What I’ve Decided and Why: Potential changes to the boys overnight visits with their Mom

I mentioned last night that there was a potential change to the boys overnight visitation with their Mom. 

I also said it wasn’t really significant and that I didn’t really have a problem with it myself. 

The issue was pushback from the kids, namely Elliott. 

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The change was pretty simple.  Due to a change of work schedule with the boys Grandmother (who’s supervisor during the visits), the boys Mother wants to pick the kids up from school on the day they are to spend the night.

Essentially this would just give them a couple extra hours to visit and that’s not a bad thing, especially considering how little she sees them. 

Elliott isn’t necessarily upset about the extra time, he doesn’t want her to pick him up at school.

When Dr. Pattie and I discussed this with him last night, he was very adamant that he did not want this to happen. 

He would only say that he’s not comfortable with it and wants things to stay the same.

I made sure he knew that I wouldn’t be upset if his Mom and Grandma (again, I love his Grandparents and am so grateful for all they’ve sacrificed over the past year) picked him up instead of me.  I was concerned maybe he thought I would be upset with him or about the situation. 

That wasn’t the problem..  He simply doesn’t want those two worlds to have any crossover. 

The question is, do I allow this to take place, even though Elliott would be upset? Here’s what I’ve decided and why. 

Elliott never wanted to see his Mom after everything that happened.  He hated the visits and yet I made sure he went.  Visits are a big deal and if I let him run away from what’s upsetting him, that would set a dangerous precedent.

He’s finally come around and can handle the visits much better.  They’re not perfect and he’s almost always upset about something that happened or wants to come home early but he adjusting.  The boys therapist is heavily involved with these decisions because I want someone involved who’s only concern is for the kids. 

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While my only concern is for the boys and both mine and the therapists thoughts and opinions on what to do line up 99.99% of the time, I’m still hurt.  I just want a second opinion to make sure that I’m doing the right thing and for the right reasons. 

I hope that makes sense…

When it comes to this particular change involving picking the boys up from school, I’ve decided not to allow this to happen and here’s why. 

Elliott is failing almost everything at school this quarter.

He’s so far beyond stressed out and anxious that he’s not functioning.  On a good day, he’s very, very OCD and very, very anxious.  This was the case long before his Mom left. 

The difference was that he was able to keep his head above water. 

What would end up happening, if I forced this on him, would be that all day the Friday of, he would be focused on something he didn’t want to happen.  He would be a mess and I’m not willing to put him through that for something that’s absolutely not necessary. 

I will pick up the boys as usual and their Mom and Grandma will pick them up after they arrive home from school. 

They would have to stop by the house anyway to pick up Gavin and the boy’s things for the overnight stay. 

This makes more sense and maintains the school as neutral ground for the kids. 

She’s always welcomed to attend school functions, conferences, IEP meetings etc, should she decide to be involved with their education on any level. 

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This isn’t about blocking her access to school related things, it’s about preserving a buffer for Elliott and doing my best to ensure his wellbeing. 

Like I said, it doesn’t make a difference either way because they still get picked up early and still get the same amount of extra time together. 

This way Elliott is more comfortable and there isn’t anything making the already muddy water any muddier.  It also won’t set him up for a bad visit off the get-go.

A great deal of damage has been done over the last year or so and I’ve already gone as far as I physically can to promote healing between the boys and their Mother.  Its outside of my control and I simply won’t put them through anything unnecessary and this isn’t necessary.

There’s been some healing but the boys have been traumatized by her actions and frankly, actions lack there of. 

It’s a truly shitty position for me to be in because I only want there to be a happy, healthy relationship between the boys and their Mother.  I feel that’s very important.

I also very much dislike that doing what’s best for the boys doesn’t line up with what she wants to happen. I suppose there’s always consequences for our decisions but it just sucks that everyone has to suffer those consequences when we didn’t ask for any of this. 

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10 Comments

  1. Darcy Dallin

    So I’m confused, when was mom originally suppose to pick the boys up? Mom wanted to pick the boys up from school, now she’s going to pick them up at your house, but wasn’t she doing that already? From the first paragraph it was a change in grandma’s work schedule – so I understood it to be that mom alone would pick up the kids from school? If mom & grandma pick the kids up from your house, than do they have to wait until grandma gets off or is she going to get off from work earlier?
    Mom & grandma could always pick Gavin & the boys’ overnight stuff up first than go to the school & pick up the E’s? What if Gavin wanted to be picked up first & Emmett wanted to be picked up from school? Why does what Elliott demands get president? This is basically catering to what Elliott demands. I know he’s young & everyone has gone thru a lot of traumatizing things, but at some point, these boys are going to have to “grow up” & realize that there are other people that they have to think of.
    Let Elliott have a meltdown & let his mom & grandparents take care of it for once! Yes, my son is failing school to & I want him to repeat the grade, but that doesn’t mean I would let my son off the hook & not let him be picked up at school.
    If mom is picking up the kids earlier for their overnight visit, that’s great. But Elliott will just get home after school & than not want to leave the house to go to his moms, because being picked up earlier is a change that all boys will have to adjust to. If any of the boys have a meltdown have their mom deal with it at HER house! The boys need to go into a room or corner or hide somewhere & have that meltdown because of change & if the change happens enough than it isn’t something new anymore or a change.
    I understand you want to “keep the peace”, Rob, but at what point does it hinder the boys from “moving on” as you would like to do? Yes, you are the boys’ protector, but the world will not stop for anyone, whether you have disabilities or not. Will the boys continue to “hide” just because they can’t deal with change? Yes, I DO understand that kids with disabilities have a harder time understanding & accepting change. My son is #1 in that, but you ‘warn’ him enough times than it just happens.
    Sorry for the rant, but this is one of those times that I just don’t agree with you. I believe mom should have even more time, even more one on one time with each kid, not necessarily overnights right now. Than the kids wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed with seeing their mom & with change. I understand mom has her own “problems” & I know she “caused” a lot of the boys’ problems, but why can’t mom see her boys more? Are you trying to protect them too much? Yes, I do understand that they are young, but what are the issues?
    Rob, you do so much alone, send those boys to their mother, quit trying to do everything on your own, because you’ll have a heart attack & what would happen to the boys if you weren’t around?? When the boys come home from their mother’s send them right away to their room to decompress & don’t talk about the visit unless they come to you first. This might stop some meltdowns.
    Sorry just had a lot to say.

  2. Kim Gebhardt

    I agree with some of what Darcy had to say, but I don’t think kids should be forced to visit a toxic parent. While I do feel that there are times when your kids are running the show, I don’t think this is one of them. I completely understand Elliott wanting school to remain a happy and/or safe place, and having Lizze there ruins that for him. I also think that Lizze should be grateful that she even has the kids in her life after how she’s handled things.

    As a curiosity, how will visitation be handled if Lizze moves out of her parent’s house? I hope you would still insist on some sort of supervision. I really believe that too much Lizze time would be a very bad thing for your boys, as I truly believe that she is a master manipulator and brings very little other than toxicity to their lives. I know you want them to have a happy and healthy relationship with her, but I don’t think that’s possible given that she puts herself above all else and loves herself more than she loves anything or anyone else. I honestly hope I’m wrong about that, though.

  3. Okay. Let me clarify. Normally, Grandma would pick the boys up after work, about 5:30pm. This change in work schedule would allow them to be picked up a few hours earlier.

    That’s something I don’t have a problem with. It’s on a trial basis and we follow the kids lead.

    The problem was that Elliott doesn’t want her to pick him up from school. Grandma would be driving cause their Mom is not allowed to drive with the boys in the car..

    Elliott just isn’t comfortable with his Mom entering that part of his life right now. It would be a change and he doesn’t do well with change.

    He hasn’t complained about the extra time, he just doesn’t want her picking him up from school. He won’t get any more specific than that.

    This may change down the road but for right, the extra time is enough of a change.

    As for the kids running things, there are times where I simply don’t have the energy to fight a certain battle. There’s only so much of me on any given day. So yes, there are times where I let the kids get away with more than I normally would. That’s just life and it’s never any significant.

    As for what would happen if their Mom moved out of her parents house. The boys would still see their Grandparents whenever possible but their Mom needs to be supervised by her parents. If they are unavailable, the visit doesn’t happen at this point.

    That will be figured out as we move forward.

  4. pegster999

    I think Elliott’s request is reasonable. Bottom line she has the legal right to see her kids and they have to go like it or not. It would be nice if they could spend more time together and they all benefit. But realistically, that and the happy healthy relationship… I don’t think so. You can’t force the kids to have positive feelings towards her. When they turn 18 they can choose whether they see her or not. Until then all you can do is make it as easy as possible for the boys. You made the right choice.

    1. You’re absolutely right. She does have a legal right to see them. I would never dream of interfering with that because she’s their Mother and regardless of what she’s done or continues to do, that will never change.

      The only limitations that are put in place are there in order to ensure the well being of the kids.

      There could never be 50/50 split, even if she was capable of performing that role. The boys are on the spectrum and that makes their needs more challenging to meet and they would never be able to handle that kind of arrangement.

      This is what was wanted and I agreed to. It’s a modified shared parenting agreement that gives me final say in everything.

      Mental and physical illness severely impacts her capacity as a functioning parent. My hope is that it won’t be this way forever but for now it is and I have take sure that I can ensure the best interests of the kids, should things get any worse.

      I don’t need a court order to want the boys Mother in their lives. When it comes to major things with the boys, I will always want to make decisions as a team. Having final say is a safety net because truthfully, she’s a wildcard anymore and nothing that has happened since she left has done anything to improve upon that situation.

      The bottom line is that she’s involved in the boys lives to the best of her ability. I would really like to see that ability increase over time but that’s not likely to happen.

      Everything is agreed upon and the visitation schedule is what she wanted it to be. She only wants what’s best for the boys and she loves them. I’ve never questioned that. Sometimes though, illness and interfere with our decision making process and impact our judgement.

      It’s a sad reality that we as human beings live with.

      I wish things were different but they aren’t. I’m not angry or bitter. If the roles were reversed, she would be doing the exact same thing.

      This is why we’re taking the route of dissolution. Working with the boys doctors to decide what’s best for them and not allowing the courts to fuck it up. This is all in writing and will be up for court approval as soon as we do our parenting classes this month.

  5. pegster999

    I think Elliott’s request is reasonable. Bottom line she has the legal right to see her kids and they have to go like it or not. It would be nice if they could spend more time together and they all benefit. But realistically, that and the happy healthy relationship… I don’t think so. You can’t force the kids to have positive feelings towards her. When they turn 18 they can choose whether they see her or not. Until then all you can do is make it as easy as possible for the boys. You made the right choice.

    1. You’re absolutely right. She does have a legal right to see them. I would never dream of interfering with that because she’s their Mother and regardless of what she’s done or continues to do, that will never change.

      The only limitations that are put in place are there in order to ensure the well being of the kids.

      There could never be 50/50 split, even if she was capable of performing that role. The boys are on the spectrum and that makes their needs more challenging to meet and they would never be able to handle that kind of arrangement.

      This is what was wanted and I agreed to. It’s a modified shared parenting agreement that gives me final say in everything.

      Mental and physical illness severely impacts her capacity as a functioning parent. My hope is that it won’t be this way forever but for now it is and I have take sure that I can ensure the best interests of the kids, should things get any worse.

      I don’t need a court order to want the boys Mother in their lives. When it comes to major things with the boys, I will always want to make decisions as a team. Having final say is a safety net because truthfully, she’s a wildcard anymore and nothing that has happened since she left has done anything to improve upon that situation.

      The bottom line is that she’s involved in the boys lives to the best of her ability. I would really like to see that ability increase over time but that’s not likely to happen.

      Everything is agreed upon and the visitation schedule is what she wanted it to be. She only wants what’s best for the boys and she loves them. I’ve never questioned that. Sometimes though, illness and interfere with our decision making process and impact our judgement.

      It’s a sad reality that we as human beings live with.

      I wish things were different but they aren’t. I’m not angry or bitter. If the roles were reversed, she would be doing the exact same thing.

      This is why we’re taking the route of dissolution. Working with the boys doctors to decide what’s best for them and not allowing the courts to fuck it up. This is all in writing and will be up for court approval as soon as we do our parenting classes this month.

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