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So fed up with ex and his poor parenting

(7 Posts)
craptastic Mon 25-Jan-16 12:08:19

I have 2 children and their father is remarried with 1 child. Been trying to support contact between him and the children for 8 years now and I'm at the end of my tether.

To be brief, ex has never been abusive, neglectful as such but he doesn't fill his parenting role at all. He has no interest in the children's lives and this includes school, hobbies and oldest child's extensive medical history, and I gave up trying to get him interested a long while ago. Therefore he doesn't really know them, despite fairly regular contact in the last couple of years. My youngest doesn't really have a relationship with him but adores her step sibling so will see him occasionally. Eldest up to a while ago worshipped the ground he walked on.

However, they are growing up now and seeing him for what he really is, which for me is a good thing, but heartbreaking too. His idea of quality time with them is playing on his ipad while they run around soft play for 4 hours, or going to see his friends, or a mate about a car etc etc. Or like on Saturday, fix his car for 3 hours while they sit indoors being minded by his wife (various incidents over the years suggests she does not want the children in their lives and the kids have picked up on this as she constantly snaps at them when they are around- ex does not deny this).

Both children came home in tears, saying they were bored, spent no time with their dad, that his wife just sat the whole time with a cross face. Ex had also lost his temper with eldest (ex has no patience with him and never has- his SN can make him difficult at times but hes very well behaved)

The children often say to me that they wish they had a dad like my brother (who is a very hands on involved dad), and whenever they achieve something in school I will tell them to tell dad, and they dont because 'he wont care'. Its upsetting.

There's no affection there what so ever, even if its been a month since he's seen them, there are no hugs. Ex literally can't wait to drop them home after he's had them for a day and will never call/email between visits- its always me doing the chasing to see when he's next picking them up.

To me, it just pointless. If I discuss it with him, he doesn't seem in the slightest bit bothered, but promises to make more of an effort. This usually lasts a week.

I appreciate he has another family, works and has a busy life but even for one day a month to sit down with the children and play a game/go for a bike ride/watch a film together etc, proper quality time, just seems to much to ask.

I have tried to maintain contact, despite my better judgement for years, because my son really does love him despite his faults and being disappointed by him on a regular basis, and because I don't want them to ever think it was me that ruined their relationship by stopping contact. Despite having zero interest and me giving ex the option of stopping contact, he still insists he wants to see them. But I cannot keep watching him hurting the kids.

Any advice?

OP’s posts: |
Mamapotter2008 Mon 25-Jan-16 12:39:40

I'm much earlier in this then you are. My instinct is to say that children are entitled to express their disappointment with their father, without their mother making decisions about future contact on their behalf.

I have conversations with my 7 year old on a daily basis about this. She's really angry with her dad because she's picked up on how he will say it's her fault they don't talk on the phone because she's so busy, whereas actually it's because the only time he's prepared to do it is during her after school activities, as to wait for her to be home would disrupt pursuing someone to fuck his social life.

I listen, I secretly seethe, I cuddle, I tell her I would be angry too if my daddy did that, that he loves her very much and everyone has a different way of showing how they love someone. My heart breaks when she says she prefers my way of showing love.

Do I think a clean break would be better? Absolutely. But I'm not unbiased - I have my own feelings about the peice of shit I was silly enough to have children with the father of my darling daughter. She still wants to see him, and he still wants to see her.

Even if it was the right call, my daughter would never get to see what the outcome would be should it be allowed to continue, so it's likely she'd romanticise her Father and feel very hard done by.

I cannot change how he behaves. All I can to is mitigate the effect he has on her by being the best parent I can be.

craptastic Mon 25-Jan-16 12:49:23

Thanks for your thoughts Mama.

I agree with you, it's just I feel like I've been doing this for so long! I'm positive a clean break would not harm either child. They get plenty of love and attention from me and my family. He gives them nothing in terms of affection, comfort, attention, discipline etc, everything a parent needs to give their child. Yet, as you say, I cannot make that decision for them.

I'm sure the youngest will be the first to say, no more. She's mentally older than my oldest child, and on several occasions she has refused to go. Except, I'm sure he thinks it is me putting those thoughts in her head. My eldest almost has some kind of loyalty to him, even when ex has upset him, he will still go. Part of his SN as well i guess, 'I see him every other saturday, that's my routine so I need to go'.

OP’s posts: |
starry0ne Tue 26-Jan-16 03:18:18

My thoughts are stop doing the chasing..If you think he isn't generally bothered at all..It will more than likely dwindle..

It sounds like you have done everything to promote a positive relationship..

Do they have a set day? if so they will be available on .... let me know what time you will be here..Make him get off his backside if he wants contact..

MrMarried Mon 01-Feb-16 03:30:38

Keep trying. Please. I am 100% certain my ex would say this of me, yet I adore my daughter and would do anything for her. What I find hard as the parent with lesser contact is not wanting to chase the affections of my little girl too much. I did this early on and I found myself more as an annoying big brother than father. I consciously chose to sit back a little, although I am convinced that my ex thinks I don't give a monkeys- this is so far from the truth. Truly, how communicative are you with him? Do you share these things or do they build in your mind? I am only challenging this as I am on the other side of this scenario, but I am a willing party who loves my little girl.

craptastic Tue 02-Feb-16 21:07:24

I believe I am more than communicative with him. I have had so many conversations with regarding his lack of effort mostly. He absolutely hates confrontation so it is difficult to get him to engage.

I called him on the monday I wrote this post, explaining to him that the children were upset and its becoming a regular thing now. His response 'oh dear'. I said he needed to start making more effort- and that doesnt mean buying them presents etc, just spending quality time with them and at least pretending that he is enjoying himself. I told him honestly that he will lose them because they are not getting much pleasure out of seeing him anymore.

I gave him a range of options, gave him the get out card, offered to reduce contact, asked him if this was really working for him etc. He ended the call as quick as he could and nor me or the children have heard from him since (over a week). So I have no idea what is going on in his head right now.

Mr Married, I have tried since my youngest was a baby, she is now 8. Believe me, I have tried! I think you hit the nail on the head with the 'big brother' thing. He is exactly like that, but that's not how it should be. I feel by not taking on his parental role he is in fact ruining his relationship with his children.

OP’s posts: |
HormonalHeap Tue 16-Feb-16 20:49:22

I'm not a lone parent anymore and am a lot further down the line. Ex was/is exactly as you describe yours. Not like MrMarried above, but has proved in every way that he genuinely does not care about them or what happens to them.

When the kids were small I shielded them from this knowledge. As they grow older though, they do compare their parents to others, and it just gets harder to protect them. Now mine are teenagers, It's just one of life's knocks. Parents stop being their world and are replaced by friendship groups. I guess what I'm trying to say is although it hurts, it does get easier.

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