dd doesn't want to see her dad

(38 Posts)
Daisypops Tue 10-Sep-13 22:19:38

Thats it really.

Exp and I separated nearly a year ago. He has probably seen our dd's about 10 times. He last saw dd1 at the beginning of August. When I met him to handover dd he literally had to peel her off of me. She was sobbing and saying she didn't want to go. In the end she did go and was ok but she told me when she got home that she didn't want to again. She is still asking if she has to see him.
He hasnt been in touch (only to tell me hes met someone else and is in love hmm)
So, do I force dd to go? I do try to encourage her but she still insists she doesn't want to go because she doesn't like it. Shes hinted that she is bored when she is with him and last week she told me that there was a picture of a woman and a young boy and boys toys in the house. I am now wondering if this is the reason why she doesn't want to see him.

HerrenaHarridan Tue 10-Sep-13 22:24:33

Hmm difficult.

How old?

DalmationDots Tue 10-Sep-13 22:30:54

Depends on age really. More info and I will be able to answer better.

Can you talk to her lots more about what exactly it is, if changed could be made to make her enjoy seeing him.
I'm sure you are (but know how hard it is- I was in your exact boat many years ago) but make sure you are talking about the positives of her dad and how great it is for her to see him, as well as listening to her and showing empathy to her feelings.

It is really hard, I know sad

Daisypops Tue 10-Sep-13 22:33:06

She is 6.
I forgot to say. Exp is very difficult at times. If I suggest taking her out as opposed to staying in with her he will get arsey and probably do the opposite of my advice.
I cant see her that upset again. I came home and cried. People were staring. It was awful.

HerrenaHarridan Tue 10-Sep-13 22:49:44

Many would disagree but if ages a mature 6 I would say she is old enough to have her opinions listened to.

Maybe some sort of mediation would help get to the bottom of it.

Personally at 6 I wouldn't force her. Up to maybe 2 1/2 or 3 ish I would try and convince myself she had forgotten about me 2 mins later.

What does she say when you ask her why she doesn't want to go?

Daisypops Tue 10-Sep-13 22:56:17

Shes is in my opinion a mature 6 HH.
When I ask her she says a few things.' I just dont want to'. ' Daddys not nice'. 'I get bored.' 'I miss you'. She really doesn't want to go. I think the problem is exp hasn't made enough effort. He is happy to see her once a month. [Sad]

DalmationDots Tue 10-Sep-13 23:00:01

I agree 6 is an age I would listen to my DD, but also try and get to the bottom of it all and do my best to help her 'heal' the relationship with her dad.
Easier said then done though as you say your Ex is difficult and will do what he wants, even if that is also what your DD is saying is making her unhappy.

Try and get more info from her as to what it is and if necessary it might be worth getting outside help.

As easy as it is to just listen to her and stop contact, or force her to go and see her unhappy but know it keeps peace, it is an age where issues can be solved and she could still build a positive relaitonship with her dad which, even if he is a bit awkward, will do her good in the future for her emotions and self-esteem.

It is tough and I empathise how hard it is when your DC say they don't want to see their father and its very head vs heart for you.

mimbles Wed 11-Sep-13 18:10:28

I'm facing this with my ds1, and have been since he was 3. Dad was very inconsistent for many years until he remarried. Since then we had an arrangement of 1 night per week but his work often gets in the way. The lack of consistency doesn't help. Is he consistent?
My feeling now is that once I believe ds would understand the consequences of not seeing his dad I.e their relationship (such as it is) stalling, then he is ready to decide whether to continue seeing him or not. I absolutely believe that children need to know their dad, even if they are a wash out as a partner (obviously not ignoring abusive behaviour towards dc's...there are limits)
However, my ds1 is struggling badly 'having' to see his dad. I know its a very difficult issue.

peggyundercrackers Wed 11-Sep-13 18:13:45

i think you need to get to the bottom of why she doesnt want to go. i dont think "missing you" is a good enough reason not to go. She needs a relationship with her dad although that may not be obvious to her now.

Daisypops Wed 11-Sep-13 18:35:57

No he isnt consistent. Hes terrible. Hes selfish and drank a lot when we were together. He has only paid towards the dc for the last two months. He isn't interested in doing anything with her. He'd rather stay in and watch dvds. Dd likes to be out and about doing things. We have a 2nd dd who is 2 at the end of the month. He doesn't take her as he has never had both children together on his own and refuses to change pooey nappies. This is the type if person im dealing with! This said I have always encouraged dd1 to see her dad. I am still encouraging her but she does not want togo. I cant help thunthinking its the inconsistency, his selfishness (not doing what she wants) and possibly that she has seen another childs belongings in his/his girlfriends flat.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 11-Sep-13 21:32:32

Im a strong believer in ensuring that a DC has contact with their parents - they don't know what is good for them at 6 years old, and it's your job as her Mum to decide whether it is better for her to tolerate a bit of boredom in order to maximinse the chance of maintaining a long term relationship with her Dad, or whether you are prepared to take the risk of her losing that for life because you didn't insist on contact now.

I often use the analogy of whether you would agree to her not going to school if she gave you the same reasons - missing you, being bored etc doesn't seem like good enough reasons to even consider ^getting to the bottom of it^; but I realise the difference is that you trust the school to do what is best for your DD and you don't trust her Dad to do that. Thing is, unless you have reason to doubt her welfare or safety, then the issues you have are parenting differences. Your DD may be bored with her Dad not because the environment is intrinstically bad, or even particularly unusual for DC's, but because it is different to the life she has with you.

I suppose the most significant consideration though is what have you put in place for your DD if the worst happens to you? If there is the remote possibility that her Dad will become her primary carer (which is the preferred option unless there are reasons otherwise) then do you want your DD to be uprooted and have to get to know a new family while she is grieving for you, or would you prefer her to have some familiarity with her new home, even if it hasn't been exactly what she wants right now?

Another consideration is that if you decide to withhold contact (and that is what you will be doing if you go along with your DD), then her Dad may decide to go to court, and your DD is too young for the Court to agree to her wishes. Even if he has been flaky dad in the past, the fact that he has a partner with children may be an influence in how he behaves should his DD not have any contact with him at all.

ChinaCupsandSaucers Wed 11-Sep-13 21:32:33

Im a strong believer in ensuring that a DC has contact with their parents - they don't know what is good for them at 6 years old, and it's your job as her Mum to decide whether it is better for her to tolerate a bit of boredom in order to maximinse the chance of maintaining a long term relationship with her Dad, or whether you are prepared to take the risk of her losing that for life because you didn't insist on contact now.

I often use the analogy of whether you would agree to her not going to school if she gave you the same reasons - missing you, being bored etc doesn't seem like good enough reasons to even consider ^getting to the bottom of it^; but I realise the difference is that you trust the school to do what is best for your DD and you don't trust her Dad to do that. Thing is, unless you have reason to doubt her welfare or safety, then the issues you have are parenting differences. Your DD may be bored with her Dad not because the environment is intrinstically bad, or even particularly unusual for DC's, but because it is different to the life she has with you.

I suppose the most significant consideration though is what have you put in place for your DD if the worst happens to you? If there is the remote possibility that her Dad will become her primary carer (which is the preferred option unless there are reasons otherwise) then do you want your DD to be uprooted and have to get to know a new family while she is grieving for you, or would you prefer her to have some familiarity with her new home, even if it hasn't been exactly what she wants right now?

Another consideration is that if you decide to withhold contact (and that is what you will be doing if you go along with your DD), then her Dad may decide to go to court, and your DD is too young for the Court to agree to her wishes. Even if he has been flaky dad in the past, the fact that he has a partner with children may be an influence in how he behaves should his DD not have any contact with him at all.

Daisypops Wed 11-Sep-13 22:02:19

Chinacups I have made arrangements for what happens with my dd's if anything happens to me. That is all in hand.

I am not forcing her to go. As it happens he hasnt asked to see her and I refuse to instigate anything when I know how she feels. If this is me encouraging her not to see him then so be it, but he isnt forthcoming either. The last two occasions it was me who asked him if he wanted to see her.

cestlavielife Thu 12-Sep-13 11:55:25

if he hasnt asked and she has not asked to go then you are doing nothing wrong in leaving it.

DalmationDots Thu 12-Sep-13 15:49:02

Yes, leave if for a bit, let things calm down and your DD start to miss him and he start to miss your DD. Hopefully he will realise things aren't right and be prepared to make changes.
Make sure even though you don't push her to see him, you do talk about him and that he pops up into conversation as you don't want her to think she isn't allowed to talk about him or become scared of him.

lostdad Thu 12-Sep-13 16:54:37

Be sensitive. But she's 6. She's not old enough to make such an important decision.

I've been jumped on before (and will be again in all likelihood)...if she decided to make another big decision such as she was never going to go to school again, only eat chocolate or something like that...would you say `She's very mature for a 6 year old and able to make her mind up' or `Don't push her to go to school/eat anything other than chocolate'?

AmberLeaf Thu 12-Sep-13 17:03:21

That's really hard.

I am firmly in the camp of encouraging contact, keeping your own biased reservations out of it etc. Making sure your child feels secure when away from you and all that sort of thing.

But, the difference here is that her Dad isn't making much effort.

He isn't helping and his lack of effort is tbh what is behind it all.

Won't change nappies? god, yes you are dealing with a real prize here.

Daisypops Thu 12-Sep-13 20:41:10

Thanks for all your posts. I have always been more than reasonable but to be quite blunt exp isn't that bothered about seeing her. He can go months. And then when he gets in touch I comply and he sees her....ue when it suits him. I think it is a classic case of 'all you sow you reap' :-(

Misspixietrix Thu 12-Sep-13 20:51:11

OP I feel for you. sad going through similar with the Ex atm. 7yo never wants to go. 4yo couldnt care less If he Tried. Ive had the same thing off Dd that he never takes them anyway and they just stay in the house all weekend etc. The last time they went she burst out crying the minute she got through his door saying she wanted to go home to Mummy. Hes meant to be having them this weekend but he hasnt contacted me to arrange. OP keep It as It Is for now and take comfort in the fact that youre Dd will.thank you for being the only consistent one throughout. flowers

SleepyFish Thu 12-Sep-13 21:13:27

I have to disagree with others. I think sporadic contact with a disinterested parent is not necessarily in the child's best interests and potentially more damaging in the long term than no contact.
It really is not up to OP to repair her dd's relationship with her father. I would have thought it was obvious who's responsibility that was.
You can't force a father to see his child so why is it ok to force a child to see their father? I would take my child's feelings into account.

HopLittleFroggyHopHopHop Fri 13-Sep-13 01:34:23

I think rather than 'would you not send them to school/let them live off chocolate' etc, more relevant is if it was seeing your parents that was making her have that reaction, and you knew there were the same reasons then what would you do?

Would you send her regardless to maintain some form of relationship, would you agree to contact but stay to make sure she's ok (or a relative she is close with accompany her if its not possible for you to be around ex), or would you say it's too unsettling for her seeing them and not force her to for a period of time/until she decides?

Personally with any relative I wouldn't force a relationship for at least 6 months or so if there had been these issues for a year and DC was that upset (regardless of whether or not they have a greater 'biological' relevance by being a dad, or they are an aunt, grandparent, or a second cousin twice removed..)

lostdad Fri 13-Sep-13 09:56:22

Her best interests are paramount and her safety is crucial obviously. If he is safe with her and if he is an OK parent (and I use the word `OK' because let's face it - everyone has different parenting styles) it is in her best interests to have a relationship with her dad.

I know my post comes across as a bit flippant and possibly a little barbed - but it's not meant to be. It's just that it's worth asking questions like that because it takes the emotional heat out of a decision that many of us find hard to step away from.

Children don't have the same judgement we do because they are children. Maybe at times the OPs DD would decide `she doesn't want to see granny' or `doesn't want to talk to granny on the phone'.

When it comes to my parenting style I am more in the traditionalist camp rather than the liberal one. If my son (who is 6 too!) said any of the above I would talk to him about why and probably conclude by telling him that he should see/talk to his granny and that's that. He's quite mature for his age too...but he's still a child and I see it as my job to act in his best interests (such as building a relationship with his grandparents that he will treasure when they are dead and gone) even if it means he is in a strop with me because he isn't getting his own way.

I'm his dad, not his best mate after all.

God...it sounds like I wear a top hat, handlebar moustache and use the phrase `By GOD boy - one day you'll THANK me for this' while giving him `six of the best'. I don't, by the way...

Daisypops Fri 13-Sep-13 21:41:57

Another weekend is upon us and zero contact from exp.

I have to agree with sleepy fish on all points.

the sporadic interest does concern me. Last time we did handover he had to peel dd from me and she was distraught. Any mum wouldn't want to put their dd through that again would they? People were stopping and staring it was traumatic for both of us and exp was getting angry.

I have talked to dd on numerous occasions and encouraged her to try and she insists she does not want to see him. I am not sure what I should do if and when he asks to see her. My gut feeling is to stand by my dd. I don't want her damaged by traumatic handovers and I don't want her resenting me for making her go.

DalmationDots Fri 13-Sep-13 22:00:15

I really feel for you, I was in this position 10+ years ago with my DC. They ended up being so adamant (but they were a bit older 8 and 10) that they didn't want to see their father than cafcass and the court ruled they didn't have to and should not be forced.

I disagree with the school/chocolate analogy, your DD at 6 may not be 100% able to express herself and 'know what is best' but she does know the difference between a decision such as only eating chocolate and saying she doesn't want to see her own father. At 6 her father should be a huge figure in her life and someone she is ASKING to see, and if it was any sort of healthy relationship a 6 year old would not be so adamantly saying no.

Similarly, if a 6 year old was adamant about not going to school I would be very concerned and investigate the reasons, not just simply force her. Yes, at the end of the day she has to go to school but if it was having such a negative impact on her then I would be investigating why, getting changes made or switching her school.

OP see what happens with time and cross the bridge of what to do when he does ask, but for now just keep mentioning her father in everyday conversation but not pushing and keep questioning when she does say no to seeing him. If you are doing all that, then you are doing nothing wrong and are acting in her best interest.

Daisypops Mon 16-Sep-13 19:53:42

I got a message from exp tonight saying 'i'd like to see the girls soon' I told him dd1 doesn't want to see him. We got home and he tried ringing the house phone.
I told dd about him wanting to see her. Her face dropped. She is adamant she doesn't want to see him. Such a difficult situation but not helped by his sporadic contact

betterthanever Mon 16-Sep-13 21:10:29

You sound like a good dad Lostdad - that is how relationships are formed and maintained regarding you and your DS but if there were real reasons why your DS could not form a relationship with gran then you would understand surley and not force at all costs?

It sounds like the relationship the Op's ex has with his DD is an issue for some reason. I agree OP the sporadic contact is an issue here and maybe one reason - I don't have advice on how to solve that as you can't make him see her regularly and when he does have her, built the relationship. You can't build a relationship between two other people even if you wanted to, you can encourage it which is what you have been doing.

The thing I disagree with lostdad on is that is is not in the child best interest to have a relationship with her dad per se, it is in the child's best interest to have a good relationship with her dad and at the moment that isn't there - research clearly states that bad relationships can damange children. That is not to say it is to be abandoned at this stage but needs to be looked at which is what the OP is asking for help on, to just pretend there is no problem and force contact will not solve the issue. Again I'm being unhelpful really as this doesn't give you a solution OP.

I agree with those who have said if thier DC suddenly didn't want to go to school a good parent would ask why - not just force them. This happened to my DS, I found the root cause, it was solved and he was back to enjoying school. He was involved in the whole process, he knew he was able to express he was upset/frightened as it turned out, children have to be able to feel confident they can communicate thieir distress, so they don't grow up overly responsible and not abused by others. At your DD's age they are in the process of developing that emotional understanding, if it is not developed properly then she will have problems later in life.

So I guess what I am offering as advice is to try and find out why she does not want to go and if there is something that can be done and a regular pattern of contact is always a positive as DC need routine and knowing where they are.

Daisypops Mon 16-Sep-13 21:27:49

Betterthanever- I have asked dd lots if times and sges gives various reasons. Hes not nice. He'll drink (he gas before, the driven her home), she gets bored....it goes on. I said in a previous post ex appears to be living with his new gf and her son and im sure dd picked up on this when she was last there.

I arent forcing her. Like someone said it is up to him to repair his relationship with her.

My concern now is how do I minimise any damage?

I am worried and upset that dd will be permanently damaged by his rejection, uninterest and lack of a father sad

betterthanever Mon 16-Sep-13 21:46:06

One day she will learn that not all people are nice, I hope her dad doesn't become her first example.

lostdad Tue 17-Sep-13 08:54:47

True betterthanever - I agree with most of what you're saying.

I am giving the whole `granny' analogy because it can be hard for anyone who feels mistreated by an ex to be rational and child-focused about things (for a long time I needed a second opinion where my one was concerned and even now I ask my other half `Am I being a twat?' before I say or do something where my ex is concerned because I really want to have as good as a relationship as it is ever can be).

But with the analogy - I'm guessing that the OP's attitude if her DD said `I don't want to see granny' would be `Well, it is good for you AND granny to spend time with each other because she is one of the family and you should try to have a nice time together' (unless granny is not safe and/or abusive of course - but then again...surely we give people the benefit of the doubt rather than automatically thinking the worst of them???)

I'm not saying that in this case that the OPs ex is a good (or bad) dad. You and me BOTH know that there are different sides to the same story (hell...if the OP's kid was a boy instead of a girl she could be MY ex who is considered the waste of skin and she's talking about mewink).

Kids benefit from having a relationship with their dad however - unless the negatives outweigh the positives (and there are a lot of them). We're likely arguing by degree here - we've just got different benchmarks. Being `a bit crap' isn't really a hill of beans unless what you mean is neglectful or abusive.

HavantGuard Tue 17-Sep-13 09:01:23

Are there any relatives of his she could have contact with? Somewhere she could go for the day on a regular, fixed basis where he could turn up if the mood takes him hmm but she would be looked after by someone else? A grandparent or aunt?

Daisypops Tue 17-Sep-13 13:21:03

We tried that havantguard and he didn't like it so it stopped . The problem is there is no consistency. Its as and when he chooses which isnt fair. His relatives arent bothered i only hear from his sister at birthdays and I refuse to visit people who don't even ring to see how dc are. I wont force me and my dc on people

cestlavielife Tue 17-Sep-13 13:50:09

thing is with the school analogy is tha that particualr school isnt compulsory - education is though. if school isnt working - you look at reasons why, try to soelve them and if not - well you can always find another one.

knowing who your dad is, yes. v important.
not stopping a relationship - important too.
accepting how he is - yes and if that means you dont force a relationship then you dont.

op has tried.
she can try again in a few months. or if dd asks.
and in meantime get on with having a good life for dd and building relationships with other role models.

HavantGuard Tue 17-Sep-13 13:55:34

sad I think I'd still suggest going back to that on a set basis. At least she'll be safe and supervised there so you won't have to worry about her being driven by someone who has been drinking and it will keep the lines of communication open. She wouldn't be there overnight either. If you arrange it with his sister so that your DD visits whether her father turns up or not it will give her a more settled routine.

It would be very easy to break contact and he sounds like a waste of space, but how she feels now isn't necessarily how she'll feel at 15. By then she might not remember that she didn't want to go. Unless you feel she would be ill treated there I really think it would be good for her to have some connection with that side of her family. It might even be that your ex didn't like seeing your DD there because his sister was giving him shit about his parenting.

Mama1980 Tue 17-Sep-13 14:01:21

I disagree with most of the posters here my mum did everything she could to facilitate our contact with a disinterested father, sending me off to see him crying just made me dislike him more. we didnt bond and resented each other terribly, him for me not wanting to go and me for having to go. He was not a nice man and even as a child I understood that. By the time I was old enough to refuse to go I didn't care about him and our relationship was well beyond repair. My step dad is my dad in everyday that matters. I haven't seen my biological father in many many years.
I would not force her but encourage her, maybe give her time to miss him. Assuming he is basically a decent guy maybe try to stress his good points a bit?

betterthanever Tue 17-Sep-13 14:06:34

Agree totally cestlavie well put
lostdad you are a consistently good dad with normal human emotions. Agree with this Kids benefit from having a relationship with their dad however - unless the negatives outweigh the positives (and there are a lot of them).
I am not sure having her dad allowed to turn up as and when the mood took him is a good example to set for the DC's future relationships. I agree it is better than having her driven around by someone breaking the law though. She may feel differently when she is 15 - what happens now can be changed at a later date if she chooses to, it is the right's of the child after all - we must not let lawyers skew that.

Daisypops Tue 17-Sep-13 14:10:53

Arranging for her to go to his sisters who she sees once a year wont be good for her will it...and wait and see if daddy turns up? I have never and will never force my dc on anyone.
I have decided I will continue to talk about her dad and try and encourage her to want to see him but that is all. It is up to him to repair his relationship with her. No one is forcing him to see her every two months. Its just when he has nothing better to do we are expected to drop everything and be there. Hows that fair

lostdad Wed 18-Sep-13 13:20:41

Like I say betterthanever - there are a lot of factors. Inconsistent, unpredictable and unreliable is a negative when it comes to contact with a father.

Were I advising him I'd be pointing this out in my usual diplomatic manner...wink

smallchestofdrawers Thu 19-Sep-13 01:10:55

When my parents split up I didn't want to see my dad (felt very angry with him coming an going as he chose etc) my mum tried to encourage me and I still remember 40 years later the terrible extra pressure that put on me.

It really was up to my father to make it right, he never did really and I wish my mum hadn't told me I should see him-it felt like I was seeing him to make them feel better about the split not me.

Every situation is different, of course, but at the moment what is your dd getting out of contact with her father really?

If my father had been different and stuck to a routine and did things I enjoyed then it would have been different but I only ever felt like I was being forced into spending time with him and accommodating what suited him.

I never knew when he would turn up and be back in my life. I think inconsistency like that is very disruptive and damaging.

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