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what would u do?

Started by mudbunnies, Dec 01, 2003, 08:16:53 AM

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i am going to type out a scenario below and i'm asking everyone to just post and tell me, what would u do?

remember guys;  i am a fervent supporter of father's rights, hence the search for moral/ethical guidance here...

child, currently aged 8 (2003)

parents divorced (Spring, 1999)

visitation with this child & father;  

1 week, October, 1999
1 day, December, 1999
1 day, Summer 2001
3 phone calls fall 2001
1 weekend, Thanksgiving, 2002
1 weekend, Christmas, 2002
1 weekend, January 2003
1 weekend, February 2003
1 weekend, March, 2003
2 weeks, summer 2003
1 phone call since summer visit

father has 2 other biological children he allowed a stepfather to adot
father has 1 adopted child he phones weekly and visits never

father has always been aware of child's location, telephone number, etc., bio-mom has made numerous requests for father to keep regular visits and contact

bio-mom informed father prior to thanksgiving visit in 2002, if you come back into this child's life and start regular visits for the love of god & this child make sure you stay, child was devastated when dad abandoned child in summer 2001

father wants to know "pop back into child's life", after the 1 phone call child hid in bedroom, mother sat with child and talked, discovered that child is "scared" "concerned" (you choose your best word for 8 yr old feelings) about dad running away again and being alone with dad, understand that at every other "visit" dad has had a different girlfriend, the last one child became very attached to and even though dad broke up with her the child and girlfriend have kept in contact....

what would u do?

1.  allow dad whatever access he likes whenever he likes, even though it is causing child anguish that he drops her and runs away for months at a time?

2.  ask dad to enter into a "get re-acquainted" plan whereby dad should make several phone calls then visit at mom's house or neutral place, then time alone with child?

3.  any other suggestions?

as i said, i believe in father's rights, i have supported my SO through all his battles, however, i also believe that one should be consistent and constant in a child's life, not abandon them whenever the mood suits u..

so, i'm in a moral dilemma here and i was hoping that maybe someone could make a suggestion that might bring alternatives to light whereby this child gets whats best

thanks guys... sorry to make the brains work so early in the am..

Indigo Mom

My response to your post is the same as my response right below to "shamrock".  

This "father" should NOT be allowed to pop in and pop out whenever he feels like it.  Unacceptable.  


I too believe that BOTH parents should have equal parenting time, just as I believe a child/ren has the right to be parented equally by both mom and dad.

In-out-in-out-in-out-in-out-in-out ... doesn't cut it.  Ya know to some extent, we all parent the way we were parented.  If the parenting was lousy, then we probably are not great at it, UNLESS we are made aware of it by whatever means and modify the behavior.  The single most important role model for a child/ren is the same sex parent.  Now whaddya think this BF is setting as an example in "parenting" for this little guy.

IMO, yes, visitation should be continued ONLY if BF will be consistent.  Telephone calls to break the ice initially, then some supervised visitation where the child can feel comfortable and "safe," graduating to longer visitations.  BF needs to take some parenting classes to open up his eyes to the irrepairable damage he is causing and this poor kid needs to KNOW he can count on his Dad.

Neither right nor fair to waltz in when we feel like being a mom or dad and then disappear for weeks/months on end.



I feel so sorry for your child.  This is terrible.  I can't even imagine.

How does the child feel about this.  What if you asked him how he felt about it, without giving him choices.  Just feel him out.  Would he rather see dad 3 times a year vs. none, and also, how about explaining that dad "just doesn't understand how much you need him and that maybe when you get older, he can spend more time with you?"  

I don't know.  I guess, even at 8, kids are pretty smart.  They know what is going on and what they do and don't want.  I know I knew in 1st grade that my bio dad was terrible.  He was abusive and even at age 6-7, I was smart enough to ask my mom to leave.  She did and we have never looked back.  

I don't know if this helps or not, but I thought it might give you another avenue anyway.  Hope it works out, so sorry for you and your little one....:-(


You need to teach your child about unconditional love.

If you teach your child that he should only love and respect his father when dad does what you want, you are teaching the child that love is conditional, that it's ok to hate those who are less than perfect, and that his dad is a dirtbag.

Children raised like this have trouble accepting parental discipline. They see your anger when they misbehave and think you don't love them anymore. Teenagers raised like this are more rebellious, more likely to use drugs and alcohol, and more likely to be involved in teenage pregnancies.

If you teach your child to love and respect his dad, no matter what, to try to understand how painful it is every time dad has to say goodbye, to appreciate what dad does, that maybe the child doesn't see ("Dad works hard every month to support you, even when he can't make it to visit, and you can bet he's thinking about you. Why don't you write him a letter to tell him how much you appreciate him?") This will also have the side benefit of increasing dad's commitment/desire to spend time with his child.

You apparently have no sympathy for your ex. Having never been a noncustodial parent, you don't understand what it's like to be treated as a second class parent. Your message is full of conditions that you have put on dad's visits, or want to put on his visits, as if the child is your possession and you just let him borrow it every now and then.

This man has been told, directly or indirectly, by at least a couple different women that he's useless/unnecessary in the life of his children. The courts tell him his only value is as a wallet. He doesn't have a supportive spouse like your DH has to help him realize how important he is to the child. Your lip service, telling him he's important while at the same time you consciously or unconsciously put barriers between him and the child, just doesn't undo all the damage that has been done. He doesn't feel like he's important in the child's life. Having the child write often, having him call to tell dad right away when he gets 3 A's, hits a home run, or scores a soccer goal, will help dad to realize that he really is important to the child. Invite dad to these events, but be understanding when he doesn't make it (instead of critical and demanding).

If you are consistent and truly supportive, then most likely dad will eventually come around and be a permanent, positive influence in his child's life. There are no guarantees, but at least the child will be more appreciative of his father, and won't feel so rejected. He/she will understand that dad loves him/her, even though he isn't very good at showing it.


first off, i have been a non-custodial before, with my other child.  i know the feelings, frustrations, wallet experience - first hand i know this.

secondly, dad only informs us where he is when he moves in with a new girlfriend, we have a FILING CABINET in child's room where she keeps all her papers and when we know where dad is, we mail him an envelope, child lives 45 minutes from dad's parents, dad has been offered UNRESTRICTED access at any time during the last several years, we have offered to him, call anytime, see anytime type visitation, we offered to work around any job schedule or anything, we did this because of the child, we made every effort to ensure she had a relationship with her father, we have always encouraged her to spend time with him, to love and accept him....

his adopted daughter that he calls regularly (now) was the person who initiated the one day visit in the summer of 2001, she told her dad, you visit with me & my sister or i dont' want to see you, she's 17 now guys, she's not a child, this child's mother was the 2nd ex-wife, she and i have kept the children in contact with each other and this older child was protective of her younger "little sister" especially when she knew dad was not contacting the younger child.

now understand, dad, who has been gone for several months called two days ago, said he was shopping for child and wanted to know her size, okay i thought, he's thinking of her re xmas, then i hear his mother in the background and he relays my answer to his mother, and yes i was offended, didn't even ask to talk to child, and now he's 45 minutes away on a holiday/long weekend and doesn't even ask to see her?????????

i want our child to have a relationship with her father,
i also want our child to be happy and not have excessive fears like this

last night after i put her to bed i heard her crying in her room, i went to talk to her and she said she was crying because she was scared that i would disappear and she would never see me again...

i can only assume where those thoughts came from...

so the question remains, how to protect a father's rights and protect a child when father bounces in and out and won't spend time with child?


> how to protect a father's rights and protect a child when father
> bounces in and out and won't spend time with child?

A father who "bounces in and out and won't spend time with child" is no father. He's an uncaring jerk.

You can encourage the relationship, but you can't force him to be a good dad. It's sad that there are so many fathers fighting like crazy to be a part of their children's lives, and yet there are some like this one who just don't give a damn.

Indigo Mom

I'm gonna try really hard not to screw up what I'm trying to write...lol

When we bring our kids home from the hospital, no one tells us what we're supposed to do.  As parents, we basically "wing it" and hope we don't mess up too terribly bad.

Mistakes happen all the time.  We, as parents, aren't perfect.  We do the best we possibly can with what we know.  I know I screw up left and right.  I have the best intentions, but these little people are from another planet, one I can't remember being on.  (lol)

When parents split up, we have to learn how to coparent.  We have to make our childrens lives as smooth as possible, because now we have 2 homes, 2 different sets of rules, 2 everything.  We try to get our children to be the best possible person they can be in this new situation.  Again, no one tells us what to do, we "wing it".  And that's ok.

When one parent splits by their own choice, the parent left is also "winging it" because again, no one tells us what to do.  Rather than blaming this parent for the other parent leaving, we need to help them through the tough times.  We need to let this remaining parent understand it's not his/her fault, and we need to let the child know this as well.  

No one is responsible for another persons doings or not doings.  The mother in this situation clearly wants a father for her child, but can't make him be one.  Blaming her is wrong.  Telling her she has no "sympathy" is also wrong.  He bailed on his child.  The person we should feel for is the child, not the one who took off.  

I understand there are people who work alot and aren't able to spend much time with their children, but surely, in a year...this guy can manage to spend more than a weekend, eh?

You wrote about conditions.  The only "condition" I saw was CONSISTENCY.  What's wrong with that?  50/50 won't work without both parents being consistent.  Parenting doesn't work without consistency.  Discipline doesn't work without it either.  Nothing seems to work unless everything is consistent.

The "remaining" parent should have the RIGHT to demand consistency from a bailing parent.  Why shouldn't they?  The one who bails has NO CLUE what they're doing to the child, so obviously they're not thinking about coming around more.  The "remaining" parent is the one who sees the destruction, and that is WHY she's DEMANDING that he stay in her life.

Responsibility lies on the head of this father.  NOT the mother.  She ain't the one who took off, he is.  Nothing she does can change him.  She can send pictures and school work til all the stamps in America have been used, and he won't change UNLESS HE WANTS TO...and i think it's obvious he doesn't want to.

Oh, and before I forget...do you really believe in lying to a child?  I know a parent who has adult children extremely pissed off at her because she did everything you just advised this woman...and her kids are RAGING mad because "it was all a bunch of lies".  This woman has adult children really mad at her because she tried so damned hard to let them know their dad loved them in his own way....but they saw through it.  (not til they became adults, mind you) She didn't want them to hurt growing up, and it all backfired on her.

How can we know a parent loves their child when they only take a few moments here and there to show up?  That ain't love, TGB, that's pure selfishisness.  

Indigo Mom

-----You can encourage the relationship, but you can't force him to be a good dad. It's sad that there are so many fathers fighting like crazy to be a part of their children's lives, and yet there are some like this one who just don't give a damn. -----

Damn you!  I took half a million words to say what you wrote in one paragraph.  


but this is an issue of the "Revolving Door Dad" who won't be consistent in this child's life.  

We ALL deal with some form of inconsistencies with an ex ... I'm sure as hard as I tried to keep my son's father involved in son's life, I failed at being consistent in that relationship.  I'm not perfect, but I did what I could.

And ya know what?  I now have a son who is 24, I did all the things you said "He loves you DS, but he shows it in a different way than I do" or "I know its your high school grad, but Dad's business is really important and he has to pour concrete that day" ... DS has tried to have a relationship with his father, to no avail.  He is a RDD (Revolving Door Dad) who is there ONLY when it is convenient for him (Dad) to be there.  Sadly, DS wants NOTHING to do with his father any longer.  To quote him ... "He was never there for me Mom.  Only when it was easy for him.  That isn't what a parent is supposed to be like."

I don't think any NCP, be it mom OR dad, deserves for the CP or child to bend over backwards for this relationship, given the inconsistencies of contact muddy's ex has had over the past years.

I agree with Indy and Brent - the guy doesn't deserve to be showered with letters and phone calls from his kid.  If it were muddy and the dad was writing here, I'd say the same darn thing.  I don't thing he should be bashed in any way to the child, but to have a little guy write a letter and then wait and wait for the reply when you know it won't be there is akin to mental abuse.