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Children of divorced parents - no contact with Dad

(7 Posts)
NikkiP53 Wed 22-Mar-17 18:19:37

Hi everyone

I would really appreciate some insight into what it’s like to have parents that are divorced and where contact with dad is limited and dad is bad-mouthed at home (I know this because I’ve heard what’s been said myself). Sorry if this is a bit long.  

My step daughters are aged 14 and 17, I have been with their father for 7 years and married for 3.  We have another child together.

My step daughters are no longer in contact with their dad; contact has gradually reduced over the last few years.  Although in the past my husband could have tried harder (imo), it’s always been made very difficult for him to see his children.  The children I’m afraid have been used as pawns by their mum in the divorce (10 years ago).  The elder daughter stopped contact before the younger daughter did.  My husband keeps in touch with them very regularly by phone (we live about an hours drive away) and is often trying to make arrangements to see them, but they totally ignore him.  Mum doesn’t encourage contact/visits at all.

I would really like to see this situation from my step daughters’ points of view.  They are nice girls, so their behaviour towards their dad doesn’t match what they are like in general.  

I don’t have a problem with their mum, although I disagree with some of her choices and parenting. I put my feelings aside and have a civil relationship with her for the sake of the children.  There aren’t any problems there (from my point of view) and I met my husband well after they divorced.  I have a good relationship with the children when I see them, but that’s not very often.  

My own mother always tried to make me side with her against my dad, although they are still together, so I have a bit of understanding of what that’s like.  

Why are they ignoring their dad do you think?  Is is pressure from mum?  Are they just being teenagers?  I’m not really sure.

Thanks x

StuntEgg Wed 22-Mar-17 23:47:39

It could be a combination of their age plus distance, which was the case for me.

Although my mum didn't bad-mouth my dad after they split, he did move some distance away and we had limited contact. I think he came to see us once every couple of months (he'd meet us at school and take us for lunch), and we spent the occasional weekend with him. But as we got older and he started a new family, visits got less frequent, there wasn't room for us to stay over any more so we hardly saw him. I guess the result was he just became less relevant in my life. He arrived at the school gates unexpectedly one day, and I was in the middle of a really great playground game with my friends, and I didn't want to go. My sister said I should because "it's dad" but I just couldn't bear to leave my game so she went alone with him. Afterwards she told me he was crying about it.

In my teens, I sometimes forgot he existed, which sounds awful, but he didn't ever phone us for a chat, or to ask us to visit or anything, he wasn't within "popping distance" and I was pre-occupied with being a teenager. There was no malice in my actions, I think we just drifted apart. Although we never lost touch, I never felt close to him again.

It sounds a bit different with your step-daughters as their dad does get in touch, but it could be they're at the age of choosing their own paths in life, but as long he keeps showing them they're loved and wanted, then he hoepfully won't lose them completely.

NikkiP53 Thu 23-Mar-17 06:07:49

Thanks @StuntEgg for your post, that does very much sound like what my step daughters might be doing too. I am vert sorry to hear things worked out that way with you and your dad, do you have a better relationship with him now?

StuntEgg Thu 23-Mar-17 14:12:05

He died some time ago, Nikki but we were in more frequent contact throughout his illness. Although we had a few private chats, we never discussed those childhood days, and much as I would have liked some closure, it would have been cruel to tell him how abandoned I had felt while he was so ill. Sadly when he died I felt no loss, as in my heart I knew I had already lost him many years before.

NikkiP53 Thu 23-Mar-17 15:30:50

@StuntEgg I'm so sorry to hear that, that's so sad. Wishing you well x

StuntEgg Fri 24-Mar-17 10:38:38

Thank you Nikki. I hope your husband and his daughters maintain their relationship a lot better than we did!

Oddsocks15 Tue 28-Mar-17 14:03:47

I grew up with divorced parents. Both parents bad mouthed each other and I was stuck in the middle.

As a young child, I grew up adoring my Dad, as a teenager I moved in with him and my step-mother.. After about a year,he threw me out and I lived in a grotty bed sit on my own in my late teens.

I moved back in with my Mum and have hardly seem him since. I bumped into him last year in a café with my kids. Of course, they don't know their Grandfather and he hardly spoke to me. I came away much like stunt egg, I felt no loss, that happened many years beforehand.

I guess it is partly age, my kids are now teens and are growing up in an environment where DH (their Dad) and I love each other, and they don't want much to do with us either!! Separation and interdependence from parents is a normal part of growing up from child to adult.

Keep in touch at birthdays and Christmas as a minimum include contact details. If you think cards are being thrown away before their reach the children, then could you "bump" into them at school gate?

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