What to do when the kids don't want to go with daddy?(19 Posts)
Ex walked out last summer. Kids are 2, 5 and 7. My 5 year old has always been the one to say he wants to stay with me, says he's never leaving home etc etc.
Ex is due to pick them up in an hour and my 5 year old is adamant he won't be going. They did see ex last thurs and fri so maybe that's why? Ex is bringing them back tomorrow bedtime.
What do I do? I know people will say he isn't old enough to make these decisions... Sounds to me like DS is bored. Ex lives with the ow and her kids and they play on their nexus tablets a lot (all the kids have one each there). I don't want to push DS out the door crying, but then again it'd be awful if I keep him here and he does it again next time...
I think it's a tough one. Have you spoken to your ex about how he's feeling? Maybe your son would benefit from a sit down chat with both of you to explain?
Tbh I don't think you should let him stay with you unless your ex is in agreement. I appreciate that's not easy though
I would contact your ex and explain that he doesn't want to go - and you want to know why. Could it be that the other children are picking on him? Is he feeling left out?
Of course he is not too young to make that decision, why would you send him if he doesn't want to go? Yes its a shame but if he doesn't want to spend time with his father there is a reason for it and i'd be wanting to get to the bottom of this before he went back - its up to the father to make it so that he wants to go, if he can't do that, then he doesn't deserve contact.
I've had similar. can he go for the day rather than stay over too? both mine did this to start with as didn't want to stay over. its still a bit of a push to jolly them along about staying now but they go and face time or call me if needed. is there any way he could do that?
I don't know your circumstances but I find its better if I drop them at their dad's rather than him pick them up. much more clingy if he collects them from here.
You're right, he is too young to make that decision. Handovers are a classically difficult time for children, especially when the change is recent. One of mine would have full on hysterical sobbing fits, including 6mo of him begging me to let him stay here all the time but was settled with Dad after half an hour.
I deal with it in exactly the same way I do when they don't want to go to school, the doctors or the supermarket - firm, swift and cheerful, any uncertainty on my part whether I expressed it or not only made it worse for him. Being bored is not a reason not to have contact. Have you spoken to ex? Is DS settled once the handover is done?
That was horrible!! He was so quiet and couldn't explain to me or ex why he didn't want to go. Just looked really sad waving at me from the car. Ex just said he thinks it's because DS doesn't get to do what he wants to do and that it's hard. How the hell does he think I manage on my own?!! Ex is making DS choose between 2 friends parties in a couple of weeks because he doesn't think it's fair to make the other 2 sit at the side watching. Don't understand why he can't leave them with 'her' and her kids as they get along fine from what I hear.
Annoyingly I did text ex last week asking if he could take DS out on his own even if just for a couple of hours as I think he'd really benefit from that . He didn't reply
Something else... On Friday when they came home DS kept saying they were going to the dinosaur park on Monday. Yesterday he told me he'd made it up. Feel really horrible for him. Sounds like he feels really left out when he's with them all.
Your ex sounds like a cunt - why did you send him? Maybe i am too soft but if my child didn't want to go and spend time with his father and his OW and other family i wouldn't make them.
What a wee shame. It does sound like he's struggling to find his place within the new household.
Lem I understand what you're saying I would probably feel the same but if you turn it round on its head and the son has a great time at his Dad's and doesn't want to go home tomorrow would it be ok for Dad to say, he doesn't want to go home so I'm not going to make him?
Ultimately he is too young to make the decisions. If OP allows him to stay home where does it stop? It would probably just result in mediation possibly court and personally that's something that if possible should be avoided IMHO.
I agree with nomoretether here. My DS doesn't want to go see his Dad, he tells me that all the time, and is fairly adamant. However ex and I get on really well, and I know for a fact DS has a great time when he is there.
The struggle for DS is that he doesn't want to leave me, likes his toys and his room (he shares with ex's GF's daughter) and doesn't like the thought of him going.
But nomore is right - this is just the same situation as if he didn't want to to go to school. I'm confident nothing else is going on, so it really is just that. And difficult as it may be the cheery but firm and resolute tone is the way to go.
OP - it's all still really new for your DS. And on top of that he has been introduced to OW and his kids very quickly. It's all really unsettling and will take time to adjust. Are you happy that nothing untoward is going on? That your DS isn't in danger of being hurt etc?
You've had a word with your DP, although he sounds like he was quite defensive about it, which is fairly common when the split is new, but I think the only thing you can do is keep on doing that. Whenever DS is unhappy, explain to your DP he is unhappy, but don't try to 'fix' it - your DP will react badly to this.
Also - talk to your DS. Mine is a bit younger but I always ask why he feels that way etc. Up till now I've only ever had silly responses, which I know means its more about leaving me and our home, which is something he can't yet express.
I understand what you're saying LEM, but I worry that if I say ok you can stay at home this time, that it will set a precedent for the future, and I don't want that. It's important for the kids to maintain a good relationship with their dad. DS is definitely the 'middle child' bless him, and can be difficult. But that's what parenting is all about.
Ex does love the kids loads and wants to see them lots too, but I do think he finds it hard looking after them. When he was here he never took them all out on his own. If he was on his own now, I don't know how he'd manage!
I texted him about an hour ago suggesting he drop the other 2 off tomorrow afternoon and take DS out for tea on his own. Hasn't replied yet!
Bugger - he won't reply will he GPPE?!
Yes they were introduced VERY quickly. Within 7 weeks after ex left in fact. They all stay round her house crammed into 1 bedroom with the other kids
Maybe the novelty is wearing off...
i agree with the others that say hes too young to make these decisions, i guess its just the change he doesnt like more than not wanting to go. i think you need to make him go to his dads house and be part of his life.
Sassy - I can only share with you my personal experience, however what I have learnt is that it is very difficult to go from coming up with solutions for both of you (I had this role in my relationship too) to only thinking about the stuff you can do.
If you want my advice, which is solely based n my own epxerience it would be this....
If your Ex is getting defensive about things it is likely because you are trying to come up with solutions on your own that involve him doing things. But you can't do that anymore. You have to focus on what you can do, and ask your ex to think about what he can do, rather than telling him what you think he ought to do.
It's because the dynamic in your relationship with him has changed. Me and my ex went through a period like this, but suggesting things he should do will only make him defensive and mad.
My advice would be to talk to your ex - explain neutrally what DS says - and ask him whether he has any ideas about what you can both do about it. Make sure he knows he has a responsibility but that you are not going to demand/ push him into things.
Then let go. Whatever he does or doesn't do about, nothing you say will change that. Just focus on what you can do, which is reassure, listen, explain but in the end be firm.
Also - all of this is really not surprising given how many changes poor DS has had to deal with so quickly, so perhaps some books on blended families and seperated parents that you can read together might help him through the confusion.
I have the same problem sassy. I have two dd's.
Dd1 is 7 and refuses to go anywhere with her dad. She is happy to see him here or at a relatives but wont go anywhere or go to his house where his gf and son are. I personally think its wrong to force a child to do something they dont want to do. He has 'contact' every 4-6 weeks. His choice not mine but of course because I have said dd1 would rather see him here or at relatives he sees that as me driving a wedge between them. I have never prevented him from seeing them. He just chooses to see them when it suits him.
I really dont know what to do. I think I have tried to compromise on behalf of dd but I just got a barrage of abuse and was told 'dd is scared of you'
What would you do if your five year old didn't want to go to school? Or to the dentist?
There is your answer.
Lemming that is not a good idea... If OP let's her children think it's okay not to go, it'll be very unsettling if/ when it goes to court and an order tells them all otherwise.
A special transition toy or object/ photo etc. can be a big help.
Oh it sounds so hard..
no real advise...the courts would say he is to young to decide but you need to establish whether it is because he wants to be with mummy or a problem at Dad's ..
Hopefully Ex will work to improve things
When my parents divorced they weren't very good at communication (to each other or me!). I remember feeling I had to keep both of them happy. I did also think they might get back together... I would keep him going for now and explain that it isn't about taking sides - you know he doesn't love you any less if he has fun with daddy. I never got that talk and it was very hard.
If he gets that and still doesn't want to go in a couple of months then perhaps rethink.
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