May be good rea­sons kids cut ties with dad

Cape Breton Post - - In Memoriam - El­lie Tesher Advice Read El­lie Mon­day to Satur­day. Email el­lie@thes­tar.ca. Fol­low @el­liead­vice. Copy­right 2017: El­lie Tesher Dis­trib­uted by: Torstar Syn­di­ca­tion Ser­vices

Dear Read­ers – There’s been much feed­back re­gard­ing the fa­ther whose univer­sity-age daugh­ters cut con­tact with him. He fears his daugh­ter, nine, will fol­low, due to their mother’s “brain­wash­ing” (April 5):

Reader #1 – “There are things miss­ing in his story. He’s been legally sep­a­rated for a year, but (why did) his two older chil­dren cut con­tact with him four years ago, and vis­i­ta­tion of his youngest is only by ver­bal agree­ment?

“As a fa­ther my­self, with three sets of chil­dren from three mar­riages, I re­al­ize I was not the best hus­band.

“But de­spite at­tempts by the moth­ers, the bond with my chil­dren was un­break­able.

“Most fa­thers I know only try to make that strong bond af­ter di­vorce, not be­fore.

“But kids are now and your re­la­tion­ship with them as adults de­pends on your re­la­tion­ship with them as chil­dren.

Reader #2 – “I’m dis­turbed when I hear par­ents as­sum­ing that their child has been «brain­washed» by their exspouse.

“Es­pe­cially in the in­stance of adult chil­dren, as men­tioned here, I think they de­serve more credit than that.

“If this fa­ther wants to pur­sue a re­newed re­la­tion­ship with his adult daugh­ters, he should take an ob­jec­tive look at him­self and ask why they might’ve made that de­ci­sion (to end con­tact).

“I doubt their arms would be wide open to some­one who thinks they’ve been brain­washed and that their de­ci­sions/opin­ions aren’t their own.”

Reader #3 – “I agree with your advice that chil­dren be told that the sep­a­ra­tion/di­vorce is not about the chil­dren, nor changes the par­ents’ love for the chil­dren.

“How­ever, as chil­dren get older, they may come to un­der­stand that one of the par­ents did act with­out re­gard for the im­pact on their chil­dren then, or later on.

“And that one par­ent’s ac­tions did have ill ef­fects for the child and per­haps for the other par­ent, too.

“I’ve known a man who while still mar­ried to the mother of his child, met on­line and mar­ried a sec­ond woman in China – tech­ni­cally, it was bigamy.

“His first wife even­tu­ally found out and left him.

“To this day, he con­tin­ues to deny he was legally mar­ried to EI­THER wife, de­spite over­whelm­ing pub­licly-avail­able ev­i­dence to the con­trary.

“He loves his child, and la­bels the in­creas­ing dis­tance from the child “parental alien­ation” by the mother, rather than tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for how this hurt the child (now a young adult).

“I be­lieve the child isn’t wrong to won­der why the fa­ther can­not see how much this hurt, no mat­ter how hard the mother may pro­vide a bal­anced view of events.

“His first mar­riage may’ve been bad and leav­ing it may’ve been for the best, but how he did it and his de­nial of it, seems cal­lous of the feel­ings of oth­ers.”

Reader #4 – “The lesson here is that not only must one con­stantly re­as­sure the child of di­vorce of be­ing loved re­gard­less of what hap­pened, but also work to see the hurt the breakup did to the child, and ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for any part they played (per­haps un­in­ten­tion­ally) hurt­ing them.

“It’s part of a par­ent’s job to model show­ing in­sight into il­lad­vised be­haviour and/or try to lis­ten to chil­dren about their con­cerns.

“I don’t know if this fa­ther has any­thing to apol­o­gize for, or if this is gen­uine patho­log­i­cal alien­ation, but he’s well ad­vised to re­ally try to see the child’s point of view and demon­strate that he also un­der­stands that his ex is angry (rightly or wrongly) and that this hurts the chil­dren too.”

TIP OF THE DAY

Adult chil­dren of di­vorce usu­ally have strong rea­sons for break­ing ties with a par­ent.

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