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So here we go: It would be easy for me to jump on the ain't he awful bandwagon, and commiserate about how wrong he is for doing all these things.But I'm not sure how helpful that would be for you.I will answer this reader's question about the kids not wanting to see their father, but please know that this same advice also applies when kids don't want to see their mothers. You may not like some or all of them -- my opinions are usually pretty radical.I'll trust you to experiment with whatever resonates with you and leave the rest.I know a mother who would sit with her son and just listen for 15 minutes or so to his intense anger and outrage after he came back from visiting his father.And then he would suddenly just run out of steam, and ask what was for dinner beore heading outside to shoot hoops or something. He stopped thinking that if he just told his father what he needed, he would give it. And he learned some strategies for dealing with others that will come in real handy later in life.She could not impact his dad in any way, so she could not help. They will naturally recognize and gravitate towards emotional health when it is available.
She could not fix it for him, as much as she wanted to, so she didn't offer suggestions or give advice. Years down the line, not much changed at his other house. But you can let your frustration strengthen your resolve to be the kind of parent your kids deserve. note: There are many additional important points in my responses to the comments below, so please consider reading them for additional helpful information.
What you may not realize is how much of a difference your presence makes in the life of your kids.
Because you are there, standing as an example of availability, compassion, and presence, they will never be confused about how they want and deserve to be treated.
It may indeed come to that, but denying kids contact with a parent can have a long-lasting impact on their sense of wholeness and well-being, and there are many other things you can try before you even think about going that route. And given the nature of this world, no matter how much energy we put into preventing our kids from having to experience pain, we cannot.
I love that you are taking the kids to a therapist, and would encourage you to see one yourself, who can help you tell the difference between your reactions to what is happening and your kids' reactions. Although it breaks our hearts to see it, crying will not damage our children. Please understand, I don't mean to belittle our children's emotional pain, or our pain when we see our children suffering! Life will make sure to disappoint all of us at some point. The ashes of disappointment are fertile ground in which the seeds of resolve, clarity, and determination can sprout and take root.
The kids cry when the time comes for him to come get them, begging me to allow them to stay home.