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Should fathers and children be forced to have a relationship?

(13 Posts)
buickmackane Fri 17-Jun-11 10:40:16

H left 2 1/2 yrs ago (he left for OW). We have 3dc and the youngest was born at the same time that we split up. Since then he's had sporadic contact with the eldest 2 but won't have anything to do with the youngest sad. We're currently going through mediation as part of the divorce process and had our first meeting yesterday.

The mediator told him if we went to court over contact no judge would agree with excluding one child and proceeded to twist his arm to agree to trying to build a relationship with dc3. H was honest (for once!) and said he really didn't want to have anything to do with dc3 - that he feels nothing for him and it would cause enormous problems with his current relationship if he were to have contact with dc3 sad. My head was reeling from all this and somehow we ended up agreeing that he'll come and see the eldest 2 this weekend and then, at his convenience, he'll come and take dc3 out ALONE for an hour.

DC1&2 really don't want anything to do with their father. He insists he can't be away from his new family (ow, 1 step-child and one bio child born months after dc3) for long enough for dc to see him alone. He tries to push our dc into his new family and my dc don't like it (mainly due to problems with step-child/brother?) They have asked him repeatedly for time alone but h refuses.

So, I now have (stbx)H coming this weekend and it's extremely likely DC will refuse to go with him. I also really regret agreeing to him taking dc3 away alone as dc3 doesn't know his father and H has admitted he doesn't want to get to know dc3.

I feel torn, I always wanted all my dc to have a relationship with their father but he is extremely selfish and a bully. DC don't enjoy their time with him and he doesn't want dc3 so how can this work? I'm feeling like it's in the dc best interest's to not be forced into this hostile environment where their not really wanted but feel guilty and sad because that means no father which we're always being told is not in dc best interests!? Can anyone help or advise please?

TheNextMrsBuble Fri 17-Jun-11 11:26:17

Sorry, no advice but I really feel for you and your DC. How absolutely awful that he doesn't want to develop a relationship with DC3. I am firmly of the opinion that in some circumstances no father is better than a wrong one, so flame me!

buickmackane Fri 17-Jun-11 12:03:14

Thanks so much for responding. I'm thinking that way too, unfortunately. He pretty much ignores them when he has them. They don't feel loved or wanted by him. Can't get that through to him.

Maelstrom Fri 17-Jun-11 22:28:05

You cannot force him to have contact, I am afraid. I would be livid at the idea of ex wanting to see just a couple of them. Perhaps I would say all or no one, but I know how nasty these things can get so I trust that deep within you, you know what is best for your children.

I struggle with the idea that my ex doesn't want to see his son. It is not the correct and proper thing for a child not to see his father, however not all that is correct and proper is good and right.

sunshineandbooks Fri 17-Jun-11 23:30:52

I am just shock and angry at your XH saying he feels nothing for him and it would cause enormous problems with his current relationship if he were to have contact with dc3.

If that's the honest truth then he doesn't deserve any of his kids. Does he not realise the emotional trauma he will putting on the DC he does want to see by doing this?

You could try explaining this to him - that it will mess up the elder DC - but I TBH if he really is selfish and a bully then it's unlikely to make much of a dent on him.

I don't know what to suggest really. My heart and head both say step back from the situation. Don't encourage him, don't make it easy for him. Don't obstruct him, but see how much of an effort he'll make without you chasing him for it. If he backs off, none of you are really losing out on much are you. sad

OTOH, your DC have a half sibling, which really complicates things.

Sorry for not being particularly helpful but huge sympathy for you. None of this mess is your fault or your DCs.

buickmackane Sat 18-Jun-11 12:40:18

Thanks for your input guys. He texted this morning asking if it was still ok to pick dc1 &2 up tomorrow and I told him they're still refusing to see him. That was it - end of discussion, so I doubt very much he'll come round tomorrow or make any effort with dc3. That's how much effort he's willing to make - a text to me. I know he'll turn it into my fault at mediation though.

gillybean2 Sat 18-Jun-11 13:07:14

He needs to come, even if they refuse to go with him. Hard as that is for him he needs to ensure they know he won't give up on them so easy.
I would suggest they're pushing and making it hard to see if he will let them go. And he is...

Riakin Mon 20-Jun-11 14:26:55

Hi buickmackane,

I agree with Gillybean here its technically not acceptable the eldest refusing to go with [ex] Dad.

Can i just be very cheeky something i always ask but was the breakup a nasty one?

What are the childrens reasons for not going?

TheNextMrsBuble Mon 20-Jun-11 14:55:05

I'm not wanting to start an argument/slanging match, but how does making the two elder DC see their father when they don't want to/refuse to acceptable? From the OP description they have sound reasons not to want to go and I really don't see why they should be forced to against their will.

GypsyMoth Mon 20-Jun-11 15:01:41

how old are they all??

this will have some bearing on what a judge would rule. wih my case (at first,he ended up with zero contact) judge listened to the eldest 2 and as they didnt want contact he said he wouldnt (and actually couldnt anyway) force it....but with the younger 2,contact was ordered

barbiegrows Mon 20-Jun-11 15:01:43

It creates enormous damage in a family when some children are 'favoured' above others. It causes the most damage to the 'favoured' children as they are caught with confused guilt and sympathy for the 'non-favoured' child.

I would go with the "all or nothing" approach, and certainly "all on my terms".

Be strong, your ex sounds like an arse. He had an affair when you were 6 months pregnant, right? Go hardline - for the kids. Call time out until he sticks to a sensible agreement.

GypsyMoth Mon 20-Jun-11 15:02:45

can you tel us more about the 'sporaic contact' with the older two over past two and a half years?

buickmackane Mon 20-Jun-11 21:11:23

DC are 9, 6 and 2. They never once went willingly. I had to cajole them every single time. Contact has been sporadic because of dc unwillingness and often refusal to go with their father. When this happens we either don't hear from him for months or (as has been the case for the whole of this year) I get a text some weeks asking if he can see them the coming Sunday. I always tell the children he's texted and ask them if they'd like to go (assuring them it's absolutely fine with me). They never want to so I reply back "they don't want to" or something similar. That's it. He never asks how they are or asks to speak to them.

DC tell me when they've been with him they don't get to talk to him or play with him without the other's being there. If they go out somewhere they end up chasing after the 3 yr old step-brother by request of xh and his partner and made to sit separately - eg if on a ride xh sits with step-son. When at xh's home they are left unsupervised and say step-brother is very naughty and they often end up in trouble and get blamed for things he did or for defending themselves physically and step-brother getting hurt.

He hasn't paid any maintenance for two years. I used to ask him for money and he'd reply that he couldn't give me what he didn't have. Last October I decided enough's enough and contacted the csa. What a bust-up that caused! He's threatened to sell the house we live in (I know he can't - not enough equity but he didn't know I knew that IYSWIM). He told me I was jeopardising his new family and that if I didn't call off the csa and agree to a private agreement he'd have to quit his job and go on benefits and then I would be lucky to get a fiver! He wanted me to agree to a private arrangement but we had one before and he only paid it once. I simply don't trust him to pay it now and know he's just desperate for me to cancel the csa. He now accuses me of refusing his money! He tells people he tries to give me money but I won't accept it as I think I'll get more through the csa! Had he been contributing ANYTHING regularly I wouldn't have contacted the csa as I knew he'd be very angry about it.

No surprise, by the way, he didn't turn up on Sunday.

I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulder's since Thursday and was in tears a few times out of nowhere, but after talking it through with wise friend's have now realised that his relationship with his children is not my responsibility. Sat in mediation I was feeling pressure to be as accomodating as possible so the children didn't lose their father. Now I see that he has been a terrible father for the last 3 years and they deserve so much better. He'd need to put in a lot of time and effort to build it back and he's not willing to do that so I am not going to feel guilty!

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