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Arundhati, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed psychotherapist, Published Wellness Author
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I am a divorced mother of 3 children aged 10, 8 and 5. The

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I am a divorced mother of 3 children aged 10, 8 and 5. The father has seen the children infrequently over last 4 years since we divorced seeing the children on average one weeekend in every 8 - 10 weeks. Before we were divorced he was largely absent from their lives, so in short, he has never been a regular part of their lives. The father has recently decided, in the last 4 months, that he wants to be part of their lives now and is seeing them every other weekend. The problem is that my 5 year old daughter doesn't want to go and cries regularly about it, and also my middle child, my 8 year old son, doesn't want to go and cries himself to sleep the night before he goes. The father believes the children should be forced to go as he is their father. I feel very upset about the situation and just don't know what to do. My heart says they shouldn't be forced, but I am afraid of getting into a conflict with the father as he can be very difficult. At the end of the day, I want to do what is best for the children. I need some advice as to what this is! Many thanks, Juliette
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Arundhati replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for writing in to Just Answer.

I'm sorry to hear about the dilemma you're currently in. I completely understand where you are coming from.

From what you describe, it sounds like your ex-husband has not really invested a lot of energy and time into developing a strong bond with the children. And now, all of a sudden, he has decided that he would like to have a greater role to play in the children's lives. If that is the case then he should be able to earn the children's desire to spend more time with him. He cannot expect to get this additional time with the children through co-ercion. It is true that he is their father but at the same time he has not invested efforts to build that father-child bond with them enough for them to want to see him more often.

In mind opinion your children's desire to not see their father as often is a valid and reasonable demand.One approach you can adopt is to talk to your ex-husband and tell him that he needs to strengthen his bond with the children, build their trust and build a strong enough friendship with them so that they eagerly look forward to spending more time with him. Till the time that happens, you are not comfortable with forcing the children to visit him for longer periods as this kind of forcing can have adverse emotional impact on the children.

I hope this was helpful.

Please let me know if you have additional questions/thoughts.

Warm regards,

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