To not force DD to go to her dads?(38 Posts)
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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
Tough one x
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.
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
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.
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
sorry but i think she has to go - being let down is part of life unfortunately.
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.
'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.
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
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.
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?
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
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.)
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!
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.
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