Encouraging fathers to stay in touch
Is there any support out there for women, like myself, who have no success in encouraging the father of a child to stay in touch with the child?
The father of my daughter has literally manifested this lie that I refuse to let him see her. He ignores his own daughters messages to call her and to stay in touch.
He believes that if she wants to visit him then she will call, yet he is the adult! He usually contacts her for her birthday and Christmas, which I know is more than some children receive, but there’s the part missing in the middle that he takes no responsibility for.
I wholeheartedly support those fathers who struggle with access to their children and feel that the system fails them immensely. I feel that our situation is, to a degree, equally frustrating.
Hello F. You ask:
Is there any support out there for women, like myself, who have no success in encouraging the father of a child to stay in touch
As far as I know, there is no support for the situation you describe. In New Zealand, the majority of interventions into families are aimed at removing fathers, not encouraging them!
The fact that some men do refuse to accept responsibility for their child is often raised by feminist activists in response to men demanding equal shared parenting, and while the implied connection is is completely illogical, it is a legitimate grievance in my opinion, and could benefit from some kind of social intervention.
In an ideal world, perhaps there might be a network of men’s support groups (funded on similar levels to Woman’s Refuge), who could run programs to help fathers where relationship disconnections have happened.
The father of my daughter has literally manifested this lie that I refuse to let him see her.
You sound like you’re pretty angry with him, so I would imagine he is feeling rather angry/hurt towards you as well, and will no doubt have his own story about you which paints you somewhat less than saintly! When their world falls apart, many men need to withdraw into their emotional cave for a while until the wounds heal somewhat, and if they feel under continued pressure this can be prolonged.
In some cases I have known, the level of emotional aggro around parenting is just so high that it becomes damaging to the child, and one parent withdrawing seems to be the only sensible option. I find that pretty sad though.
Regardless of who did what to who during the relationship or since, both of you need to learn to put those feelings aside when your daughter’s interests are concerned. You could consider hiring a professional mediator with a view to working out a detailed parenting plan – but I’m afraid the only one I can recommend works from Sydney.
there’s the part missing in the middle that he takes no responsibility for.
If only he knew, he is missing out on what for me personally has been my most rewarding life experience. Felicity and I have just returned from tramping Stewart Island’s NW circuit track with our 12-year-old daughter Judith, a challenging but deeply satisfying achievement for all of us. I’ve been the primary caregiver in Judith’s life since Felicity began to return to work when she was a six weeks old. When you spend large amounts of time with a child (the “part in the middle” you refer to) – you get to know them inside out, and you develop a powerful bond. Sharing the development of a unique human being on ongoing basis is just awe-inspiring, as all of us hands-on-fathers discover.
If your daughter’s father ever reads this, I genuinely wish that he can get through the pain he is feeling about the relationship break-up and seize the opportunity to enjoy a relationship with her. And I hope you can do the same, and that the two of you can eventually develop a workable parenting relationship.