The ONLY way these girls are going to become alienated from their father is if their father ALLOWS it.
I'm a bit surprised, on an AP site to find people so willing to dismiss children's feelings. So, when they're babies, we respond to their needs, but as they get older, we step in and say, "well, I'm the parent, so my needs trump yours now?"
MsChatsalot, this is a common and hurtful misunderstanding about PAS (parental alienation syndrome). It is actually now listed as a mental illness, and fathers (and sometimes mothers, but it is almost always the custodial parent who exhibits this) who are the target have a lot of work on their hands to counter the manipulation their children are raised with. Some decide it's too difficult, or stressful on the children, and give up--and then of course total alienation occurs and those lost years start racking up.
I am a bit surprised to find so many who are cavalier about the father's role. Both parents are necessary to a child's--and adolescent's--life. Families are tough because you don't choose them, you have to work with what you have. If kids get the impression that one can just let go at a whim, whenever it's inconvenient for them, then how good will they be at forming familes themselves later?
They do need their dads, even if they cannot or do not admit it. Dads have to step up and make sure that need is met, esp. if they meet with opposition from their ex.
That said, time with Dad need not be grim or boring. My steps have never missed a single school function, party, sleepover, etc, and they are always urged to invite friends over, and one child takes full advantage of that. They certainly get to exercise their freedom of choice in other ways as well, in how they spend their time here. (How many movies have I watched that I had zip interest in?
) Dads who are being alienated have to "memorialize" the time they spend with their kids, underscoring the fun that is had (we have a lot of pictures on the wall, for one thing) so they are more likely to remember it.
Of course, it's true, we don't know if this is PAS or not in this instance, but seeing that the kids are happy when they are with their dad, it seems suspect and not like some of the other situations people are describing.
Best of luck,