S.P.A.R.C.

Separated Parenting Access & Resource Center
crazy gamesriddles and jokesfunny picturesdeath psychic!mad triviafunny & odd!pregnancy testshape testwin custodyrecipes

Author Topic: How can we get BM to support children's activities?  (Read 5588 times)

stepsoccermom

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
How can we get BM to support children's activities?
« on: May 15, 2006, 12:17:15 PM »
I am the step mom to two wonderful boys (ages 13 & 11) and they are involved in a competitive soccer league. They are very talented (yes, I'm biased, but other parents say the same) and have expressed interest in playing in high school and college and dream of being a professional some day. They have each been playing since the age of 6, originally playing recreational soccer, then moving up to a competitive league once recreational was no longer challenging (i.e. 5+ goals every game).

Needless to say, the demands on a family keeping up with children’s activities are challenging, especially in the competitive soccer arena. Multiple games each weekend (some can be 1 hr+ away from home) several tournaments (some requiring hotel stays) throughout the year plus practice 2x week after school. It is a commitment the family has to commit to or it will not work.

My husband and I are fully committed to it, the BM, however, is not. She is remarried with two additional children (ages 6 & 2) and has said that the boys soccer schedule isn't "convenient" for her and that she wishes they would go back to recreational soccer. She convinced the youngest not to go to his Olympic Development Camp this summer because she said she wasn't going to see him that much. Mind you, that word Olympic is used just as you would expect -- it's a training ground for possible Olympic athletes and you have to be invited to participate. By him not going to the camp (5 days, overnight) he *will not* be invited. She uses guilt in her approach -- "Don't you want to spend time with family?" How is an 11-yo boy supposed to respond to that?

The boys don't feel comfortable standing up to their mother and saying they want to go to their game, because they've seen her lose her cool (cops were almost called) and they'll avoid that at all costs. My husband and I just don't think what she's doing is fair or in the best interest of the boys.

She has told my husband in the past that she feels like soccer is "his thing" and she doesn't have a "thing" with the boys. He's tried to tell her that since she is a teacher that school is her thing and she's just not realizing it -- and that she should try to be more involved with the boys and their sports. It would be good for her and the boys.

We have gone through mediation before and she signed a document that stated the boys "will continue to participate in the extracurricular activities of their choice so long as it is in the best interest of the children.  Each parent will do everything in their power to promote the children’s commitment to these activities.  Whichever parent has visitation of the children during one of their scheduled activities will bring that child to their activity according to the predetermined and scheduled time(s).  If the visiting parent cannot bring the child to the activity, the other parent should be utilized as the first alternative. "

Do we have grounds to take her to court and mandate that she call us if she can't get the boys to their sports commitments? We're not unreasonable -- her brother recently got married and the boys went to the wedding and missed games which is understandable. But just because it's inconvenient doesn't make it ok for you to hurt the boys when there is a parent that's available to take them.

I would love any thoughts/advice on this topic -- our hearts are breaking for the boys.

Thanks-

StepSoccerMom


junglechicken

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 7917
  • Karma: 236
    • View Profile
RE: tough one. I'm out of time...
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2006, 12:52:16 PM »
but real quick - if she can't or won't get them to their games, it's up to you.  If you don't have her cooperation, it'll be next to impossible for the boys to have such committed activities.

BTDT.

Also, people's priorities are different.  She may believe family is more important than activities.  She's not wrong.  Neither are you.  It's just different priorities.  I have no problem with Parent A not being all about activities while Parent B is.  Where my issues are, is when Parent A says sure, I'll help out, or I'll cooperate, then they don't.  Or Parent A does nothing to facilitate the activity, except cooperate with whatever arrangements there are...but then uses that cooperation against Parent B (and the kids) whenever the opportunity arises.

Perhaps a compromise can be reached.

Erika

  • Private Reserve
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1866
  • Karma: 6
    • View Profile
A few 'depends'..
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2006, 03:11:50 PM »
Do the boys live with you full time?
Did mom agree to the competitive sport? Or were they signed up by you and dad and mom was told after the fact?
Do you have younger kids in your house as well?
What are the work schedules in each household?
Other activities for other children in the household?

stepsoccermom

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: A few 'depends'..
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2006, 03:26:05 PM »
Hi there-

Boys are only with us for 3 weekends, Sat a.m - Monday a.m. plus two weekdays when Mom has them 1st weekend of every month.
Mom actually started the boys in soccer (recreational) when they were 6.
No other kids for my husband and I. No plans for additional.
I work regular M-F 8-6, my husband works from home, self-employed. Boys' mom is a teacher - only substitute now, hasn't found permanent. Stepdad is a plumber whose work schedule is sporadic, hasn't been working lately.
Currently no other activities for mom's other kids but I would imagine that will start up as they get older -- they're only 6 and 2 now.

stepsoccermom

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
How can we get BM to support children's activities?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2006, 12:17:15 PM »
I am the step mom to two wonderful boys (ages 13 & 11) and they are involved in a competitive soccer league. They are very talented (yes, I'm biased, but other parents say the same) and have expressed interest in playing in high school and college and dream of being a professional some day. They have each been playing since the age of 6, originally playing recreational soccer, then moving up to a competitive league once recreational was no longer challenging (i.e. 5+ goals every game).

Needless to say, the demands on a family keeping up with children’s activities are challenging, especially in the competitive soccer arena. Multiple games each weekend (some can be 1 hr+ away from home) several tournaments (some requiring hotel stays) throughout the year plus practice 2x week after school. It is a commitment the family has to commit to or it will not work.

My husband and I are fully committed to it, the BM, however, is not. She is remarried with two additional children (ages 6 & 2) and has said that the boys soccer schedule isn't "convenient" for her and that she wishes they would go back to recreational soccer. She convinced the youngest not to go to his Olympic Development Camp this summer because she said she wasn't going to see him that much. Mind you, that word Olympic is used just as you would expect -- it's a training ground for possible Olympic athletes and you have to be invited to participate. By him not going to the camp (5 days, overnight) he *will not* be invited. She uses guilt in her approach -- "Don't you want to spend time with family?" How is an 11-yo boy supposed to respond to that?

The boys don't feel comfortable standing up to their mother and saying they want to go to their game, because they've seen her lose her cool (cops were almost called) and they'll avoid that at all costs. My husband and I just don't think what she's doing is fair or in the best interest of the boys.

She has told my husband in the past that she feels like soccer is "his thing" and she doesn't have a "thing" with the boys. He's tried to tell her that since she is a teacher that school is her thing and she's just not realizing it -- and that she should try to be more involved with the boys and their sports. It would be good for her and the boys.

We have gone through mediation before and she signed a document that stated the boys "will continue to participate in the extracurricular activities of their choice so long as it is in the best interest of the children.  Each parent will do everything in their power to promote the children’s commitment to these activities.  Whichever parent has visitation of the children during one of their scheduled activities will bring that child to their activity according to the predetermined and scheduled time(s).  If the visiting parent cannot bring the child to the activity, the other parent should be utilized as the first alternative. "

Do we have grounds to take her to court and mandate that she call us if she can't get the boys to their sports commitments? We're not unreasonable -- her brother recently got married and the boys went to the wedding and missed games which is understandable. But just because it's inconvenient doesn't make it ok for you to hurt the boys when there is a parent that's available to take them.

I would love any thoughts/advice on this topic -- our hearts are breaking for the boys.

Thanks-

StepSoccerMom


junglechicken

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 7917
  • Karma: 236
    • View Profile
RE: tough one. I'm out of time...
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2006, 12:52:16 PM »
but real quick - if she can't or won't get them to their games, it's up to you.  If you don't have her cooperation, it'll be next to impossible for the boys to have such committed activities.

BTDT.

Also, people's priorities are different.  She may believe family is more important than activities.  She's not wrong.  Neither are you.  It's just different priorities.  I have no problem with Parent A not being all about activities while Parent B is.  Where my issues are, is when Parent A says sure, I'll help out, or I'll cooperate, then they don't.  Or Parent A does nothing to facilitate the activity, except cooperate with whatever arrangements there are...but then uses that cooperation against Parent B (and the kids) whenever the opportunity arises.

Perhaps a compromise can be reached.

Erika

  • Private Reserve
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1866
  • Karma: 6
    • View Profile
A few 'depends'..
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2006, 03:11:50 PM »
Do the boys live with you full time?
Did mom agree to the competitive sport? Or were they signed up by you and dad and mom was told after the fact?
Do you have younger kids in your house as well?
What are the work schedules in each household?
Other activities for other children in the household?

stepsoccermom

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: A few 'depends'..
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2006, 03:26:05 PM »
Hi there-

Boys are only with us for 3 weekends, Sat a.m - Monday a.m. plus two weekdays when Mom has them 1st weekend of every month.
Mom actually started the boys in soccer (recreational) when they were 6.
No other kids for my husband and I. No plans for additional.
I work regular M-F 8-6, my husband works from home, self-employed. Boys' mom is a teacher - only substitute now, hasn't found permanent. Stepdad is a plumber whose work schedule is sporadic, hasn't been working lately.
Currently no other activities for mom's other kids but I would imagine that will start up as they get older -- they're only 6 and 2 now.

stepsoccermom

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: tough one. I'm out of time...
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2006, 03:35:52 PM »
She has said, "Family should come first", but in the same breath she says it bothers her that soccer is my husband's thing and not hers. I don't believe the 'family' argument is the real problem.

Like I said in my original note, she signed the agreement that said each parent would support the boys' activities and if there was a scheduling problem then the other parent would be called upon to help. The problem is she doesn't want to admit she has a hard time handling the schedule and simply opts to forgo the commitment that was made rather than ask for help.

Her husband doesn't appear to support soccer (has only been to one game of the many, many they've had) yet when the youngest played football one season he was at every game.

No one is saying it's not hard to have four children, but if we have two sets of parents that are willing to help support the kids, shouldn't we do that rather than the boys miss games?

Thanks so much for the reply!

Erika

  • Private Reserve
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1866
  • Karma: 6
    • View Profile
RE: A few 'depends'..
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2006, 07:43:38 AM »
Hmm, that's tough then. With BM's and stepdad's schedule it should be easy enough for them. I know having little ones can make it hard for hotel stays and such, but local games or ones you can travel to for a couple hours shouldn't be too much of a burden.

All I can see is that you might have to ask BM if on her time you can take the boys to soccer practices and games, with you doing all pick-up and returns.

Alot of work for you and your husband, but it sounds like you both support the soccer more than BM and if it's what the boys really want you have to make sacrifices.

Maybe you can even switch the days you have the boys during the week, to the days they have soccer practice.

junglechicken

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 7917
  • Karma: 236
    • View Profile
RE: OK, if I'm reading this correctly...
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2006, 08:11:03 AM »
the issue seems to be that bm won't ask for help in getting the boys to their soccer.

Did bm agree to putting the boys in soccer, or was it simply something she went along with because it's in the order/agreement that each parent would support the boys' activities?  I think I might balk at that clause, because to me it seems like the boys have control.  What if they said they wanted to do all sorts of things, and one parent was all for it and one wasn't?  Suddenly they're going against the agreement.  But maybe that's just me.

But the agreement is what it is, and it doesn't define waht "support" means.  Here's a longshot idea.  Maybe it's hard for bm to transport all the time.  What if your dh offered to do 100% of the transportation, in lieu of the bm maybe contributing a little extra financially to the activity?  Some sort of compromise along those lines.

littlebitt

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Court is on your side...
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2006, 01:34:48 PM »
unless BM can come up with some really good explanations of why the events are NOT in the best interest of the children.
Forget about your schedule, thier schedule, family time, etc.  That is just clouding the point.  

Ask yourself, What would the boys be doing if Mom and Dad had stayed together and had a healthy family relationship?  Well of course, they would be doing practices, camps, etc, and they would progress up the ranks as much as possible.  Mom & Dad would not be bickering over who's "thing" it is, or how inconvenient the schedule is.  THAT'S JUST WHAT PARENTS DO!!!!

Soooo, that is what the court wants the kids' life to be like as much as possible.  Not concerned with Mom & Dad's life, it's the kids' life that is the issue!

....We went through the same thing with son's football.  BM actually wanted the court order to state that she did NOT have to take him to his events!  (Needless to say, that didn't happen)  I did have more leverage than you though, because I am son's primary residence.  

But BM did not take him to practice once, so I would not let him go with her the next time.  When she ran to her attorney, the attorney actually scolded her and said she had better start getting son to his events in the future!  Another time, she scheduled a siblings birthday party on top of his football game, and again, she could not pick him up until after the next game was over.  Both attorneys and the GAL supported my position.

Good Luck to you!
LittleBit

stepsoccermom

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: Court is on your side...
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2006, 02:56:01 PM »
Thanks, LittleBit! Your words are encouraging. I do think the court will side with us on this for the very reason you stated -- it's what's in the best interest of the children and the parents need to make it work.

I'm interested to know how your son was reacting to the BM when she wouldn't take him to his events? I think our kids downplay it because they don't want to go against their mom, even if they wish she would support them with their soccer. They know how she feels about it and don't want to upset her. My husband feels like he needs to fight for them since they aren't standing up for themselves.

We're waiting for a call from our attorney on how best to proceed. My husband wants to take her back to court. Our youngest has a game on Friday night and it's an away game (40 mins from her house) and it's the BM's responsibility to get him there. We're interested to see what happens.

Thanks again and I'll keep you posted!
StepSoccerMom

stepsoccermom

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: OK, if I'm reading this correctly...
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2006, 03:01:44 PM »
Hi there-

Thanks for the suggestions! The BM actually started them in soccer at the age of 6. We would be happy to handle all transportation, but she would never do that because she would be giving up control of the situation and she would feel it cuts into her time. We already pay for all the dues for them, including tournament fees, new shoes, etc. Money isn't the issue -- we take care of everything because we know she's struggling financially. All that is on her part is a time comittment that she's not making. Unfortunately it seems she forgets about the boys and is only thinking about how it all affects her.

StepSoccerMom

stepsoccermom

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: A few 'depends'..
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2006, 03:08:27 PM »
Hi Erika-

We would be more than happy to handle transportation for the boys, but she won't let us do that as she feels like it would cut into her time. She does take them to practice 2x week (usually) after school as it's fairly close to her house.

We've definitely offered to switch weekends with the BM when there might be an out-of-town tournament so she can have them when it's just a regular-game weekend. We haven't come to that bridge yet, but we will be in a couple weeks for our youngest -- his team is competing in the State Championship tournament. Needless to say we're worried as it falls on her weekend and it's a 2+ hour drive and the rest of the team is staying overnight on a Friday before the Saturday tournament. We'll see what happens....

StepSoccerMom

junglechicken

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 7917
  • Karma: 236
    • View Profile
RE: I disagree.
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2006, 08:50:31 PM »
My sisters and I didn't do activities growing up.  It's too bad, we wish we had, but it was expensive and it was inconvenient.  It's not "just what parents do".  I think the bm in this situation has a legitimate complaint...however, it's a complaint she should've made BEFORE making the commitment.  It would really be a shame to waste a court's time over this, imho.

junglechicken

  • Private Reserve
  • SuperHero
  • ***
  • Posts: 7917
  • Karma: 236
    • View Profile
RE: What suggestions does she have for compromising?
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2006, 08:52:14 PM »
*Is* she suggesting anything?  Or is she just complaining, like our bm does about things, expecting the problems to be solved for her, but not to her satisfaction so that she has something else to complain about?  :P

littlebitt

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 7
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: Court is on your side...
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2006, 09:55:25 AM »
>>>I'm interested to know how your son was reacting to the BM when she wouldn't take him to his events? I think our kids downplay it because they don't want to go against their mom, even if they wish she would support them with their soccer. They know how she feels about it and don't want to upset her. My husband feels like he needs to fight for them since they aren't standing up for themselves.

Exactly!  Son would be very disappointed about missing the events, but never blame BM for it.  Once she told him she had a stomach ache and couldn't take him to practice, another time he missed his game because of his half-brother's B-day party.  The party was at BM's house, with NO guests; but she couldn't have cake and ice cream at any other time than his game time!   ARGHH!!!

I made it a point to speak to BM in front of son, and offer to get him to and from any event that she was unable to.  No matter the reason, no problem, I don't mind.  Also mad sure to say that her and her family always welcome to attend his events, etc.  Really laid on the niceness.

Son is just now starting to speak up for himself to BM (he is 12).  But it is still in very small ways, and more times than not, he doesn't.  That's were I come in.  One wknd, Son told me he wanted to stay here so I could get him to game.  I said OK, just make sure it's OK with your Mom.  He said (and I quote) "I just don't have big enough balls yet to tell her that."   So I told him I would handle it until his grew some more, and all was well.

BM is a great big drama queen, and more.  She tries to make son feel guilty about not seeing or talking to her more.  The more he ages, the more he is seeing the real picture, and tries to avoid any incidences.

Always take the high road and do the right thing.  Time will take care of the rest!

LittleBitt

stepsoccermom

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: What suggestions does she have for compromising?
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2006, 10:04:05 AM »
Ha! Well the only "suggestion" she's made is that the boys play recreational soccer for the local park district "because it's so much more convenient for her". The boys have told her they don't want to do that as it would be like going from the Major Leagues to a Minor League team and pretty embarrassing. My worry is that they'll quit altogether if she continues to make it difficult. Then what are they going to do? Roam around the neighborhood looking for trouble because they're bored? ;)

stepsoccermom

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: Court is on your side...
« Reply #19 on: May 18, 2006, 10:17:31 AM »
Seems your BM and my BM were seperated at birth. ;)

Well, unfortunately our boys haven't grown the cojones yet, either, but like you said, we just keep telling them we support them 100% and it's OK to speak up for what you think is right.

We've got another test this Friday -- away game at 6:30pm that BM needs to get our youngest to. It's sad because now the coach is saying he's not sure what to do about our son as he can't count on him to be at every game/practice and it's not fair to start him when there are other kids (albeit not as talented) who come to all practices and games. The coach really wants to start him, but he's got to think about the committment to the team.

Nice to know there's someone out there who is going through the same thing. I'll keep you posted on Friday's events...

StepSoccerMom

step_momma_2boys

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 26
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: Court is on your side...
« Reply #20 on: May 18, 2006, 12:04:50 PM »
I wouldn't necessarily say the court is on "your" side.  We have had the same issues w/ BM, but in our case she was signing SK's up for sports and we wouldn't know until we were headed down to pick them up (100 miles away).  So, for us to have them attend their games, we would have to either give up a weekend (or try to trade, but was difficult since they would have games EVERY weekend) or for us to stay in their town and take them to their games.  It has not been easy.  We have gone rounds w/ BM, who has actually withheld our time w/ the boys because she "didn't think we would take them."  (That hasn't happened since the Parenting Plan was set.)  BM has primary custody, so it was a huge issue because she thought that allowed her to call all the shots.  When we were in the midst of making our parenting plan 2 yrs ago, this was a huge issue that stood in our way.  BM wanted it stated that we MUST take them to their games if they fell on our weekend.  Fortunately, we care about the boys and their commitments to their games, and were able to show how the boys missed minimal games because of us (maybe 1 or 2 in a season.)  But our lawyer expressed to the judge how we do try to get them there, but sometimes we have family events and such that they should not miss out on.

So, in our case the judge ordered the following:
"Each parent should act reasonably in registering the children for activites keeping in mind that neither parent should be entitled to schedule activites for the children which will take place during the other parent's time w/ the children.  On the other hand, there are natural activites which occur (such as school athletic, and other programs) that by their very nature, take place on the other parent's weekend.

"Although neither parent should be required to take a child to any activity, each parent should be encouraged to use his or her best effort to keep the children involved in athletic events, school functions, lessons, birthday parties of playmates, etc., even though those activities may fall during a visitation period.  To do otherwise would deprive the children of valuable growing activities."

So, that's what our plan says.  It gives DH as much right to do something else w/ the kids as BM has.  I think that is the fair thing to do.  Sports are important, but so are family events.  The judge's position was that it would be just as detrimental, if not more, for the kids to miss family functions to attend games.

In our case, it wasn't the boys who were into the sports.  It was their mom.  She put them in a new sport every season, all year long.  Don't get me wrong, the boys have enjoyed playing, but their mom's pushing them to do each and every sport is turning them off of sports.  For the first time since they started playing sports when they were in T-Ball, they refused to play Spring Baseball.  They finally got the courage to tell her that... well, they told us first and we talked about it with her and she had to bring it up w/ them.  So, now they are starting to assert their opinions on which sports they want to participate in.  

Lifehappens

  • New Arrival
  • *
  • Posts: 10
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
RE: What suggestions does she have for compromising?
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2006, 05:45:18 AM »
You have my sympathies. We deal with a very similar situation.

 

Copyright © SPARC - A Parenting Advocacy Group
Use of this website does not constitute a client/attorney relationship and this site does not provide legal advice.
If you need legal assistance for divorce, child custody, or child support issues, seek advice from a divorce lawyer.