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Advice Needed - Should I put my child through co-parenting if father a disappointment

(13 Posts)
sgsj3319 Wed 25-Nov-20 12:37:51

Hi Everyone

I am new to this site and the reason I joined is because I really need some advice and was hoping to get that from someone who has been in a similar situation.

When I became pregnant with my daughter, me and her dad had been seeing each other on and off for over a year. He promised to be there for us and we decided to give it a go. After only a couple of months when I was 3 months pregnant he left and went back to his ex. He came back when I was 7 month pregnant, and left again when she was 3 weeks old (March 2019).

At this point, I found out that he was seeing his ex behind my back and a new woman. I also found out that as I was having stitches after giving birth he messaged a photo of our daughter to the new woman. Also, when she was just 2 weeks old he took her to see her 'Grandma' or so he told me, he actually took her to see his ex at his flat and then to the other woman at the pub on the way home!

The new woman later rang the Social Services and made a complaint against him, whilst I cant prove it, I have very strong evidence that it was her. The accusations were not true, but she used my daughter as a weapon to hurt her dad.

Despite me trying to arrange for him to see our daughter and almost begging him to care about her, he did not really see her on a regular basis until April 2020 (he saw her maybe once every 2-3 months). He then visited her once a week at the house where me and my daughter live but this stopped again in August 2020 when he got back in a relationship with the woman who reported him to Social Services.

Since August 2020 he has seen her for a total of 4 hours on 2 separate occasions. For approximately 1 month after he stopped seeing her she cried and screamed to see a photo of him on my phone. I told him about her being upset and he did nothing about it.

Recently, he has asked to see her on his own for 2 hours per week at his flat.

I just do not know what I should do, he clearly is not a stable role model in her life and he will do exactly what he always does. He will be a part of her life for a month or two then when he gets bored he will leave her again and I will be left to pick up the pieces. She is only 20 months old and whilst I appreciate and agree that she should have the option to have a relationship with her dad, I am also worried that he will continue to hurt her over and over again and that the impact of this could damage her self-worth and confidence. Am I being unreasonable to remove him from our life and when she is older and asks about her dad I can discuss this with her and if she wants to meet him I will help her to find him?

I am just so confused and do not want to hurt or confuse my daughter potentially more than her dad would inevitably do. I just cant stand by and let him hurt her anymore and I need to do what is best for her. Please help!

OP’s posts: |
HPandTheNeverEndingBedtime Wed 25-Nov-20 12:49:51

Unless he is a risk to your child's physical wellbeing she should see him and develop a relationship with him. Maybe that relationship will be more of 'fun uncle' who she sees sporadically or perhaps their relationship will develop over time.

Children have many relatives in their lives that they don't see all the time and they adjust. How she sees herself and her self worth is just as much about your reaction to him as it is him being around. Obviously if you talk about him being a disappointment and letting her down then she's going to feel not good enough, if you embrace his visits as you would a visit from a family member who lives away then she probably won't make those connections.

Coparenting is more about you each making decisions regarding your child and 50:50 care. The situation you have is a glorified babysitter that will give you some free time that you may appreciate in the future.

By all means set boundaries, 2 hrs a week building up to a full day. If he's late bringing her back or picking her up you can review it. Make sure contact isn't in your home and don't get romantically involved with him again. You don't need any sort of relationship with him other than a quick briefing at the door of whether DC is well, needs medication etc.
Make sure you set up child maintence through the CSM, they review the amount owed to you annually.

pigcon1 Wed 25-Nov-20 12:52:33

@HPandTheNeverEndingBedtime

Yes - let’s never express the disappointingly low
bar that’s still acceptable for paternal contribution - indeed let’s normalise it...

pigcon1 Wed 25-Nov-20 12:53:46

Fun uncle 😡

HPandTheNeverEndingBedtime Wed 25-Nov-20 12:54:49

Young babies often don't do much and I think alot of Dad's who live with their children don't get fully involved until the children are a bit older, walking, talking and developing their own personalities.

He hasn't hurt her BTW, he may have hurt you but she's far too young to understand anything.

You may find that she struggles with transitions from one aren't to another as she gets older but that's no different to children who struggle with going to school or nursery. I always had a bath run when DD got home which relaxed her and an activity / arts and crafts thing to do when she got back. But most children who go between parents or other careers have similar experiences.

HPandTheNeverEndingBedtime Wed 25-Nov-20 12:59:18

No, it's not acceptable but nor is removing a child from developing a relationship with their other parent, when their other parent is not a risk. You can't force someone into taking part in your child's life but you shouldn't stand between them either you can support them making those connections. He has shown himself to be emotionally immature but that may change as the child gets older.

sgsj3319 Wed 25-Nov-20 13:26:44

Thank you everyone for your replies.

I definitely do not ever want a romantic relationship with him, I have a boyfriend and we have been together for over 12 months.

I have given her dad so many chances and because she is more aware now that she is walking and talking and forming strong bonds with family, she was very upset when he did not see her for months last time and she used to hit me to see a photo of him. I just do not want her to be upset the next time he does a disappearings act because I know 100% that he will leave her again.

It also worries me that he has a much older daughter who told me that he barely ever saw her when she was growing up and that she knew he would do exactly the same to my daughter.

Re the Child Maintenance, he has never contributed towards her and he does not work so she will not get anything from him anyway. Plus I do not want to make the situation about money.

Thank you again for your advice x

OP’s posts: |
AlexisIsMySpiritAnimal Wed 25-Nov-20 13:44:41

I'm sorry for your situation but I think you're projecting a lot of your emotions onto your daughter, you've mentioned a few things I don't believe a 20 month old can feel or express at that age.

sgsj3319 Wed 25-Nov-20 13:53:27

Thank you for replying AlexisIsMySpiritAnimal, but I never talk badly about her dad in front or anywhere near her and she was very upset when he left in August this year. She did hit me to see a photo of him and this lasted for approximately 3 weeks.

I have no feelings towards that man and I am fed up of giving him chance after chance after chance to see her and build a relationship when all he ever does and will do is let her down, as his other daughter said he would. I do not want her to grow up and be promised days out with him for him not to turn up and I do not want her to accept that him disappearing for months on end is a normal relationship to have with your dad. She is worth far more than that.

OP’s posts: |
carly2803 Wed 25-Nov-20 22:26:16

fwiw you need to supervise visits and build them up slowly. Handing over a small baby/toddler is awful as she has no bond with him

even a child - its traumatic for them, build up slowly.let him make the effort, if he has no interest in doing this , then there is your answer

WindblowingSW Wed 25-Nov-20 22:30:42

A 20 month old does not demand a photo -that is YOU projecting.

Leave it.

Do not leave her unattended with a stranger in their flat.

The fact he doesn't contribute speaks volumes. Actually this is about responsbility and he doesn't want any financially or a real role so I'd check him out of it .

Itmaybeus Wed 25-Nov-20 23:14:11

Dc1s father left when I was pregnant sporadically saw baby till about eighteenth months. At this point I put it in dad's court and said you show up every time we arrange to meet, build up the time and start taking dc on own /overnight or you don't bother at all because it was starting to upset dc. He never showed up again. Dc1 arranged to meet him aged 13 (met twice) dad still didn't seem bothered and dc1 decided was better off without him. Dc1 now knows the truth and says he's glad I said that because he thinks it would have been harder to have a father sporadically in his life than not at all.

Debbie17 Thu 26-Nov-20 23:21:04

I signed up to ask the same question.

My daughter is also 20 months old and is old enough to grab my phone and ask for her daddy and prop up the phone expecting a video call.

Her father had to have his arm twisted into telephone contact and visitation, although he now hasn't called in over two weeks or seen her in 3 months.

She's old enough to see "daddies" on the TV an wonder where hers has suddenly gone.

I coerced him into a 3 month visitation plan, he said he can only commit to 1-2 days a month as he has his other kids (from his previous marriage -long before me) 4/4 weekends.

I asked that he at least have the decency to split his time and I got blocked in return. He since ignored all attempts at contact, and sent a message through a cousin saying he'll basically see her how little he wants and when he wants or not at all.

He's been jobless for 8 months and after having a 15 year work history and a solid track record of paying his other ex regular maintenance he now says he's going to go self employed to evade tax.

It actually churns my stomach, he's not the man I thought he was at all... and I don't know how to explain his absence when his reason is as twisted as "my other kids get me 4/4 times". My gut wrenches at the thought of my daughter ever becoming aware of this.

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