My inconsiderate asshat of an ex-wife...FFS!

It could also be something in between, e.g. the ex tried to make the trip in a permitted time frame but discovered she couldn’t, and then went ahead and made plans anyway taking pains to avoid Slacker knowing until it was too late.

Good grief. There are 12 weeks in the summer. She was told months ago that 11 of the 12 were negotiable, that she would get them more of the summer like usual, that I would not have them on or near my birthday like usual, but I was reserving that one week. And you wonder how it’s her fault? Sheesh.

Telling the kid before telling the Dad is a bit of a jerk move.

Yes, thank you!

If the ex habitually does this kind of thing I would not let her get away with it this time. “Sorry - our fixed plans stay fixed”.

If it was a one-off mistake, then I would be more flexible.

If you want to have anything resembling a positive working relationship with your ex, you don’t offer the kid a big exciting thing, any big exciting thing, just as long as the other parent “is ok with it”. That is the king of bullshit moves, propping yourself up as the hero and daring the other parent to be the asshole who says no.

She knew they had plans for one week of summer and she hadn’t bothered to commit the actual date to memory. In this case it would have been way better to approach Dad and check if the dates clashed before getting the kid all excited about the trip.

this

and this

Why would you force a 16 year old to go to Minnesota and North Dakota instead of going to NYC?

Stop projecting. The OP’s entirely reasonable to want to stick to a pre-arranged plan for a whole family trip.

If I was in your position I would talk to my kid. I would explain exactly why this is so exasperating. How you made every effort to avoid such a conflict. How you, rightly or wrongly, feel this this very manipulative on his Mom’s part, and that it’s behaviour you’d hate to see her rewarded for. How disappointed his other grandparents will be, to learn at the last minute the visit won’t happen! Your fear, if permitted to pass, she’ll repeat this kind of thing. (You don’t have to attack her, you can use neutral language, and just be honest.) And that you’ll find yourself as the ‘always angry and frustrated’ parent, always standing in the way of your fun times!

Then, tell him you do understand how to a 16yr old these things matter little and NYC looks like a once in a lifetime, fun time. Then I’d tell him out of respect for his growing maturity, you’re going to let him choose, with no hard feelings about which he picks. But also, with the understanding that if she pulls this kind of stunt again, things will definitely go the other way next time!

This way you don’t shit on his good time, he understands why you’re frustrated, is informed that you made every effort to avoid this very conflict, appreciates you complimenting his maturity, and permitting him to make the choice, and has agreed on a better plan for any potential repeat.

Wishing you Good Luck !

It’s reasonable to want it, but not necessarily reasonable to insist on it. Particularly when insisting is likely to backfire (who wants a vacation with a pouty, resentful teen?).

Don’t put the kid in the middle. Ex/Ex’s family has done a shitty thing to OP but that doesn’t mean he should do a shitty thing to his kid.

That’s how it started with my ex wife.

“oh, forgot that is the only week you will have off…you dont want to disappoint the kids though, they were looking forward to Disney!”

Then it was “oh, well I forgot you have the kids those days but I scheduled them both for sports and since you have to work, We (her new husband) will just take them to the sports for you”

Then it was “Your Honor, since Mike isn’t talking the kids like he is supposed to, we want full custody and for him to pay increased child support”

Then it was “Mom says you dont want to see us I hate you!”

And now my kids talk to me maybe once a year. She did a masterful job of pretty much completely alienating them from me.

Let me ask a counter question - what parent wants to give their kid the message that it’s ok to blow off commitments you’ve made to other people, if you get a better offer? Presuming that his step-mum is looking forward to spending time with him, that his grandmother is looking forward to seeing him, etc…somehow it’s selfish for the OP to say “Sorry, but we’ve already told people we’ll be seeing them”?

You’re anger is justifiable. But at the same time, you kid is not your property, you don’t own him.

I’d also suggest you let him make his own decision.

As a weekend dad myself, there have been plenty of times where I had to let my son run off to do his own thing rather than spend the weekend with me. Vacations too.

Did the 16-year old know about the road trip BEFORE his grandparents told him about NYC? Did he know it was the same dates as YOUR vacation time?

Yep, this is the worst part about kids growing up and deciding on their own activities :frowning:

(also a weekend dad, and during the week, and whenever I can really)

This is important … the kid will be a mature adult soon enough and he will make his own decision about your ex … and you.

I think the argument loses a little oomph if you are not the one who actually made those commitments.

Anyway, I’m not thinking from morality, rather from practicality. At 16, I could mope with enough skill to make my family regret dragging me shoe shopping, much less across the country. There is a point in life when you realize that time spent with your parents is precious, but 16 years old is not one of those times. You can stand on principle and make everyone miserable, or you can to for the option that lets everyone get more or less what they want.

I don’t think it’s much of an assumption to guess that the kid’s not been protesting about going prior to the option of NY appearing. If they were happy with it before, they shouldn’t get the option to switch because something more exciting has come along. Parenting isn’t always about the easy or popular option.

And let’s look at the ex’s role in this. Do you really think it’s a good idea to set the precedent that she can conveniently forget the OPs blocked dates, and mess his plans up?