Should My 8-Year-Old Have a Say When It Comes to Going to Her Dad's?


"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?"

RELATED QUESTION: I am concerned my son’s dad isn’t spending time with him at his house: Thoughts?


“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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You are not wrong…I was made to go to my dads when I didn’t want to go…it messed me up for a long time…I never make my kids go to their dads if they don’t want to…and I made that clear to their dad as well

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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???


Let your daughter make her own choice. She’s old enough to make that decision on her own.

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You aren’t wrong. But if it’s court ordered you might have to force her.


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 what the papers say and if he is going to enforce it. She isn’t old enough to decide yet.


Is there a court order? Would you be in contempt for not sending her? If so there needs to be an adjustment…


Well one it would depend on if you have a court order for visitation. If not I would have said that she should spend time with her father. I know as they get older they may not always want to go but I think it can be good to do it. But since he really isn’t consistent and sounds like there are issues I think it’s ok to not enforce it if she doesn’t want to go.

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Make her own choice in this situation. There is probably a reason she doesn’t want to go. You don’t want to ruin your relationship with her by forcing her to go somewhere she doesn’t want to or isn’t comfortable with. My only suggestion would be for you to Be “the bad guy” for her and you tell him or gma that can be awkward for a child.


If you have a court ordered parenting plan, then you are in contempt of court by allowing your daughter to not follow the parenting plan. It sucks, but that’s the way it works and by allowing her to choose not to follow the scheduled plan you can get in trouble.

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Let her make her own choices. Making her go would only make her resent you


If it is court ordered she has to go or you will get in trouble.


No! There’s nothing wrong with that! Currently my daughter is 8 and her dad is only around when wants to be. I dont force her to go if she doesn’t want to but most of the time she goes because it’s with his mother and not him so I get it 100%


Its one weekend…id only be worrying if she kept.refusing x

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I didn’t meet my dad till I was 15. My kids dad walked out on us when our youngest of 3 was 2wks old. My dad wasn’t that great but I have always encouraged my kids to decide for themselves as to how they feel about their dad. I enforced visitation. I believe that they have a right to get to know their dad. I’m not going to stop them from doing so. Now if there was something going on that warrants a reason to keep the kids away…abuse or something…then that’s different. Simply because a child might be bored or personalities conflict with another member of the household wouldn’t be grounds for termination of visitation.


If there is a court order you don’t have a choice whether she goes or not. Doesn’t matter if they are 8 or 17 (no written law where I at). You are the one who will have to explain to the court why you didn’t allow her to go. If she’s not in any danger then you could be penalized for her not going (up to and including parenting time being changed/taken away from you). It’s hard to make them go when they don’t want to but it’s best to have 2 parents in their lives. I’ve gone thru it with 3 of my kids and it wasn’t easy but what I had to do.


You seem petty. I dont care who had kids when. Sucks you were cheated on but how often do you talk crap about her dad? Is this the reason she doesn’t want to go? Have you talked crap about dad in front of her? Take a step back and look at the whole situation


My daughter is only 6 and I have ALWAYS let it up to her. Even for awhile my ex would come hang out at our house with her for a few hours because it was more comfortable for her. She just started going back for sleepovers every other weekend about two months ago. Don’t let anyone guilt her into doing anything.


I would never force my child to go. If they don’t wanna go, they don’t wanna go :woman_shrugging:t2:
I would try to encourage her to visit her dad, but if she doesn’t budge, I wouldn’t force it