When seeing the other parent is hurting the child more than helping...WDYD - Mothering Forums
Blended and Step Family Parenting > When seeing the other parent is hurting the child more than helping...WDYD
Summertime Mommy's Avatar Summertime Mommy 08:46 AM 12-29-2010

Here is a little background. I was a teen mom, my ds's dad has always been kind of in and out of the picture. For the most part, we never see him, Koeby is lucky if he sees him once a year other than Christmas, and he normally gets a call around his birthday. That is about all the contact his dad has. This really hurts ds. Every time ds sees his dad, he thinks things are gonna change, they never do, and no matter how much I try to explain to his dad how this is hurting him, I get the same answer, which goes something like, "well I love him and think about him all the time, I'm just busy." That is absolutely not acceptable to me especially because I know that he visits his mother fairly frequently, and she is not all that far away from where we live. It would not be difficult for him to see his son at all. I have even told ds's dad that if he can't see him to at least call or email so ds knows he cares, but he can't be bothered to do those things either. DS is now ten.

 

ds went to visit his dad this weekend for Christmas. When he came home, he started crying and told me that his dad barely spent any time with him and spent a good deal of time on the phone arguing with his girlfriend. He also got really angry at ds for something dumb that ds didn't even do (leaving a door open) and called him a liar when he said he didn't do it. This shocked ds because his dad has never really acted this way toward him. But the worst part was his dad left in the middle of the night to go back home (they were staying at ds' grandma's house) and did not even say goodbye to ds. DS told me that when he woke up he ran around the house and even to the barn looking for him and then when he realized he was gone, he just started crying his eyes out.

DS called his dad when he got home and told him how upset he was that his dad just left like that, and his dad blew him off like it was no big deal.

 

the time before this, when ds saw his dad, his dad's gfriend spend a good deal of time going on and on to ds' dad about how much she wants to have a baby. DS was really upset about this too, for obvious reasons, and when I asked his dad to talk to him about it, he told me he had too much going on to even call his own son and try to fix the mess his girlfriend made.

 

DS was so hurt this last time he told me he doesn't think his dad loves him at all. I feel like at this point sending him to see his dad the few times a year he sees him is doing my son more harm than good. Do you think there is a point, where you say, no more. I don't want him to hurt anymore and I would almost rather him hate me for not letting him see his dad, than be made to feel so worthless by his father. We have no custody agreement in place, his name is not even on the birth certificate, so it wouldn't be incredibly difficult to just tell him sorry you have hurt my child for the last time. I just don't know if that is the right solution. What would you do?



treeoflife3's Avatar treeoflife3 09:16 AM 12-29-2010

My dad wasn't in my life until I was 11 when he decided he wanted to meet me.  I saw him a few times that summer and talked on the phone with him but one day he just... disappeared again.

 

It still hurts.

 

I think you are right to want to just end the relationship between the two of them, however I think you should discuss that with your son and let him help make the decision.  Don't push to separate them, just tell him that he doesn't HAVE to communicate with his dad or see him if he doesn't want to.  Have him talk about his feelings on their relationship and let him decide if ending things is the best choice.  For a 10 year old, it can be hard to just say 'hey, no dad.  Not going to deal with it' but if he is allowed to explore his feelings and allowed to decide for himself if he wants to continue the cycle of being let down he might be more likely to see that his dad probably WON'T ever change.

 

I also recommend a therapist for your son as well.  Someone unbiased he can talk to who can help him navigate an unhealthy relationship and his feelings/reactions.  This will be beneficial whether your son has contact with his dad or not because this kind of relationship can have long reaching consequences on his mental and emotional health.  It will give him a safe space to work on any resentments and anger he might have as well as to deal with the sadness that he probably has as well.


victoriasmommy86's Avatar victoriasmommy86 01:42 PM 01-10-2011

while this may be the right decision... your son needs validation from someone besides you...

so that in 5 or 6 years there's no way someone can tell him you "talked" him into it. let him know its his decision to make (the frequency & duration of his visits) and you will support him whatever he wants to do. its a very tricky conversation to have to let him know that its not his fault his dad isnt being a good one.... but to not come off as being too critical....a therapist is a great idea.

 

and.... while it def sounds like the right decision... if you or your son deny him, he may go to the courts and get them to make an order anyway... from what ive read, once the visitation times were ordered,  you would have to prove that he missed them & keep asking for revisions to the order on account of that.

 

but heartbreaking... because no matter how much you tell them that they are loved, when someone they love makes them feel unloved. no words and explanations can bandaid it easily.


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