To not force DD to go to her dads?

(38 Posts)
Joanne279 Fri 23-Aug-13 09:01:36

Hello everyone,

Have a dilemma and I'm not sure of the right things to do.

My dd is 8, and ds 5. They go to their dads every other weekend. The last few months he keeps promising dd to sort her out dance classes which he never does. He promises to take her swimming the park etc but never does. He promises to buy her stuff, take her out, pick her up. 90% of the time he fails to do what he has promised.

We've recently had an issue over her being given a Nintendo ds that turns out to be her step sister 'lost' ds. Her dad gave it to her.

She is obviously upset over the ds things which in turn has made her raise her other issues with me and she has now flatly refuses to go to her dads saying he lets her down all the time.

I can see that some of the things she is upset about are a bit trivial to an adult, but I can honestly say she adores her dad and for her not to want to go, she must be incredibly upset. She didn't want to go a fortnight ago and I honestly expected it to have calmed down by this weekend but after talking to her yesterday, she still refuses to go.

Ds wants to go, and I've said that's fine but their dad is going mental at me for not 'sorting her out' (his words) and telling her 'not to take things so seriously'.

Do I make her go? Or respect her wishes? She's recently been diagnosed as having high levels of anxiety and I'm afraid of what me pushing her might do.

Thanks x

Joanne279 Fri 23-Aug-13 09:16:13

Bumping up. Thoughts appreciated x

cansu Fri 23-Aug-13 09:21:11

I think she does have to go. If you were living together and he let her down would she still have to continue with family life of course she would so this really isn't any different. You are right to let your exp know how she feels about his broken promises but she should still spend time with her other parent. How would you feel if she fell out with you and refused to live at your house?

livinginwonderland Fri 23-Aug-13 09:25:00

She should go. Like cansu said, if the same was happening at home, she'd still have to participate in family life and spend time with her dad. However, you should talk to your exP about it and explain how upset your DD is. He shouldn't be making constant promises that he can't keep.

hmm, a tough one. My twins are eight and visit their dad regularly. I have to be honest and say if one of them really really didn't want to go, I would respect their wishes. Ultimately their dad is responsible for his own relationship with them. He would obviously still have access to the kids during pick up and drop off, so would be able to state his own case to the dc, but there's no way I'd force my 8 year old to go somewhere they genuinely didn't want to. Similarly if my parenting was so piss poor that my kids didn't want to come home, I'd understand that was down to me to remedy. Good luck op. Hope your ex bucks up his shitty ways

jamdonut Fri 23-Aug-13 09:28:11

I've never been in this sort of position, but my feeling is that ,on this occasion, she should be granted her wish,and not have to go. But I think Dad need needs to come and have a talk with her (after the weekend with your son), about what happened, not make you "sort her out". He made the problem.

Does he know about the anxiety diagnosis? I think you should calmly point out that he is not helping the matter.

cansu, that's the thing though.... op is not living with him. Probably for very good reason. He stole a ds from his step-child to give to his own for goodness sake! The guy is clearly a massive nob. I'm certainly not saying cut him off forever, but if she doesn't want to go, why the hell should she? It might get him to really buck his ideas up, and make some real promises he keeps.

WeAreEternal Fri 23-Aug-13 09:33:46

I wouldn't make her go, that will only make her more reluctant to go in the future.

But I would tell her that if she doesn't want to go she has to explain to get dad why she isn't going.

Joanne279 Fri 23-Aug-13 09:36:52

I'm really stuck with what to do. She is so incredibly sensitive that I'm worried about pushing her over the edge.

It's really not like her to be adamant 2 weekends running that she doesn't want to go. In fact in 4 years, she's never said it. Which is why I'm more concerned about it. To me it shows how crap and let down she feels sad

Tough one x

SilverApples Fri 23-Aug-13 09:41:14

I think you need to have a sit down talk with him, and your DD, with you being the mouthpiece for your daughter. Only if the discussion can be a calm and reasonable one though.
He needs to hear the list of ways he's let her down, and to know that he must stop promising or saying that things are going to happen that don't.
We almost never promise in my family, because a promise is seen as such a serious commitment by us all.
I wouldn't male her go this weekend, and I'd want the talk to happen before she goes again, so that she knows you are supporting her and he knows exactly what the problems are.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 23-Aug-13 09:47:00

The thing is if he still lived at home and started behaving like this towards his kids chances are you would boot him out, so no I don't think she should be forced to put up with his behaviour.

He needs to change his behaviour it is his sole responsibility,if he is unwilling to do so then its his loss.

Don't force her

MissMarplesBloomers Fri 23-Aug-13 09:50:08

I agree don't force her but make it clear it's her choice to your ex or he'll accuse you of witholding contact.

ovenbun Fri 23-Aug-13 09:57:10

Is there something else going on? Is there anyone else she comes into contact with at her dads that she is trying to avoid? Or is there behaviours and situations that make her feel less safe at her dad's house? I would look into some family therapy or just some talking therapy for dd, a safe place she can share her feelings with someone neutral. If she has been diagnosed with high anxiety the same services may be able to offer this kind of help. Her dad needs to make his house a safe place where she feels secure, agrophobia/attatchment to one place or person is a common symptom of anxiety so it may not be in direct relation to anything he has done but just a symptom of what she is going through at the moment. xxxx

peggyundercrackers Fri 23-Aug-13 10:00:42

sorry but i think she has to go - being let down is part of life unfortunately.

Holliewantstobehot Fri 23-Aug-13 10:11:49

My ds did this due to various reasons and literally refused to get in the car. In the end just my dd went and i endured a weekend of texts about me not forcing him to go. But in those texts i explained the reasons behind my ds wanting to stay behind and i stressed to my ds that his dad was missing him and loved him. The next access i told my ds to try again, that i had told his dad what was bothering him and that his dad was going to work at it. He went and came back happy and has been going happily since. I think it gave his dad a real wake up call that he had to deal with the issues or that ds was going to continue not wanting to see him.

fwiw, there's no way my ex and I would be able to sit and discuss why he was failing in his parenting. The posters saying sit down and discuss it with exp are assuming that this would even be possible. It may not be. If exp is really serious about sorting his relationship with his daughter out he can come and apologise to her for being such a dick, and ask his daughter what he can do to make things better between them. He can listen to what she says and I'd be very surprised if this didn't get things back on track. Children are extremely forgiving. Forcing the issue could just drive a wedge between op and dd.

SilverApples Fri 23-Aug-13 10:19:03

'sorry but i think she has to go - being let down is part of life unfortunately.'

And when you are 8, you have no defences, no rights or autonomy and no voice within the complete cock-up you are living in. You are a possession. Like a dog.

I think the OP is doing a good thing by listening to her daughter and her worries and her sadness at being let down repeatedly by her father.

I don't think she should be forced to go. But this mess is his doing and he needs to sort it with her, not expect you to go mopping up after him.

NotYoMomma Fri 23-Aug-13 10:29:40

she is 8
she should go if he has always maintained regular contact

but you need to have a word with him about promises and children

NoComet Fri 23-Aug-13 10:32:32

Personally I'd Email XH just what you have posted here and state he needs to get his act together, because you are not willing to bodily force DD into the car.

Don't phone, don't text and don't enter into a conversation.

8year old girls have a very very strong and very black and white view of fair.

He needs time to reflect on how she see the situation and sort it out with HER.

If he was there 24/7 he wouldn't be able to be an arse because he'd see her upset and she'd nag him to keep his promises.

ThatsNontents Fri 23-Aug-13 10:39:55

I think you need to try and get this sorted, just as if she didn't want to go to school, don't let it fester.

If she said I want to go and live with Dad or don't want to go to school would you just accept her decision or find out why and sort to out?

Chattymummyhere Fri 23-Aug-13 10:48:36

I don't get how so many people would force their own child to do something that they very clearly don't want to do that has no benefit to the of they don't want to be there...

Sure we force school,doctors ect but that has a direct affect there and then on the rest of their lives but a child not wanting to see their own dad has very valid real reasons in her mind and to force her to go will only show that he feelings don't matter

mummytime Fri 23-Aug-13 10:57:06

I think you will have to make her go, but if she returns very distressed then I would take her to your GP.
You also need to communicate in writing with your DH about how your DD is feeling and why, try to be as unemotional and non-provocative as possible (imagine it being read by a judge or similar). Keep this together with a diary of your children's contact with their father, including good and bad.

Tell your DD that you believe her, and understand how she feels but that courts believe it is very important for children to have contact with both parents. However you will always listen to her. Ask her if there is anything you can do to make the visits less stressful. (Not taking anything precious to her might be one idea as he obviously has no idea of the value of other people's possessions.)

LouiseAderyn Fri 23-Aug-13 10:59:00

I wouldn't make my child go.

I would tell the ex that if he is such a shitty parent his own daughter doesn't want to see him, then he needs to take a close look at his own behaviour and not be telling you to 'sort her out'.

He needs to work on forming a good relationship and stop putting the responsibility for that onto you - your job is to protect your children from harm. Personally I consider a man who lets his dc down all the time and steals his step children's property to be harmful. if that didn't change, he wouldn't be seeing my children at all!

Sparklymommy Fri 23-Aug-13 11:10:33

I do not have experience of this myself but I would feel very uneasy sending my child somewhere that they clearly do not want to go.

Your ex has caused the problem and therefore needs to accept that at the present time his daughter is upset and doesn't want to spend the weekend with him. Perhaps suggest that he take her out for tea/ to the park and have a chat, apologise to her without the pressure of having to spend the whole weekend with him and then try and get your daughter to try again next time.

If she still doesn't want to go then I would be looking deeper and trying to see of there are any other issues that are making your dd unwilling to go. Does she not get on with her dads partner?

Hope you manage to sort it out.

Joanne279 Fri 23-Aug-13 11:10:36

Thank you for your input guys smile

I can see the opinion is very mixed and I'm still so very insure of what to do.

I was thinking about keeping her home this weekend but asking her to go out to the car when her dad drops her brother off to talk to him. Although my sister thinks that might be a bit daunting for her at 8 sad

And he is defo not the kind of bloke I could talk to about this. He has blown a complete fuse over it ranting and raving. I've tried to explain I'm not stopping her going, as ds is going, she just doesn't want to. But, buy allowing her to not face her dad am I making it worse in the long run? X

Honestly? I don't think she should be made to go. I was in the same place as her once, when I was around six years old. I didn't want to see my dad, so I wasn't made to. My older sister went along without me. And when I was ready a few weeks later, I went.

She is clearly upset, and I don't see how forcing her to go somewhere she doesn't want to will improve the relationship with her dad. He needs to see that he has upset her, maybe you need to chat to him?

If she goes while upset, she will spend the entire weekend upset, resenting her dad for failing in his promises, and it will only make it worse for the next time.

NoComet Fri 23-Aug-13 11:27:26

That's why you Email.

I resort to Emails/notes left on DHs computer keyboard because he doesn't sodding listen, rants and doesn't shut up.

He will never publicly admit he's wrong. Doesn't mean he doesn't quietly and privately think things through.

clam Fri 23-Aug-13 11:47:41

Why do you have to "sort her out?" He's the one who's upset her, he should come round and talk to her about it.
Email him N's tell him this.

Holliewantstobehot Fri 23-Aug-13 12:33:25

Starball- i agree. Thats why i always txt or email because their dad will just shout at me and tell me its my fault if i try and talk with him. Whereas if he reads it later when hes calmer hes more likely to take it on board.

kaav Fri 23-Aug-13 13:21:16

Really Mummytime - I think you will have to make her go, but if she returns very distressed then I would take her to your GP.

"hello doctor, my dd doesn't want to go to her dads" I think that's ridiculous.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 23-Aug-13 16:13:56

Why on earth would you make an 8 yo face something that you as an adult are stressing about and find to be ranty.

If you find it worrying you can bet she will more so.

ovenbun Fri 23-Aug-13 16:55:35

Kaav "hello doctor, my dd doesn't want to go to her dads" I think that's ridiculous.

I'm hoping that you just hadn't read the first post through..This little girl has been diagnosed with anxiety, this is a mental health condition, the GP may be able to prescribe counselling or help in other ways..

xx

mummytime Fri 23-Aug-13 18:12:18

kaav if a child is very distressed of course you should take them to see your GP, who might be nice and put it on record or might refer on (well my GP is quite happy with this). Small children can become distressed and have other mental health issues. Getting a professional involved is a good thing to provide evidence, and maybe help/advice.

Joanne279 Fri 23-Aug-13 18:45:19

She's already been referred to CAMHS (child mental health) after a no-no diagnosis for autism. The wait is 8-12 weeks

I'm just beside myself. I don't know how to help her. I don't want her to feel that finding the courage to talk to me has been a waste of time if I make her go. X

ovenbun Sat 24-Aug-13 16:08:21

You have been very loving and understanding towards her,Im sure you have helped her . I think all you can do is speak to CAMHS and see if theres anyway she can be seen earlier, and talk to the school once they go back, do they have a nuture group or a teacher who does pastoral care? They may be able to support you both in the meantime smile if she gets very upset you could both ring childline together, I know it seems extreme but they are there for children in distress and basically offer you direct access to a trained counsellor over the phone xx

Floatsyourboat Sat 24-Aug-13 16:29:05

I would be very careful what you do here because 1 week turns into 2 and then 2 into 3 and before you know it a whole year will have past and he will have given up asking her.

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