The dilemma

liesbethMarch 20, 2009

Here's our dilemma:

When the skids come to our place they feel that we 'force them' to come to our place and that we 'keep them away from their mum'.

So then we consider giving them their freedom and letting them go. Feel welcome to come when you want but don't feel pressured. If you don't want to come than that's ok, we just want to see you happy, that is all that matters.

You would choose the second option without hesitation in any normal situation, buuuuuttttt this is not a normal situation. We are dealing with a parent here who is alienating the kids from the other parent and being quite successful at it. So if we give the kids their freedom; they will be made to believe that their dad does not care about seeing them. It will not be experienced as a positive, any angle we take will always be made into a negative thing.

So we can't win. We 'force' or we 'don't care about them'

And then there's the other issue that makes it just a bit more complicated. We know that the skids need the break from the chaos and the pressure. they catch up on sleep/meals/relaxing etc when they are with us.

You know, we are the adults and we know how important it is to provide then with the break. Throwing the court order out the door equals giving BM all the power to continue alienating FDH and most likely succeeding. We as adults have like a duty to protect them from that, to not give up on them like that. Do you guys know what I mean when i say that? It feels like the wrong thing to do.

Ima, I know that you know what I mean because you've been in a similar situation.

So, we've talked to the counselor about this and she's asked us to sit on it for a bit so she can consult with her clinical supervisor. It's a real dilemma.

We have not decided at this stage, and any input is welcome

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I suggest you let them visit when they want to -- at least try it out. If he's a good father, they will miss him and come back. If your skids are anything like my DD, forcing them to go will in the end make them hate their dad and not want anything to do with him. My dd is like that. He forces her to come becuase he believes its me that makes her feel the way she does. In turn, when she visits, she has a bad attitude and when she returns home, she refuses to call him, refers to him by his first name out of disrespect, deliberately forgets his birthday, etc. until the next visitation . . . and the cycle continues. I've been trying to get him to let her choose when she wants to visit and then try to make the most of those times so that she wants to come more often, and be very involved when she isn't there. I think that may be the right approach in your situation as well.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 11:29PM
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Unfortunately, just because he's a good father won't do it in this sticky situation. If BM weren't bent on alienating the kids from their father, yes, I agree that maybe you could let them have some say. But not when one parent has an agenda that doesn't include the best interest of the children.

Your skids are just that kids. They do not decide. And while at this stage of development (and with the crap that BM tosses in), they may complain that you "force them to visit". However, when they are old enough (and hopefully out from under the influence of BM), and have the luxury of life experience and some knowlege, they will realize that you and DH had their best interest at heart, and that yes, they were important enough to their father that he made sure to spend all the time he possibly could with them.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 11:37PM
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I do not recall if the BM participates in the counseling with the kids.

I would want her to be told by the counselor how damaging her behavior is to them and have it documented that it would be in the best interest of the kids if she stopped. I would think that this could result in revisiting the custody agreement. I think the best line of defense against her is to have the counselor voice your side of it to the kids. That leaves you on safe ground and it goes on record just exactly what BM is putting the kids through.

She needs help. Big time.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 11:58PM
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I know I posted this before in another of your posts. But I really think you should "force" visitation. Don't let bm fill the kids heads with bs like "look..your dad does not even want to see you!"

She is trying to alienate them from their not let her!

Plus, if he does not exercise his visitation can't bm then turn around and take him to court to reduce his visitation and increase his child support??

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 12:17AM
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I think dad should reenforce visitations, but I do not think he could force it. I do not know how to force? If children are toodlers, I guess you can, but how do you force a preteen/teenager to see the parent? What good does it do to drag kicking and screaming kids to see their dad (maybe they don't literally kick but they object? I think maybe he can start by having meetings wiht them on a neutral territory like meeting somewhere else for just like an hour? I think if he forces them to come to his house at this point, they could bring the issue wiht you yelling at them or badmouthing their mother and her spending habbits. If relationship is already damaged, it is not a good idea to force anything. If children love their father, they will overcome this and would want to see him (even if they don't want to see you). i would be heartbroken if my daughter wouldn't want to see me, but I would try to mend it slowly, not forcing. It could only damage relationship further.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 10:48AM
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Been in your situation. The bm also practices alienation to the best degree possible and yes she poisons them against my dh..their father.
BUT we still gave them the choice and basically my dh kept calling every week to see if they were coming and would ask them all the time and keep contact as much as possible.
They now do not come as often BUt they still miss coming and no matter how much their mom spits poison....they are beginnnign to see the light.
So i dont think there is anything wrong in your trying. BM will poison the situation every chance she nothing changes there. When my dh gave the kids a choice...which was only last 8 months or pulled that card...oh your dad doesn't want you. And he kept repeating that its their choice and he will not force them That he loves them. Keep this constant message and the kids will question mum when its time for them to speak back to her ...and it will happen just like its happening now with us. Sd stepped back for a while..and now she does enjoy comign over to take a break from her hectic enviornment. Its veyr negative at her household and you can see she is quite relaxed now. She gets into the occasion teen scrap outs with her dad...but that normal.
I understand exactly what you are saying about the alienation and forcing issue...we've been through it in our household. It became so exhausting fighting with bm. She was relentless at this...for many years. But the day we let go..she lost power.
Keep open with the kids and have dh keep calling, letters, dropping by at the house to prove to his kids on a constant basis that he is there. There isnothing else you can do.
You cannot force the kids to come. If they are 12 13, are not going to physically force them with visitation. Its a privelage of the father to have it by law...and yes its hisright to see his kids morally and legally but you cannot force it. So other words. In time...those kids will be the deciding facting. BM and your DH will have no say in it sooner or later.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 1:08PM
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My husband was in this situation before we met, and he decided he would not 'force' his kids to visit. And even though he made it very clear how much he wanted to see them, BioMom made it even clearer to the kids that their Dad didn't love them as much as she did or else he could never have agreed to not see them. And predictably, the kids felt abandoned and angry. It took years to rebuild the relationship.

For that reason, I'd say that yes, you do want the visitation to continue, even over the kids' objections -- at least until the kids have had plenty of time to work it out in counseling, and the counselor is satisfied that Mom isn't the one driving things.

Ask the kids why they don't want to visit, and listen hard for anything real. If the kids don't want to miss activities, drive them and watch! If they complain about not seeing their friends, invite their friends to do something fun. If it's you they complain about (sorry - nothing personal) then get scarce and let them have Dad all to themselves. If they acknowledge that it's Mom they don't want to abandon, let them know how much Dad misses them too, but that he tries not to lay that guilt trip on them because he knows how unfair it is.

You're in a tough situation Liesbeth -- the kids are too. Try to stay calm and patient and not take it personally.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 7:25PM
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