Co parenting with a man child(38 Posts)
I have a 3 year old with my ex. He has always been next to useless since she was born but i put it down to her being small/him being immature etc. Well she's 4 soon and he's still just as bad. She sees him every saturday 11-4, but it's like he could care less. I drop her off and he rarely does anything with her unless someone else is going/suggests it.
Puts her in front of the tv mostly. His behaviour in front of her is inappropriate in my opinion - swears, spits, constant cigarette breaks, no toys for her at his house, rarely gives her a meal just crisps and sweets. The list is endless. I have tried and tried with him even he would admit that but there is no helping him be a half decent dad to her.
She now doesn't want to go to his. Last time she was due to go she got so upset crying and i told him i wasn't forcing her to go. Spoke to him again today and said that if she's like that again this week she won't be coming as i'm not forcing her. He replies telling me that I have to make her do things she doesn't want to do or she will grow up doing what she wants. I don't think i'm being unreasonable? I understand she has to do things she doesn't want to (she hates doing many things - teeth brushing for example but i make her do it) but having to get her into the car and then leave her when she's that upset is not something i'm willing to do.
Does anyone have any advice on getting him to understand she needs to be doing things/needs feeding/shouldn't be witnessing inappropriate things as above? And am i being unreasonable here?
I think you are a bit actually.
I agree he's not the best dad but he's not harming her and you need to encourage the relationship as much as you can and if you set a precedent that she doesn't have to go if she cries then she will cry every time she wants her own way.
He does sound useless, unless it's a court ordered arrangement I'd tell him to sod off. Dd is bored out of her mind at his place and doesn't get fed properly she doesn't want to come anymore. If she changes her mind you'll let him know.
He'd be better off just meeting her for lunch at McDonalds instead.
The only time I saw my father was for a meal on Sunday. an hour at most. He wasn't very good at being a Dad either.
You're describing neglect: sweets for meals and left in front of TV. Can you get an alteration to the arrangement so that he sees her for shorter periods?
She should be looking forward to weekends, not having a miserable time.
What a complete waste of time, poor little girl. She's going to dread going to see him. Tell him he's got to make proper arrangements to entertain her. Hasn't he got parents to take her to see? He might behave himself there. Otherwise I'd stop it altogether unless it's a special occasion.
I'd say forcing a child to spend time in the company of someone they don't like, just to benefit that person, is a way of setting them up for an unhealthy lifetime of "people pleasing" actually.
@feralfanny you seriously think he isn't harming her? Filling her full of junk and dumping her in front of a TV? Well I suppose at least he's keeping her alive eh?
I'd stop forcing her OP and tell him he has to make the effort to come and see her and try and build time up gradually and that he needs to be doing things. I mean a trip to the park costs nothing but his attention!
If he actually gave a shit he'd make more of an effort. I don't see how this loser enhances her life.
Do you not think that it is harming her emotional wellbeing? (not a dig just curious) I would just hate to make her go if she is uncomfortable?
I agree they need to have a relationship absolutely just can't help but think she's not gaining anything when she goes there since he doesn't actively spend time with her. Maybe because i spend all my time with her i'm more sensitive to how she's treated when she's with him.
I agree that it is emotionally harmful to her. And physically if he is just feeding her crisps and sweets.
I would refuse to take her. Let him take you to court. Tell him if he can't have her for a few paltry hours a week and feed her adequately and interact with her appropriately then he can fuck off.
Better to have no dad than a really shit one.
Arrange to drop her at park or library or soft play so he us forced or encouraged to do something for an hour.
In the broad scheme of things it s rubbish but a court might not consider it neglect. A court might order more contact not less
Send her with a box of toys from charity shop
Thanks for the replies everyone!
Honestly i've stopped contact when she was smaller so he shapes up for a few months and then back to his usual ways. I'm not entirely convinced that he isn't just mimicking what other dads do to look good? Obviously the good dad part isn't there but he kicks off straight away if i stop contact or tell him the hard truth that he is in fact a deadbeat. Think the term is sociopath
His family are a unique kind too and whilst they've supported me and my wishes they aren't the best role models for him or dd.
As for shortening the time that's a good idea just wasn't sure if that would make her going worse? I'd hoped the more time they spent together the better their relationship.. i know that 5 hours on a saturday isn't a lot in the first place but least it was something and she could get used to him. I guess i'll have to see what tomorrow brings and then decide a plan from there.
Would he pick her up from you? Could this encourage him to get out with her?
No I don't think yabu.
Is there a compromise to be made like shorter (and possibly more frequent) visits?
He's neglectful. He isn't interested in her. He doesn't care for her appropriately.
All the things you describe aren't neutral and just 'not great'. They are red flags for her being not really safe and well with him - you think, given just the things you see and know about, that she is genuinely safe there? You think that if he ran out of fags he wouldn't leave her alone while he 'popped to the shop'? You think he keeps an eye on her and makes sure she's happy, plays with her? Of course not!
Which is why she doesn't want to go. She doesn't want to feel lonely, ignored, probably a bit intimidated by his manner (swearing, spitting). She has no joy there.
I wouldn't let her go there, but would be prepared to arrange outings - short time where he would HAVE to interact, for her sake and to keep the connection going - time in the park, cinema, whatever.
She could take a more active role in decisions when she's older.
Tell him he needs to come and pick up her and persuade her she will have a good time!
If he came round saying he'd taking her out for lunch and to the park or swimming she'd probably be keen to go.
If he comes offering a bag of crisps and 5 hours of TV then he can't be surprised if she won't go with him.
If he were a single parent giving his child crisps for lunch and no toys or stimulation he would be considered neglectful. I would tell him this and suggest a Saturday meet up every other week for you to do something together. You could meet at a soft play or bowling or for a country walk.
Sorry she is probably a bit young for bowling. I also wouldn't trust him with an activity like swimming. He sounds useless and like he would not watch her responsibly in the water.
In fact I can't think of a place where I would trust a man like this with my 3 year old so actually I think supervised (by you) visits are the best thing. It will also "teach" him how to be a better parent if he wants to learn. If he doesn't want to learn then he will lose interest.
Good ideas guys will definitely suggest to him the possibility of the three of us for a while.. we have tried this previously but i'm willing to try it again to see if there's a change.
I have very little trust in him myself.. he hasn't got a stable home he's lived with 4 different family members in the past 3 years mainly due to him being so irresponsible. So i think she feels completely unstable and she probably also has little trust in him.
Speak to social services. He may be given support to become a better parent. Ultimately it would better for your child to have two parents who can care for her appropriately. This way if it does end up in court you can say you have already highlighted your concerns to ss.
@RhymingRabbit I didn't even realise ss were an option for him! If they could help him in any way then that would be great I just want for him to be a 'normal' dad and not so completely unfazed by everything to do with dd. Any advice on how to start ss contact? If not i'll try my friend google
Any chance you offer access if he comes to you? So you're both there, you get to control environment, food etc?
Sadly this isn't enough to count as neglect even though he is shit. My dh has tried contacting social services about his son and his ex wife and they said not enough to be a concern. He gets left on his own while she goes shopping ("only" 2 streets away), she smokes cannabis in the room he sleeps in, as she works nights she sleeps all day while he is awake all day on his own unattended, allowed to watch and play content certificated 18 and a plethora of other concerns... he is 6. SS says not enough to do anything please call back if it gets worse.
@ChakiraChakra I've tried this before but couldn't hurt to try again i suppose.. the issue is that when i'm there it's like he doesn't have to do anything anyway because he knows either she will come to me for things and not even want him to do them or he will just expect me to do everything and if i won't neither will he so dd loses out there.
@namechanger2019 How awful! I thought i had it bad with him but how can ss not get involved with that! Will put that idea on the back burner for now then.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Get started »
Please login first.