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DC not wanting contact, wwyd?

(17 Posts)
AllFurCoat Thu 27-Mar-14 11:11:44

One of my DC has decided they don't want to see their dad this weekend, as in full on tantruming and screaming that they're not going sad they're usually really excited, but last weekend I got a weepy phonecall asking me to come and collect as they didn't want to stay there. When asked why they don't want to go it's "because I'll miss you too much" and when I explained I'm working, they said they'll just go to their grandparents!

I don't really know what to do, I don't want to force contact, but feel like I should be encouraging it. The stupid arse told DC last week that he didn't care if they didn't want to go hmm I don't know whether to suggest going anyway and they can be collected if needs be, or just saying to leave it for this week? I don't think anything's particularly happened there as our other DC is happy to go!

teenagetantrums Thu 27-Mar-14 11:16:04

How old are they? I wouldn't force it if ex is happy not to have them, if you have other child care available . My Dd never liked staying at her dads but was hapy enough to see him when he bothered, so she went for the day and then came home at bedtime would that be an option for you?

AllFurCoat Thu 27-Mar-14 11:27:36

DC1's 5, which I think is why I'm unsure, if they were a bit older I think I'd find it easier to say it's fine not to go iykwim? My mum's said she'll have her, but I feel a bit bad as she's done a lot for me recently. From talking to DC yesterday, they seem to want to go overnight, but then come home the next day. Bloody typical as I've only recently gone back to work, which thinking about it could be why they're upset, although it doesn't explain wanting to go to the grandparents!

FrogbyAnotherName Thu 27-Mar-14 13:25:25

ali whatever you decide, a word of caution- my DHs DD did exactly this (she was a bit older) - and her mum allowed her to go to Grandmas because DD said she was happy to go there, just not to Dad. Contact with her Dad gradually declined.

Then, a few months later, DHs DD started kicking off about going to her grandmas when Mum was working as well - and it was a lot harder for her mum to say "you've got to" when she'd allowed DD to choose whether to go to dads or not. There was a lot of drama and upset in three households as a result.

If you think she's safe, then I'd insist that she goes - after all, if she howled the placed down if you left her at a nursery or holiday club you would leave her there. Wouldn't you?

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 27-Mar-14 13:30:39

Do you have a gut feel? Do you think she just misses you or is there more to this?
My DD did this I felt uneasy and I was aware Ex was drinking heavily. Long and short of it he was drink driving with her in the car, smoking heavily around her and verbally abusing her.

AllFurCoat Thu 27-Mar-14 14:21:06

frog that's what I'm worried about, that DC could just be trying to play me - even when they're little they still know which buttons to press! Tbh I don't know what I'd do about school/holiday club, cos I've never been in that situation, both DC have always been really happy to go off independently. We've been separated for over 4 years, so it's not a new thing iykwim?

lonecat I don't know what my gut's telling me tbh, I've been worried for a few weeks as they've become quite clingy and thought it was possibly an issue at school, but have been told it's not that. Last week was the first contact for a few weeks and part of me's wondering if it's DC's way of "punishing" him for not being around, by saying well if you don't want to see me, I don't want to see you. I just don't know. I've had a chat with DC2, who is very forthcoming with information and they've not said anything that would indicate a reason.

I'm erring on the side of go this weekend and see how you get on, but I don't want them thinking I don't care or won't listen. We've been doing a lot of talking recently about how if you tell mummy/a grown up about things that make you feel sad, they can do their best to help and I wouldn't want to send them and seem like I'm doing the opposite. I think we probably need another chat tonight!

FrogbyAnotherName Thu 27-Mar-14 16:09:21

We've been doing a lot of talking recently about how if you tell mummy/a grown up about things that make you feel sad, they can do their best to help and I wouldn't want to send them and seem like I'm doing the opposite. I think we probably need another chat tonight!

This is great, because you can expand on it and explain there are some things that we don't look forward to (even grown ups) but that we have to do, and often, we enjoy them once we get going.

Those are very different from things that are dangerous, or damaging, or that hurt.

You can't protect your DDs from 'sadness' and shouldn't try - the important thing is teaching them life skills to cope with sadness/grief etc.

but they also need to learn how to express themselves so that when something isn't right in their life, they are able to communicate it in a way that adults take notice of.

AllFurCoat Thu 27-Mar-14 18:14:58

Thanks, I've just tried that and I'm still getting a point blank refusal and a refusal to even go for an hour. I'm half tempted to tell a little White lie and say grandparents are busy that day blush I just feel really stuck and lost! Apparently there's no other reason apart from that they'll miss me. I'll be taking DC2 anyway, so it might be different when we get there, although I doubt it. Apparently last weekend DC1 just sat on the sofa all day and refused to talk to him and just kept saying they wanted me sad

FrogbyAnotherName Thu 27-Mar-14 18:36:26

If you trust her dad then I think you need to put on a united front (and this is going to be really, really tough for him, so be gentle if you can) and insist that she spends time with him as planned. Missing you is NOT a good reason not to spend time with her Dad. And she needs to understand that. She's old enough to understand the illogic - I don't want to go to dads cos I miss you mummy, but I'm happy to spend time with grandparents instead even though I won't see you If she gets her way in this, it'll set a precedent for other things she's struggling with emotionally.

Has he been pandering to her? If he's been a bit Disney-Dad and bribing her to cheer up etc then she might be trying it on a bit.

Long term, school should be able to put a few play-led sessions in place to help her open up and share her emotions; eventually, she'll be reassured that she can enjoy time with Daddy despite missing you.

AllFurCoat Thu 27-Mar-14 19:03:33

Crap, I tried so hard to keep it gender neutral and slipped up grin I don't think he is Disney-dad really, unless you count endless supplies of sweets and chocolate! There is a bit of back story, he's been really unwell in the last 6m, but she's always been desperate to see him, I suppose it could be a reaction to all of that? Her teacher's not very approachable, but it's parents eve soon so I might have a word then! It just feels like it's against all of my mummy instincts to send her when she doesn't want to go and is so upset!

FrogbyAnotherName Thu 27-Mar-14 21:16:18

It just feels like it's against all of my mummy instincts to send her when she doesn't want to go and is so upset!

We've all faced that situation at some point early in parenthood - the specifics are different, but making a DC do something you know they will benefit from despite their resistance is one of the tough parts of parenting - particularly if the DC has been reasonably compliant as a baby/toddler - you do begin to second guess yourself and wonder if you are doing the right thing.

Reading some general parenting strategies/guides/books will help you decide where your line is about this and other things - I'm a tough-love parent and it's worked for me and my DD, but other parents need to find a different approach if applying the tough-love causes them anxiety and stress and if they are likely to cave.

The most important thing for a DC is consistency; if she discovers she can influence things once, she'll test it again - and if the outcome isn't the same, then confusion and anxiety may result.

Does the school have a Family Support/Pastoral Care worker? There should be details on the website/prospectus and you could call and make a direct appointment with them rather then deal with her teacher. This isn't really an issue for parents evening, I don't think.

balia Thu 27-Mar-14 21:31:35

Probably is the going back to work thing, that's a hard thing to adjust to. Having said that, though, DSS did this when he was younger (maybe not as old as 5) screaming and crying at handovers, saying he didn't want to go etc - but he did it both ways, coming to us and at going home time!

I'd say be firm. It isn't really appropriate, at her age, to decide where she is going to be. DSS's mum was reluctant to accept that he was fine as soon as we got round the corner and refused to 'force' DSS to come, but DH didn't have that luxury so had to carry him to the car literally kicking and screaming, having to peel his hands off door frames etc. Luckily (as it was awful) we only had to do it twice before he got the message that when it was time, it was time. With his mother he kept it up for MONTHS. I think it was just about discovering that he had the power to control the adults!

Minime85 Fri 28-Mar-14 06:34:56

its so hard but I think they should go. mime say the same and it sounds like there is a lack of routine with it? so if its been a few weeks that will probably make it tougher. mine are very similar as ex is a shift worker and there are no set days.

we've built up over night stays gradually as eldest refused to stay over to start but she still went for day instead. mine face time or call if they want to as well which reassures them.

Peacesword Fri 28-Mar-14 11:08:05

Any idea what may be going on at her Dads? It's a tough one, I'm in a similar situation except I know exactly why dd doesn't want to go - her SM bullies her, excludes her and moans about her and me within earshot. She's vile. And Xh allows it to happen.

Dd is older and able to cope for short periods but sadly I don't think it will be long until she completely votes with her feet, as her older sister has done.

This last visit dd returned in tears saying she just wanted a cuddle with me while she was there, and she's been really clingy and needing reassurance.

I think if you can get to the bottom of what this is about then you know how to deal with it. I've told dd that she needs to see him, but talked to her about how to manage and protect herself when she's there.

AllFurCoat Fri 28-Mar-14 11:58:46

Well I was going down the tough love route and she was going, we were all in agreement it was best. Just spoken to ex and explained that she didn't want to come but I've explained that he misses her and she needs to go. He's rung back and fucking said he won't force her, he's not had a night out in years (even though he's just been on holiday) and that he'll go out tonight instead and that I'm not to let my parents have her tomorrow. I'm raging, shaking uncontrolably and feel like I'm about to cry! Poor DC2 is going to be so upset cos they're really excited to go sad fucking idiot!

Peacesword Fri 28-Mar-14 14:26:05

It's really hard when you really want your children to have a good relationship with their Dad and their Dad just wrecks it. How old is your other child?

Sounds like there is something going on for him. Without the backstory it's hard to even surmise. Do you think he might be ill again? Or has he met someone, which is why he'd rather go out than see his children?

On thing he doesn't have a say over is what you do instead. If you want them to go to your parents he can't tell you otherwise, that's completely down to you.

AllFurCoat Fri 28-Mar-14 20:47:19

DC2's 4. Tbh I think it's a control thing with him, he doesn't like that I'm working again and happy and has seen this as an opportunity to ruin it, but he's totally shot himself in the foot. I think it's just him being a knob really, I've always told DP he's a knob (obviously I've never, ever said anything infront of the kids) and he said tonight that he's realised for the first time that he only gives a shit about himself sad

Totally stuck for the next step now though, DD wouldn't even speak to him on the phone earlier, just clamped her mouth shut. I obviously want to get to the bottom of it, but don't want to push too hard or ask leading questions. He's said he'll have DC2 next weekend ad DD doesn't have to go if she doesn't want, I'm guessing she'll say no again. Its just gutted me how easily he's given up sad I've never been anything but positive about him to them and really tried to make sure they have a good relationship and at the first hurdle he pretty much gives up!

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