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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1  
Old 02-25-2019, 11:50 AM
Tired_Dad Tired_Dad is offline
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Default Dealing with kids distancing themselves from you

Good day all,

I'm in need of some advice. My ex and I are officially divorced. I'm trying to finalize things by forcing the sale of the matrimonial home, but am being met with high resistance. Due to failed negotiations and lack of cooperative involvement, I managed to get an order for the sale of the home. The home is being divided evenly between us, and I completely agree with this. My problem is that I'm being blamed for it all. My ex's reasoning to my kids is that she cannot afford anything locally, so she has to quit her job, move 3 hours away to move in with her boyfriend and take my youngest daughter with her (to a strange city, away from her friends, family, school...). My daughter is 16 and can make up her mind, but I feel she may not know what in her best interest. I've had her in counselling for the last 2 years and it's helped, but this would be a major change. She hasn't told me that she's doing that (as she's afraid it will upset me), but I've heard from other sources that this is happening. I've been through a lot of counselling and am preparing myself for this to happen (as much as one could). I want to be supportive and to let her know I love her and will always be here for her. My question is this... I'm not rich and cannot afford to drive 6 hours, every other weekend (plus a hotel) to see my daughter. I'm going to be severed from my daughter, with whom I love so much and has so many of my characteristics. She's very smart, talented and beautiful (inside and out). How does one cope with rarely (or ever) seeing their child? I know her mother isn't encouraging her (or her sisters) relationship with me. This has been told to me from the start. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 02-25-2019, 12:35 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Does your daughter want to move? You could offer to have her move in with you?

There are a lot of other options too. Can you afford to have her travel to you monthly? Does she have a cell phone and computer? The two you could set up daily or weekly video chats. You could also have her travel to you.

The bigger problem is being blamed for things. My fiance went through this. Sadly he was unable to fight the alienation from his ex as she got out of the gates early and manipulated the kids from the age of 14. He did see a therapist and they made a pile of suggestions that he should have done from the beginning. First, do not engage when kid says it all your fault. Remind them that you are always available and they are welcome to live with you. Second, change the subject wherever possible and focus on the positive. Finally, do everything you can to stay connected through text, email, video, visits etc.

16 is not so bad to have this happen as your kid will be in university in one to two years and may have already moved out if you were still married. Your ex can do whatever they want to blame you but its simply a way to avoid taking responsibility. You needed the money you invested in the marriage to continue to support your child and be there for their education.

Which brings me to an important point—take a good chunk of that money and invest in an RESP. It will be the best decision you ever made and help you cover your share of school costs.
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Old 02-25-2019, 12:52 PM
Tired_Dad Tired_Dad is offline
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Thank you very much! I'll take that all into consideration. I'm just worried that she will drift further away as time goes on. Teenagers are always too busy for their parents (as we all have been there and I expect it). She does have a cell phone and (I hope she will have) her laptop I bought a couple of years ago. When the topic comes up, I will reassure her that she will always have a place in my home and will always support her as much as I can (regardless of her decision). It's just hard seeing her move so far away.
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Old 02-25-2019, 01:05 PM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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Does your ex have your permission or a court order allowing her to move the child such a distance? Has the ex actually moved yet?



IMO, if I got whiff that the ex was planning on moving an unreasonable distance away, I would notify them that you do not consent to relocating the child from their familiar area. That it is in the child's best interests that they remain locally, as that is where their school is along with their friends and family.


IMO, you shouldn't focus on the issues created by the move. You need to focus on PREVENTING the move. If the ex already has a court order allowing the move with the child, what does it provide with regards to transportation? The ex shouldn't be off the hook with regards to the extra costs and hassles associated with their decision to move.
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Old 02-25-2019, 01:40 PM
Tired_Dad Tired_Dad is offline
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I haven't given permission and she hasn't gone to court for permission either. From what I gather, she's just going to move with her. I've mentioned this to my lawyer and he fluffed it off. He said that she's old enough to make her decision as to where she's going to live (and with whom). I understand this and believe the courts will obviously question my daughter if/when the time comes. My problem is that my daughter is already suffering from enough anxiety and stress, that this will only give her more reason to distance herself. Because my daughter has been in counselling for the last 2 years, my ex thinks she can do whatever she wants... with no repercussions. She's failed in much so far (when it comes to court) and has been found in default throughout the divorce process. If I fight for my daughter to stay, the courts may still allow it and I place my daughter in a very stressful situation (which she will resent me for) or I allow her to go, thus "basically" showing her that I let her go and am willing to miss out on her life. Can you say rock and hard place! My lawyer thinks fighting it would be a waste of time and money, especially if she wants to go. My fear is that she wants to now, while out there she misses everything so much she goes back to negative reactions (which got us to counselling). My biggest fears may come about and I will be blamed for it all because I forced them out of the house (but their Mother is the one that wants to move them over 3 hours away... and that's all my fault of course). Just so frustrating.
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Old 02-25-2019, 01:46 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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What if you went to counselling with your kids? Have you also talked to them about the move? Would you have enough money from the sale of the house to purchase accommodations for the three of you?

If being with your ex is going to create an unhealthy situation for your kids, it may be in their best interest to stay with you.

I speak from experience as a child in a similar situation. Living with a difficult parent intent on making their ex suffer is very challenging emotionally. If your kids know they have an out, it may help in the long run. Yes they are old enough to make up their own mind but they are also old enough to be protected from this emotional war fare.

You are giving your ex too much power. You are not forcing anything. SHE is unable to afford the home on her own. SHE is choosing to move away. SHE is creating an unhealthy environment for the kids. Divorce is between the two of you. You aren’t divorcing your kids.
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Old 02-25-2019, 01:58 PM
Tired_Dad Tired_Dad is offline
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I've told them all that we should do family counselling (they refused). Because I left their mother and they saw her go through a lot of pain, they've been in protective mode of her ever since. I know it's not healthy, but I'm the bad guy. Their mother has moved on and so have I. I would have enough out of the sale of the home to purchase something large enough for us all to live in. I've told them all that they will always have a place in my home if they wanted. I plan on talking to them about the move when they approach me with it. I don't want to come out and look forceful. I need them to come to me. I will give hints when the time seems appropriate, but need to be very gentle when discussing it. Any mention of their mother and defenses go to an all time max. I want to force the issue, but it will place my girls in a very uncomfortable position... one their mother has done time and time again. I've held back discussing the divorce with my girls, but I can't say the same about my ex. She's obviously not told them everything, as it would look very poorly on her in a BIG WAY! Everything I've read says to take the higher ground, let them figure it out for themselves and they will come back... it just kills me that my ex is doing exactly what her mother did to her and her siblings with her past 2 husbands. It's a learned method now and has been successful for decades. I feel lost.
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Old 02-25-2019, 02:10 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Well, my siblings and I went through it and now I am watching my man go through it. It is truly terrible. Especially if you are dealing with people who hate each other. It actually embarrassed my siblings and I at one of our weddings. Its sad what people will sink to.

Keep reminding your kids that it is not their job to care for their mother. That it is truly unfortunate that their parents divorced but it is between the two of you and no matter what, you love them. You can also remind them that you always have a place for them and fully support them no matter what.

You need to also remind your ex that involving the kids is not only unfair but also unhealthy. She won’t care but at least in the future you have it in writing should the kids come back to you.

I also recommend the book “A Family’s Heartbreak” by Mike Jeffries. It was a non psychological book on alienation and response to it. It helped both my man and I in our separate dealings with alienation and divorce.
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Old 02-25-2019, 02:57 PM
Tired_Dad Tired_Dad is offline
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Thank you rockscan! I'll take everything you've given into consideration. I'm sorry you and your man have gone through all this. It's truly heartbreaking for anyone who's going through any of this to begin with, let alone alienating the kids as well. I'll also look into that book as well. I just pray this all ends, so we can all start moving forward to this and healing. Thanks again!
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Old 02-25-2019, 03:11 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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My father gave up all responsibility for all his kids. We put ourselves through school and covered household expenses. Only a few of us speak to him. He doesn’t get why we feel the way we do but ultimately he has to live with it. We have been through therapy and have survived. Your kids will too.

My man’s kids blame him for what they think they deserve and its all based on what their mother has told them. I have a hard time feeling sorry for them when he has provided so much. Again, ultimately they have to live with their decisions.

There’s only so much you can do and at some point they will need to stand up to their mother. If they choose to put her before themselves they can’t blame you. Just be present, continue to reach out and don’t let them make you the fall guy for their or their mothers decisions.
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