Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Backstory: I have a 6 year old son with a man I've not been with since our child was 15 months old. He is now married, with additional children. I am engaged, with no other children.

Despite our differences, we have always insured both parents are actively involved in our son's life. We used to have equal custody (physical and legal). It worked well until he began school full time and at his father's request, I've taken him full time. I told his father that throughout the week, he may see him whenever he wishes and of course he'll have him every other weekend.

Our son has some delays and those delays breed behavioral issues. Even though he doesn't remember the separation, he also does have some issues with the fact that his family isn't intact but his little brothers' are. We've gone to family therapy for this, but his father and stepmother no longer wish to attend.

His father used to be a great dad but now he's disappeared. We started this full time schedule over the summer as a trial run and in the two months we've been doing it, he has seen his son twice. He used to work, but apparently left his job (my SIL worked with him) and now doesn't work at all. I let him know since he has so much free time, he can get DS any time he wants. He does not answer my phone calls and texts until he wants to and then he has an excuse.

This is making DS act out majorly, and I've tried to explain these things to his father. His father blatantly ignores me. From what I've gathered, there are family problems going on. That was the reason for leaving the job. I know his wife does not like my son. I'm not trying to sound like a vindictive ex - she has admitted she doesn't care for him and finds him a handful. She is not abusive to him in anyway, but she would rather he not be around.

My fiance does love my son and is great with him. He's not his dad though and DS knows that. DS misses his father. My mom seems to think I should go back to my lawyer and enforce the custody order or modify it and enforce the new order. I'm the fence..

See, my dad did this to me. I didn't have him around until I was a bit older. When he did come around, he made it a point to let me know I wasn't wanted. I felt like his burden instead of his child. It ended up doing more harm than good and damaged me more than I was damaged by him not being around at all.

I will never keep my son from his father, but I really don't know if it is right to force his dad to see him (if I even can). What if DS can sense his presence is not wanted? Won't that make it worse? What is the lesser evil here?

Again, I have tried to talk to his father until I'm blue in the face and he all but says he wants to dip out. I have no idea how a parent could be so cruel, but that's what I'm dealing with. I do believe it is his wife to blame and I hope one day he wakes up, because he used to be a great dad, but right now I'm at a loss as to what to do. :(
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,981 Posts
The problem may be that he brings his son “home” with him. Maybe he would step up if he could spend one on one time with your son. A few hours on Saturday, for instance, where he and the younger kids could go to the park, have lunch, then take your son home. This way there is still a connection, but the new wife doesn’t have any responsibility.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,010 Posts
This is a difficult situation that really requires expert advice. I think talking to your counselor about the situation and perhaps an attorney to discuss options would be best.

I wouldn't place the blame on the wife. The father has responsibilities and is choosing to ignore them for whatever reason.

Perhaps your son will develop a closer relationship with your fiance now that his father is out of the picture. Again, I'd let your counsler guide you thru that mine field. Is there a big brothers organization in your area? Do you think that would help?

In the extreme of the father completely opting out, would your fiance adopt your son after you're married? Your son knowing that he has been "chosen" as and adopted could restore some of his sense of security. At this point I imagine your son feels his father has chosen his step-siblings instead of him, which sounds like a fairly accurate assessment. Added to that is he has lost contact with his siblings which is another loss for him to deal with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,696 Posts
My oldest daughter's dad is like that. She does seem more emotionally fragile than most kids. She's seven and already thinks he's crap. She doesn't let it hurt her feelings. She learned by the time she was five who she could depend on. Warning,Don't make him see the kid. I tried this with her and he was really hateful to her, border line abusive even, because he didn't want her around. So finally I just quit for her emotional well being. You're between a rock and a hard place. I decided having no real dad was better than having a mean, vindictive dad.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,215 Posts
I am sorry your son's father is acting like this.

From your post it sounds like your ex's new wife does not want your son around and your ex is dealing with it in an immature way. I am not sure if you can even make your ex stick to the custody agreement, but do you really want your son spending time in an environment where he is not wanted? Maybe a new custody agreement your mom suggested is in order. Even if your ex and his family do not tell him straight "we do not want you here, we just take you because we have to", he will know it.

I would focus on your "new" family with your fiance and your son and work through the behavior issues. It will pass and with time, your son will over come it.

I have never been in your situation but I do have a child with special needs and I can understand behavior challenges that come with that.

Best wishes to you and your son.
 

·
Milk Maid
Joined
·
2,873 Posts
No, I wouldn't try force it, that would breed resentment. Let his dad have contact with him when he wants to and in the meantime encourage the bond that is growing between your fiance and your son... and I agree with the adoption idea.

I'm sorry, that's a really tough situation for such a little guy.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
6,751 Posts
You ex may not really know how to handle your son's behavioral problems... put that with a wife and the siblings no understanding or willing to help is a big problem..I would NEVER force my child on someone.. It will only lead to your child feeling emotions he may not understand. If they are arguing or even just "disappearing" into another room, your son WILL notice...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,659 Posts
I would never force anything,(even if you could)
Is it a case of your child asking for his father constantly, or of you thinking that he should be with his dad.
Hard as it may be, I would have one more conversation, tell the dad the door is open, if he chooses not to visit, it's his loss...
I would never knowingly send my kid where he was not treated as a member of the family.
Seems like they have a lot of growing up to do.
If the fathers new family is having troubles, it really is best not to expose your child to it.

I think sometimes parents project their feelings on to their very young children, when the kids would be better off knowing that the have another parent, but they are just unavailable, or unable to be there, end of the story.
No wishing and hoping going on, ending up in such devastating disappointment for the kid. As in parent making comments on a child's birthday "maybe dad will come over today"
(Just an observation from a family members situation, said child and mother have moved on, but it took years)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
332 Posts
Please put your child's welfare first.

Before your feelings for his situation, or before your wishes for his father's behavior.

If it is better for your child's mental and emotional self; let his father fade away. He is trying to tell you by his actions, he doesn't want to spend any more time, energy or emotional ties with him or you.

Let him mature, he can and will initiate contact if he wants too later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thank you for your help, everyone.

To answer some questions:

1. He doesn't ask for him constantly, but he does ask questions. He makes comments sometimes that he misses Dad so I will attempt to get his dad to call him or try to call..usually he doesn't. He does miss his little brothers and I'm sure they miss him too.

2. His stepfather is very fatherly to him and is a great role model. We are both very blessed to have him in our life. He respects all boundaries but treats DS as if he were his own. If his dad were to leave completely, he would step to the plate without hesitation. I just worry that at 6 years old, that abandonment would harm DS for the rest of his life.

3. I think it is a great idea to talk to the counselor about it. I will do that. We haven't been this month due to moving and school/work changes but it's on the agenda.

Thank you all for making me feel better about being uneasy about making his dad take him. It's hard for me to fathom that his dad may not want him because I know how doting his dad used to be. Like I said before, he may not have been a good spouse but he was always a great dad. I sincerely hope this is only a temporary bump and whatever is going on that is making him behave this way will soon stop. I suspect there's way more to it than he lets on.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,372 Posts
No, you can't make someone do something they don't want to without making them resentful. Reassure your Son that Dad does love him, he will find out how much as time goes on. Give the boy an extra hug and show him he is special to you. Do not run his father down, ever, let him find out on his own. Who knows what his father is thinking, don't put words in his mouth....James
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Coming from a bad situation myself I would not make him see his son. He will be neglected and not receive the love and guidance that a young boy should get from his father. The man that you once knew is gone ( people change ) or he would want his son with him. The man that you're with now if he wants to adopt him then ask your ex to sign the papers. It will be tough on your son but he'll be better off in the end and when he gets older he'll figure it out. I went back to my step dad and apologized ( he almost cried which was something I've never seen ) for the way that I acted when I was growing up and thanked him for raising me as his on. All that said I now have a great relationship with my real dad and he was very honest with me and told me that he wasn't in a good place at the time. Although I know it wasn't all his fault be he never wanted to bad mouth my mom.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
41,011 Posts
Any father worth his salt would tell his new wife that his son comes first.
Any father worth his salt would not have left his son to begin with. I tolerated a miserable 9 years with my first wife for the kids.. and they were not even mine! Not real sure she knew who their fathers were. When the last girl was out of high school, out on her own, only then did I pack my bags.

When I first got together with my Yvonne her son was 8, his dad wasnt much account either, would only see the boy when it was extremely convenient (for him), was never there when the boy called wanting to see him. Always with an excuse. Well our boy is now living in Florida, making his own living, and doing quite well for himself. His dad "now" wants to have a relationship with him.... the boy figured it out all on his own years ago and he aint havin any. There are a lot of good men out there in the world, but theres some real putz's too.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,303 Posts
I don't think this is something that HTers can answer. Since you already have a family counselor who knows the family dynamics, I strongly suggest starting with her. You cannot force somebody to spend time with anybody else.

I hope I'm making sense. Ambien is kicking my batootie.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
264 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Update: He texted this morning to let me know he still had intentions of picking DS up this afternoon from school for the weekend. He got me before my morning coffee so I pretty heatedly asked him where he had been for the past two weeks.

In his words, I should have called him or had DS call him if DS wanted to speak with him. He blamed DS for not wanting to speak to his father because DS didn't ask. DS is 6 with the mind of a 3-4 year old..he doesn't know to ask. I didn't feel it was my place to reach out to his father on numerous occasions asking him to please call his son so I let his father know that.

I'm not going to push it anymore. I'm just going to let him fade the way he wants to, if he wants to. DS gets plenty of love and nurturing here. I know it leaves permanent scars, I still have mine, but scars fade in time too. :(
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,696 Posts
That poor child. I am so sorry. No kid, even six, should have to ask to see a parent. Its our job to set schedules so they can relax and know that everything will be taken care of, including daddy visits. I guess he's really grasping at straws trying to defend himself, but he should not blame the kid. That is beyond messed up, and if that's his attitude, he would really screw up your sons self esteem in the long run. I know it hurts now but when that boy grows up he will remember how mommy and stepdaddy were always there and biological dad was not, and he will judge accordingly. You are doing the best you can and someday your boy will thank you for that.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
25,198 Posts
There will be more harm than good from requiring your ex to see his child. Better for your son if "dad" is allowed to fade into a memory. As for the child having to ask..... don't get me started. A true loving father would want to see his child. Obviously this man is not.

My dad was that way. On his terms and at his leisure ONLY! Even when he knew he was dying.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Every child is different, and you are doing the best that you can.
My daughter and I had a few rough years, and much of that was because of her Dad. She so wanted him to be a hero, and he wasn't. He also had a wife that wasn't good to her, up to and including not letting my DD know where he was in the last 6 months of his life. She kept moving him around like Casey Kasem. Didn't let her have any of his belongings, or said he sold them.
Pathetic.
We went to counselling. He wouldn't.
I agree that one shouldn't say BAD things about the other parent.
But a varnished version of the truth, depending on their age? Yes. She later told me that she didn't like hearing it, but knew I never lied to her, and it made her accept how some things were much better.
"Your Dad is who he is. Not good or bad, it just is. He loves you. But he has a hard time dealing with things. You know he has problems. It has nothing to do with you. It isn't your fault. He's that way with alot of people. Just love him anyway, and maybe there will be a time when you two can work it out."
Unfortunately for her, that time never came before he died, but they did have a relationship of sorts, even if it wasn't as it should have been.
 

·
Very Dairy
Joined
·
14,609 Posts
I just worry that at 6 years old, that abandonment would harm DS for the rest of his life.
The thing is, I don't think you can stop your ex from abandoning your son. :(

A few thoughts: I think it's important to acknowledge your son's grief and loss. Don't try to minimize it. Let him mourn.

Also, from my own experience ... my father was not a very good father. He had never known his own father, who ran out on the family when he was 2. He didn't want children, either -- I was a surprise, born in the 13th year of my parents' marriage. Whoops!

My mother was a smart cookie, though, and she headed off at the pass a lot of damage that might have been done otherwise. She never criticized my father in front of me. She frequently reminded me that "your father doesn't know how to be a father because he never had one himself." She helped me to see my father not as a monster, but as a person behaving badly out of his own weakness and vulnerability. Where there might have been only hurt or resentment, she planted a seed of compassion. :)
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top