I have two girls, ages 8 & 9. I've been divorced since December and have joint custody with my ex, although the girls live full time with me. They were visiting their dad every other sat & every wed evening. He does have some drinking & substance abuse issues, although they're only aware of the drinking. They have witnessed him drinking & driving and now my younger daughter refuses to go with him, even if he says he won't drink. Part of this has to do with the fact that I was like a single mom while married, he was never home so they didn't spend a lot of time with him. Now they're being forced to. My dilemma is that he is supposed to pick them up tomorrow am, says that he is and that they're going with him no matter what. I feel I shouldn't force them to go and he can take me to court if he'd like. My younger daughter has said she'll talk to a judge, etc...and we are in the process of starting counseling soon. So I'm just wondering if anyone else has gone through something similiar and looking for the best way to deal with it.
First I'm going to say that if his drinking or substance abuse is a very real problem then you need to protect your children, first and foremost. Talk to your lawyer about having supervised visits or whatever you need to do. You can't let your girls go with someone who is drinking and/or doing drugs. Even if he says he won't drink while they're there, if he has a problem with this then you can't let it become their problem too.
The drinking and substance abuse seem to be clouding the real issue though. If he was someone who didn't have these problems then I would say your daughters need to go with their father. He has a right to see them and they need him, even if they don't realize it right now. If you allow them to alienate themselves from him then he will resent you and the girls will resent him. You should do everything you can to encourage their relationship and in the long run, you will be glad that you were the better person here. Your daughters will respect you all the more for it and when they day comes when you need a co-parent, maybe just maybe your ex will be there for you. It's the right thing to do.
Of course, all that is assuming that he is someone with no abuse issues. If he has abuse issues then he needs to take care of himself before he can take care of his kids.
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My older one went with him but didn't stay overnight. She said he didn't drink at all, I think she's trying to convince my younger one. So tomorrow he'll pick them both up from camp. My younger one decided to give him a chance but they'll come home after dinner, they don't want to spend the night with him. He keeps saying he doesn't understand why this is happening, I suggested he talk to them tomorrow night. He is one to sweep things under the carpet though. I've decided I won't force them to go if they don't want to. And I'm hopeful that once we start counseling it will help us all deal with it.
When I was young, I did not want to be left along with my father- I tried to tell my mother I did not want to be with him- of course I could not tell her at the time, but he was sexually abusing me. I really hope this is NOT the case with your girls, but you should tell them that no one is to touch them in private places and also that they do not have to keep any secrets from you.
I was told at a very young age, that if I told anyone at all, he would kill my family- and as a small child I thought he would. I was never told that no one was not to touch me, and my mom just never thought it was possible, it went on for years.
He also was an alcoholic, just because he is the dad does not mean they have to be with him.