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DD and her Dad at Christmas- a tricky decision

(43 Posts)

Apologies as I did post about this the other day but I'm still really unsure about what to do.

Bit of background:

Ex-DP and I separated when dd was 2- she is now 6. He went back to live in Northern Ireland after we separated and now lives there with his mum and dad.

DD has been going over to stay with him on occasions since. She is due to go over this Christmas as we take it in turns. The flights have been booked and they are all really looking forward to having her.

However, DD is saying she doesn't want to go. She is getting quite stressed about it. She was crying and kicking her bedroom door- behaviour which is totally out of character for her.

He has been shit at maintaining contact since the last visit and has called her only a handful of times. He rang last night and she refused to speak to him.

I don't know what to do for the best.

I feel like I am asking her to make quite a grown up decision.

She asked me today if I could 'wash her brain so she didn't have to think about it anymore' sad

Hulababy Tue 16-Dec-08 20:15:40

Poor DD Can you talk to her about it? Ask her why she doesn;t want to g.

When was last time her dad was in proper contact?

I personally wouldn't force her to go though. Christmas is a time for being happy.

She went over for a family wedding in November so has seen them all quite recently.

She said she doesn't want to be away from me (am 32 wks pg with DC2 so I think that is a factor), she doesn't want to travel all that way and she doesn't want to miss my birthday.

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Tue 16-Dec-08 20:18:31

Please don't make her go if she doesn't want to.

She probably just wants to have xmas at home with all her things around her.

It would have been ok when she was younger as she may not have realised what she was missing.

If your ex wants to see her, he will have to come to the UK. End of.

Unless you think there may be other reasons why she doesn't want to go?

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Tue 16-Dec-08 20:20:10

ah, cross post

that is telling, that you are pg

she must stay with you, she is feeling vulnerable that her place is about to be usurped while she is outta the picture

I won't make her go. I definitely won't force her to do anything she doesn't want to.

I am concerned about her changing her mind when it's too late.

And I can't help but feel guilty about letting his family down as they all adore her and look forward to her visits but he just doesn't put the work in to maintain their relationship (despite me asking again and again) and I think she is starting to realise that.

dylsmum1998 Tue 16-Dec-08 20:23:26

please don't make her i was about that age when i went through a similar thing i didn't want to go with my dad, my mum was also pregnant at the time, i was concerned that she would have baby if i left and i would miss everything hmm.
see if you can talk to her about her reasons, she may not be able to verbalise exactly how she feels, i couldnt at that age.
i did get over it and went to stay with my dad when i was 10 (my parents didnt, and still dont get on and i don't know how well it was explained to him). i do see my dad now and we get on great, but at that time it was a bit much for me.
if you have a good relationship with her dad explain things to him and see if he would come over to here for christmas

I'm not sure how to handle it.

I am trying not to influence her decision in anyway but I want to be loving, reassuring mum who tells her it will all be ok and we will have a lovely Christmas here.

But that would be persuading her to stay wouldn't it?

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Tue 16-Dec-08 20:33:10

no mark, I think she has made it quite clear what her decision is

be a loving, reassuring mum and support her in that

dylsmum1998 Tue 16-Dec-08 20:35:35

do you know what the plans for when she is away are? perhaps you could explain what the plas are, if you go over then your dad has x,y,z planned, which if you don't go you will miss.
if you stay here we are doing x,y,z . we can do (which ever is feasible) when you get back instead if it makes you feel better

obviously this may only work if you are able to put off/repeat anything which she may miss why she is away

The other part that I haven't mentioned was that I am going to see family on Christmas day as DH is working.

Am having lunch with my mum and step-dad who are moving to France in January. DD is very close to them and will miss them terribly. I think this is another reason she wants to stay.

I think she's having quite a bit of upheaval at the moment.

piscesmoon Tue 16-Dec-08 20:47:17

I wouldn't send her, it is quite obvious she doesn't want to go. If he wants to be a big part of her life he needs to be emailing, phoning, sending postcards etc. He can't suddenly expect to have her for Christmas if he hasn't built up the necessary relationship first.

dylsmum1998 Tue 16-Dec-08 20:51:00

with everything going on i wouldnt send her tbh.
there is a lot of changes happening for her, i think you need to respect her decision and explain it to her dad.
she needs to feel secure and by respecting her decision she knows that there are changes but you will be there for her no matter what IYSWIM

Ok, I think I will try and be more reassuring without worrying about influencing her.

I have told her that she can see Daddy in the new year instead but of course the baby will be coming then so she will even more reluctant I think!

He needs to put some more effort in.

He's not working at the moment though so his options are limited but I have spent the last 4 yrs nagging him to maintain contact. Perhaps I should just leave it to him.

SleighGirl Tue 16-Dec-08 21:09:39

Hi again,

I think you need to tell her Dad that this time she really doesn't want to come, she is feeling too vulnerable because of the baby and your parents moving away and how about re-scheduling once the baby has arrived and dd is ready to go stay with him.

Yes I'd leave it up to him, your dd may well see her family being you, your dp/dh, her and the new baby and her bio dad may not be that significant to her in that way at this moment in time.

goldFAQinsenceandmyrrh Tue 16-Dec-08 21:13:44

I started reading your OP and thought "she should go" (thinking of my own DS2's sometimes reluctance to go to daddy's house) - but then I read about his shit contact with her and agree that she shouldn't go. It's a lot going on for her atm, without going somewhere she doesn't want.

It's difficult because when he does ring she doesn't want to talk to him but I've said at least she knows that he has tried to make contact.

He says he doesn't ring because it's too emotional for him hmm

AnyFuckerForAMincePie Tue 16-Dec-08 21:20:12

he needs to get over himself mark

pathetic

too emotional?? he is a grown-up isn't he?

ffs, your 6 yr old is showing more maturity than him

SleighGirl Tue 16-Dec-08 21:20:59

Have you thought about asking for some counselling from the GP for your dd, our perhaps family counselling???? It may help her explore her feelings about it all and verbalise what she actually wants/doesn't want.

PinkPoinsettias Tue 16-Dec-08 21:22:57

if he wants a relationship with her he needs to put the work in, end off.

understandably if he's out of work he can't come over but nothing is stopping him from ringing, emailing, writing and generally making her feel loved.

she has made this decision and even though he may not believe that, you and dd know it's true so don't feel any guilt.

as for his mother and the extended family being disappointed, her granny will understand, she's a mother herself after all and i'm sure the rest of them will be able to accept her decision.... they'd hardly want her to come by force if she doesn't want to would they?!

don't worry about his attitude, you never know, realising he's losing his daughter might shock him into being a better dad in future.

sticksantaupyourchimney Tue 16-Dec-08 21:27:19

He's the adult, he can deal with not seeing her better than she can deal with being forced to go and spend time away from you when she doesn't want to. The rest of the family probably will be disappointed but it won't kill them and, again, they are adults and can deal with it.
Best of luck.

Thank you all for your replies.

He is a knob when it comes to these things and I have spent hours saying can you ring? text? write? draw a stupid picture and put it in the post?

But it all seems like too much effort for him. He likes the glory of the visits but isn't prepared to do any of the work.

I had a feeling that the novelty would wear off for her eventually, I suppose I wasn't expecting it so soon.

spicemonster Tue 16-Dec-08 21:29:21

Can he come and visit her instead?

He doesn't have any money.

The trips are usually funded by me in the interests of their relationship.

piscesmoon Tue 16-Dec-08 21:43:12

Do you get on well with your ex's parents? The whole thing would be easier if she had an ongoing loving relationship with the grandparents. I just wondered if you could approach them and get them to have the regular phone conversations etc. I have every sympathy with him and you seem to be very fair, but he is treating her rather like a doll that he can get out of the cupboard when he wants to.

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