Our 11 year old daughter refuses to visit her Dad

Heather - posted on 10/24/2011 ( 5 moms have responded )




My 11 year old daughter and I live a little over an hour from her Dad. She is suppose to visit him every other weekend. Currently she is refusing to go. The last visit was awful and she called crying many times asking to come home.

We have been divorced almost 3 years and do not have a good relationship ourselves. He is extremely bitter and constantly blames me for the divorce and puts me down in front of her. He saves his chores for the weekends she is there, makes promises to do fun things, but never seems to do them. He also is on her about her weight, allows her only to drink water and forces her to take 5 mile bike rides each day she is with him.

Additionally, He lives in NY and has a girlfriend in Florida. They see and talk to each other MUCH more than he sees or even talks to our daughter. The GF was his college GF. She has never married, has no children, but teaches school so she thinks she knows it all. Well, I taught school too and have children and here I am asking questions!

She has tried talking to her Dad, but he is one of those over-talkers who will not listen. When she gets upset he says I have sabotaged the weekend. Believe me, there is nothing I'd like better than for them to get along. I keep pushing her visits because I do not want their relationship to disappear. I've told both of them that and have emphasized that it is very hard to re-start a relationship after it has crumbled. It hurts me to see he is treating her much like he treated me. She sees that and I think is wondering if I left him why can't she... HELP! Any suggestions?


JuLeah - posted on 10/24/2011




Their relationship is theirs to live, to work out, to deal with.

If this relationship matters to him, he will figure it out

I think you need to listen, not judge. Be there, not be in the way. Support her, don't encourage or discourage her from visits

She is 11 and knows her mind

Maybe she needs a break from him

Maybe one day he will be interested in family thearpy with her .... maybe one day he will be willing to listen to her, actually hear her

Maybe she can write him a letter

But, if she is not being heard, repspected .... you said you didn't want him to treat her as he did you. It seem this is how he treats folks, so maybe it is better to teach your daughter how to not be a part of it ... teach her to not do what you did - keep trying to make work something that won't work

Teach her to set limits on what she will accept - she never has to accept anyone mistreating her, or disrespecting her

Toni - posted on 10/24/2011




First things first, breath. I have been in your shoes, I know how you feel. I thing I learned is there are 3 relationships going on here. One relationship is between You and your daughter, the second relationship is between your Daughter and her Father, and the third relationship is between You and your Ex. So, ask yourself, which of these 3 relationships do you have any control? The first one and the last one. Your relationship with your daughter is the utmost important relationship. She must feel loved, secure, safe and happy, and I hope you are fulfilling those needs. The relationship with your Ex is probably messy (I know mine was) I finally had to realize I had to be straight forward and honest with this man. I sat down, wrote a list of the points I wanted to make (bluntly) then I arranged for him and I to meet alone,(no children). I started out explaining to him this would be the last time I would discuss this situation with him. I wanted him to know that I in no way influence our child's decisions on whether or not to see him and whether or not he wants to believe that is his choice. I refused to argue about it or discuss that point any further. PERIOD!! I basically said "Look, I am going to talk and I asking your nicely to listen, our daughter says this...." "I don't want nor care what you think or care about, I only care about her well being. Second, if you chose to close a blind eye to this situation, then YOU have made the decision to lose your daughter." "You lost me, you lost our marriage, now whether you keep a relationship open with your daughter is up to you." What this man does in his private life is none of your business, yes, I know it is irritating as hell, but still it's none of your business. You can't make him be a good father. Your daughter is old enough to make her own decisions. I would let her do so. But, that means, SHE has to say "No dad, I don't want to come to your house this weekend." If he calls and says "is she coming over?" Then hand the phone to her. Let them work out their relationship. If she asks what you think, simply tell her, you will stand behind whatever she decides, no pushing to go, let her make the decision. It will not only let the two of them work things out for the better or worse, but it will strengthen her ability to make her own decisions and learn that decisions have consequences good and bad. I know it's hard, but this is what I did. One of kids decided NO, he doesn't want to spend time with his dad, other said YES he did. So, I went with that. They have a pretty good relationship now. It has it's bumps in the road, but I stayed out of it. Oh and one last thing. I did tell my EX if I ever hear of him or anyone else talking bad about me in from of my child again, I will see them in court and if that doesn't work, I will give motherly justice and I am serious about that...Remember YOU are you child's only Advocate!!! God Bless and Good Luck!!!!

Diane - posted on 04/29/2013




This weekend my 13 year old daughter decided that she did not want to go with her dad for his weekly visitation. We have joint 50/50. When he came to get her and her brother I was not yet home from work yet but she called me and said she didnt want to go at all.

I encouraged her to get her stuff together and go with her dad that it was her time with him. She said I cant stand him talking bad about you anymore and all he does is yell at me for everything. I told her she was going to have to be the one to tell her dad she didnt want to come. so she did

Her dad blamed me, said i was talking her into doing this. I did no such thing. I told him he had somethings to work out with his daughter. That i had encouraged her to go with him.

She has been wtih me for the past 4 days which are his time. I asked her when did she plan to go back to see her dad she said not this week. All he is gonna do when I go back is yell at me.

Im not sure what to do in this siutation. I am not going to physically make her. No matter what I say to her she refuses. She also called our guardian at litem that day and told her she didnt want to go to her dads that things were not getting better. The gal told her she shouldnt have to go if she doesnt want to. That she couldnt do anything about it until we go to court in July. But that it would be all worked out.

Any advice?

Kelina - posted on 10/24/2011




i'd let her make her own decision but i agree with toni, she has to be the one to tell her dad she's not coming. I was about her age when I stopped seeing my dad every weekend, I hated feeling like i was only there because he had to have me, not because he wanted me. He'd remarried and his new wife HATED me, and he always took her side. Eventually enough was enough and i stopped going except for christmas. And yes he bad mouthed my mom quite a bit. He was the lecture type as well. Let her know that if she doesn't want to go then that's her decision to make but try to keep the lines of communication open and encourage her to call and alk to him or write him letters. Archaic though it may seem snail mail is a good way to get thoughts and feelings across without getting interrupted, talked over, or insulted. And maybe a break will help him get his head out of his butt and see that a relationship with his daughter is important.


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Christina - posted on 10/24/2011




my parents had a nasty divorce, and my dad and i ended up with a very strained relationship like the one you are describing.
it turned out i reminded my dad too much of my mother. and until he stopped seeing me as her mini version it stayed strained. i evetually stopped going for visits, and my mom stopped focing the regular visits and just focused on special days (birthdays, holidays, fathers day, and a 2 week visit in the summer). other wise the weekly visiits were just too much stress. but she did make me stay in contact by phone with him the rest of the time.

i think it helped because then the visits turn more focus on the hoilday / special reason which took the pressure off of always having to have something to do. and eventually it helped rebuild the relationship. it took almost 5 years, but it worked and now we have a good relationship. i think my dad needed the time to get over the divorce and time for me to forgive him for being mean, and find my own voice to remind him to keep it a nice visit or i wounldnt be back for awhile.

i hope things get better for your daughter. i remeber being there it was hard. good luck.

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