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What do you do when the kids don't want to visit Dad??

Posted by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 10:49 PM
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 Long story short. My kids and I moved out from my ex almost 2 years ago.  Divorce was final a year ago.  My kids are 12 and 9, and hate going to their Dad's.  They go every other weekend, plus 1 weeknight, plus holidays, etc.  The older they get, the more they hate going and are getting so opinionated about it that I think they'll flat out refuse before long.  Yes, I know there are a lot of petty reasons for not wanting to go.  It's not their "home" and they're bored, etc.  But my ex in my opinion is bipolar.  You have to walk on eggshells with him and he was very verbally abusive to me for the 12 yrs together.  My 9 yr old is scared of him and my 12 yr old is mostly tired of listening to his Dad badmouth me or drag them into the details of our divorce, arguments, etc.  It's constant and it's stressing them out.  Plus, my ex lives in a 2 bdrm apt and so my 12 yr old son and 9 yr old dd have to share a room.  Needless to say, I think they're too old for that, and my kids hate it.  I've got my daughter into counseling now but I think it won't be long and they'll refuse to go.  Anyone of you go through this?  How did you handle it? 

by on Dec. 18, 2012 at 10:49 PM
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tottaxi
by Battle Weary on Dec. 19, 2012 at 8:27 AM

My son is only five and hates going to dad's.  On the days he goes he works himself up into a frenzy and we end up dealing with tears.  Lately he has even been experiencing diarrhea just before time for pick up.  It is upsetting for DS and me, but dear old dad doesn't give a rat's ass about anyone's feelings except his own.

I honestly think the kids can refuse to go.  Yours are definitely old enough.  A lady on another forum has a three year old that cries and refuses and hides behind her when dad comes.  She has been able to tell dad "Obviously he does not want to go.  Do you want to make him?"  and the dad leaves...bitches and blames her, of course, but he does leave.  This has happened so often that the dad has pretty much started calling before he comes...and saves himself the trip.

I'd talk to your attorney and ask what the kids' rights are in this regard.  It never hurts to try.

nebraskamomto2
by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 9:18 AM

 It's tough when they're little and don't want to go.  I have a friend of mine that her daughter did that a lot during the ages of 3-5 but then it got much better.  If the Dad is a good Dad, then I do think visitation should be encouraged and enforced per se.  But in situations where the Dad is mistreating the kids or abusive/mean in any way, I just don't see the benefit in it.  In my state, there is no set age where the kids have a say, but the older they get the better.  I think many states have the age of 12-14 for when the kids can help decide visitation stuff.  Part of why I've got my dd in counseling is for that 3rd party opinion, and hearing how much my dd hates going to Dad's.  The hard part about going back to court to adjust visitation is the expense.  Heck I'm far from even paying off my divorce.  He drug it out and fought every little thing, so now I have 20k just from that.  Ugh..

tottaxi
by Battle Weary on Dec. 19, 2012 at 10:43 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting nebraskamomto2:

 It's tough when they're little and don't want to go.  I have a friend of mine that her daughter did that a lot during the ages of 3-5 but then it got much better.  If the Dad is a good Dad, then I do think visitation should be encouraged and enforced per se.  But in situations where the Dad is mistreating the kids or abusive/mean in any way, I just don't see the benefit in it.  In my state, there is no set age where the kids have a say, but the older they get the better.  I think many states have the age of 12-14 for when the kids can help decide visitation stuff.  Part of why I've got my dd in counseling is for that 3rd party opinion, and hearing how much my dd hates going to Dad's.  The hard part about going back to court to adjust visitation is the expense.  Heck I'm far from even paying off my divorce.  He drug it out and fought every little thing, so now I have 20k just from that.  Ugh..

I hear ya.  I agree on all of the above right down to the expense incurred for this divorce.  I've had to use a credit card just to keep my attorney working for me.  I guess it wasn't good enough that I was giving him $500 a month, he wanted to be paid in full!  Now I go in whether I owe him or not and give him $100.  I overpaid when I used the credit card just to give me some breathing room...at least from him.  My credit card companies seems to enjoy my taking forever to pay :(

I don't think that there is every a legal age that the kids can refuse and we are always supposed to facilitate a relationship....which means, IMO, making the child available.  How ex and DS relate is NOT my problem.

At some point in time I would hope that these dads would listen to their children.  And realize that the kids aren't doing it because we are putting them up to it.  So many people think that the children have no opinions or feelings of their own.  They treat them like pets instead of people.  And the court system seems to promote that sort of thinking.

All I do is send DS and prepare myself to do damage control when he gets home.  He returned from his weekend with dad and was so exhausted he could barely hold his head up to eat breakfast before heading to school. He had a weekend of eating chocolate chip muffins and Ramen Noodle Soup.  Nutritious, eh?

I hate the whole damned mess.  Sorry.  I guess I needed to vent, too!!!!

nebraskamomto2
by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 1:00 PM

 You're right, even thought they're kids, they should have some say.  My son who is almost 12 gets irritated that he is basically forced to go when he doesn't want to.  Their lives are dictated by schedules and if he doesn't act super excited to see his Dad, Dad gets angry and guilts them.  I do know of several situations though where the kid gets persistent enough about not going, or as often, and the Dad gives up fighting basically.  Why push the issue in court when the child will go and tell the judge he doesn't want to go? Vent away tottaxi lol, I hear ya! 

GraLauJon
by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 1:44 PM

that is what happened with us - my stbx has tried to force the visitations but then it backfires on him.  then they dont want to be around him. my stbx IS bipolar and you can always go to the court for free for mediation.  my ex SIL had her kids speak to the mediator alone and then the mediator repped the kids in court in  front of the judge.  as a result, my SIL gets sole custody of the kids and the dad can only see them for so long i think one day per week. he doesnt even get sleepovers.  I think you are smart for taking your dd to counseling but you should get your son in too.

nebraskamomto2
by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 2:54 PM

 My ex's brother is bipolar but their whole family has emotional/mental issues.  Doesn't mediation cost?  In my divorce decree, it says we'll have to split mediation expenses 50/50 if ever needed...

I already have full custody, but my kids don't want to do overnights.  He's so unpredictable and moods are so irregular.

tottaxi
by Battle Weary on Dec. 19, 2012 at 3:30 PM
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Quoting nebraskamomto2:

 You're right, even thought they're kids, they should have some say.  My son who is almost 12 gets irritated that he is basically forced to go when he doesn't want to.  Their lives are dictated by schedules and if he doesn't act super excited to see his Dad, Dad gets angry and guilts them.  I do know of several situations though where the kid gets persistent enough about not going, or as often, and the Dad gives up fighting basically.  Why push the issue in court when the child will go and tell the judge he doesn't want to go? Vent away tottaxi lol, I hear ya! 

This is exactly what DS experiences.  Dad gets mad if DS is open with his feelings.

Backstory:  Ex lost his job of ten+ years and started a new one that has him working twelve hour days...two on, two off, three on, three off.  This obviously jacks up our court ordered schedule, but since it will change every three months I am trying to work with him rather than spend more $$$ in court costs.  He is being difficult about it.  He is concerned about getting the full number of hours that he was given...even if it means that DS is in the care of his mom while he works and only sees DS after 8 pm on his days.  There are times when he works third shift and DS HATES to spend the night at my exmil.  Hates it!  So, I am trying to convince ex to just go with one overnight...that is by DS's request.  And then I would work with him on giving HIM, not his mother, time with DS.  He could care less.  It is like a contest and he is only concerned about the numbers.

On the other hand, ex tells DS "You don't have to anything you don't want to."  Lovely, eh?  Tells him that he doesn't have to listen to his teachers or his grandparents...only him.  So, he can do what he wants?  Then why is it that when DS asked to NOT go one night and just wanted him to come the next morning (he was going to pick him up at 8 pm), he refused.  Well, he didn't really even refuse.  He said "I will be there to pick you up when I get off work"....and hung up.  

So which is it?  DS can do what he wants or that only applies to everyone but dad?

Pisses me off.

Oh...counseling is a godsend.  Having an unbiased third party has been MOST benefical.  And it is great to be validated.  DS goes...EX and I are required to be in the waiting room as a show of solidarity.  DS session takes place and after it is over we are each called in separately.  About every three months she has us together.  It is great to use her as a buffer to address touchy issues.  

GraLauJon
by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Mediation thru the courts should be free.   going before a judge may cost.  but we were told here that you can go thru mediation as many times as you need to, plus if your kids are older they can speak for themselves.  so that is in their favor right there.  it wouldnt hurt for you to call your local courthouse to find out how it all works!  

PS - if one family member is bipolar, then watch out.  there are more.  it is supposed to be highly hereditary.   my ex SIL has known our ex's family since Jr High and she said to me after my H saw a pscyh and was assessed, "i wouldnt be surprised if that whole bloomin bunch wasnt bipolar."    my MIL hurls things at people from across the room, her ex (my BIL) is really really messed up. my H is nasty mean and violent and goes into rages.  he cant even think straight. the way he reasons many of my friends have commented that he sounds like a sociopath.  I have to watch my middle dd like a hawk b/c she seems to have alot of the same personality traits as my stbx.

what do your visitation/custody orders say???  Does your ex have partial custody, or visitatation, etc?   You can ask that the court order he get a psych eval but i know here they expect us to pay that expense,  just dont forget that every state should have state funded programs for things like this, so you can get help for free.

wodntulk2kno1
by on Dec. 19, 2012 at 5:19 PM
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Well in my case I have sole custody and he has not asked for rights through a court. He thinks he just is intitled to it. Lol
My kids don't want to go see their dad and it will probably never happen. They are old enough to say what they want.
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tottaxi
by Battle Weary on Dec. 19, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Mediation in my area is $300 per hour.  I wish it was free!!!  All of our mediators work out of the same office, so I am guessing the price is pretty uniform.

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