“But I’m His Dad.” – Should Children Be Forced into Visits?

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Let me put this out there before I go any further. This article isn’t only directed towards men, but an experience I’m currently going through so, do not be offended. I know there are men out there that have sole custody of their kids and have to deal with women using the, “I’m their mom” and “I should have a say so in what these children do and when they should see me,” lines.

I’ve always struggled when it came to co-parenting, especially with the whole visitation issue. We have no visitation set up or anything like that so it’s pretty much a rare thing in this household. Part of me felt horrible about my son not seeing his dad as much as he sees me and wondered if I was being a bad mother, but the other half only worried about my child’s safety and the stability I knew was needed. When you provide your kid a certain lifestyle you don’t really want to mess with their routine.

For about 3.5 of the 6 years my son has been alive his dad had always been in and out of jail and the relationship we had with each other was filled with hate at the time. Sometimes that hate would lead to claims of me not knowing who my son’s dad was, or threats to not do a thing for my kid because I didn’t feel comfortable with him watching him alone, and the list goes on and on. So much had been said and done throughout the course of the “co-parenting” stage that all trust in him providing my son with consistency and stability was gone. I had gotten so used to him not being around that when he did become more consistent is was scary for me, but it was something I knew my son needed. It was something I needed.

Now that my son is older and very vocal, I’ve become more comfortable with letting him be with his dad and letting him have a break from being around a house full of ladies, but the problem is my son is not comfortable or happy when he isn’t here. If my son is gone more than a day, I’ve come to learn that his whole mood changes and he doesn’t want to be around his dad. I thought it was just a thing kids do; make a big deal about having to leave, but enjoying themselves once they get there. Turns out my son isn’t completely himself when he is gone and his personality doesn’t shine the way it does when he is at home.

I’ve been pretty big on letting my son decide if he wants to spend time with his dad or not, because I feel like no kid should be forced to spend time somewhere they aren’t comfortable. Their feelings matter and I also grew up in a family where I wasn’t forced to be any place I didn’t feel safe or comfortable. There has been certain occasions when I’ve forced him to leave because of course I don’t want to seem like I’m being some sort of bitter baby mama, because that I’m not. I just know my child and know that he doesn’t really know his dad. They still have a relationship they need to build and I feel like if he comes to spend time with his son, in his son’s environment it will allow him more room to grow and want to go be with his dad. I think he noticed it as well because we finally had the talk about not forcing him to see him anymore because he isn’t happy there.

Although his dad has acknowledged that my son indeed does not want to be there I’m still stuck between, should I force him to go anyway? I want them to have a strong father and son bond, as he can teach him things that I cannot. I don’t want us to have to bribe him into staying at his house for an extra night or to get him to go in the first place, and I damn sure don’t want my son to think me or his dad didn’t do enough to build that relationship up. As a parent the whole situation puts you in a difficult situation. You want to take your child’s needs and wants into consideration, but you also want to do the same for the other parent.

Parents out there, how do/did you deal with a kid not wanting to be around their mom or dad?


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