My son doesn't want to see his father - what do I do?(141 Posts)
After 10 years of marriage, my then husband started online dating when our son was just under a year old.
Our son is now 2 (3 at Christmas) and does not like going to see, or stay with, his father.
For about 8 months he has been saying "I don't like daddy", "don't make me see daddy" and running away from him when he sees him. Normally, people we meet he goes straight up to them and gives them a hug.
He's come back from ExH dirty and stinking of an unclean house, with severe nappy rash, with head injuries (which ExH can't/won't explain) and with other marks and bruises.
Nursery have called Children's Services as they were concerned how my son reacted to seeing his father when he picked him up.
I was driving home from a friend's house yesterday and explain to my son that he would be staying with daddy tonight, and he just started crying. He wasn't making lots of noise, just silent tears and trying to curl up into a ball (he couldn't as he was in his car seat). He curls up whenever he sees him. He looked very upset and depressed. He said he wanted to hold my hand and he just squeezed and squeezed it and wouldn't let go.
I am seriously concerned he's being neglected or worse when he's there and I don't know what to do.
I work full time and need someone to help me on Saturday mornings but I have no family to have him. Some friends have offered occasional help, but nothing I can really rely on. But my son's happiness and welfare need to come first.
I wouldn't let him go under any circumstances. Is there a court order? Poor little boy 😥
Unexplained injuries, dirty nappy and distressed child? No way would any child of mine be going there!
See that's my gut instinct but I never know if I'm overreacting etc. There's no court order in place.
ExH'a driving scares the crap out of me too - he's written off 3 cars, crashed a further 3 in the space of 3 years. He didn't take any notice at all of my concerns.
I've raised these issues with him too, and again just completely steamrollers me. I find it very hard to stand up to him but I need to put my son first.
ExH has never once said what he does with our son when he has him - whether it's a park, beach, soft play etc. and has never once asked me how he is, or enjoying school or swimming etc.
I literally don't know what to do or how to protect my son
If there is any concern about proper neglect, I would be applying immediately to stop contact and calling the right people to get things documented.
If there is no sign whatsoever of neglect or harm I would not be letting a young child dictate whether they didn't want to see their other parent or not. But it seems like this is irrelevant in your case.
The pictures are I have of the nappy rash are horrendous. Nursery was horrified he'd got into that state in only a week (I had an operation on my knee so ExH had our son whilst I recovered. ) and even the GP gasped when she saw it.
It's my son's reaction to hearing about seeing his father that really worries me. There's no smiling, no happy noises, no pleasure at all. I can't get anything out of him as to what happens when he's there - he just repeats that he doesn't want to see daddy.
You don't send him there. If he can't explain injuries and your DS is frightened of him then you keep him safe. On a practical level, is there anyone at the nursery that you can employ on a Saturday morning? Also, ask them to keep a record to help your (potential) fight through the courts.
You can call social services your self. Bloody hell don't let your son see his father. Get a solicitor. If it goes to court cafcass get involved. Which they need to.
Stop him neglecting your son.
How was your XH with him before you split up?
Please don't let him go there again! Sounds horrendous. You need to protect your son. I would email your ex with the reasons, including the baooy rash, dirtiness and terrified reaction of your son. If he kicks up a fuss you then have a record for the authorities.
I know that if I stop contact that he'll say I'm using my son as a weapon against him etc etc but he clearly doesn't enjoy, or want to be, in the company of his father.
I have called Children's services before (when nursery referred him) but they said I needed more evidence, and of worse neglect?
I am totally stuck on a Saturday morning but I will try to find a good childminder or babysitter. It's only for a few hours (I teach at a boarding school who still do Saturday lessons).
I have had 18 months of fighting ExH to get the divorce sorted and he's a very nasty man (it turns out - I wouldn't have married him if I'd known to start with!)
I have e-mailed and texted him in the last trying to stop contact. I cited concerns over his driving, our son's welfare and behaviour but nothing helped. I asked my mother for support too but she said she didn't want to get involved and didn't want a scene.
I don't know how to stop him seeing our son without a massive argument and fight.
Maresdotes he was only a year old when we split up. ExH didn't show much interest in him - was always me buying him books, toys etc. and doing the deeds, changing him etc.
I didn't notice a massive change in looking after my son when I kicked the husband out ... let's put it that way ...
I'd say my son's reaction has only been obvious in the last 6 months or so, but that's also coinciding with him becoming more confident and his speech coming on in leaps and bounds. He still won't tell me why he doesn't want to go there but everything is telling me that it needs to stop.
Little white lie - tell him that DS isn't feeling well? Or would he come over to check?
You need to get professional advice and if CS can't help then maybe see a solicitor?
Ffs,why do you even need to ask?? Is fucking obvious..your poor son
I don't know how to stop him seeing our son without a massive argument or fight
Well, gear yourself up for a massive fight, then. There will be help here and elsewhere for you.
You don't need Social Services or anyone else to tell you it's ok to stop contact. It's your decision. Contact has been stopped for less. You could say to your ex and DS that it's for a short period to allow DS to settle back down.
What are the logistics of contact at the moment? Is there a regular schedule? Who approaches who to make arrangements?
It may be time to re-draw the boundaries with your ex. I would stop all conversation with ex and only communicate by email or text. I would change mobile number and keep a phone just for contact with him, and not check it very often. I would not let him into my home anymore.
If DS had come back from staying with another family member or friend or babysitter like that, you wouldn't question whether he should go back.
It may be time to start planning your life as if your ex wasn't around, so that you don't have to rely on him for anything.
OP, sounds like you're working hard to make the best of a bad situation you don't want to be in. I don't think he's going to be the dad you or DS want him to be though, so it might be time to start making some tough decisions.
Take care of yourself and start gathering your strength and support.
(I'm saying nothing about your mother. Can you imagine saying that to your daughter? )
I know it seems obvious Halloweensnake but when you're completely on your own with no friends or family to help, whilst working full time, other things complicate matters. I just need some support.
White lies won't help - he needs to be told one way or another, preferably by an outside agency or he won't take any notice. He's spent 10 years controlling me emotionally and financially and steamrollers every feeling and instinct I have. He always has done.
I will look into how to get a court order. Can I do this? Or does it need to come from Children's Services or a solicitor?
Thanks Emerelda that's made me smile
My mother is a whoooole other story. The woman who, finding out her daughter had been raped 400 miles away at University, replied "at least he didn't strangle you afterwards" and then hung the phone up ... any way ...
It's only ever been me that's initiated contact, but ONLY so I can work. He now has him Friday evenings through to Saturday afternoon whilst I work. I set up a google calendar so that he can arrange time with our son, but I think ExH's only "asked" to have our son once or twice, in 18 months. Why, I have no idea - don't know if it was a planned holiday, his g/f's birthday etc.
Planning for ExH not to be around would be lovely. Would make life lots easier as I'd know where I stand for everything.
I'm thinking the simplest explanation would be that I've found a babysitter to do Saturday mornings but he'll probably turn around and say he wants to see our son.
He was supposed to be picking our son up from nursery on Fridays but I've made that safer as he now comes to me on the school bus and I take him home from there to meet ExH. I asked ExH if he had a contingency plan if he was late and he said he'd get someone else to pick up , without telling me who they were or if it was someone other than him.
Oh my god I couldn't read and not reply, your poor little boy. It would be his reaction to going to see his dad that would worry me the most. I know as a lone parent l, you never want to seem like you are overreacting or keeping a child away from their father for no good reason. You 100% are NOT overreacting! Make sure you write everything down and keep a record. If you were the one who initiated contact then I highly doubt he will put up much of a fight to see him. I wish you the best of luck OP and I wish I had better advice for you.
Thanks Willow. I'm worried sick. Going to see if I can find cover for Saturdays and see if it fizzles out first, I think.
You don't need a court order, your ex might. If you can't sort out a contact plan between you, he would need to apply to a court for contact. Get yourself over to Legal Matters for advice on court orders. One of the things the court will look at is the status quo though.
I wonder if your Saturday work is sustainable in the current situation. Is it part of your main job or an extra?
Hi Emerelda it's part of my contract - usual Saturday teaching, rather than an extra. I finish teaching at 12.10. I've sent an e-mail to all the teachers at work to see if they have a childminder I can share costs with, or if they know of anyone who might be able to help it's a start at least!
He's back from his father. He smells of dirty house (every time he stinks) and tastes of sick. He's given me a couple of kisses and he tastes of vomit. His father hasn't said anything about him being sick. Should I ask him, or just leave it?
Ask him. Start asking these questions by text so you can build up a trail for future use. Does he usually respond to text messages or email?
Most, if not al, of our communication is via text. If it's verbal he ends up shouting at me, usually in public and it's acutely embarrassing and not an example I want to be setting to our son
I think I have sorted my Saturday morning childcare cover so that my ExH doesn't have to have our son whilst I work.
*How do I tell him? Does anyone fancy drafting a text I could send?*
He's never once offered or asked to look after our son - he only does it because I asked/told him too.
Part of me thinks he may say "oh ok that's fine" - he's retraining, going to uni, doing exams etc. but part of me also worries he'll kick up a huge fuss about me stopping contact (which is exactly what I want to do but trying to do it quietly). He's pulled the stopping contact argument out before when I had to remove my son from his care despite being 10 days post knee op and could barely move.
*If he does kick up a fuss about contact what do I say then?*
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