Would you force your child to visit her mostly absent father?

My 7 year old daughter hates going to her dad’s (my son still wants to go). I try to encourage her to keep an open mind and try to have fun when she goes because I want her to know her half brother and sister and I also think it’s important for her to know her father. It’s unfortunately not a simple situation...he’s ordered only 2 overnights per month not to be consecutive. There are some alcohol issues with him as well, hence the weird custody order. He will mostly only see them when it’s convenient for him or when he has a party to take them to or a church event. Most of the time he is not involved.  He doesn’t attend school events, has never once taken them to a doctor, etc. I have tried to get him more involved for their sake but he will often go 3 weeks without calling or anything, then text me on Friday night to see if he can have them for a family member’s birthday party the next day. If they’re unable to because we already have plans, he will get angry and accuse me of keeping his kids from him. I don’t want my 7 year old to think she has control over when she sees him because that’s too much for her at this age, but I do want her to know that I care about her feelings because they matter. As I mentioned, my 5 year old enjoys going most of the time. So, has anyone else gone through a similar situation and have any thoughts here?

10 Answers

  • 2 months ago

    Why should she not see your Father, just as she sees you?  Let me put it this way.  If he was the one who had primary custody, would you expect him to make her see you?  Of course you would.

  • 2 months ago

    How about talking with her Dad about how she is feeling and see if HE can't make more of an effort to engage with her when she spends time with him? Seems what a good parent would do. 

  • Tj
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    By law, she must visit her dad. Who is the parent? A 7 yo has nothing to say about it. She goes or dad goes to court and get visitation no matter what a child says.

  • David
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    Y'know, I have been hanging out in Yahoo answers for many years now (this is not my original profile, I forgot the password to my earlier one...)  I see questions like this all the time from divorced women.  First, they get a COURT ORDER that practically guarantees that the father will not be involved in their childrens' lives at all.  And then they complain when the father is not involved in the childrens' lives at all.  

    You say you try to get the dad more involved.  But then you also say that you have full custody for every day of each month except for maybe 2 nights.  Did you ever stop to think about how that schedule would work, exactly?  2 nights a month?  REALLY?!?!?!?

    Honestly, it would be better for the children if visitation was disallowed.  You can't be a part-time father to children when you only have a POSSIBILITY of maybe seeing them 2 nights a month, if their MOTHER's schedule doesn't conflict, at the time...

    -  He doesn't attend school events.  Of course not.  That would be awkward as f8ck.  You expect him to travel alone to the school event, not talk to his children at all (because they are with his estranged wife, if they are with the parents at all) and then he can travel alone home from the school event, after having ZERO quality time with his children?  Really????

    -  He has never taken them to a doctor.  I WOULD HOPE NOT!!!  By court order, he's only allowed to spend a total of about 24 hours a month with them, if he's lucky to get THAT much time.  And during that time, all doctor's offices are closed.  You want your kids to spend 24 hours a month in the ER, apparently?  I don't get this comment, bashing your ex for not doing something that is all but impossible for him to do, unless there was a real medical emergency 911 type situation...

    -  He will mostly see them when it is convenient for him.  Ummmmm...IS THAT YOUR FINAL ANSWER?  You state that like it's a criticism of some kind.  He's got a wife and kids, and I assume he has a full-time job.  So his time to spend with your kids would be close to zero anyway.  He's got a hectic life without ever spending one second with the kids he fathered with you.  I'm sure he's trying to carve out time for them as best he can.  It is tragic and unfair that he is being criticized for that.  I think you owe him an apology for this "convenient" comment.  His spending time with the kids is a real sacrifice for him, which he is making because...they are his kids.  There is nothing 'convenient' about it, from his point of view.

    -  Most of the time he is not involved.  Again, you state that like it's a criticism, like he has some kind of control over it.  WHAT PART OF 2 NIGHTS A MONTH, non-consecutive, did YOU not understand?  If you want to get the visitation schedule changed, then do so.  In the meantime, don't complain that he's just following the rules.  (SHEESH!)

    Look, I'm a divorced father of two young children, one boy and one girl.  From my point of view, if the kids don't want to spend time with me, then I don't want to spend time with them.  It might break my heart to be away from them, but to force them to be with me when they don't want to be...that would be worse.  So I don't think you should force the kids to visit their dad, if they don't want to.  

    However, your attitude about your ex really s*cks.  Looking at this from the outside, your ex really got screwed in the divorce.  First, he's not allowed to see his children at all, UNLESS it is convenient for his ex-wife.  And apparently, from what you wrote, it's never convenient for you.  You talk about him calling up on Friday night and you tell him he can't have the kids on Saturday as you already made plans.  OK, to me you sound like an evil bltch.  Bluntly speaking.  Look at it this way...

    1)  The first problem is, the visitation order is criminally vague.  Two nights a month, non-consecutive.  That means nobody involved has any idea (in advance) when the visitation might happen.  A typical visitation would at least state something concrete like "every other weekend", or something like that.  Something that you can mark on a calendar, so that you (the ex wife) know not to make plans to include the children at that time.

    2)  (related to 1)  Your ex is a very busy guy!  He's got career, new wife, and live-in children to juggle.  He's overwhelmed!!!  If he can call you on a Friday night to ask for time with the kids on Saturday...

    TO me, that mean's he's making an extraordinary effort to TRY to find time to spend with all of his children.  When he calls you on a Friday night, he's probably relieved that he FINALLY found a moment to include his children in his life, somehow.  And then you have the nerve to tell him that you already made plans?????   Holy crap lady, you've got the kids about 30 nights out of every 31, and you can't be flexible enough to give your ex the ONE day he asks for?  C'MON!!! 

    Your position seems to be...you will reluctantly allow your ex to spend a few HOURS each month with his children, AS LONG AS THAT IS CONVENIENT FOR YOU.  

    You are pure evil.  I feel sorry for your children.  What did your ex do to you that you are using your children to punish him so severely?

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  • 2 months ago

    As someone who grew up in a similar situation, I know it can be tough to see parents who are not present. If I were you, I would ask your kids if they want to go, and if they don't, I wouldn't press it. It is more damaging to force them to go than to have them willingly not. It seems the dad in this situation is a negative influence, so sheltering them from that is fine. If the father is absent, the children may be fearful of getting attached just to be blown off, so avoidance may be a coping mechanism. You may want to consider getting them a therapist if you can. Hope this helps!

  • Ben
    Lv 5
    2 months ago

    Sure, why not, at long as he's a decent influence in her life.

  • ?
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Yeah that can be a super difficult situation. I would just do your best to stick to the court order. Your daughter is young, so her relationship with her dad is likely to change as she gets older, whether good or bad. If the alcohol or other inconsistencies become a bigger issue, you may have to get that settled in court again sadly. 

  • 2 months ago

    my thoughts are he is their father u have no rights to keep the children from them and find some bogus excuses. children do not know what they want and mostly they do what u tell them to do. u do have some court order so why don't u follow it. and 2 nights a months is like nothing, u do not need to start preventing your daughter from seeing her father just because u hate him. my ex husband was a crappy father as well and never attended anything and all they did they were playing computer games at his place all day and he took them to eat to his mother, that lazy and useless he was and is. still they love him nevertheless and now all grown up call him themselves sometimes. so u re not the only one with a crappy ex husband, they all are crappy. no matter how pissed u are u shouldn't influence your children with your opinion

  • 2 months ago

    You should be asking her why she hates going.  Prod her.  Tell her that it is okay to tell you her secrets because you are her mother and it is your job to protect her but you cannot do that if she doesn't tell you everything.  Most little girls adore their fathers.  Not wanting to go and visit him spells a recipe for ill treatment and abuse. 

  • 2 months ago

    No, why should they be forced to see someone who they clearly dislike?

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