Managing expectations

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  • #26719 Report


    My child’s father lives abroad and a court order was placed for two weeks twice a year. He has to give me two months notice when planning to visit and this has never been adhered to. The last two years he has only come once per year.

    He promised to collect our child from school last week and was more than 45 mins late. This devistated him and at five years old he had told all of his class and was excited to show his daddy off.

    When my ex was supposed to bring our son back to a pre arranged place at 4 and didn’t turn up til gone 7 by which point I needed him to bring him to my house. My anxiety is through the roof with all of this.

    There was a strong history of controlling behaviour, emotional and other abuse.

    How can I manage my son’s expectations of visits with his father when its so irregular and promises aren’t kept.

    His behaviour has changed dramatically at school and he’s been placed on level three warning, they have a support worker at the school and I have kept them updated so we have support there.

    It just breaks my heart, he’s going again tomorrow with his dad for the weekend then he’s away again until next year.

    Does any one else have a situation similar to this?

    What can I do to help my son

    #26723 Report



    its always going to be difficult with your son with his father being away.

    I think from your sons perspective he’s always going to know that it’s going to be a short stint and then he’s away again. This will probably show in the lashing out and getting into trouble. It’s sort of a *look at me* cry.

    Its always going to be tough but if the dads not on board with the agreements then maybe more steps need to be taken.



    #26759 Report


    I don’t have the same situation as you, but my ex is prone to not showing up on time, when agreed or when needed.

    When he says he will do school pick-up, I don’t tell my son and, when I tell the school, I also tell them to ring me if he doesn’t show up. I make sure I am nearby..

    I manage expectations by not telling my son in advance, if his dad has agreed to attend anything. Then if he shows up it is a “lovely surprise”. I buy spare birthday presents and cards, and have them ready wrapped. I try to get my ex on Skype on Father’s Day, without saying anything to son in advance. I did things my ex should do like teach son to ride a bike, so having an absent dad doesn’t stop son joining in with his friends.

    In the end  you can only do your best. My son and his dad have a good relationship but at 10, son has started to describe his dad as “pretty hopeless”.  At least he doesn’t seem to be angry though.



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