Grandparents want to pull our child out of school for a 2 week vacation without my consent - Mothering Forums
Blended and Step Family Parenting > Grandparents want to pull our child out of school for a 2 week vacation without my consent
Mtnmumma's Avatar Mtnmumma 07:19 PM 04-18-2011

So Dad and I have joint custody but I am the primary parent. We have been working things out and agree on most of everything. Well dad called me and told me that he will be going out of town on a business trip. So I made arrangements for our son to be cared for by friends on the evenings that he is with dad while dad is out of town ( I am a working mother on those evenings). Dad has our son on Monday and Tuesday evening I have him the rest of the time. Dad and I agreed to the arrangements at the time.


Well Dad called me yesterday and begged me to let his Parents (grandparents on his side) pull our son out of school and take him to Hawaii with them for 2 weeks instead. Of course I said no! and that I do not give consent to pull our son out of school for a vacation that Dad will not be attending and that he should vacation accordingly around the school calendar. 


Now for the past 48 hours everytime Dad and I have a conversation Dad begs me to let the grandparents pull our son out of school for 2 weeks and he wont take no for an answer.


Dad feels that our son going to Hawaii with his grandparents is more important than passing the second grade. By the way Dad takes our son to Hawaii at least twice a year sometimes more so he more than likely will have the opportunity to go again.


Our son cannot afford to be pulled out of school and he is falling behind in school and is close to repeating the second grade. I feel that pulling him out of school and on short notice has some serious consequences. I also feel that Dad is setting a poor example to our son about how seriously he should take his education. Reward him by taking him to Hawaii during the school year only teaches him to not take education seriously later in life.


Again Dad will not take no for an answer. He just text me that his parents will be picking our son up for school this Friday and will return him to school in two weeks. Again, defying me and disrespecting my decision to keep our son in school. 


I feel that the grandparents will  defy me show up to school on Friday and pull him out even though I firmly told Dad no and that his parents do not have my consent to pull him out of school.


Also to make matters worse, Dad stated to me that our son will be deeply hurt because his younger sister (who is not in grade school) gets to go to Hawaii and he doesn't. Trying to make me feel bad.  I am so upset right now about his behavior and choice to using me as a scapegoat and setting a poor example for our son.


What to Do and How do I handle this in an appropriate matter and without making a scene.

khaoskat's Avatar khaoskat 07:43 PM 04-18-2011

First, contact the school and let them know YOU DO NOT consent to the grandparents picking your child up at school.  Also, I would contact the airlines to see if any of them have a reservation under your son's name.  I would let the airline know, if you find one that has a reservation, that you and your husband are divorced (and can provide a copy of the paperwork), and that you have not consented to the removal of your child from the State you live in.


I would ensure that all communication is in writing between you, the school, and the Father.  I would ensure that you include statements to the fact YOU DO NOT CONSENT.  


If they insist upon this action, I would consider contacting the police and have them at the school on Friday to monitor the situation to ensure that the child is not taken against your CONSENT by the grandparents.


Further, if they somehow should do this, I would contact the police and state that your child has been taken, against your express wishes, by the paternal grandparents.  That they have go to the school, where you have expressly told them, that the child is not allowed to leave with the grandparents and they did anyways.  That they have reservations on XYZ Airline to take the child allegedly to Hawaii, and that YOU HAVE NOT CONSENTED to this child's removal from the State.

Tigerchild's Avatar Tigerchild 07:43 PM 04-18-2011

 Does Dad have the authority to do this?  I would put in an emergency call to your lawyer and the courts, and inform the school that the grandparents do NOT have your permission to take your child out of school or pick him up.  You still have a couple of days.

Mtnmumma's Avatar Mtnmumma 07:47 PM 04-18-2011

Yes I do have a couple of days I was also thinking about taking Friday off and not sending him to school that day. It is a halfday anyway but it also makes me look like I dont care about keeping our son in school either.


I am defiantly going to take both your advice and warn the school. Also I will call the airlines, hopefully they will release that information to me.


Mtnmumma's Avatar Mtnmumma 07:49 PM 04-18-2011

 I mean no Dad does not have the authority and he will be out of town at the time. We made arrangments for our son to be in my care while dad is out of town. Dad impulsively changed his mind at the last second.

Marsupialmom's Avatar Marsupialmom 07:56 PM 04-18-2011

I think it is time to mediate vacations.  If this was a once and a life time situation I would say let him go.  However it isn't.  


I would talk to the school about what you can do to help your son not struggle.  I would also not have them on the list of approved contacts to pick them up.  Yes, your dh can go in and change it, however if you go in tomorrow without them knowing when they try to pick him up it would be inconvenient.  Also, the school can mark these as unexcused days and your child be truant.  

Smithie's Avatar Smithie 08:15 PM 04-18-2011


I think it's time to contact the grandparents directly. You don't actually know what your ex has told them. Kids aren't actually allowed to miss 2 weeks of school for a vacation, you couldn't agree to this even if you wished to. Explain that in a calm and non-accusatory way, and simultaneously contact the school and explain that there's been a kidnapping threat and DS is not to be released to anybody but you on Friday. Then take the day off, pick up your son, and try to let it all end there. 

CarrieMF's Avatar CarrieMF 07:58 PM 04-19-2011



Kids aren't actually allowed to miss 2 weeks of school for a vacation, you couldn't agree to this even if you wished to. 


OT, but this would depend on the division.  Here kids have missed 2 weeks of school for vacation without any issue & in grades older than the OP's.  


OP, if your son was doing better in school & not as risk for failing I'd let him go on the vacay, however 2 weeks for him in particular could mean the difference between moving onto the next grade or not.  I would contact the school & be there to pick your son up.  If you have a good relationship with the grandparents then I agree on calling them, if not then don't.

mattemma04 08:24 PM 04-19-2011

I would tell him no,no,and no every time. I would tell him that if the grandparents take him out of school they will be arrested,and you will go to court to limit contact in the future. I would talk to the school.Inform them of the situation,your LEGAL standing,and what will happen if they fail in their duties by allowing your child to leave with the grandparents.


They are trying to bully you,and as long as you say no they will push till you say yes.It is no different than a child having a fit until you buy him/her what they want.


If a scene is necessary then so be it,because they brought it on themselves. The nerve of some people,lol.The grandparents need to work around your son's schedule,and they really should talk to you directly especially if their son won't even be around. I am suprised they would not call you and ask if it were even possible,or if you wold be comfortable with it just being them. Rather rude if you ask me.

blessedwithboys's Avatar blessedwithboys 08:46 PM 04-19-2011

I would take the day off and bring my child to school and then stay the entire day on campus.  Volunteer of they need you, or just sit in the front office with a book and a cell phone.  If you see the ILs coming, call 911.


But also make sure to talk toa lawyer so that this BS doesn't come up again in the future!

gingergrltea's Avatar gingergrltea 01:47 PM 04-20-2011

I think calling the cops is going a little far JMHO.Unless they take him out of school,and out of state after you said no. If his younger sister is going with the grandparents,I don't see why he can't go to.At first reading your post I thought bad idea but if you are letting sister (don't know if she is your child to?) go brother should go as well or keep both home.


Can you talk to the school,and see if he can take his school work with him? Tell the grandparents he can go but I will need him to do his work while there.


I think you are going to have to follow your mothering intuition on this one. You are the mother,and what you say goes.I think that is a long way of a trip to go with out mom or dad. Good luck I hope all works out.

philomom's Avatar philomom 02:41 PM 04-20-2011
Call the school and let them know what is going on.

Tell ex that a two week summer vacation is fine but he may not interrupt a child's classroom education. Especially if that child is under performing.

And call your divorce lawyer... they may know of other steps to take.

Don't hesitate to call the police and talk to them. Go down to the station and explain the situation.. they might be willing to help you find a legal/lawful option here. Use words like "sole custody" and that you "do not consent" to this the x grandparents trying to "steal" him away. Take a copy of your divorce agreement.
VocalMinority's Avatar VocalMinority 08:14 PM 04-20-2011

Normally, I don't advocate dragging school employees into family problems, but in this case I think it's imperative that you inform your child's teacher(s), the principal and anyone in the office who might release a child (like the school secretary) about the situation.  NOT all the details you've shared here, just that no one but you or your ex may pick up Johnny from school right now and the people you're specifically concerned about are your former in-laws.  You should probably clarify that they're not dangerous, it's just that, with the divorce, they seem confused about whether they have permission to take Johnny on vacation.


And your ex won't be in town, to give Johnny to them in spite of you, right?


Don't let the fact that your ex is upsetting you make you lose sight of the fact that you have control of this situation.  Of course your position about school is reasonable.  Of course your ex's parents may not remove your children from the state without your permission, when your ex is not even with them!  His attempt to make you feel like he's controlling the situation ("My parents are going to pick up Johnny from school and bring him back to you 2 weeks later") actually stems from him feeling resentful that YOU'RE in control and he has to tell his parents he can't do what they want because YOU said no and there's really nothing he can do.


Hang in there.

MamaRhi's Avatar MamaRhi 04:00 PM 04-26-2011

My stbx and I have to provide each other with written consent to take either of our children out of the state. Anyone else taking one of them without both of us consenting is kidnapping. Pretty simply, they can't do it. I agree with everyone who said to let the school know not to release him to the grandparents. The school is required to help prevent a kidnapping.


Spirit Dancer's Avatar Spirit Dancer 05:58 PM 04-29-2011

I am atually with your ex on this. I would totally let my grade school son skip two weeks of school to go to Hawaii with his grandparents. What an awesome experience it would be for him! Perhaps rethink your stance...

VocalMinority's Avatar VocalMinority 06:22 PM 04-29-2011


Originally Posted by Spirit Dancer View Post

I am atually with your ex on this. I would totally let my grade school son skip two weeks of school to go to Hawaii with his grandparents. What an awesome experience it would be for him! Perhaps rethink your stance...

If I recall correctly, her reluctance is due to the fact that her kid is already having some serious problems keeping up, in school; and he gets to go to Hawaii with his Dad and the grandparents frequently.  So Mom would prefer to keep those trips during school vacations.  Regardless, it's not right for either parent to unilaterally arrange for the kids to miss that much school, if the other parent objects.  A trip to Hawaii is not worth showing your kids you have no respect for their other parent and will disregard and undermine him/her.


Viola's Avatar Viola 06:26 PM 04-29-2011

Originally Posted by Spirit Dancer View Post

I am atually with your ex on this. I would totally let my grade school son skip two weeks of school to go to Hawaii with his grandparents. What an awesome experience it would be for him! Perhaps rethink your stance...

It sounded to me like her reasoning on this issue was clear and that she had thought it through pretty well.  Is there something specific that you think she should consider, because I'm not really getting it.

Oriole's Avatar Oriole 09:39 AM 05-07-2011

I'm guessing this has already been resolved, but I would actually contact the teacher first, and ask if she thought a child could miss two weeks for such vacation.


If the teacher said "that's okay", I'd let my kid go. Let's face it - five, ten, fifteen years from now your child is not likely to remember what they did in April, in second grade. A vacation like that stays in memory forever.


On another hand, if the teacher insisted that the child cannot afford such trip at this time - I'd use that as an argument with grandparents.


I'm curious to hear the update.

purslaine's Avatar purslaine 12:57 PM 05-07-2011

My take:  I would have probably agreed to the hawaii trip.   A vacation with grandparents? - priceless.  2 week of grade 2?   Not so important in the scheme of things.  I also tend to think that if he is having difficulty keeping up in grade 2, 2 weeks of school is not going to make much difference.  It just isn't.  Work with the teacher to cover any keys concepts missed due to vacation.  I for one do think it is relevant that his younger sister is going to Hawaii.  He may feel left out.


That being said, this is not my decision, nor is it his grandparents - it is yours and maybe the dads.  If you say no - that is it.  Inform the school, and if you are worried, take the day off work and keep Ds home for the day.  I would call the grandparents if you have a good relationship with them and tell them no personally.


I would also work out a vacation agreement with your ex for the future.  Include if and when vacationing with extended family is OK in the agreement.


Any updates?

Lisa1970's Avatar Lisa1970 09:25 PM 05-07-2011

I don't know where you are at. but if your child is in public school, most states would prosecute for truancy over that. Texas would. I agree with you not allowing that. I would never allow the grandparents on either side to take my children like that. Your child likely won't even care about Hawaii. This is about them.