Children's changing opinion on Dad(8 Posts)
I split from ex over New Years.
We have 3 kids 12,10 and 6 and he work full time while I work from home around the kids.
The children have sadly come to the conclusion that there Dad is an arse and are withdrawing from him.
Ds1 calls him Dickhead to his friends and thinks that his Dad is full of shit because he's broken lots of promises, contacts him by text sporadically and gaslighted him when ex was having an affair with ow. He's also annoyed that ex has gone from seeing him rarely to having to see him regularly. Ex does nothing with the kids bar chat, watch TV and text ow during contact. He arrives for contact at random times and will cancel last minute which annoys ds1 as he likes routine. He feels smothered and annoyed that ex throws money at him in an attempt to prove he's a good Dad. He loves his Dad but has asked me if I can reduce contact time because he sees it as pointless.
Dd used to text her Dad but his unreliability with replying has led her to stop texting as she's sick of waiting for replies that never come.
Ds2 is annoyed by being forced into having contact with a Dad who was previously never around much. Ex also refuses to feed ds2 food that he's not intolerant to. If he has the kids more than one day then ds2 ends up with diarreah, vomiting, stomach cramps etc despite dd and ds1 telling ex to check labels, order hot chocolate with soy milk etc. ex is taking the kids away for 5 days next week and Im dreading it on behalf on ds2 as he'll almost certainly end up ill.
Ex has been moody since the split despite him causing and initiating it so the kids walk on eggshells trying to gauge his mood. He can be in a good mood but is often physically in a room but not emotionally there which annoys the kids as they feel awkward and forced.
Should I be minimising their Dad's behaviour or continue letting them vent and withdraw from him? I am really sad for them that they realise that he is a crap Dad. I can't talk to ex about this stuff as he'll see it as an attack rather than an attempt to get him to be a Dad that his kids want to hang out with.
sorry for your tricky situation sounds very awkward
Don't minimise it, or deny it... acknowledge their experience of him, and their assessment without joining in or badmouthing him. Try to point out acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in child/adult and adult/adult relationships from other sources (films, books etc|) to give them a moral compass without leading to conflicting emotions about Dad who they may love but dislike.
they will work it out
You just provide the stable base and the possibility of contact.
take the moral high ground and stake it out!
Your children sound, clever, tuned in and switched on...they will be good allies.
Just echoing what Joruth says. It breaks my heart to see my eldest in particular, recognising and being negatively affected by the behaviours. I have the added risk of him having assaulted her previously - if she questions or 'anatagonises' him by calling him on his behaviour, she is at risk, including from emotional abuse - I have had to go and collect her on a number of occasions because he starts to cry. She is still such a little girl, but has had to grow up so quickly
my DSs can new like this with my ex.My youngest 7 has a particularly difficult relationship with him, he just doesn't know how to parent. My oldest 11 , just gets annoyed with him. I wouldn't reduce contact though, as one day they might regret loosing the relationship.Also you might need him to help ut more if you are ever ill etc. I try and work around the issues, sometimes I organise days out for them with the ex(sigh) just so they are not sitting round the house watching tv.
If the relationship is lost it will be the ex.s fault...
I don't agree with keeping contact up for the sake of it. Have similar situation and dd2 has asked to have just once per week as eg in weekends is poor quality contact he ignore her etc. In week too but is less time t be ignored if an evening.
Dd1 13 refuses to go at all...
It is about quality not quantity . Thnk of the dear friend or relative you don't see much due to t distance etc but when you do you pick up where you left off.. It is about the quality of the relationship. think of those in army who go off to Afghanistan but come back and kids love them just the same . If the quality of relationship is good then it is not about time spent together.
If the quality of the relationship is poor then no quantity will make up for that..rather less is more and maybe they even reach a point of the dc wanting to increase if you go with reducing contact to say once per month.
It has been said that bent bored in the parents company is "normal" and is same at home with resident parent ..but I do think the NRp has to make more effort if time is limited. And surely if you. Only seeing your dc once per week etc you will make the most of that time and arrange your work etc so that you can spend time with them and not just in The same room... At least for enough time that dc feels wanted.
Joruth's post is brilliant
However at 10 and 12 they are old enough to decide about reducing contact. Maybe you could have a planned discussion with the about how if they want to change contact, what their ppreferences would be?
I also think you could help them address his unreliability and tried and empower them a bit. For example they could email him and say they are available only at x time and won't be waiting around.
The diet thing with your youngest child is totally unreasonable though I have seen it before on mn.
Thank you everyone.
I feel resentful having to organise stuff for ex to do with the kids so their time together is more meaningful. I had him run errands with ds2 as ds1 had friends over for a sleepover and dd has an activity to go to.
I can't see a way of talking to ex about the kids' gripes without him kicking off. A couple of weeks ago I asked him to reply to the kids' texts as they felt ignored but instead of realising that I was trying to help him be in their good books, he became defensive. Ds1 and dd showed me their phones and the ratios if texts from them to texts from their Dad is about 10 to 1. The texts tend to be a good morning, Im back from school, good night, what are you eating for supper sort of thing so easy to answer.
I think that reducing contact would be a possibility. At the moment they see him much more than when we were together so very weird for all of us.
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