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More of a WWYD - kids not wanting to see their dad

(16 Posts)
purpleangel17 Wed 18-Oct-17 21:35:00

My girls are 8 and 10. I split up with their dad three and a half years ago. He lives about 40 mins away and they stay overnight with him one night a fortnight.

He was diagnosed in adulthood with Aspergers and has always preferred his own company and been somewhat gaming obsessed.

The girls tell me that when they go to stay, he spends most of the time upstairs in his bedroom on his computer gaming. He feeds them and runs a bath and tells them when to go to bed but that sounds like it is pretty much the extent of the interaction. If they go out it is only to the local shop. They are safe but bored.

There is no court order about contact. I have tried to get him to understand the girls want more from him but he either doesn't get it or ignores it. This is no different to how he was when we were married. If I bring it up too often he gets angry and says he can't afford to do anything with them because he has to pay me 'so much' maintenance. (Incidentally, he pays less than the CMS recommended amount.) But it isn't about money - it's about time and presence and interaction.

The girls are asking me to reduce the frequency with which they see him or the length of time they stay. If I suggest this I will be the bad guy even though he never seems bothered about seeing them, asks for more contact or makes an effort for them. As an example he is missing both their birthdays this year because of petty reasons.

Would you reduce contact or tell the girls they have to lump it? I don't think he will ever change and I also think it is very unlikely he would go to court as it would involve spending money.

EatTheChocolateTeapot Wed 18-Oct-17 21:37:31

Could they watch a movie together?

purpleangel17 Wed 18-Oct-17 21:41:57

I have suggested it but he 'doesn't like movies' except Star Wars and LOTR. LOTR gave my older one nightmares and that was from a tame bit. They have occasionally put Star Wars on but he gets mad if they interrupt to ask a question and turns it off.

outofmydepth45 Wed 18-Oct-17 21:46:42

As a general guideline up until they can 'decide for themselves I was lead to believe this is early teens I was told by a solicitor that courts view sending children under to 10 to visit parents as like sending them to school, it is assumed to be good for them.

To be frank it's bollocks who cares if your ExH thinks your the bad guy it's your children's viewpoint that matters. Reduce contact if he doesn't like it he can pull his finger out

chitofftheshovel Wed 18-Oct-17 21:47:28

I would say the onus is on him to want contact. The girls obviously don't want to be there so often and it doesn't seem to be benefitting them. Everyone bangs on nowadays about how important it is to have both parents in the childrens' lives, but I don't agree this is always the case. I wouldn't make them go where they didn't want to be, unless their dad actually pulled his finger out of his arse and either request more contact privately or, if he felt he had to, go through the courts.

Pinky333777 Wed 18-Oct-17 21:48:45

They need a common interest.
Can their time with him be spent on preplanned activities like an outing to the park or swimming?
Parks have tennis courts which are free.
Are there any family friendly games so they can share a gaming night?
Board games.
There has to be something they all enjoy?

MyBrilliantDisguise Wed 18-Oct-17 21:50:50

Could you do it one step at a time? Say the girls have a birthday party to go to or something like that every other time. He won't object if he'd rather be on his own.

Bucketsandspoons Wed 18-Oct-17 21:59:01

The problem is that while you can compile lots of suggestions of free or cheap things to do and offer guidance, that's presupposing an adult who is motivated to spend time with the children and interact with them, and wants the help to change things. Your ex is managing contact in the way that causes him minimum changes to his routine and minimum demands on him, and it sounds as if he's not interested in doing anything differently.

I would reduce or shorten contact, being clear with him that this is you protecting his relationship with the children, as if he doesn't put in the effort and continues to make contact with him a boring and hated chore for his children they will break it off the minute they are able and he will find he has no relationship with them. If that makes you the bad guy, well unfortunately so be it.

missymayhemsmum Wed 18-Oct-17 22:25:41

What would happen if you were to stop organising contact? Would it stop?
What if you let him come up with a plan for how to spend time together
that appeals to your daughters, and make it clear they get to choose whether to go?
Unless you want the night off in which case yes, they do have to go to their Dad's and you'll pick them up in the morning.

user1493413286 Wed 18-Oct-17 22:31:02

I’d decrease the time to just the day or a shorter amount of time either side of bedtime. Contact is about the best interests of children, not parents rights.
It could force him to spend the shorter amount of time having decent time with them.

WishingOnABar Wed 18-Oct-17 22:39:15

I suspect if you happened to have other plans for some of the visits he may not notice the visits being disrupted. Maybe if the girls had a birthday party to attend one weekend and a school event the next, you could decrease their visits without making an issue of it? Regardless of their age if they are not actually having any interaction with him it seems more damaging to their relationship than beneficial

confusedlittleone Thu 19-Oct-17 09:04:00

You have no court order so just stop contact or visits make sure your out of the house when he's due to pick them up

Bobbins43 Thu 19-Oct-17 09:11:19

I would be child led on this. I’m not sure about it from a legal standpoint but I can’t imagine forcing them to spend time with him is going to improve their relationship any. Maybe try and rearrange the terms of it later on? So he takes them out for a day? But if they don’t want to go, I wouldn’t send them

TempStamos Thu 19-Oct-17 09:20:29

Personally I would listen to my children, until and if he decides to step up as a father he is the one ruining his relationship with them. Maybe telling him they are not going ( or getting them to talk to him? ) would make him realise and make more of an effort.

confusedlittleone Thu 19-Oct-17 09:24:31

sad

SilverSpot Thu 19-Oct-17 09:40:21

I'd listed to them. It's not their fault their 'father' is a useless dick head.

And pursue the full amount of CM.... don't accept less.

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