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To wish my daughter didn't have any contact with her father

(38 Posts)
alisunshine29 Wed 30-Jan-13 12:38:20

I know 'every child has a right to know their father' and the general consensus is that every child is better off having contact than not but I really am at the end of my tether with daughters father and wish he had no contact with her; I think she would be immeasurably better off if that were the case. We seperated when she was just under 2 (now almost 5.5) and the main reason was his drinking and his lack of interest in our daughter, he was agressive to me and she cried whenever he entered the room. At first she was hysterical about contact, now she is despondent. We have numerous problems at first - i.e. him putting her in nappies when she was potty trained here, allowing her to sleep in his bed when he'd been drinking/she slept in her own bed here (leading to her being up 20+ times per night here), letting her eat/drink whatever she likes causing an upset tummy, letting her stay up as late as she likes leading to her being tired for nursery (and now school.)

Now it's almost 3.5 years since he's been having contact (alternate weekends though sometimes he misses his weekend) and things aren't any better. DD isn't hysterical about going - but I don't know if the way she is is actually worse. Two days before contact she becomes withdrawn and lethargic, she gets teary over nothing and just 'can't be bothered' with life. She stops eating and is miserable. When he comes to collect her, they don't greet each other; he passes her his Ipad and she watches a film on the journey to his (45 mins) Over the weekend he sometimes works (by choice, for extra money) leaving DD with his girlfriend who is 16 years his junior and tells DD she is her Mummy too. Other than that, he does literally nothing with her. She sits around watching TV/playing games on the Ipad all weekend. She tells him what she wants to eat and he gets it (McDonalds, KFC, sweets, crisps etc) which then leads to her having a poorly tummy for a good few days after contact. When she returns from contact she is extremely tired and lethargic from sitting around/staying up late all weekend. She is miserable, teary and rude - as if she blames me for sending her for contact. She repeatedly says that she wishes she could just stay here.

The latest problem has been that she's been saying that she's poorly on the Thursday (he collects her on the Friday) - last time she was genuinely ill and so I warned him, to which he replied and said he'd leave her here for the weekend and have her when she's well instead. She realised that he won't have her if she's ill so last time on the Thursday she managed to get sent home from school for being ill (which she wasn't.) I told him she'd been sent home from school but there was nothing wrong with her, but he said he wouldn't collect her if she was ill. He also used the snow as an excuse not to collect her and went 5 weeks with no contact, during which time she was so unbelievably happy that it has made me wish that she had no contact with him. He has no positive impact on her life at all, she looks/acts thoroughly depressed around him/after she's seen him and I hate this 2 week cycle of misery for her. It affects her 2 days before/after contact and it's wasting her life. AIBU?

Sugarice Wed 30-Jan-13 12:43:40

No of course you're not being unreasonable, no one wants to see their child unhappy.

If you said to him that she didn't want to see him would he pursue you for contact or just leave it.

AnneNonimous Wed 30-Jan-13 12:45:55

Have you voiced your concerns to him? YANBU, it's been a long time and your DD is still unhappy so something needs to be done.

SirBoobAlot Wed 30-Jan-13 12:48:20

Is your arrangement legal or just a casual one?

Given your reasons for ending the relationship in the first place, and the negative impact it is having on your DD, there must be something you can do to stop, or at least reduce, this.

Seabird72 Wed 30-Jan-13 12:48:34

YNBU but I can see it places you in a very difficult position because he clearly wants access - it just doesn't make your dd happy. I have to say I wouldn't agree to him having access if he was working - his gf might be very nice but your dd is there to see her dad not the gf and if he's not married to her then she's not dd stepmum. Perhaps you can try and talk to him about only having one weekend every 6 weeks or so until eventually it peters out? Is he doing it because he really wants to see dd or because he's pressurised by his family that that's what good dad's do? All you can do is talk to him about it - if he's reasonable. The fact that he's gone 5 weeks without seeing her and he's not got upset and accused you of not allowing him access perhaps indicates that he's not too bothered either. There could also be another reason your dd doesn't want to see him - maybe she's not keen on the gf, or the long journey or she misses you so much. Maybe he could involve his parents more to help out? I hope that you manage to get it sorted for your dd sake. Good luck

Kewcumber Wed 30-Jan-13 12:51:07

How is your relationship with him - can you just ask him outright if he wants to continue contact? or to maybe suggest it reduces to one day a fortnight as a day out somehwere she might enjoy then home for bedtime?

Maybe thats optimistic of me.

Msbluesky32 Wed 30-Jan-13 12:55:13

Sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

Could you reduce the frequency he sees her and the length of time? Could she just spend days or afternoons with him, say once a month and see how it goes? At the end of the day though it sounds like she is voting with her feet and if shes not enjoying spending time with him then he is going to have to accept that.

I agree every child should have the opportunity to know their father but sometimes that man isnt all you have built him up to be and its a disappointing - perhaps that is what is happening (sorry, Im not trying to say this of all fathers, I know there are some amazing fathers out there who are totally devoted to their children). At 5 she already sounds like a very intelligent little lady, which I am sure is probably down to you smile

alisunshine29 Wed 30-Jan-13 12:57:11

He would pursue it via court as his parents are nice and would pay for him to do so. He doesn't have a contact order at the moment; I've been pretty flexible in order to promote contact. I've discussed (or tried to) my concerns on numerous occasions but he thinks I'm making it up to make him look bad and says he can do what he likes as she's his daughter too. Now it's affecting her education as she doesnt join in on alternate Thursdays so she can pretend to be ill and is tired, miserable and has a poorly tummy on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Susan2kids Wed 30-Jan-13 12:58:32

You should be very careful, a parent has a right to see their child. If she really doesn't want contact you can apply to SS, however if they think that you have been partially responsible for your daughters feeling then it might get tricky. Kewcumbers advice is probably best.

nurseneedshelp Wed 30-Jan-13 13:04:47

I'm not convinced that contact is within your daughter's best interest!

Think you need to have a long talk with him and explain what she's like.

The one a fortnight sounds like a good idea though if you're not keen on stopping contact completely.

Kewcumber Wed 30-Jan-13 13:05:00

"You should be very careful, a parent has a right to see their child" - I'm not sure thats totally true I think a child has a right to see both their parents which neither parent should interfere with.

I think a parent has a responsibility to have meaningful contact with their child.

Parents have a responsibilty towards their child, they have rights to expect the other parent to be facilitative.

Mind you this is the law according to Kewcumber not UK (which for all I know may say parents have the rights!

NomNomDePlumPudding Wed 30-Jan-13 13:06:03

if his parents are nice, perhaps you can get them on board regarding feeding her properly? at least then she would not be unwell for two days after contact?

(susan2kids, i think the law is that a child has a right to see their parent rather than the other way around. i think she is too young yet for her feelings to be taken into consideration, but as far as i know, in a couple of years her opinion would be at least listened to if it went back to court)

alisunshine29 Wed 30-Jan-13 13:06:08

He won't have any contact reduction on my say so, he says it's his right. I've suggested things she likes that he could do with her etc but he promises her he will then lets her down every time. He didn't even get her any Christmas presents, he just wrapped up his own ipad and told everyone he'd bought her one.

Kewcumber Wed 30-Jan-13 13:08:05

Actually a quick google seems that the Uk agrees with me it is the right of the child to see their paretns not vice versa - it is the best interests and welfare of the child that has the highest priority.

alisunshine29 Wed 30-Jan-13 13:10:20

His parents won't hear a bad word about him. It isn't my fault how she feels about him, I've never badmouthed him despite him badmouthing me and I have no attachment issues with her having contact.

alisunshine29 Wed 30-Jan-13 13:13:44

Thing is the thing the judge would question is if she is 'surviving satisfactorily' which she would probably be judged to be. It seems cruel that she'll have to endure this til she's 10+ before anyone listens to her.

NomNomDePlumPudding Wed 30-Jan-13 13:15:21

has the school noticed that she is unwell after contact? because i think if her education is being disrupted and she is being made miserable by contact, i would be thinking of reducing it and seeing him in court. but you really need to have some independent confirmation of negative impact if you want to take this route, and also have some recorded effort to get him to do better with his parenting (dated emails, that kind of thing)

Kewcumber Wed 30-Jan-13 13:16:23

There isn't an age at which the court start listening to children although its true that they might pay more attention to an older childs opinion. I would start keeping a diary of the issues including her "sick" time which may show a pattern very clearly.

Then I would try to get a free consultation with a family solicitor. Because it sounds like you really only have two choices. Let it carry on as is or go down the legal route.

N0tinmylife Wed 30-Jan-13 13:20:20

I am a great believer in equal rights for both parents, but what you are describing sounds heartbreaking. I think if I were you I would be doing my best to stop her going there unless things improve.

If he did decide to take it through the court, at least it might encourage him to improve things, and your DD would know you tried to make it better for her.

Pixieonthemoor Wed 30-Jan-13 13:22:11

OP is there any possibility at all of approaching his parents? I know you say that they won't hear a bad word against him but if you lay it out like you have to us, surely they can't ignore everything? Even if you could get them to have a word re all the junk food so their grandchild isnt suffering an upset stomach it would be something (however small). Does your dd see her gp's? Does she like them? Could contact be at their house?

Forgive me as I am totally ignorant about these things but you mentioned 10 years old - is that the age she has to reach before the courts will listen to her own opinion? Is there any precedent for her feelings to be taken into consideration at an earlier age? Time to get to the lawyers I feel.

I am so sorry.

girlywhirly Wed 30-Jan-13 13:31:47

I think that denying him contact is a mistake; however, changing the type of contact would probably be beneficial. I don't think the weekend at his is working, so contact of a day out would be better. Could you get his parents to help, by having the contact at their home some of the times, so that DD sees all of them and his lax parenting is diluted?

Another thing worth exploring is whether the school are prepared to have a meeting with you and him to discuss your daughter. He might accept what they say about her lack of progress and unhappiness as genuine and not something that you are making up. Would DD talk with a teacher about what she would like to happen? I know she shouldn't be making the decisions about her care but it would help if a teacher could help put forward her wishes and DD wouldn't be present at the meeting. I think if it came to a court hearing, a teacher might be able to present a statement supporting a change in contact with her dad, based on this and her behavioural changes.

helenthemadex Wed 30-Jan-13 13:46:19

if he wont listen to you when you are trying to discuss the wellbeing of your daughter then you maybe need to get professional advice, I have no idea who you would need to talk to maybe a solicitor? can you get a free 30 minute consultation and see what they suggest

Kokomelo Wed 30-Jan-13 13:50:50

I am going through exactly the same problems at the moment. I also left my ex just before my daughter turned two, and now she's nearly six. He also had(/has?) a drinking problem and behaved pretty disgustingly towards me when we were together.
We have a court order in place that states I have to make her available for contact every other weekend, and so he gets to pick her up from school and drop her off again on the monday. The thing is, he works all weekend, so never actually sees her; it's his mum who looks after her during that time. My daughter never talks about him, everything is about 'Nanny and Grandad's house' and whenever she does talk about him, it's usually in a negative context, like his causing problems at his mum's house, etc.
I have talked to her school to ask for help with this situation and I have been offered a meeting with someone to discuss my options. As she is quite clearly being affected by her weekends away (same issues re food, and staying up late etc) I have been advised to document her behaviour so that I have evidence should I need it later. It was emphasised to me that, although she has a right to see her father, that's only if it's in her best interests to do so. If appropriate, the school may help me get the contact agreement changed, so that the type of contact is changed, if not the amount. This might involve using a contact centre, for example, where the contact is supervised.

I'm at the end of my tether, as I don't want to resort to using a contact centre as she is usually quite positive about 'Nanny and Granddad's house'.
I have so far found the support from her school very positive, even just talking to someone about it helped. smile

elizaregina Wed 30-Jan-13 13:59:06

Its so sad, your poor DD.

I had to go and spend time with a relative when I was little and it made me depressed too - and my feelings were written off and not listened too. I also tried to tell the relative what was wrong with the visits ( they made me play with someone who bullied me) and again my feelings were laughed away.
I wonder if there is some way you can support her and get her to open up, but without putting him down....

I wouldn't persoanlly go near SS it can get very sticky and horrible.
You poor thing....

Tryharder Wed 30-Jan-13 14:05:41

Kokomelo: If your DD is happy to have her weekend at her GPs, then I would leave things as they are. It would be a shame to spoil that relationship, no? -just because your X is a twunt.

OP: I would second the suggestion to get the GPs on board as well with a possible view to moving the contact to their house. I wouldn't be happy about my DD being in the care of some random girlfriend which defeats the whole point of the contact, surely.

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