Dear Barb – Ex-Communication

Dear Barb:

I am a single mother of two young boys. I want to be home with my boys, so I’m taking courses through AU and looking forward to getting my degree by the time they are in school full time. My ex and I separated over a year ago and he rarely sees our sons. When he was with us he was a good attentive father, and I know the boys miss him. I have tried everything I can think of to get him more involved with the boys and he says he will see them more often, but he never follows through. I don’t know if I should continue to try to force him to spend more time with the boys or just let things go. I feel if I let things go, he will drift away from the boys and they’ll lose contact. From all the things I’ve read, kids do better when their father’s are involved in their lives. What do you suggest I do about this situation?
Thanks. Monica in Halifax.

Hi Monica:

There are many reasons why fathers don’t see their kids. It may be because the relationship between the parents is so bad that the fathers do not want to put the children in the middle. Often fathers who were very involved in their children’s lives find it difficult to become a part time “Disneyland” father. Others find it difficult to maintain a relationship with their children when they see them one weekend a month, as they are more like an uncle. Some fathers simply do not want to be a part of their children’s life. To protect their children, mothers may become angry at the father, hoping this will make him change, but usually this type of behaviour has the opposite effect. To avoid this type of confrontation the father may drift away and, as a result, everyone suffers.

The court system currently favors mothers, although this seems to be changing as more fathers are being given equal custody. As a result, mothers are having to adjust to being part time mothers. Ask yourself if you are you willing to give your ex care of the boys half the time, and trust that he will take good care of them. Perhaps you could obtain a mediator and work out a schedule with your ex and share the children equally. Of course, there are exceptions, for example, if your ex has an alcohol or drug problem, or is abusive, and then you need to restrict the children’s time with him or have supervised visits. You and your ex must try to keep your personal feelings to yourselves and put your children’s needs first. Maybe he is not the type of father you think he should be, but he is the type of father that he is, and you need to accept that. I hope I have been helpful.
Thanks Monica.

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