When does visitation become a choice? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 07-29-2009, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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DSS is 17. I realize things change a lot when kids get older. My DH is deployed and his job causes his to miss out on visitation with DSS. When he is home, he would love to spend as much time as possible with DSS but would never force him to come if he doesn't want to. DSS have never flat out said he doesn't want to come over. DSS came to visit, my in-laws live with us and he needed my FIL to help him work on his car. We were having a conversation and he told me it was his choice to decided wether or not to visit his dad EOW. When does visitation become a choice? DH and his ex have joint custoday. The visitation was outlined in their divorce papers. While I realize you can't force a 17 yo to visit if they don't want to, at what age does it become their "choice" to visit. I thought legally court orders have to be followed until the child is 18.
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#2 of 7 Old 07-29-2009, 12:39 PM
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Maybe the kid is just feeling a little lost, his dad is gone, he hardly saw him before, now he just wants a bit of control over the situation. You said he never missed visitation or refused to come, so I would assume that he just wants his life to be his and to have the decision making power. You cant force him to come your right and doing so would just make him want to even less.

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#3 of 7 Old 07-29-2009, 02:50 PM
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Technically, you are right. People under 18 are considered minors and have no legal rights by themselves.

However, depending upon your state, most courts recognize that minors over a certain age cannot be forced to visit. If push came to shove (going back to court or involving the police), it would very unlikely that your DSS would or could be forced to go.

I agree that it is probably just your DSS trying to feel in control of his life. He probably made that statement for the effect or because he is trying to convince himself that he is in control.
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#4 of 7 Old 07-30-2009, 09:36 PM
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I suspect that in most cases, particularly once the child is a teenager, it becomes a practical matter of being able to enforce it. If a 17 year old refuses a visit will the police make him? Maybe in a few situations - maybe.

I have had more success pointing out that if the child is adult enough to make an adult decision, he should expect an adult consequence, i.e., that he may be setting a tone for the way the relationship will be after he turns 18, and is that really the type if future he wants to head towards.

I agree he is trying to feel powerful. It may help to let him know he IS powerful and to be judicious with that power.

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#5 of 7 Old 08-03-2009, 01:14 PM
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My personal experience being a kid in a broken home (it is what I call my child life, don't correct it even if you feel the need) is that it should be up to the kid as soon as they express their opinions. Even if it hurts a grown ups feelings.

The work around to this is to do shared visits at a park until the kid is comfortable being alone with the other adult. If the adult who is not being chosen feels shunned? They should. And they should self evaluate 'why' they are being shunned and put in that extra effort.

I am not saying your DP is being shunned, but there would be reasons why your DSS is vocalizing this opinion, and it very well could just be an immature reaction to your DP being deployed. But DSS is 17, he has the right to be immature at times, it is a part of growing up and learning how to react to situations.

More from personal experience when I became an 'adult' legally I stopped visiting my dad very often. I kick myself in the ace every day because my dad died when i was about 22ish and now I look back at all the missed opportunities. No one at the time could have explained to me why it was important, and my dad still made the effort and when he did we hung out, but I know I didn't do everything I could have on my end. Anyways...

To answer your question if a child feels 'off' about EOW visits, then it should be respected in my opinion, and the parent who is being put off should be required to go the extra distance to meet the kid on comfortable terms. Meeting at parks, the mall, arcades, swimming pools, lakes.

Plan outings and have them show up, your DSS is a little old, and it really should be up to him how to handle end of week visits, but the thought process is still the same. DP plan an outting and invite him along, if he doesnt want to go? He won't, if he does? He will.

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#6 of 7 Old 08-03-2009, 01:32 PM
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Could it be that EOW isn't working for the teen? He has a life of his own. I would explore why dc is feeling this way. I could be more at play.

It could be he wants to hear, "Nope, couldn't make you. I wouldn't make you. Sure as hell would miss you. Guess you are growing up."
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#7 of 7 Old 08-04-2009, 12:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of your replies. I do think he is trying to feel powerful. His mom and older half sister are very controlling and this is probably the only place he feels that he can express himself freely. I don't think it's an issue of him not wanting to come over, because DH would never force him to come over. He has always enjoyed coming over and spending time with DH and DD's. I hate to say this, but I also feel like he is hearing this from his older sister. I think she is jealous of the close relationship he has with DH because she doesn't have a relationship with her dad.
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