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Should a 12 year old be given this choice?
wiscoman posted:
Hi all,

I'd love your opinions. My 12 year old daughter and 9 year old son live with their mom in primary custody. My relationship with my ex is typically contentious. The issue I'm having today is that I want to have my kids come stay with me for the summer, something in my legal right to do. My ex's first comment on the phone was "do the kids want to do that?" I said I hadn't asked and I really don't think they get to decide in this issue.

My ex said "yes they do," and went on to say that the kids don't like living with me and my "new family" (I've remarried, live in another state and have another child and step-child.) About an hour later I receive a text from my daughter saying that she HATES being at my home and doesn't want to be away from her mom or friends this summer. Obviously the waters have been muddied by my ex, because the kids always seem to have a great time with us when they stay here during the summer.

Your thoughts?

Should I allow my daughter to decide this or am I right in thinking I get to make this choice?

Also, I worry that the kids will be generally left alone unsupervised this summer because their mom works and doesn't set-up any child care.

Thanks for your thoughts and opinions here.

-- J
momuv4girls responded:
Honestly, this is a sad situation for your first 2-children.

You live in another state and have a new family. Your children realize they are not your top priority - your new wife and new child are.

You should move near your children, have a relationship with them, and see them weekly, then come summer they could be with you and it wouldn't be just a visitation - but more of a natural occurrence and not up-root them from their friends and stability.
wiscoman replied to momuv4girls's response:

Thank you for the response, but it is a bit misguided and a bit judgy since you don't know the full scope of my situation.

I see my kids for 3 days every other weekend, call them every night, and am a very stable situation in their lives. I've had a court-ordered family psychologist testify that my situation is in fact more stable than their current home life.

But these details -- like your response -- are hardly pertinent to the question I asked. Thanks again for your time.

isabellasosuke responded:
Wow, this is a tough question...but you've probably made a decision by now, and if not I have an idea for you.

I am not divorced but have a lot of exposure to separated families, so I will give an opinion. I also ran this by my 16 year old daughter for a closer perspective to your 12 year old's situation.

First of all, as long as it is legally your right to have your kids stay with you for the summer months and you WANT them in your life, then we say that that is something that should happen. If you want your kids (all your kids) to get to know one another, spending time together in the summer seems to be your only option.

We also feel strongly that a whole summer unsupervised all day is unhealthy(idle hands...)for both kids, but especially for a 12 year old girl (12 - 15 is a very important and vulnerable time for a young girl, in fact you may want to ask her in a spirit of understanding, what her concerns are, or what she feels she will be missing out on...this may give you additional insight into where she is in her social development).

And the question of seeing mom and friends is really moot, because you pointed out that your Ex works full time. So unless they are spending the entire day with friends that won't happen (internet contact does NOT count) because sister needs to supervise brother, right?. Also, it is possible that your kids could develop friendships near your home as well.

On to the solution... Is it possible to bring them to stay with you for a part of the summer, such as just 3-4 weeks... with an option to extend? Then if they are having a good time, they may wish to stay longer.

We hope this helps... we are very passionate about young kids being supervised by interested and engaged parents!

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