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how to make the most of visitation?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Dh only gets his 2 dd (16&15) for two weeks in the summer, weekly phone calls the rest of the year. We want more, but bio-mom doesn't. Of course this sets us up for failure, but we want to make the best of it. Dh thought that overtime they would enjoy being with us and ask for more time as they got older, but I honestly think even they would now object to more time and due to their ages I think the courts would weight their opinions very heavily.
We do our family vacation when they are here as Dh has so little vacation days. On the non-vacation days the girls sleep in very late, I do something with them and my dd in the afternoon and then they hole up in their bedroom when Dh gets home from work and don't come out except for dinner and then after Dh goes to sleep. He took them to the movie store to pick out some movies to watch in the evening (they love movies and usually start watching something when they wake up -dd is loving all the TV she gets when they are here).
How can I help facilitate more interaction with everyone!
Dh and I fear that once we no longer have court ordered visitation, they will never visit or answer calls.
post #2 of 9
That's a tough situation your in. I was once 15/16 and my parents were divorced. The difference is that they divorced when I was 15 so I was already close to my dad. I'm sure there are some reasons why your dh only has them for 2 weeks in the summer and no visits during the year? Do they live far away? I need more info to give a good answer. Sorry to fish if your not comfortable sharing more detail in the forum I understand. I suggest he talk to them frankly. If he hasn't been there in the past he needs to apologize even if it's just because they live far away. Everyone needs to be validated. I'm sure they have had some feelings about not seeing him over the years even if they haven't verbalized them. Next thing is he needs to tell them that he regrets the lost time and would like to spend more time with them. Maybe they would be open to that. Just start a little at a time. 1x a month during the year. But I'm guessing you are going to say that you guys live far apart and that's impossible. If so my only other suggestion is move to where they are.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
It's a combination of bio-mom moving first, Dh was in college (had no $ to take her to court and did want her to be happy as she was marrying the man she was having an affair with, (she only married Dh when she, from a very religious family, found she was pg from a one night stand and Dh was her bestfriend's brother and a sucker, but needless to say not a good way to pick a mate for either), and then Dh moving to find a job after college took the only offer he got. Dh and X shared a divorce lawyer so the visitation is poorly worked out. Plus Dh isn't the oldest bio-dad, long story so now oldest has to split time with Dh and a bio-dad. Their step-dad does long distance trucking and they live in very rural areas off interstates with no city near by so job opportunities are few and far between, but we keep looking. We visted one weekend a month until they were 8/9.

So yes, while moving close would help, what else can we do?
post #4 of 9
What do you guys do on the vacation days? How do those go?

Maybe on the days he has to work, you can try to plan something for the evening - some whole-family activities, some father-daughter stuff. Would they enjoy going bike-riding or roller-blading with their dad? Do you live near a beach or a nice spot for walks? Going out to a movie? I know older kids probably aren't into the kinds of daycamps that younger kids go to, but there are often some neat ones for teens, involving art or outdoor adventures - maybe that would give them a reason to get out of bed in the a.m. (although don't take it personally - they may just need the extra sleep!).
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
vacations are pretty good. Normally we start the vacation as soon as they get here, but this year we're doing a week at home and a week traveling. For the past 4 yrs we've included SixFlags and Dh takes the older ones and my dd stays with me. Dh takes them to movies, gaming center, driving range, etc. so they do have some quality time, but it's only like 2-3hrs a day with very little talking and Dh would like more interaction. You know the saying about doing a movie for a first date so you don't have to talk!
My sis and I discussed this and look back on how little time we spent with our parents as teens and I just don't have a closet of ideas for bonding with parents. I believe that it's the daily little things that makes the bond.

Has anyone lost contact with parent/child relationship after age 18?
post #6 of 9
I would suggest your dh, especially on the vacation, verballize to them directly and frequently how important it is to him that he knows them, how much he treasures the time he spends with them, how important they are to him, and, yes, how much he regrets that things weren't different and that he didn't spend more time with them when they were younger. Really, he has two more summers with the oldest and three more with the youngest. He wants, in those few short weeks, to help them understand how important they are to him and how much he wants to have a relationship with them throughout their lives. They will hear. It may not be until they are 22 etc, when they need someone, that they realize what a wonderful, positive, loving force your family is/could be in addition to their other family. But you dh wants to plant the seeds now. Your dh will also want to call and e-mail or write as frequently as possible and to continue to do so even when they head out to college etc.l
post #7 of 9
I want to say to you.
It is tough. I am in a similiar situation. My DH's daughter lives over half the USA away. Her mother won't allow her to fly so we have her 3 - 4 weeks in the summer only.
It's tough. She plays with my daughter when she's here. My DH also takes vacation when she is with us. I try to encourage time for him to spend with his daughter without the rest of us tagging along.
We felt the same way. She was young. As she got older she would insist on being with us more. It hasn't happened that way.
Hang in there.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Gabbi - thanks for the reply. I've always wondered how others do long distance visitation. I would love to hear more (did you try for more than the 3-4 weeks, do you drive to pick-up or have an adult fly with the sc, how old are the sc, etc). I'll pm incase you don't check back.
post #9 of 9
Got your PM Chel, and Pmed ya back.
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