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12 y o daughter won't see father

(17 Posts)
moosemolloy Tue 23-Feb-16 19:49:50

I split up with my husband 3 months' ago, as a result of his drinking. I have 2 daughters. The oldest one who is 12, is quite an anxious personality and has always been much closer to me and has had a tense relationship with her father.

Now the younger one who is 9 sees her father, but the older one refuses, and when he comes to the house she will not be in the same room as him or talk to him. She saw him a few times but then when he was upset he said nasty things about me, and she used that as a reason to stop seeing him.

I have spoken to her about it, and she says the situation makes her feel tense and she doesn't want to see him. I keep trying to point out the good points about him, and try to treat his dropping round as casually as I can but she gets very upset.

Other than her non-relationship with him she seems fine and happy.

She is not a touchy feely person. She was anxious at school a while ago and saw a counsellor and asked to stop because she found the process irritating. She does not want to talk to anyone about her father or the divorce - I have asked her. She says she just doesn't want to see him.

She is a very stubborn person and is quite capable of digging herself into a hole she can't get out of. so I have tried to be as casual as possible so the situation doesn't get too entrenched.

My husband thinks that we should do something about it. I think that in time, she will come round and that no one can force her to do anything. That the only thing I can do is listen to her and be receptive, try to be positive about her father and try to be as relaxed as possible in the times when we are together (when he picks up post and sees my younger daughter). He thinks this is not enough.

Is there anything else I should do?

pocketsaviour Tue 23-Feb-16 19:50:54

Please don't make her see him against her will.

RandomMess Tue 23-Feb-16 19:53:35

I think your current approach is correct and your Husband will have to suck it up.

Due to her age a court would take her wishes into account and would be highly unlikely to force her to see him.

moosemolloy Tue 23-Feb-16 19:53:47

ps I know an option could be family therapy but she would never agree to that. She is a prickly defensive person with a great wonderful sense of humour.

andsoimback Tue 23-Feb-16 19:56:10

Don't make her. My father was not very nice and I always knew this. I had to wait till I was 18 and left home of move 300 miles away to university and never saw him again. My mum left years later and I have a great relationshipshopportunity with her.

averythinline Tue 23-Feb-16 20:10:28

Agree don't make her, would also stop pointing out his good points etc he's an ex it's a bit of a mixed message.......just leave it up to her say the doors always open for her to go if she wants....only that you really don't mind and be supportive of your younger going...I always felt a bit guilty about leaving my younger brother was more than happy to be bribed... Try if you can to stop that....I did dig my heels in at 16 and never saw my dad again...I am v stubborn...

moosemolloy Tue 23-Feb-16 20:14:23

I know no one can force her; I agree that I may be guilty of sending mixed messages.

I just wanted to know if there was anything obvious I should be doing. Thanks for your comments.

Jw35 Tue 23-Feb-16 20:24:16

I agree with everyone else and would go even further and not have him in the house. He doesn't need to anymore he can pick the youngest up on the doorstep.

Aussiebean Tue 23-Feb-16 20:26:41

What is he doing to try and build bridges with her?

So far you are doing a lot, and he is criticising you. Anything else?

MissMogwi Tue 23-Feb-16 20:31:49

If she doesn't want to see him then that's her choice.

I would say as the adult, her father should be the one making the effort to salvage his relationship with his daughter and taking it at her pace.

Runner05 Tue 23-Feb-16 20:40:32

I chose to cut off all contact with my father when I was 13. I was aware that he had been abusive to my mum and sister and had been threatening and violent towards me in the past so one day I packed a bag, headed to my mum/grandparents house and refused to ever see him again. There hadn't been any initiating factor, no recent violence, no arguments, at 13 I just decided I didn't need someone like that in my life.

It sounds very much as if your daughter sees her father clearly and has made the same choice.

Incidentally, 21 years later and I've never regretted that choice for a moment.

Good luck

goddessofsmallthings Tue 23-Feb-16 21:12:09

What Aussiebean said.

It's entirely down to your h to build bridges with his dd and he can make a start by dropping off a letter to her when he calls to collect his post... is there any reason why he hasn't paid Royal Mail to redirect it to his current address?

I suggest you continue as you are doing with your dd but stop drawing attention to, or emphasisng, his 'good points' as that may smack of desperation on your part sound hollow to her at the present time and is likely to make her dig her heels in even more.

HeddaGarbled Tue 23-Feb-16 21:23:02

I think him saying nasty things about her mother, whom she loves, is a good reason for her not to want to see him and I don't agree with your assessment that she "used that as a reason". It is the reason. If she can't trust him to stay calm and sober and pleasant, she is sensible to avoid him.

Does he know that this is her reason? Does he have any suggestions of how he might repair the damage he has done to their relationship? He's done the damage, not her. She's just reacting to it. He has got a long, careful, slow, delicate, diplomatic road to walk if he wants to rebuild her trust. I doubt he's got the patience or self control, do you? He's already trying to shift the responsibility onto you. Hand it back.

moosemolloy Tue 23-Feb-16 21:24:08

Thanks for your advice.

My younger daughter loves to see him.

Aussiemum78 Wed 24-Feb-16 08:39:01

I think you should respect her wishes, but also keep talking to her about it and remind her that she can have phone contact, short public visits or ask him to school events if she wants a "safe" way to maintain contact.

But support her. She's strong enough to break contact with someone who is no good for her - I'm 3 times her age and I struggle with this. Don't stop her trusting herself and having boundaries.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Wed 24-Feb-16 09:49:05

I don't see why a 12 yo child who has witnessed or experienced negative behaviour towards herself or her parent by her other parent should be forced to see him. You could argue that there's valid justification why she rejects contact but as DD2 is keen to go that would beg the question, why do you let her visit him.

To cover yourself I would make certain that you try not to influence her by words or body language.

Otoh if she used to get along with her dad, but now of loyalty to you she says she's not interested in seeing ex even with her sister present, I might say to her it's not perhaps fun but like a dentist appointment, it's not negotiable.

(I am sympathetic but trying to anticipate what points he might raise).

ClarenceTheLion Wed 24-Feb-16 20:07:43

I hate the current situation where women are despised if they don't bend over backwards to try to ensure relationships between their vile ex's and the dc's.

If my F had ever badmouthed by DM, I would have washed my hands of him there and then. She's 12. Don't insult her intelligence and her dignity with the 'he's so great' bollocks. She doesn't agree. Let her choose if and when she wants to see him. And don't switch to coaching him. Just leave it alone.

But in your shoes I would insist he sees his younger dd away from the house. It can't be comfortable for your older dd knowing that he's there.

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