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Question
Posted by: Distressed | 2010/11/01

In a pickle

My son gets upset when he visits and his little girl just ignores him. Her mother is living with us at the moment as she is destitute. I feel in such a predicamnet because he does not want me to help her even though the child ios my main concern. They weren''t married and split up 3 years ago. what should i do.And how can we teach the child to be respectful to her dad. She''s only been like this since the mother came to stay.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

You are so absolutely right that the child's welfae should be EVERYBODY's main concern.
As your son is apparently not bothering to support his child nor the mother of his child, it's shaby for him to object to your doing so. It's your home, and your money. Children, as Maria says, vary in their relationships with each parent. You have not given us the details of the situation, but if for some eyars her mother was absent and the father was the only parent she saw, obviously he received all of her attention ( other than you, of course ) - now that her mother is aropund and able to mother her daily, the father may seem less central to her, as he is an occasional visitor. If he gets angry and resentful when he vvisits, the child will recognize that and it will NOT make her more fond of him. If he is patient and pleasant, and respectful to the mother of his child, it's likely that the child will in time grow to again show her liking for him

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6
Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2010/11/02

Is there a reason why she cannot stay fulltime with dad if he can provide a healthier environment than mom can? Your comment about " every second weekend"  makes me wonder if you realise your son has exactly the same parenting rights and responsibilities as his child''s mother has. I suggest he approaches the Family Advocate and asks for advice. You can also post questions on the Divorce Support forum. There is an unmarried father there called FIO, who has a great deal of knowledge of these situations.

As for playtherapy, please take her to a child psychologist who may use play therapy as part of a strategy to help her. Someone who is just a " play therapist"  might not have the necessary training and background to deal with the situation. In fact, it would be a good idea if your son could ask the FA for a referral to a specific psychologist who can do a forensic investigation and supply reports for the court if necessary.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Just me | 2010/11/02

Hi . You will have to post a new question to cs. He does not come back to read replies on old posts.

Reply to Just me
Posted by: Distressed | 2010/11/02

The child is 5yrs old. Her mother was recently in rehab and I took the child at that stage because I felt it would be best. Unfortunately the family dynamics are very dysfuntional on the maternal side. Whilst the mother was in rehab the child willingly went to stay by Dad etc but since her mother''s return she is rather clingy. The mother is with her all week but spends the weekend away without her. My son has heard the way the mother speaks to the child (swears etc) I''ve told him to draw up a Parenting Plan and discuss it with her but they also have such a bad history so it''s difficult for them to sit and talk. The fact that the child''s mother is living with me is posing a problem for him as there is a lot of tension and maybe jealousy. But I can''t throw her out as where will she go with the child. She likes hanging around with unsavoury characters and the only reason I agreed to take her in is so that we could have the child in a good environment. She seems fine and has not returned to drugs. Been out of rehab for a month now. The father assists with whatever the child needs but he is not responsible for the mother as they were never married.
CS do you think the the little girl should go for play therapy and maybe the doc would be able to pick up any underlying anxiety etc. One doesn''t know what goes on in their little minds. I''m sure it''s terrible to be torn away from your mother but I would like her to see that both her parents love her and get to the stage where she spends every 2nd weekend with her dad.

Reply to Distressed
Posted by: Maria | 2010/11/02

The focus should be on what is in the child''s best interests rather than the emotions of the adults involved.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: Maria | 2010/11/02

How old is the little girl? Kids go through stages where they bond more with one parent than the other. She also probably picks up on the stress in the house when dad visits, and she will associate him with this negativity. You cannot force a child to love and respect a parent any more than you can force a parent to love and respect a child. What happens if the two of them are alone together?

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/11/02

You are so absolutely right that the child's welfae should be EVERYBODY's main concern.
As your son is apparently not bothering to support his child nor the mother of his child, it's shaby for him to object to your doing so. It's your home, and your money. Children, as Maria says, vary in their relationships with each parent. You have not given us the details of the situation, but if for some eyars her mother was absent and the father was the only parent she saw, obviously he received all of her attention ( other than you, of course ) - now that her mother is aropund and able to mother her daily, the father may seem less central to her, as he is an occasional visitor. If he gets angry and resentful when he vvisits, the child will recognize that and it will NOT make her more fond of him. If he is patient and pleasant, and respectful to the mother of his child, it's likely that the child will in time grow to again show her liking for him

Reply to cybershrink

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