"My daughter is 8. Her father and I have been in and out of court since she was eight months old. I am not the type to make my children do something they don’t want to do.
She was supposed to go to her father’s this weekend. She told my boyfriend and me on Friday that she didn’t want to go. I had her call her grandmother to tell her she didn’t want to go. Her grandmother tried to guilt-trip her into going. However, my daughter is very headstrong and didn’t fall to the guilt.
I am actually very proud of her for doing that. She did say she wanted to go after trick or treating. Well, she never ended up going to her father’s. She only stayed with her grandmother. Her father threw a fit when his mother told him what my daughter’s decision was.
Am I wrong for allowing my eight-year-old to make her own choices? I know she’s still a child, but as I said before, I’m not one to force my children to do something if they don’t want to do it.
My daughter doesn’t have the best relationship with her father. He’s been sketchy, he’s been in and out of her life, and he takes her when he seems fit for himself and his wife. I’m currently dealing with them being ignorant and talking smack behind my back because we were pregnant at the same time. I had my daughter on 10/13, and they had their daughter on 10/15.
What should I do? Should I enforce the visits or just let my daughter have the independence of making her own choices?"
TOP ANSWERS (AS SELECTED BY MODERATOR):
“It’s your job as a co-parent to encourage the relationship with the non-custodial parent. You’re the adult, not her. Unless there is a safety reason that she should not be going, you should not be enabling her not wanting to visit with her father. Legally anyways.”
“Depends. Do y’all talk bad about her dad 24/7 when she is around which makes her think that her father is no longer good enough for her? Or do y’all talk good about him and she actually made her own decision???”
“She’s 8. She isn’t mature enough to make her own decisions. Unless she is being harmed then she should go to her dad’s. If it was the other way around, I would imagine you wouldn’t be happy either. She may grow up to resent you.”
“I went through this but I didn’t take a side really, I just talked to my daughter and explained how important it was to see her dad and his family as much as possible. I didn’t want to “force” her but it’s also important for parents to advocate for their children’s future relationships with family members… just my opinion… I will add that if there are dangerous or neglectful accusations I can see being reserved in allowing visitations but if not nourish any loving relationship you can for your child, they deserve as much love as they can get regardless of your relationship with your ex and their family…”
“WHY would mom have to force the daughter to have a relationship with dad if dad isn’t trying like he should? I’m sorry but you absolutely SHOULD NOT force her to go or see anyone she doesn’t want to see. If there is reason for it, talk to your lawyer to see about getting the custody order revised. My daughter is five and I don’t force her to see her dad or talk to him on the phone or ANYTHING if she doesn’t want to. He hasn’t put in effort so why should I expect my FIVE-YEAR-OLD to patch the gaps herself. Screw that! My mom never forced me to talk to my dad and I am THANKFUL for that. Encourage her to see him and make sure she knows it is ALWAYS an option, but don’t force her.”
“As a parent, it’s good to encourage a relationship with her father unless he’s abusive. She’s too young to make those choices. The fact that you mention them talking smack and being pregnant around the same time sounds like you’re madder about that.”
“Take it from someone who was forced to see their narcissistic father her entire childhood…let. Her. Decide.”
“As an adult, you need to be the more responsible person. Why doesn’t she want to go, does he hurt her? Or is it because she has more fun at your house. You need to encourage healthy relationships, especially with her father. Going to dad’s is not an option or a choice, it’s what she needs to do. Maybe their relationship would be better if you made her go consistently.”
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