My son doesn’t want to see his dad

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  • #25060 Report


    Hello – I am so happy I have found this forum. I finally separated from my emotionally abusive ex three years ago – we have three children – 10 and 8 year old twins. He has always insisted on his access time working around his schedule and their is no court order or divorce in place. I cannot afford a divorce or court proceedings and mediation failed due to the abusive history. The children go to his every weekend – which has been as  settled as it can be but his decision to move in with his new girlfriend 80 miles away has caused some disruption to the children and reared some familiar behaviours in my ex which is being directed towards the children.

    My two older children suffered at his emotional and physically abusive hands and it’s been a struggle for them with anxiety and socialisation.

    My 10 year old son is now begging to stay home this weekend because his dad is behaving in a similarly manipulative way, I’ve just spent 4 hours reassuring him and bringing him down from some real worries and fears he has regarding his dad – I recognise these feelings as I used to have the same – I don’t bad mouth his dad though and it’s difficult to help my son see how much I understand what he is getting at.   his sisters are also tired from the travelling.

    I can’t  discuss this with their dad – I’m too scared of the repercussions on me and the children – My son begs me not to tell him what he’s said – I can’t figure out what I am allowed to do – or if it’s ok to suggest the children have a weekend off seeing him. I’ve already failed to protect my two older children (his step children) from this man, I don’t know what to do ):

    #25061 Report


    I’m sure the Gingerbread advisor will be along in a while to provide some proper advice. Or you could ring the rspcc/childline.

    if your ex has been physically abusive, you need to start logging the times & circumstances with police/social services. Make diary notes of everything your children say.

    If my son was scared I wouldn’t send him again, but I may be wrong.

    #25063 Report

    Hi Anastazia27

    Thank you for commenting.  I am glad you’ve found the forum too, we have a great community of parents here with loads of experiences to share.  I am going to be sending you a private message and an email with some signposting options which should be able to support you with your options.

    Take care, Justine

    #42924 Report


    I’m also struggling with a similar thing.

    My 9 year old son gets severe anxiety the few days leading up to visiting his father. His dad moved 200 miles away a couple of years ago to be with his new girlfriend. He dropped his visits down from every weekend to every other weekend. He didn’t visit our for 5 months, during Covid lockdown.
    My son always tells me he hates his dad and doesn’t want to see him. I’m aware that his dad uses physical punishment, whereas I do not. But I’ve been told, unless he leaves marks/bruises, there isn’t much I can do about this. His dad also has a very bad temper (I used to always beg him to get help with his anger issues when we were together). He’s scared of his dad and can’t tell him he doesn’t want to visit. He also begs me not to say anything through fear of his dad losing his temper with him for it. I also never bad mouth his dad in front of him, I’m always reminding him of the fun things he has to see and do when he visits his dad. But it doesn’t seem to be enough anymore.
    Me and his dad no longer communicate. Any messages are being passed via his mother these days.
    I guess I’m just following this post looking for some advice myself. I can’t bare to see my son struggling and frightened like he is anymore. I feel guilty when I see the sadness in his eyes after mentioning he’s staying at his Dad’s on X weekend.

    #42926 Report


    I am in the exact same situation.
    Daughters dad now lives in Scotland (300 miles away from me) there is a court order as ex constantly takes me to court as a form of abuse as it’s the only thing he can do now. Daughter doesn’t see her dad at the moment because she doesn’t want to and says she is scared of him.
    I am with the domestic abuse team due to the emotional, financial and physical abuse from him. Daughter has had to experience this too. My solicitor says no force is to be used and it’s best endeavors when it comes to contact due to her age.
    I am talking with MASH and LCSS who have loads of advice.

    #42935 Report


    Our son ( 10 ) doesn’t want to be with his mother. He obviously has a hard time there, if only 50% of what he says is true. I admit that he is proably safer with me and he likes it much more here. But I don’t think he is in an immediate danger and whatever I think of her, she is his mother. The only time I ever stepped in was at the start of lockdown. There was a situation, which was dangerous, because she didn’t adhere to the restictions. otherwise, she is his mother. He has to accept, that other people are different and he can’t always have it his way and he has to negotiate through this. And I know he can. And of course she will not actually harm him. That would be the end of it. It usually takes me 1-2 days to get him back on track, when he returns but that is it. And honestly, she is not always 100% wrong.

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