What do I do when my daughter doesn't want to go to dad's?

Helen - posted on 10/11/2009 ( 19 moms have responded )

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My daughter came home on Thursday and was crying. She doesn't want to visit her dad as much anymore and wants to spend more time at my house. Because we have "Shared" Custody this makes the situation a bit more difficult. She is a cheerleader and wouldn't go on Saturday because she knew her dad was going to be there. Today she sent him a text message 4 1/2 hours before she was to go over there, because she doesn't want to talk to him, and told him that she wanted to stay at my house this week. He called me and wanted to know what was going on. I let him know that she has been very upset and that she said all he does is yell at her and that now that his girlfriend is back (she was gone for 5 months) that he doesn't care about her and doesn't have time for her. I let him know that her emotional welfare is more important to me than anything. He called the police and told them that I was refusing to bring her back tonight. I did let them know that I never said that and that I had no problem bringing her back. I let them know that she has been crying and upset and told me that she was scared of her dad and didn't want to go back. The police told me that kids make up stuff and that she just needed to go to see a counselor. I told him that I knew that but because her father does not agree with that, it makes it more difficult to do that. He told me that I needed to just schedule all the appointments when I have her and take off work to go. I told him that I too have a full-time job to support my children and that I just cannot up and leave work because her father doesn't want to bother with her. So I took my daughter to her dad's, and she was very upset about going. The police were sitting there waiting for me to make sure I came. I would love to take him back to court, but money is tight and I can't afford a lawyer. I did tell my daughter to start talking with the school counselor so that this would be documented. I don't know what else to do to get the custody changed. Do I call the police every time he doesn't bring her back in time and if she is not over here when she is to be? How do I get custody changed if no one with listen to me? She is almost 12, doesn't her opinion matter for anything? What do I do?

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David - posted on 05/04/2013

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I see all the comments and realize that not many
Dads are here. Dad just wants to do fun things... Yea he only gets her 2 days a week. She doesn't like the girl friend. He and you should talk to the CHILD and try to show her that people find it difficult to live alone and the child and mother have each other even if mom has no boyfriend yet ( and does the girlfriend bother mom too?) I wish I could just take him to court.. well is dad doing what he is supposed to do like pay his support? is he doing what the court said? then leave him alone and let him see his kid, damn. Should I call the cops and build a case? not unless you are one incredibly big bitch. What you should be asking is how the child is going to react to what YOU DID to the dad about 5-10 years down the road, when shes ok with the girlfriend, and they are friends and you two don't get along so well anymore, and maybe she wants to go live with dad awhile.... KARMA ladies. how about do whats right and let the man see his daughter and honor the divorce. and explain to the child why she needs to go see her dad who loves her too.

John - posted on 02/14/2014

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I really hate to say it, but few people here seem to care for their daughter really. They are more interested in the conflict itself. The truth is that there are some true statements above, and some terrible lies... Like the movie Roshamon, there are always more than 1 side to a story... 1) Interfering with custody is a huge deal. You can have your kids removed from your care for it, or be jailed. 2) There are no states in the US where a child can choose where to live, sorry ladies. It's just a rumor. I looked it up. You please do too, in a lawbook, not on yahoo answers or some such forum... 3) children grow up and figure things out. They will figure out if they were lied to, mistreated, or manipulated, and they will be unhappy and have a hard time adjusting to adult life, very likely having failed relationships and estranged children themselves. 4) Children often find visiting difficult, but they should be made to go under the premise that these things get generally get better. All situations have solutions. 5)A teen can go to social places like malls and coffee shops to find like people to hang with in the other location, if you're in the same area, this isn't even an issue. Really, we all know that the same friends can have their parents bring them to a different house. 6)If they don't like the step- or new girlfriend or other siblings, they need to understand that not all situations in life will meet their highest expectations, and they need to sometimes adjust... would we let them not go to school because they didn't like a teacher or other student? Most of the time there are security or loyalty issues at play, and all parents need to work on these one day at a time. Just because you have an arguement once every other day doesn't mean let someone leave your life. 7) and this is a biggie... if you have (and I can assume you have) looked at multiple boards, forums, and threads regarding this topic, you'll see that the VAST majority of posts are from moms whose child(ren) doesn't want to visit dad and often claims that someone is "mean" to them... the definition of verbal abuse is murky, but strictly speaking they need to be directing intentionally aggressive language at them in an attempt to tear them down, things like "I hate you." or "you're stupid" or "I wish you had never been born" or "why are you so ugly?" or "your brothers are better than you..." "you're a miserable little b***h." stuff like that. "you're being a little selfish," "You're being mean to your sister", "I'm very disappointed," "clean up your room or else you can't play dolls" and such... not abuse. Most kids claiming people are mean are responding to the fact that they don't like what they're being told.. that could, and usually does, mean anything. They may not like the rules, or the food, or the activities they do, or the fact that the younger kid gets more leniency, or the older kid gets more privalages... these are all par for the course, part of reality, and of varying parenting styles... and everyone deserves to have their parenting style. If we believed that everyone posting these things was accurate, we'd have to assume that most men are abusive... please. Give your kids what they need. Guidance to adjust well to a situation sometimes beyond their control, and the ability to be happy and thrive in it...

Sarah - posted on 10/13/2009

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This is so weird, because I just happened to stumble upon this site today. My 11 yr old has just recently decided she no longer wants to go visit her dad this summer. ( I have primary custody, we live in NC, he lives in FL) I figured this would happen at some point once she got older & was more involved with school & sports, but didn't figure on it being quite this soon. Her dad doesn't keep in contact like he could be or should be. (emails, phone calls, etc.) He didn't even at least send a birthday card this year, and nothing came from his family. (Out of sight, out of mind???) The phone call on her birthday lasted 5 minutes!!! They have no relationship....when she does go to stay in the summer, it's for a month and they don't do a whole lot of activies. She tells me she does a lot of TV watching, and laying around. Girlfriend does more with her than dad does. (playdates, crafts, etc.) I want her to still have a "relationship", if you want to call it that, with her dad. I don't want her or him to say I stopped or interfered with anything.....but I don't want to force her to go if she doesn't want to. I've told her she needed to talk to her dad about it. Of course, I have a feeling I'll still be the "bad guy" in the situation. Hope it works out with everyone who posted thier situations. It's hard being a divorced parent...we want wants best for our kids. Sometimes our ex-spouses are too self-obsorbed to see it. A big reason why there was a divorce in the first place.

Holly - posted on 10/12/2009

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I went through a similar situation. My daughter's 11 and she's been complaining for a couple of years about going to her dad's. I used to tell him and he would take it out on me. He said I was playing games and convincing her not to go. I finally told her if she doesn't want to go then she has to call him herself. She did that and he told her he would never pick her up again. She was bawling her eyes out and watched him drive away. Fortunately we do have a middle person and I called them and they called him and he said it was a misunderstanding. He called her and explained it but she didn't seem to buy it. She goes over every time now because going is better than having her dad hate her. It breaks my heart. We are divorced because he was a crap father. No abuse but no attention either. I've been told repeatedly by both my children that he stays in his bedroom the whole time and they do whatever they want. I don't have the money either but I would love to take him back to court. Unfortunately I know he would guilt my children into changing their stories before we got to court so it would pointless. I know I can't do anything but be the best mom I can and hope that one day they'll understand. I don't feel I have another option. The courts refuse to take the kids best interests into consideration. They only consider what they assume is in the kids best interest.

Maryellen - posted on 09/16/2012

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Been there a little over 4 months ago.

We already went to a mediator and my daughter didn't want to go then but the mediator told her that she didn't have a choice that her dad has the right to see her too. They awarded visitation. I have already spent 7K for an attorney to do nothing for me. He would pick her up on Tues evenings and do the dinner thing. Not once did he take the time to make sure the homework was done. He got his weekends and always planned "fun" things and always made sure that others were involved. My daughter didn't want to go. She was over an hour away from home and couldn't spend time with her friends. She also had basketball games and soccer training for the upcoming season. Which he didn't take to any training. Cause he didn't feel it was necessary. Of course he didn't cause he never ever took her to any of her sporting events. I always did.

My ex told my daughter that his girlfriend would not be at Easter dinner with her family. When she got there the girlfriend was there. When my daughter came home we sat and talked about it. She felt she didn't have a choice cause the courts told her that her dad has the right to see her. I told her she was 15 and she does have rights and if her dad can't respect her wishes than she has to stand up for herself and what she feels right.

My daughters grades went from A's to E's within weeks of having to deal with all the stress and hurt.

I told her that I would support her decision. Her decision was that she wanted to be with her dad but not the girlfriend. I told her that she had to tell him. Which she did. She went outside and I watched out the window. It was probably 1/2 hour before she came back in, and he left. I immediately emailed my attorney and told him what happened and he said that if she refuses on her own and I do not get involved, then there isn't anything they can do.

My daughter had not seen or talked to her dad for 6 months. Her grades are all back where they were before he left and she seems so much happier cause she doesn't have to worry!

I also fired my attorney and will go thru the rest of my divorce without one.

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19 Comments

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Raye - posted on 10/03/2014

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I'm in a slightly different situation. I'm a stepmom, the kids live with me and my husband, but the ex has joint visitation. Their mom goes through phases where she cancels on them a lot, then something will change for a while and she wants more time with them, then back to cancelling. She will often pick them up at bedtime and drop them off at school in the morning, so she doesn't really spend quality time with them. Recently my stepson (7 years old) has not wanted to go to his mom's as much. A few times he stayed home with us because his mother didn't want to force him to go with her. And more often, when told it's time to go to momma's house, he responds with "aaww" like do-I-have-to.

I find it sad for my stepson because his mom should be someone he wants to spend time with, but I'm secretly happy he wants to be home with us. I should point out that we don't reward him for staying home. We don't try to influence the kids against their mom. I think both the kids are realizing how uninterested she seems to be with them, and why would they want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with them.

I don't think the kids should be forced (kicking and screaming) into visitation, but it's true that kids are not mature enough to make those kinds of decisions by themselves. I feel the parents need to get past their own hurt feelings and talk with the child to find out really what's going on and why the kid is so unhappy. Both parents do have rights to their kids, and, as long as the relationships are not truly abusive, I think the child does benefit from having both parents in their lives. Even if that benefit is to learn the hard lesson that some parents/wives/husbands/girlfriends/boyfriends are not good people. Hopefully one parent is a positive example of parenthood, and the kids learn from both how to act and how not to act once they have kids of their own.

Alfredocastillo - posted on 10/03/2014

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I am the father of a 10 year old daughter. She used to be very exited every time I would pick her up for visitation and come running to hug me. A month ago she told me she didnt want to come. Her mom told her it was her decision. I asked my daughter why she does not want to come and she said she feels weird with her stepmon ans stepsister. Her mom hates my wife. What should I do? Trying to keep my daughter in my life and my marriage. Question: should I somehow force my daughter to talk to her stepmom to try to resolve issues? Should I force her to come home? I am concerned my daughter might resent this in the future? MOMS....please help.

Deb - posted on 07/19/2014

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my teen is 13, almost 14 and she has a very active social life that her dad doesn't support or understand. She has cancelled a few times on him because she has been involved in activities. She is with him now for a month and just texted me to say he is ignoring her except when he tells her to get him things. I'm not sure what to do, I told her to let me know how it goes and hopefully thing will get better. It's so hard when your child is with the other parent and not happy, and there is very little you can do about it.

Tabitha - posted on 05/10/2014

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I disagree. A child wishes should be honored at all costs. Children are not property. Period

Thomas - posted on 03/25/2014

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Hi, I read all the postings carefully and I now have a question too. for Little over 2 years I am with my girlfriend now. She has 2 wonderful children and we get along just fine. The Little Girl (8) has told mom and me that she loves me very much and is looking Forward to mom and me getting married. Same goes for the Little man. He is very happy with me too and I love "my" Kids very much. The Little Girl does not want to see her dad either. My GF and her ex have shared cust. The Kids go week by week. Every timeit is time, Little Lady does not want to go and this has started when dad's new wife came into the game. she is very mean to the Kids. And this is not made up by the Kids. I have had the "pleasure" of Meeting her and she even showed very bad manners toward me. Last frieday it was so bad, that Little Lady hyperventilated and threw up in the end. She is so sad when she has to go over there. She told us, that last time she was with her dad, his ex threw dirt at her while gardening and told her she would be a wimp. We told her to go and talk to dad but she said, she tryed but he always would say he could not do anything about it and she would have to deal with it. I think that so not right. Can we not do anything about it. We all live in Florida. Please advise. Thank you so very much for your help

Mayelin - posted on 03/03/2014

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i would like to know. my 8 year girl does not want to go to dads on weekends (he is remarried). i have her in counseling due to the fact that she goes into panic attacks and throws up and cries and cries (it breaks my heart) i have her in counseling now due to this fact, can he take me to court for this

Redbear - posted on 11/28/2012

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I have an ex who pretty much blocks my access to one of my kids telling him 'you need to be protected so you don't need to go' - without any reason for it since the other 3 either live with me or visit every weekend.



You need to be aware that without a court ruling, you are at risk for criminal charges for interfering with custody. In some states, its a misdemeanor and in others it's a felony.



Talk with your daughter and your ex; if he truly is abusing your daughter during visitation, then go see child services and file a complaint.

Kristina - posted on 09/13/2012

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all of you seem to have a lot of good advice......although, I cant seem to find the answers or comfort answers i need...my daughter is 5.....her and her father also have temporary joint...shes with me a week and him a week...until court in Nov.......we have done a similar echange since I left him in 2008......but she was 2....and had no complaints...for a year and a half, she has been complaining about going, always cries when she knows its time to go to his house, and says things like I wish I could stay with mommy a lot and only daddy for a lil bit. and that time goes by fast with me and slow with daddy. she says him and his new wife fight a lot.....shes always leaving and he drinks a lot. He doesnt spend quality time with her like he should...his wife is usually one that contacts me about lily....not him. I think it should be him. anyways, we live in the same school district, so its easy for her to go to school when shes with him, but he also wants her to go to the school that his step daughter goes to...everything is an issue...I havnt said anything yet, but I have been seeing a guy for a couple months, he lives in Mississippi, and its getting serious....and I think I would like to move sometime in the future, but think Lily needs to be with me and her brother and sister.....where it seems she wants to be. ...I need some advise.....on your outlook....do you think I can/ will get full custody?? he has a record of being domestically abusive to me and has 2 DWI's and is currently on probation.....everything ive read has said, its not wise to move and most judges will not approve......i have no plans of right now to move, just want to have the option in the future with no problems......also, dont you think my chances of getting full custody is probably going down by allowing the week to week arrangement happen?? please ladies/guys, i need some insight!!!!

Helen - posted on 10/13/2009

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Thanks Everyone for all the information!!! It is good to know that others are dealing with the same issues out there. I contacted the school counselor who already had 1 visit with her today. He is going to continue to see her weekly. My daughter (Lauren) is with dad with week. I called her Monday and she didn't say much. I just chalked it up to dad might have gotten even more mad at her or she couldn't say much where she was at. I do have to older children (not his) and he helped raise them. The oldest one has not had much to do with him over the past 3 years. The ex was emotionally abusive towards him and he has decided that the best way to play the game is not to have anything to do with it. He has talked with my daughter as well and told her it is going to be ok and that she will get through it. I guess in the mean time, we just keep hanging in there and see what life brings next!!!

Beth - posted on 10/13/2009

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Quoting Sarah:
 Sometimes our ex-spouses are too self-obsorbed to see it. A big reason why there was a divorce in the first place.






Amen to that, Sarah! 



It sounds to me like the girlfriend could be an excellent conduit for your daughter to have a "relationship" with her father until he figures out how to have one himself. Is she likely to stick around do you think? My kids have seen more of their father since he hooked up with his girlfriend.  They like her a lot, seem to be very comfortable with her, and there hasn't been any damaged ego to soothe when they got home when she's there with the guys.

Beth - posted on 10/12/2009

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Find out what the law says in your state. I live in Massachusetts and when a kid reaches 12 or 13 he or she can decide whether or not they want to visit the other parent and the parent is expected to honor that. My ex accused me of all sorts of stuff but the bottom line is he's always been a lousy father and it's always somehow someone else's fault (mine) that his relationships with his boys are so superficial. I've been divorced for two years now and my ex has been with his current girlfriend for most of that time. He has had them for a whopping 7 overnights in 2 years, ALL ofthem with either his mother or his girlfriend there. My boys like their father's girlfriend so that's not an issue but their father virtually never spends quality time with his boys, there's always someone else there to pick up slack, run interference, whatever. Maybe your ex does something similar, pays as much or more attention to his girlfriend when your daughter is there and she doesn't like it. Is it possible that the two of them are inapproriately intimate in front of her and that makes her uncomfortable? Maybe she used to snuglle with her dad on the couch to watch a movie and now she's been pushed off the couch by the GF. Who knows. A counselor is the best bet -- and why not at school? I wish you the best. Remeber to give yourself credit for keeping your daughter's well-being at the top of your priority list.

[deleted account]

I have a similar situation, maybe not as complex as yours. sorry to hear.
I simply did not force my daughter to visit dad if she was uncomfortable with it.
Dad had a hard time with it, but than realized best not to force anything!
Hopefully given some time of cooling off?? and not forcing, let daughter make decision and dad will agree?? Good luck to you.

[deleted account]

Wow Helen, what an upsetting situation for everyone, you have my sympathy. I hope you dont mind, but I'm a second wife so I guess my view is from another angle. If you dont want my advice I wont be offended at all as I realise you probably wanted other Biomoms' advice. If it helps I'm a Biomom too. BTW until recently we had shared custody as well and it is truely a nightmare for the kids (and us)- WORST idea the courts ever came up with if you ask me.

Firstly, most courts in most countries will listen to the view of a 12 year old so maybe that's worth pursuing. I understand school records can be subpoened so that might work with the school counsellor as well. However, be very cautious, because one day she may feel the same way about being with you. We have experienced this with both my stepsons and they do chop and change as they get older. I wouldn't say that kids 'make up' stuff but kids of a divorce do often 'have a different perspective' if that's a way of putting it. I dont think it's always deliberate- as they say there's always 3 versions of the truth- yours, mine and what actually happened. Is it possible that there is no real issue with dad's girlfriend but that she may be jealous of 'sharing' him? I only suggest this because if so, you will always have this problem when he has a partner, regardless of who the woman actually is. With the yelling part- perhaps he is always yelling at her- or perhaps there is a behavioural issue with her because of her feelings about dad's girlfriend; when she is there? I certainly had this with my youngest stepson when he was younger- he couldn't help it, he just wanted his mum and dad back together and that's understandable. It just sounds to me like she's mad at him, which is not the necessarily same thing as not wanting to see him; but saying that is really the only power she can take for herself out of the situaion? I agree that she needs counselling, there is probably stuff going on for her that she cant talk to either of you about, often church and/ot community groups do low cost, or out-of-hours sessions. I agree that it shouldn't be only up to you though, have you asked her dad why he doesn't want her to go? Are you able to have any family leave at work?

With respect to calling Police every time he's late etc- I wouldn't do that- unless obviously there is a legitimate safety concern. the reasons are 1. Because the police shouldn't be used as a mediation service UNLESS there is a safety issue- dont forget their records can also be subpoened to court and you dont want to look like a vexatious complainant 2. It will just up the ante between the 2 of you and things will just get owrse and worse. Is there a mutual friend/relative who can sit with you both while you try to PEACEFULLY has out some of these issues? Sometimes someone who knows you both can be a bit more objective than either of you.

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