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What do you do whe DC refuse to see or talk to their dad

(22 Posts)
HoppingForward Sun 03-Apr-16 11:05:43

I separated from my husband 9 weeks ago. He has rented somewhere over an hours drive away.

2 out of 3 DC have seen him a few times, he has done the Disney dad thing with them. But because of the distance he drives here to collect them, takes them out for a few hours and then brings them back.

dd3 is 8 and has been fine with this until this weekend where she asked if it was ok not to go out and doesn't want to speak to him on the phone either.

dd2 is 11 and flat out refuses to text, speak or see him, she has a lot of resentment towards the way he treated me and is adamant she hates him.

dd1 is 14 and has her own friends and things to do which includes still being in bed when he wants to collect them, she also feels uncomfortable speaking on the phone, I think she feels bad for not wanting to spend time with him.

When he was here he never spent time with them, didn't like to do things as a family and was generally a miserable person to be around.

He constantly blames me for the lack of contact even though he chose to rent so far away when he could have stayed more local where the older children could have popped over to see him iyswim.

I only have contact with him via email and he has emailed again asking why no one will talk to him but I don't know if I should have to reply, I can't force them to have a relationship with him, he made no effort whilst here.

Aussiemum78 Sun 03-Apr-16 11:27:57

Watching with interest as my 13 yo dd is showing signs of this also.

I'm acknowledging her feelings and saying she can see him less if she wants to? But trying to be balanced about it (talk to dad if you aren't happy, dad loves you etc).

But her dad is manipulating her by telling her he's lonely, misses me, has no money (not true) etc. she knows what he's doing and that's why she's annoyed at him.

KaraKaraKodi Sun 03-Apr-16 11:30:52

she has a lot of resentment towards the way he treated me and is adamant she hates him.

What have you told the 11 year old about the reasons for the separation? This sounds to me like she has been given information that she shouldn't have been given. Even if you haven't said anything directly, the way you speak about your ex or have been acting may have leaked information to the children.

You can't force your children to have a relationship but equally you shouldn't be poluting their attitude to their father whether directly or indirectly. Your description of him not wanting to do things as a family does not = children of those ages not even wanting to speak to their father. I think you need to have a close look at how you are speaking about him and acting in front of your children.

An 11 year old should not be resentful about the way her father has treated her mother. Unless it was a DV situation and he was doing that in front of the children (which I assume you would have mentioned), if the separation is about your emotional relationship with him, it is not normal for the 11 year old to be privvy to the sort of information that leads to resentment IMO.

HoppingForward Sun 03-Apr-16 11:48:00

Sorry kara I have a couple of threads in relationships but I should have mentioned the ultimate reason for him leaving the family home was the DC witnessing DV, (not DD3 though) the police were involved at the time and for a couple of days after.

dd2 has said she can't forgive him for what she saw and heard, I've been working with her school (and her sisters) paid for her to see a therapist etc and we are working on building our family unit back together without him living here, it's been a tough ride.

I would never do any of the things you mentioned in your post. It took me a long time to build the courage to get him to leave but I guess I didn't factor in how much more the DC had heard in the past and not mentioned. I assumed they didn't know what was going on. dd3 doesn't know anything at all though.

I have made sure they all know he loves them, it was in no way their fault. Mum and dad didn't make each other happy anymore but they had no involvement in how the relationship ended etc.

I really am trying my best and appreciate the replies.

KaraKaraKodi Sun 03-Apr-16 11:48:52

the DC witnessing DV, (not DD3 though) the police were involved at the time and for a couple of days after.

Ah OK. Ignore my post then - sorry.

KaraKaraKodi Sun 03-Apr-16 11:52:42

dd2 has said she can't forgive him for what she saw and heard,

If she witnessed DV, her attitude doesn't sound unreasonable to me and actually is positive. It's what we all would be encouraging other women to feel - any violence against another human not in defence of life or limb is unforgivable.

Sorry I don't have any more helpful advice - other than maintain neutrality as far as you can and be encouraging towards contact but don't force it. It's not actually that surprising she doesn't want contact with him.

Aussiemum78 Sun 03-Apr-16 12:36:40

It's a fine line for me too. I don't want to alienate her from her father but I also had to talk to her about healthy relationships and how intimidation is wrong.

Your ex is partly suffering the consequences of his own actions which isn't your responsibility. Acknowledge their feelings, tell them it's ok to see dad and you support it, but if they don't want to you can mediate for them (if you feel able).

cupcakesandwine Sun 03-Apr-16 12:37:44

I think you should respect your DC views. They are not babies and are entitled to form opinions which sound as if they are well founded. I'd just let them know that their dad would like to see them and leave it at that.

Only one of my three teenage DC will go to see exH at his house. OW, now his wife, is pretty horrible to them and he won't stand up for them. Also, they just find it uncomfortable to see him living with another family. They do see him sometimes in other settings. I don't think their positions are unreasonable and I think it is important that they see that someone respects their choices.

CheeseAndOnionWalkers Sun 03-Apr-16 12:47:42

I have 3 kids in a similar age range.

I split from their Dad 4 years ago. They have gone through periods of seeing him and not. One of the longest estrangements was a result of witnessing dv between their dad and his gf. The oldest (13/14?) stopped going because he was scared of a repeat performance. Scared on behalf of his younger siblings. (Ex has never been violent to them)

He knew that his Dad was a nasty drunk but it was under control when we were together as we both abstained from alcohol.

DoreenLethal Sun 03-Apr-16 12:50:58

I only have contact with him via email and he has emailed again asking why no one will talk to him but I don't know if I should have to reply, I can't force them to have a relationship with him, he made no effort whilst here.

'Well, not sure if you really want that information. Bearing in mind the domestic abuse and violence that two witnessed, plus the lack of engagement whilst you were living here - these may or may not have some bearing on the situation. What do you think?'

CheeseAndOnionWalkers Sun 03-Apr-16 13:02:32

OP - There is a lot of misogynistic crap out there about women preventing contact with dads which leads to some women facilitating it in order to avoid the stereotype rather than because it's in the child's best interests.

You're not married to their dad so you need to deal with things in a detached way. You don't need to "help" him with the answer to his emails. That sort of help is for husbands, friends, teachers etc If you tell him the truth it'll create an argument which is the last thing you want to do with a volatile ex.

Let the kids complain if they want to. It's important to respect and listen to them. Their reasoning is sound.

BitterAndOnlySlightlyTwisted Sun 03-Apr-16 13:06:44

Under the circs I wouldn't be encouraging your children to have any physical contact with him. He's violent, two of them witnessed it. That information has patently been shared with the youngest, which explains DD3's reluctance to see him. He's now perceived as a potential danger to them as well as to you.

Their response to not wanting contact with their father is entirely understandable and I would support them in their decision. There's a time and a place to be neutral and this isn't it.

ricketytickety Sun 03-Apr-16 13:10:46

They've made a sensible choice, based on what they know about his behaviour.

HoppingForward Sun 03-Apr-16 14:24:12

Thank you for the replies. This is not the life I intended for any of us, I'm totally heartbroken, he has shown no remorse, no apology apart from late night emails that he sends begging to come home.

He doesn't seem to have any understand on how difficult it all is for us all he sees is we are in the house (joint mortgage and married) and he has been forced to rent.

His CM pays the mortgage and I'm then on my own salary trying to stretch to pay the bills and everything the DC need as well as working.

cheese your post really hit how I'm feeling. I've even spoken to DDs and said I will go with them and meet him if it helps to start with, there is no way I want to see him, no wonder they said no.

It's so helpful posting, I feel like I'm boring my friends with all of this mess and of course trying to keep things bright and happy at home for the DC.

pointythings Sun 03-Apr-16 16:34:23

I lurked on your previous threads - I really think you should take the lead from your DDs in this. You have been honest with them, you have not done or said anything to turn them against your exP. He is the one who has done that. I would focus on supporting your DDs in coming to terms with what has happened, making sure they have any help they need, all the stuff you have been doing so far.

Your exP has brought this on himself, I'm afraid. And unless and until he shows true remorse, I would feel no inclination to make your DDs see him.

amarmai Sun 03-Apr-16 20:22:03

def do not lie to protect this man. Validate what your dcc are telling you and tell the truth. They deserve honesty and need to know the truth to make an informed decision.

HoppingForward Sun 03-Apr-16 20:40:45

After lots of pointless emails back and forth he still believes this is all my fault, he has done nothing wrong and I am keeping the children from contacting him.

It ended with him telling me not to bother and he will text DD1 and tell her I am stopping them all speaking to him and not to contact or bother with him again. Can he not see that this will just make it worse for him?

He then calls the house phone which no one wants to answer.

It's like banging my head against a mental brick wall. I have arranged to see a therapist during the week just to see if I can mentally block him out. Until he admits he was a nasty, miserable, manipulative, cheating, abusive person to live with there really is no point in replying, I wish he didn't manage to pull me in every time.

All whilst I'm trying to keep things here bright and breezy, preparing for work And sorting the DC out.

pocketsaviour Sun 03-Apr-16 20:41:58

Your DDs are displaying a healthy choice in choosing not to waste their time and energy on a violent, abusive bully.

I think you should be proud of their strength.

Perhaps a quick call to your solicitor to talk through your legal requirements in terms of facilitating contact and making sure that you aren't painted as the "with-holding bitch" when/if things go to court?

HoppingForward Sun 03-Apr-16 21:36:29

Thank you pocket he is turning my mind in circles again. It's like we have two completely different memories of 15 years together.

He text DD1 (14) telling her to call him, she told me and said she doesn't want to, she has friends over for the night and her own words o me were "I didn't have to socialise with him when he lived her, he didn't want to take me out or talk to me when he was here" I just told her it was ok and not to worry - what am I meant to say to that?

He has just emailed "I text xxxx to call me. Did you tell her not to?

<sigh>

I really didn't think about this when I planned my exit plan, I thought I could tell them the whole mummy and daddy love you very much but... Route and they would accept that. This is his only hold left over me, something to keep getting at me for and making me feel bad. I have to re read my notes and records to remind myself that he caused this, not me.

nephrofox Sun 03-Apr-16 21:45:30

I would reply: " of course I didn't tell her not to, she has friends over and doesn't want to talk right now"

Then ignore any further replies

pointythings Sun 03-Apr-16 21:52:57

Just carry on recording everything. You are doing the best for all your DDs. What your exP wants is not important. With everything that he does, ask yourself: 'Is this what is best for my girls?' And if the answer is 'No' then sod him.

amarmai Mon 04-Apr-16 12:49:18

just because he calls/texts ,does not mean you have to respond like pavlov's dog. Set aside a time to check his communications when it suits you.E.g. out for a walk, sitting on the toilet, giving yourself a facial,baking a cake etc ok maybe not the last one,you might mess up the recipe.

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