A mom writes in asking for advice about her 11-year-old daughter. She shares custody of her daughter with her ex. However, her daughter has not wanted to visit and stay with her father (and his wife), mostly because of anxiety over COVID-19 and also because she has a new baby sister at her mom’s right now. This mom says her daughter’s father will call and guilt-trip her about not coming to the point where it upsets the daughter and makes her cry. What can this mom do?
A member of the community asks:
“What should I do about my daughter not wanting to visit her dad because of COVID? I have a question for other moms. Long story short, I share custody with my oldest father. During the whole COVID thing, my daughter, who is 11, decided she didn’t want to go back and forth since I had her baby sister in May. So lately, her father, his wife, and her dad’s mom have been guilt-tripping her in wanting to come back.
When she continues to say she doesn’t feel safe, they tell her all the things they are doing (things she loves to do), and then they tell her that she could be enjoying it too, but she’s not there. Or they tell her things they have planned. Anyway, after talking to any of them, she comes to me crying. I tell her I can talk to them, and she begs me not to tell them because she doesn’t want them to feel bad for hurting her feelings.
I tell her she can go to her dad’s if she wants to, but she continues to tell me, no, she’s doesn’t feel safe going back and forth. My question is, what would you as a mom do? I’m at a loss because I don’t want to continue seeing my daughter cry, but I don’t want to go against her wishes and talk to her dad, and then he gets mad at her…”
Community Advice for This Mom Whose Daughter Doesn’t Want to Visit Her Dad During the COVID-19 Pandemic
To see what advice the Mamas Uncut Facebook community has for this mom in need, read the comments of the post embedded below.
The community offered this mom in need a lot of great advice. Read some of their responses below.
“If she really wants to go see her dad but is nervous because of COVID, you could ask her what you could do to make her feel safer… She is probably overhearing a lot of confusing information…. and rather than calling her dad to discuss his way of handling it, suggest to him what would make her more comfortable so she can feel safe spending time with both of you.”
“I’d make her go. At 10 she’s not old enough to make that decision and why should her own dad not be able to see her?”
“You 100% need to let the father know that he is making her feel that way. That’s not okay, at all. She should not carry the burden of hiding her true feelings about something, especially with a parent.”
“It sounds like they aren’t trying to socially isolate at all, so it sounds like she’s making the right decision. I would talk with her and tell her that she has the right for her choices to be respected and that she has the right to confront them. If she doesn’t feel comfortable doing so alone, I would encourage the two of you to talk to them together…
… I highly doubt they don’t know they are hurting her, because if that wasn’t their intention, why would they be holding all these things she loves to do over her head? They are being disrespectful, selfish, and rude, and the two of you have every right to confront them. They do not have the right to be manipulative jerks because they aren’t getting their way.”
“Any chance she heard you say you are concerned with your new baby being exposed to COVID?”
“Don’t make her go, simple. She is old enough to make her own decisions about going back and forth and if she doesn’t want to risk it then that’s totally fine! As for her father’s family, they should be ashamed of themselves for trying to guilt her”
“Your daughter is 11 years old which is more than old enough to know what she does and does not want. Her father’s side has no right to guilt-trip her into doing anything she’s not comfortable with doing. If it were my daughter and her father we would have had many words about that! They have no right to make her feel bad for making a responsible decision. Do not force her to do anything she doesn’t want to do.”
“Let her make the decision. They’re manipulating her and if she doesn’t feel safe, they need to respect her choice. She seems very mature and responsible for her age to put her own health and the health of your new baby before her own fun interests. Not every kid can acknowledge the severity of this virus, so props to her for being so aware and careful.”
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