No I Don’t want to visit my Dad!

Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché,

My daughter is 14 and she had been complaining that she doesn’t want to go on visitations with her dad anymore. I don’t believe there is any abuse going on, or danger- just that her dad has always been quiet and introverted and just a overall bummer to be around. I’ve had it with him, that’s why we are divorced, and I feel bad forcing her to be subjected to the same thing I had to put up with for years. Should I go back to court? Can I? Again, he is not abusing her.

Mom

Dear Mom,

Unfortunately life is what it is. We don’t get to choose our parents. Although you were able to back out of your marriage, you can’t back away from the consequences of that relationship.

Your daughter’s dad will always be her dad. Since there are no safety or abuse issues involved you can’t stop visitations. If he wants them, it is his legal right. If he doesn’t show up for visitations take it as a gift and don’t micro manage him. Either way, your daughter will need to learn how to deal with her dad. She needn’t go out of her way to try to make him happy but at the same time she must respect his way of being for what it is.

It’s a good life lesson to learn you- can’t change people, but you can learn who they are and decide whether you want to add them to your life. If you’d known this you probably wouldn’t have chosen your husband in the first place. The best thing you can do for your daughter is to make sure you are a good role model. Choose carefully now who you add to your life and develop a healthy reciprocal relationship. If you henceforth make good choices it will go a long way to help your daughter’s future.

Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Granny says: this rarely happens, but I agree with Dr. Brilliant. You can’t let your daughter avoid her father because she finds him hard to be around. It’s a terrible lesson to teach her: “just avoid anything that you don’t want to deal with.”

Another aspect of this is that your daughter and your husband share genetic material. This means that they are similar in certain ways whether they like it or not. Accepting and trying to understand her father could help her understand herself.

And this brings me to a point- Mom, you talk about your ex as if he were a chronic cold you finally got rid of. If I pick up on your attitude from one question, your daughter picks up on it too. Stop regarding your ex as nothing but a mistake! It’s a very destructive way to present him to your daughter because if he was a screw-up, and she’s half him, then what does this say about her own potentials? Could she have inherited the dud qualities too?

Here’s a better way to look at it: you were two young people who had things in common, but grew apart. There were valid reasons you had for choosing your husband, along with the ones that really were mistakes. Talk to your daughter about the qualities you were drawn to in her dad. Show appreciation for him as a human being. What does it say about you if you just picked some total loser who is nothing but “an overall bummer”? Hey, you must be a loser too, Mom, to think this guy was the best you could do. What is your daughter supposed to think about her own potentials now?

I think there are some lessons for both you and your daughter to learn here. By all means, role model what a responsible, caring adult should be. But unless you get rid of the dad-bashing attitude, you are not role modeling any adult behavior to be proud of yet.

 

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About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at dr.brilliantcliche@yahoo.com and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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4 Responses to No I Don’t want to visit my Dad!

  1. T Frindt says:

    I think this is the first time I’ve seen Granny and Dr. Brilliant be in relative agreement! I don’t know if Granny’s right in assuming that the mom is bashing the dad though. I’ve heard that youngsters can’t seperate an insult toward the opposite parent and an insult to themselves. So, if dad says, “You’re mom’s a stupid a-hole” the kid, at some level, understands it as, “You’re a stupid a-hole”. Perhaps this teenager is hearing the dad do that bashing and that’s why she doesn’t want to go? It sounds like the mom is a child of divorce herself and is projecting her own emotional memories on her kid. Complicated stuff. I’m thinking we all need to consider the “role model” aspect of our choices if it will help the next generations, even if we don’t have kids.

  2. gmspierce says:

    Sounds a little like Mom is taking some satisfaction in daughter’s rejection of “bummer ” Dad. That’s very selfish and will eventually backfire when daughter outgrows her adolescent need for constant excitement and comes to appreciate Dad for what he does have to offer. Instead of entertaining what is for some divorced people a knee-jerk reaction to litigate family problems, maybe Mom should talk to Dad and discuss ways of making visitation more enjoyable. At the same time, Mom should explain to daughter that visitations are not “play dates” during which Dad should be expected to entertain and delight his own daughter. Scheduled parenting time is a way for parents and children who don’t live together to contunue to have the opportunity to maintain as best a relationship as possible in otherwise less than ideal circumstances. Dad deserves this right and even though she may not realize it right now, daughter deserves this right too. Mom’s job is to put her own resentments aside and support the relationship.

  3. @gmspierce: I agree with you. The important thing is in this case it is the kid who doesn’t want the visitation and mom needs to support dad in this and not push her own agenda. Mom should defiantly share with dad how their daughter feels about the visits.

    If it were a different case with a deadbeat dad who didn’t follow through with his visitations then I believe it is not moms job to chase dad down. Making everyone play a role that just isn’t there is the same as staying married for the sake of the kids. It is a bad idea as it role models dysfunction as a normative relationship. This just ensures dysfunctional relationships pass on into the next generation.

    Thank you for comment,

    Dr. Brilliant Cliché

  4. Granny also agrees: I don’t think that parents should stop supporting each other after they divorce.
    While it’s not mom’s job to chase dad down to make his visitations, if he is willing but the daughter is balking, it’s part of the natural support system for mom to encourage the visits he’s entitled to.

    You don’t stop being a parent when you divorce, and the rules for good parenting remain the same, married or not. Mom and Dad back each other up.
    This is not the same as staying married for the sake of the kids.
    They aren’t interacting with each other. They aren’t involved in each other’s personal life.
    They are simply role modeling that respect and support continue between honorable people
    when they committed to creating something as important as another human being

    support is all part of good role modeling as far as I’m concerned.

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