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Children not wanting to spend time with their dad

(17 Posts)
pinkpixie83 Mon 22-Aug-16 18:32:15

I'm at a loss.
My biggest two are coming home from their dads so upset and not wanting to go.
There is no definite reason from what they are saying, I think it's a combination of missing me, different parenting styles and another child added into the mix.
They are only 8 and 6, the 4 year old doesn't say much and this has been the situation for the last three years.
I have no idea what to do, I have been told that I would be in the wrong if I stopped contact, and I believe they need a relationship with their dad anyway, but how do I deal with them being upset when they come home, and sometimes when they leave me, generally he picks them up from school on his weekends, so this is only an issue in the holidays.
He is due to collect them Sunday lunch time for his last week with them of the holidays but they are already getting upset: I'm sure it's worse as its the holidays, but I still need to make them see they should go.
I have suggested I try and talk to him but they don't want me to, for fear he will then get cross with them.
Any ideas I'm stuck now and I can't see my children so upset all the time.

Believeitornot Mon 22-Aug-16 19:27:57

What do you mean by different parenting styles? What does he do?

I'd pay attention to their feelings. How are they when they're there? What does your ex say?

Squabblesallaround Mon 22-Aug-16 19:33:20

Mine do this. I respect their feelings and if they don't want to go they don't have to! Eldest hasn't seen their father in 4 months. His choice.

I get it in the neck from ex and if I'm honest it's hard when I never have a day off to see friends and have to cancel rare plans...but it is what it is. My kids come before my plans and before his feelings.

It's not preventing contact of its the child's choice

pinkpixie83 Mon 22-Aug-16 20:05:40

He is very strict, and from living with him he shouts a lot, not that I never shout but I do try and understand.
He also uses the children to help him a lot and do things for him.
I have no issue stopping them but I spoke to both my solicitor and cafcass and was told that I would be in the wrong. The example I was given was what if they didn't want to go to school.
I haven't tried to talk to him yet as the children don't want me to for fear he will tell them off for that too.

Believeitornot Mon 22-Aug-16 21:11:58

How much shouting? And what do you mean he makes them do stuff for him?

Are they scared of him?

pinkpixie83 Mon 22-Aug-16 21:15:18

He asks them to watch their younger half brother while he does something, fetch him basics for a nappy change that he hasn't picked up, but all the time, to play with him, to cheer him up normal stuff I guess but it's getting them down.
He does shout a lot and easily, but I can't see how I can ask him to change that. He also uses the naughty step for stuff I wouldn't for example I was told my middle son got put on their for saying a word wrong after just being discharged from speech therapy.
But it's all what they tell me

Believeitornot Mon 22-Aug-16 21:22:24

That's awful re the speech therapy. Seriously!?

I would speak again to the solicitor about that and say that the children do not want to see him. Explain the situation.

Are you scared of your ex? I would talk to him and explain how he's damaging the children. That they are scared of him.

You left this man for a reason. It isn't fair for your children to continue to suffer. There will come a time when they will ask why you didn't do anything.

pinkpixie83 Mon 22-Aug-16 21:25:56

I'm not scared of him, but I am concerned that if I try and speak to him he will react badly and take it out on the children.

I am trying to speak to the children and explain that it's something we need to work on.

It's hard when the professionals tell you that you would be in the wrong as the children aren't in danger.

pinkpixie83 Mon 22-Aug-16 21:26:24

I'm not scared of him, but I am concerned that if I try and speak to him he will react badly and take it out on the children.

I am trying to speak to the children and explain that it's something we need to work on.

It's hard when the professionals tell you that you would be in the wrong as the children aren't in danger.

Believeitornot Mon 22-Aug-16 21:28:05

It sounded like you said it would be wrong if they didn't go to school.
That's a bit different than the ex being excessively harsh on the children.

If you're not scared then I would talk to him in a reasoned way and explain that he is scaring them.

pinkpixie83 Mon 22-Aug-16 21:31:26

I want to talk to him I really do. But he will then take it out on the children, they've said it and I know it.

I just don't know how to do it.

Missgraeme Mon 22-Aug-16 21:34:00

Maybe discuss with them that some parents do things different to others. Maybe they are feeling pushed out by the half sibling. Do they have their own space and stuff at his house? Do they feel like it's their other home or just a visitor? I have been split from my 3x ds for 9 tears and ds 12 yo still struggles from being at dad's to being with me. Different parenting styles /rules /routine etc. They have own rooms /games console etc and no family situations (meals /chat /days out) then it's family time with me and extra siblings. I would be telling ex that they are struggling and u don't expect your chat to be shared with them but that he needs to make more effort to make it work for them at his house. Or he is risking his long term relationship with them and that won't be your fault.

Believeitornot Mon 22-Aug-16 21:35:08

Then I would go back to the solicitor and explain this in detail.

If you reduced contact, what would the ex do? Would he take legal action?

pinkpixie83 Mon 22-Aug-16 21:41:32

I am going with the approach that daddy does things different to me and that's how things can be. I have also tried to explain that I shout too.
They are certainly feeling pushed out by the new brother, but it seems to get worse as he gets older, he's 18 months now so not new anymore. I think my ex is finding it hard having 4 children on his own. But he would never admit that.

I am trying to find a sensible reduced contact for a while so things can calm down, I'm just not sure whether he will agree.

I don't know if he would seek legal advice or not, but it's not something either of us could really afford and I would much prefer to sort things like adults, which isn't easy with him but I always try.

joannex2016 Tue 23-Aug-16 09:53:04

Firstly I think you're handling this really well and should be commended for taking a look at the different options and being reasonable.

Talking about how different people do things in different ways with your kids is going to be helpful for this situation and in life so that's the best first take.

I would suggest talking with him at some point, phrasing it not in a negative way but taking your time and allowing him to say how he feels about it, as even if he knows he is doing things badly it's still going to be a knock.

I'd also suggest having a time when both of you are available to the kids for a few hours or a day, it would allow both styles of parenting to come through and allow more of a discourse, you can ask what he thinks of your parenting too. This may be very hard but it would also really help the kids to have an inbetween experience rather than a stark change.

MadameCholetsDirtySecret Tue 23-Aug-16 10:05:54

I think this needs addressing op. Your children are telling you loud and clear that they are unhappy.

I would be speaking with my solicitor about the naughty step issue for a start. That was appalling.

nightandthelight Tue 23-Aug-16 11:14:49

Please listen to your children. My mum and step-dad parented in a similar way to your ex and I was miserable. Custody was swapped every week and every Sunday night at my dads I would cry begging them not to send me.

They didn't listen and I had an awful childhood as a result. Be careful as well OP as I have never forgiven them for not listening!

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