Nov 1, 2011

Should I force my daughter to see her father?

Category: Family Issues
Posted By: Liz
Hi, I am a divorced mother of 2 girls (9 & 6), my ex and I are relatively amicable. They live with me and go to him (and his new girlfriend) every other weekend but he doesn't really call or see them in the intervening weeks. Normal weekends are fine (although I do get a few moans about going occasionally - from both of them).  However, my oldest daughter gets really upset whenever her dad takes them away for the weekend, or away in the summer holidays, so much so she has started worrying now about next summer. This weekend he has taken them away and my oldest daughter has spent nights sobbing about going. My question is when can I say to him they don't want to go?  Should I force them to go?  Is this really the best thing for them?

Answer: Hi Liz, thank you for your question, I can see that you are in a really difficult position.  However, you have a distinct advantage in that things are relatively amicable between you and your ex.  With this in mind the first course of action I would suggest is to discuss the issue with him.  In an ideal world it wouldn’t need to come down to either forcing them to go or refusing to send them but can be something that you both decide on together.  In the first instance if you both talk and think about what it is that is troubling your daughter and how you can both help her with it.  If this stage can be dealt with amicably then the next step would be to talk together to your daughter and see if you can come to understand what it is that is distressing her in particular.

What is important it to try to keep sight of the idea that both you and your ex  presumably have your daughter’s best interests at heart and can therefore work out what these interests are and how you can accommodate them.  For your daughter’s sake I think it is worth trying to discover what the difficulty is and how you can help her feel more comfortable while with her father.  I wish you every success with helping your daughter.

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