Post # 1
I would appreciate the honest opinion of the Bees who have had some experience in these areas. First the back ground:
I have an 8 year old daughter with my ex-husband. He left and when she was 3 and we divorced. We have a very civil relationship now and have a custody agreement where he is permitted to have our dtr 8 days a month (to be determined by us as we decide- not specified days). Since this last Chirstmas/New Years he has never taken her for more than 2 days a month, never overnight, and once went 7 weeks this spring without calling/texting etc. I often feel iike if I did not facilitate them seeing eachother it would not happen. His reasons for not seeing her are weak in my opinion.
Unlike many dvorced mothers, I would like my daughter to have a relationship with her father. He is not a “bad” guy and I think she needs to know him. But I cannot make their relationship happen. I have called him and asked him when he would like to see her etc. But is this my place and should I even bother pushing for it?
For example, his birthday is coming up in the next week. If he were to call and ask to have her that day I would certainly oblige- but is it my place to call him and ask him if he would like to have her? I want her to spend time with him, but I feel like if he is not even that interested, maybe she is better off without it.
Also: she rarely asks about him. He does pay child support on time.
So: If your parents were divorced during your child hood, did your mom encourage you and your dad to have a relationship and did it help or hurt the situation?
If you have a child with an ex husband/boyfirend, do you try to facilitate that relationship?
Post # 3
My mom did NOT encourage a relationship with my dad, and I still have feelings about it today. I am of the mind that the more people that love a child, the better of that child is. I think it’s really great of you to go out of your way for your daughter to have a relationship with her father. The real shame is that he does not take more initiative.
Post # 4
My youngest daughters father was like this. I pushed and offered for him to see her. Once I stopped pushing he stopped altogether. He hasn’t seen her now in 2 years and 2 months ( yes I am keeping track so that one day she can ask and I can tell her I tried) He hasn’t even called me/text me/ emailed me nothing in more than a year now.
I wouldn’t push it. You can only do so much. Just focus on her being your amazing daughter and let him make his decisions. That’s all you can do.
Post # 5
@eeniebeans: I am both a product of a situation similar to this and part of a situation like this currently. My ex is the same as yours where I have to be the one to push for visits and consistency. I gave up to be honest. My son rarely asks for his dad and what I do try and do is always tell him that his dad loves him and is busy and doesnt live very close which makes it hard for him to see him. My reasoning is as follows…..
I cannot force him to be a parent and I have a son to raise and a life to uphold. I cannot waste so much energy trying for something that in my opinion is not something i should be responsible for.
As a child it hurt me more to have my dad coming in and out of my life than it would have if he would have just been out of it. I would have preferred my mom not have forced him to visit with us and just told us how much he loved us so we were not hurt by the lack of visits and interraction.it was confusing and seemed more like a lie when we were told he loves us because of how easily he would stand us up and not be around. so those actions just made me feel so unwanted. My dad did always love us so it was not a lie but he just was not a good father and took a long long time to figure out his own life and focus on anything but himself. some people are just that way. my ex is the same. so i am handling this as i wish my mother had. I do not know how it will turn out but my son does not doubt the love that his dad has for him because when he does ask i always tell him something along the lines of “your dad loves you so so much and he is working really hard to figure out his life”. My son is only 6 and as he gets older I will be honest with him with what the situation is and hopefully he will end up being a well adjusted adult. I pray about this everyday, so far my son is a happy and loved child and thats all i can ask for.
Also: my ex does not pay child support (although i am in the process of taking him to court for that), he just makes no effort at all. its a battle to get anything (visits, money help, input on my son’s schooling or religious exposure etc).
Post # 6
My dad was hit by a car when I was really little. My mom couldn’t take care of him and his handicap plus us three girls, so he moved acoss county to be taken care of by my aunty. My mother never encouaged us to see him. Granted, he was and still is mentally handicapped as well as physically, but I still really would have loved that chance to see him.
I think its important fo your daughter to know her real father. You should bring up your concerns with him, since it directly effects your daughter’s well being.
Post # 7
My parents divorced when I was 2. For the first couple years, until I was 6 or so, I saw my dad every other weekend, he came to all my school events, was civil to my mom, no big deal. When I was 6-7 my mom AND step-mom got pregnant at the same time and my step-mom ended up miscarrying. Once that happened, my mom continued to try and get me to see my dad, but I didn’t want to go and he didn’t want me to go. My mom continued to push for about 5 years, but once I hit middle school, I told her I had no desire to see him anymore. It’s now been about 5 years, and I’ve seen/talked to him once and that was at the funeral of my grandfather (his dad).
For me, I was better off with my step-dad being my father. He is who paid for my childhood, he is the one I call for advice, who I send father’s day cards too, who my Fiance asked “permission” to marry me.
If he isn’t showing the interest, I’d document everytime you initiate her going over there for 6 months or so, then stop. That way, if it ever comes back on you, you have documentation stating you tried to get him to see her and he had excuses. Also, that he never initiated conversations. BUT, if he does, at all, document those too, because if you only show one side, you loose alllll credibility.
Post # 8
i felt the need to add this……its very easy to say that as a parent you should keep tyring for that relationship for your daughter. If its not something you have dealt with directly and have been that parent who is trying so hard to make the other parent do what they should than its hard to realize how much energy is taken away from parenting to do all of this pushing. It becomes mentally exhausting and your parenting can sometimes become less of a focus which is not good at all. you are only in control of so much. I have tried everything. I have tried making it as convenient for him as possible, not asking for money help, taking him out with me with my son when we did outings that he could tag along for, giving him my car and money to do stuff with the baby, i mean you name it, i have tried it. nothing worked. so while i agree with pp’s saying its important for your daughter to have her dad i also know that sometimes this is beyond your control. In the end, I gave up with my ex and itsnow been about 2 months since he has seen my son. I text him when my son does ask tot alk to him and ill say “matthew wants to talk to you” and i get no response and i know he gets the messages. I will call every now and then if my son asks me too and matthew leaves him voicemails and he wont return his calls. its heartbreaking but there is not a thing i can do about it.
Post # 9
@eeniebeans: I will say this. The best way you can be the best mom possible is to follow these simple rules… (this coming from a child of an extremely messy divorce)
1. Always talk about her father in the best light humanly possible. Sometimes you might want to call him names or tell her why he sucks. Do Not Do It!!
2. Continue to encourage their relationship. Even if he does not try very hard or at all, in the end, she will remember that you always tried to encourage that behavior and that you always wanted that for her. She will also remember that you were always encouraging and she will end up making her judgements about him based on her own feelings rather then what mom decided she should feel about him.
3. Nudge but don’t push her dad. Offer on special occasions, make it work as best you can but don’t call him every weekend to force him into spending time with her. She most certainly can feel that he isn’t overly interested in her. Do your best to keep the relationship moving even if it’s seeing hime once every other month. If he doesn’t want to be apart of it then it was his choice and no fault of your own.
These are all things I wish my mother had done. I would have spent a lot less time trying to repair my mangled relationship with my father if she had been encouraging of our behavior. There are a lot of hurt feelings and resentment between everyone over the way my childhood was handled and none of it can be taken back. I think you’re doing a great job at what your already doing and as long as you continue to do so, in the end she will remember that mom tried and dad didn’t.
Post # 10
I guess it depends. My dad was pushed to spend time with us and I am grateful. He was a great guy just a workaholic who needed reminders about priorities. My grandparents were great reminder givers and my dad and I had a great relationship until he died. My cousins’ dad was pushed and it was awful. He didn’t want them and they could tell. It led to feeding disorders, alcoholism, and attempted suicide. It is terrible to be forced to spend time with someone who hates you.
If I were you I would have a frank discussion with your ex. Tell him you no longer want to push your daughter on him if he doesn’t want her. Tell him he can have her whenever and to contact you.
You are not his mommy. Maybe his mommy needs to be pushy like my grammy. It might have more impact coming from her. It is sad because he is missing out on one of the greatest things in life but this is a free country and he is an adult. He needs to realize what he is missing for himself. It sounds like even with all your pushing they don’t have a relationship or she would be asking for him. Sad! Maybe as she gets older she will initiate some of the contact. Even if it is only to hit him up for money tehe!
Post # 10
@MsBrooklynA: Good points!
My mom did all of these things, and now that I don’t talk to my dad, I strictly place the blame on him, not her. He didn’t step up to be a father to me, so I don’t need him in my life. I know as a mom, you may worry she’ll resent you later, but the three things MsBrooklynA said will really help prevent that.
Post # 11
I feel like there’s only so much you can do, though I think you’re a great mom for wanting to do this for her/them. But your daughter can tell by now what is his genuine desire to be with her, and what is you pushing him to spend time with her, you know? It’s like when the kids are all on the playground and the moms have to make them play with the one kid so he’s not left out. They’ll play with him if they’re told to, but it’s not like they’re having fun. I think by now she’s started to subconsciously figure out that when he wants to spend time with her he will, and that sometimes that’s not a huge priority for him. I think the best you can do is make sure she knows that he loves her, and if she ever wants to see him, all she has to do is call and ask him to come pick her up.
She will know, when she gets older, what you did for her and that you never kept her dad from her. It’s sad that he doesn’t spend time with her. I don’t think some men understand that you can’t spontaneously start building a relationship with them when they’re adults. If you’re not around in childhood, they will learn to not expect you to be around and won’t be sad when you’re not. They won’t be interested in having a relationship with you by the time they’re adults if you don’t put in the effort when they’re kids.
Post # 12
Thank you guys for sharing your perspectives with me. I really appreciate hearing all the sides of this.
@MsBrooklynA: I have always honored your #1 point. No child needs to hear bad things about their dad.