for stuff but hands out stuff to her children left and right...I know I'm not innocent in all their decisions about money and what not, hell, I did blow up their car. haha. But, I just think Claire needs to suffer through it, maybe jsut spend one night there instead of two. Cause I know she really loves dad, as do I. I suffered through it for 4 months of living with them!! So, it can be done. You just have to stand up to "Step Mom" and let her know that you're not going to be treated like crap. Because Dad sure as hell doesn't treat her kids like crap. Anyway, I could write a book on this, and I know how Claire feels.

Kritta22 said...

Wow I think that she is 13 and can make her choices. She is going to have to deal with the consequences though, meaning a grumpy dad when she DOES go and stuff. He is hurt so she's gonna have to deal with that. But I'm all for her making her own choices.

marykay said...

Definately, listen to your daughter, I went through this like 9 years ago and when she wants to go she will go. I didn't like my ex's new wife why would my child? Love your blog!

Carlotta said...

Well written article.