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Daughter's ex wants grandson to miss 1st day at Comp

(47 Posts)
Farrsan2003 Tue 20-Jun-17 13:35:49

First time have written here but would like to know your views please.
Daughters ex husband wants to take eldest son (11) on a trip which would mean him missing first day at Comp. My grandson already suffers from anxiety and can just imagine how he will feel when he goes to School on 2nd day of new term and everyone else has chosen desk partners and made new friends.
The Father has already told my grandson his intention and of course is very excited and like every child is not thinking beyond this trip.
My daugter and myself know just how he will be tho when he has to go into school the next day - he becomes sick with anxiety. His Father is saying that as his Dad he can make the decision to take his son on this trip.
Not sure how to handle this without acrimony (goodness knows there has been enough of that) and would be interested to read your views.

CassieJ Tue 20-Jun-17 13:46:14

As you say, the first day at a new school is really important.
My son was ill on his first day at high school [ he ended up missing the first few weeks ], so couldn't go in at all and it affected him badly as others had bonded by the time he started.
So if possible I think that your grandson should be at school.

Does the dad also realise he can be fined for taking his child out of school? Maybe that will make him think about what he is doing.

Welshwife Tue 20-Jun-17 14:18:29

First day in a new class let alone a new school is bad - they will be going through all sorts of rules, where places are etc what to do at lunchtime. It is a really bad idea.

Baggs Tue 20-Jun-17 14:35:50

I don't think it's a good idea for him to miss the first day either. However, it may be of some comfort to know that some secondary schools arrange for their new first years to visit the school for a day or two while they are still at their primary school. This helps them find their registration class and so on.

Also some schools have a buddy system whereby sixth formers 'chum' a first year for a few weeks and help them out. It might be worth finding out if the school in question does either or both these things.

Eloethan Tue 20-Jun-17 15:40:56

Generally speaking, I wouldn't think it was a very good idea to miss the first day of secondary school. But I suppose it depends on what the "trip" is.

M0nica Tue 20-Jun-17 15:51:01

Tell ex that it is against the law to take a child out of school to go on holiday. Tell him he will need to write to the Head teacher to get formal consent and he cannot keep the child out of school without it.

Your daughter should write to the school herself and explain the situation, including the anxiety her son suffers. Schools are well used to dealing with family situations like this.

If your daughter is divorced (you describe the father as ex-husband) there is surely some legal agreement about access and custody. It is unlikely that the ex can just take the child out of school 'because he is the father'

devongirl Tue 20-Jun-17 16:33:50

Is there any chance they could come back from the trip a day or two earlier?

Bibbity Tue 20-Jun-17 16:42:11

Who's parenting time is it?
If it's your daughters she can just say no and refuse to hand him over.

vampirequeen Tue 20-Jun-17 17:06:43

The first day at school is really important. It's not just about the school but about socialising too. The children will start to get to know each other and missing the first day will make it even harder for a shy/anxious child.

The father cannot make such decisions as and when he chooses. Is this really about the father treating the child or about the father trying to get one up on the mother i.e. you can't tell me what I can and can't do with our son.

wildswan16 Tue 20-Jun-17 20:36:53

The other aspect on this is that mum is now going to be the "bad" one as far as the son may see it, for not letting him go on holiday. Even though she isn't being bad at all, but only looking out for his well being.

Dad really should have discussed it before getting his son excited. The first day is really important.

cornergran Tue 20-Jun-17 20:58:57

Is there any opportunity to speak to the new school informally? I agree with all the concerns expressed here and it might be really helpful to hear the school's stance on this. Also if there is an agreed legal structure to contact and holidays perhaps refer to that and check with the solicitor involved. Best not to let it run too long without some action, then end of term will soon be here. Good luck. Let us know what happens.

ExaltedWombat Wed 21-Jun-17 10:40:03

Advise your daughter if you wish. Otherwise, hands off.

grannygranby Wed 21-Jun-17 10:41:02

I think you are absolutely right to take it seriously but it is also important that you handle it with as least drama as possible. So I totally agree with those who suggest going to see school beforehand explain the situation and ensure either a trip for GS before school starts or at least that on the second day when he arrives he is given every consideration possible. If of course the school is not able to do this and are strict about child not having first day off they should contact the father accordingly. Clever thoughtful handling is the name of game. What a school hates most is people who are careless about such things so I am sure you will get every help. It won't help GS to feel guilty and worried about the trip unnecessarily though.

LouP Wed 21-Jun-17 10:41:50

He should be going to school on the first day . I am with everyone here. he will feel so isolated going on the second day and trying to fit in.

Nemo Wed 21-Jun-17 10:41:53

How difficult for you, but totally agree he needs to be there for his own wellbeing, it's such an important day. Very best of luck with a tricky situation

grandMattie Wed 21-Jun-17 10:42:30

What a shame. The first day at school, whichever school, whichever year is critical. This is where friendships are made, bullies identified, etc.
If the child is anxious anyway, what a pity his father won't accept this. It is a form of "making him a man" in my opinion, rather than letting the boy get on with his life and grow up at his own pace.
So an emphatic NO from me.
I hope this gets resolved without too much acrimony Farrsan

WilmaKnickersfit Wed 21-Jun-17 10:43:34

What a difficult situation. Does your son have any friends also starting the same school? Perhaps you could arrange with the school for a friend to save him a place at registration or be given copies of everything? Something like that?

WilmaKnickersfit Wed 21-Jun-17 10:44:46

Sorry - grandson.

NotSpaghetti Wed 21-Jun-17 10:45:56

devongirl wonders if he could come back a day or two early. I would have thought that was the best solution.

Are you/your daughter in a position to consider offering to pay the extra cost of an early return? If not, I don't know where the trip is to - this country or abroad - but some airlines will look after young people travelling alone with designated adults dropping off and collecting....
If it's possible could one of you go to wherever it is and come back with him?
Clearly this is easiest if they aren't off to say, China!

This would seem to me to be a reasonable compromise - finances permitting- and one I would be keen to explore if only to keep the peace and relieve stress at this tricky transition.
Good luck!

radicalnan Wed 21-Jun-17 10:51:40

Men do parent differently, lots of proper research to support that. Maybe he thinks one day on the trip is worth it, this is his son and he does have a view on things, maybe not shared by the boy's mum and gran but nonetheless a view.

I think we are far too ready, to diagnose kids with anxieties now and make issues where there are none.

Generally there is a meet and greet day before kids go up to the big school, it is very unlikely that he won't know a soul there and some things in life you just have to get on with.

If you assume that your son will have a problem maybe he will. perhaps a trip with his dad will be confidence building?

Hard to take any 'risks' as we see them with our kids, but they do change and grow up and we have to let them.

Kitspurr Wed 21-Jun-17 11:17:21

If there's no changing exSIL's mind, your DD should tell him that he should take your DGS to school for his first day. ExSIL can then deal with the fallout.

The selfishness of people never ceases to amaze me.

sarahellenwhitney Wed 21-Jun-17 11:44:30

Radicalnan I agree with you.
Has anyone put this ''subject ''to the boy himself.?
Before the, well there is a penalty to take a child out of school in term time, or look what you will be missing etc etc , how about the mother asking her son what he feels about missing his first day at a comprehensive.
He suffers from anxiety.? I am not surprised. He wants to be with his father but at the same time be loyal to his mum and gran.If possible his father needs to put his intentions to the school.Let them make the decision. After all its one day not a week.

radicalnan Wed 21-Jun-17 12:00:31

I thought the boy was excited by the trip?

If dad takes him out for a day, he can take him in to school and pay up if there is a fine, people are doing this all the time, all part and parcel of modern life. Let dad do some paretning not just as a sub contractor but as a parent, who is capable.

If the boy had been ill at start of school, this attitude would just invent an obstacle for him, he is just another boy in school, not the only anxious one, not the only one with separated parents, not the only one with any sort of problems. This is life, he can do it and he may well be on a high after the trip and amaze himself..

I well remember taking my kids to nursery, sitting in the car crying having left them sobbing their hearts out, then peeping throught the windows 20 mins later and seeing them absolutely fine.

conners13 Wed 21-Jun-17 12:10:08

You would have to get permission from the school - unlikely to be given therefore would be unauthorised absence on first day of new school. Not good

Lupatria Wed 21-Jun-17 12:10:43

i missed the first few days of my secondary school owing to family holidays and it was very difficult to integrate myself into the class when i got there.
i was a shy child and had puppy fat too so i wasn't very confident.
how i wish my parents had realised that i would be the odd one out at that time.
i'm afraid this was the case for five years although i did make some new friends in that time.
so i hope the op can get her ex to see reason and get her son to go to school at the proper time.