Would it be selfish or the push everyone needs?(33 Posts)
XH and I divorced 8 years ago, we have twins together, DD & DS(12) and it's a miracle if he phones them up on special occasions let alone spends time with them.
Around Easter he phoned up out of the blue to tell them that he got married no explanation as to why they weren't invited or told beforehand, it wasn't even a surprise as they saw the wedding pictures all over fb, thankfully neither of them seemed too hurt/disappointed, I got remarried years ago, so they've had an active step dad in their lives, which I think has massively helped deal with the twat that calls himself their father.
Surprisingly the phone calls became more frequent after April & I thought perhaps having DSC in his life has made him realise how important it is to be a part of his own children's life.
Then at the beginning of June, he asked if he could come over one weekend and see them, he hasn't seen them in 3 years, so I agreed and it was a complete car crash.
They spent the day in the garden, he'd bought DS a football shirt as he use to play on a team as a child & DS piped up & said no, it was in fact DD that played & that he hates football. He got DD a 1D shirt that was far too small and she looked like she was going to throw up, she's more of an All Time Low fan.
He'd bought a cake that his new wife had made and had to be told that the twins were allergic to egg. DH and I devoured it instead, it was bloody delicious .
Lot's of eye rolling and huffing from the twins before he awkwardly left, I was sure that was going to be the last I saw of him, but he phoned two weeks later and asked to take them out
It turned out to be for a family barbecue, so XH's wife, DSC & aunts & uncles that the twins haven't seen in years. They said they wanted to go, so I let them & they were complete brats. They were sarcastic & rude and spent the day complaining, they came home by 6 & the barbecue only started at 3.
Haven't heard from XH since then, until he phoned this afternoon. He & his DW are planning a camping holiday in Cornwall with her DC & wanted to invite along my twins .
I said I would ask, but I already know what the answer is going to be. My DC are sadly not country loving kids, they abhor anything that makes them uncomfortable & endangers their phone signal, camping would be at the top of their never ever ever doing list.
But, a week of uninterrupted time with XH could be just what they need to try and build a relationship & it's a week of free childcare over the summer
Would going be beneficial to them at all? Or am I fooling myself into thinking that this is for their benefit & not my own?
You might find yourself driving to cornwall at 2am one night but then again you might not.
Sounds to me like their dad doesn't know their personalities at all anymore. And he is trying to get them to fit in to his other family's lifestyle and hobbies, rather than be flexible to theirs.
I think he needs to spend some 1 to 1 time with them to rebuild their relationship. Is this something you and he could sit down to discuss?
Although i think he is a twat for barely being in their lives these past few years, I do sort of feel bad for him. He does appear to be trying to make an effort, but your kids seem to have some (perfectly understandable) resentment towards him due to his absence. Could you maybe have a discussion with them, too, that this seems to be a fresh part and there needs to be a little bit more effort on their part?
I would gently encourage them to go on this upcoming trip. But don't push them too much. It could end up being a miserable time for them if again they are made to feel like their dad doesn't really know their likes/dislikes etc. I think i would definitely be encouraging it harder if it was just him and the twins though. That's time together - just the three of them - that is well needed.
I think just a little bit of time and patience and understanding is needed before their relationship can be repaired. And in order for that to happen, I would try to encourage any and all contact between the twins and their dad.
Not sure I'd say yes to that one, its for too long and lets face it, they don't really know each other.
But I'd make sure that I started to help them be in his life.
I think its good that hes now trying to make the effort. The trip could be a good opportunity for them to get to know each other. Strongly encourage them but dont force them..
Sounds like his new wife is putting pressure on him to be a decent father and build a nice happy blended family.
At 12 they can decide whether they want to go. Especially if the alternative is a boring holiday club or something.
"Surprisingly the phone calls became more frequent after [getting married]"
Yep, either his new wife is pressing him to be a father to his children, or he's trying to hide from her just how crap a dad he is. Either way, the desire to engage with his children is unlikely to be heartfelt, is it?
Your twins are 12, an age that can see things for how they are. If they don't want to be expected to brush past years under the carpet - which is basically what he/new wife is trying to do - then they shouldn't be coerced into it.
I agree it's a positive thing that he's attempting....it will be a bit car crashy...if the twins don't HATE the idea then I'd send them but if they really don't want to, I wouldn't make them. I have a 12 year old and she would hate to be made to go somewhere....I try to take her feelings into consideration.
It sounds like you'll be sending them away for a week with a complete stranger, and if they don't want to go it's really not going to do the relationship any good. They'll feel like outsiders hating the whole experience whilst their dad, his wife and her kids are enjoying their "family" holiday.
Could you say no to the holiday as it's not their sort of thing, but offer to let them stay a few weekends, so he can get to know their personalities a bit better, and bond with them properly. If would mention how nice it was to invite them, and your sorry to disapoint him, but you don't think it would be a good idea. You know his family are probably really looking forward to this, but it's just not the twins sort of thing, and if the twins don't enjoy it, it'll bring everybodies mood down, etc.
Could he take them for a weekend sometime soon, so he could start getting to know them?
I'd maybe say that they are busy that week but suggest they go for a weekend at his house instead. It would be less pressure, I think.
Depends how much time in between the holiday and now that he is willing to invest in getting to know them really...both times you've mentioned have not gone well so twins are unlikely to want to do that on an extended basis. However if he had a few more successful days out then perhaps they would look more favourably on the opportunity?
Sorry, but it sounds like he couldn't be arsed with DC when he was single, but now wants to show his new family what a great dad he is (with the added bonus of a new DW to share the parenting!)
Not sure why he can't spend a little more time with them, especially after such a long absence, before trying to integrate them into his new family unit. Personally, it would piss me off no end that he was happy to get married without so much as a word, but then suddenly wants to play the whole "meet my new family" thing. Bit weird if you ask me....
I'd say it's too much too soon.
If he really wants to build bridges
or he's being forced to by the new wife then he needs to work on regular contact first, not grand gestures. He needs to get to know them better, and then he'll be able to work out for himself that they would hate a camping holiday worse than poison.
OTOH - if they do want to go, or you think they would actually enjoy it given half a chance (not convinced of this myself) then I'd tentatively say yes, but make it dependent on regular interim contact.
I agree with others. This is too much too soon and personally I wouldn't let them go.
This man may genetically be their father but having seen them twice in three years he's a stranger to them, and them to him. You say yourself that the two visits he has had with them have gone badly (however well meaning he may have been). The kids clearly felt uncomfortable and played up and your XH and his wife couldn't cope.
I think you are over-emphasising the importance of biology. Under any other circumstances would you send your DC on holiday with a man who is a virtual stranger and a woman they have met once, who make the kids feel uncomfortable and can't cope with them?
What about suggesting to him that he sees them once a week in the week & one afternoon/morning for a few months before he goes away with them? He needs to rebuild their trust in him. At the moment he is jumping all over their feelings by imposing what suits him rather than putting their needs first, as he did when he didn't see them for 3 years.
I meant one afternoon/morning at the weekend. It's a bit like dating someone twice, having a bad time & then going on holiday with them anyway - you just wouldn't do it.
I would be very inclined to put the kibosh on the proposed trip.
Call the new wife and have a chat about your very low expectations wrt your exH as a father, explain that you don't expect anything from him by way of being a father to his children given his past performance, express the hope he isn't doing this to impress her, tell her you wish her well but also tell her that your first duty is to the welfare of your children and that if this can't be fulfilled by facilitating a full on relationship with their father after such a long gap (and it can't) then contact like a holiday isn't going to happen - and thank her for the lovely cake.
'At the moment he is jumping all over their feelings by imposing what suits him rather than putting their needs first'
'I think you are over-emphasising the importance of biology.'
YYY to these insights^^.
This man thinks he can switch the children on and off as he wishes and for whatever purposes he wishes.
Your children already have a solid relationship with a father figure and presumably all is well on that front.
I recommend family therapy for you and exH so that he can approach this with the clear understanding that children are not items that can be used. If your exH is genuinely interested in a relationship with the children then he needs to start off with expectations that are realistic and based on the needs of the children, and perhaps family therapy is the best way to impress upon him the idea that he is not the centre of the universe. A good therapist should be able to smoke him out if he is in this for any reasons other than the sincere hope of being a part of the children's lives.
I think a week is a long time if it's awkward and they are likely to be miserable.
Agree with others that he needs to gradually build up a relationship with them.
On the other hand at 12 they are probably old enough to make their own minds up. What do they want to do?
Call the new wife and have a chat about your very low expectations wrt your exH as a father
Don't, for christ sakes.
I'd encourage them to go. It could be great.
At least they will have each other on the trip if they go. Although I do think a week is a bit long.
A week is a long time and if your DTs will hate camping, then it doesn't sound like the sort of thing around which to rebuild their relationship with their dad.
So, I'd sit him down -preferably with your DH and his new wife there so everyone is on board and your exh behaves himself - and find out what he wants wrt to your DC.
Then you decide, if you believe that he will follow through and if that's good for them. Then together you can work out how to reintegrate him into your DTS lives. Or not.
The worst thing would be if the DTs got used to having him around, and then he just disappeared again. On the other hand, he might have turned over a new leaf. He won't be fooling his new wife though because she'd have worked out that he was a rubbish father when he didn't introduce them to her before he asked her to marry him, and he didn't even take them to the wedding.
What reactive and wicked said. I think it's absolutely great he wants to spend time with them. In the short term it's going to be a bumpy ride but long term it is going to be so valuable for DC, if he keeps up the effort. As a child of divorced parents who moved to opposite ends of the country, I had years of feeling very angry towards my dad for "abandoning" me. He also remarried and I loathed my stepmother with a jealous passion. Went through phase in teens of refusing to visit him at all. It's much better now I'm an adult these days I get on really well with my stepmother who is lovely but a very different personality type from my mum.
I think a pp is right his new wife is at him to see his children which is fair enough but he is a shit father who does not know his children which is a bloody shame no wonder they acted up at the bbq. If they dont want to go to corwall i wouldnt force them a tent for a week with people they dont really know is going to be hellish for them
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