Ask SWK: Son wants to see mum, mum won’t respond. What can I say to him? - Single with KidsSingle with Kids

Ask SWK: Son wants to see mum, mum won’t respond. What can I say to him?

Posted on by Single With Kids

A reader asks…

“My ex hasn’t wanted anything to do with our son since he was a baby. There were a few visits when he was a toddler but rarelynow. She’s got a new life, man and new child. My son’s now 9 and asking if he can see mummy for Christmas. She’s not answering my emails. It’s breaking my heart. What can I say to him?”

Please note that replies to Ask SWK questions are from both single mums and dads, we use initials on the blog to protect our readers.

Our followers answer…

CI – “Just be honest with him…”

JP – “You can’t make her see him, sadly. You need to find some way of explaining to him that mummy isn’t a very nice person and it’s not his fault that she doesn’t want to know.”

CH – ” I have to agree with CP, be honest with him gently, but explain it is her that is missing out not him! And that you love him enough to make up for both parents x”

ZF – “I have the same with my 7 yr old daughter I have and continue to explain her dad isn’t a nice person and its not her fault. It is heartbreaking x”

IR – “So hard. Always the true”

JE – “I would resist from saying she’s not a nice person I think the kids can decide that for themselves! My daughter is 13 and since age 2 she’s seen her dad once at age 10, she’s decided herself that he’s not a great parent but I can put my hand on my heart and say I’ve never ever said anything negative about him (my lip bled sometimes from biting it!!) and I’m so glad I didn’t!! I do believe in karma although it is heartbreaking! I used to just say I don’t know why your dad doesn’t want to see you but I do know that it’s not your fault”

AP – “Tell him the truth….. But put it in a way that a 9 yr old can comprehend…… Not easy but if you lie to him now he will remember later in life…… Be kind about it and explain it’s not his fault…. Not an easy dilemma but one you have to meet head on now rather than later….. Good luck honey……”

KM – “I don’t understand people I really don’t !! Sorry you and your son are going through this. All you can do is be honest with him, show him you sent them. Good luck x”

LC – “Is email the only contact you have?”

LE – ” Honesty, however hard is always the right & best path. Kids aren’t stupid & will learn as they grow that what you’ve been raising them to know is the truth & they’ll respect you & love you all the more for it. Be gentle with the approach though & reassure in every way possible as they’ll feel rejected.”

JH – “I agree with JE. You don’t need to say anything bad about her. Children soon work those things out for themselves. Don’t lower yourself. Just reassure him and don’t lie… ever!! If you lie and they find out you loose their trust. Trust is worth so much more than any nasty negative comments. Good luck. X”

LW – “I really do feel for you. I know I will be in your situation 1 day and honestly don’t know the best thing to say. My son is 2 and never meet his waste of space father. He’s going to ask 1 of these days. Maybe just be honest. Good luck x”

JA – “Be as honest as you can, within what he can understand. Keep it factual and calm. It’s heartbreaking yes but the honesty will be appreciated by your son”

RJ – “Honesty is best for a child. Be kind with your words and but always speak positive … a child will know without too much said X”

JL – “Don’t tell him she is not a nice person, he will work that out himself. My ex used to turn my kids against me but after a while he blamed me when the kids distance themselves from him. Now he blames me and the kids for having attitude with him. The kids see each day how selfish he really is by him not being in their life. He only contacts them now to argue with them and then blames me for their behaviour, bare in mind he has not seen the kids son for 9 months and daughter 7 months neither has he paid a single penny and the kids know this. So let him get in touch and how horrible it is when she rejects him he will see for who she is, u just have to be there and pick the pieces up.”

JG – “Could she have changed e mail address? Is there other members of her family you could speak to, or send a letter to her home address? E mails can go to junk mail or people change e mail address.”

DD – “Just tell him you dont know where she is. If you tell him shes not interested, he think there’s somerging wrong with him etc. I rarely saw my mum growing up and never my dad. The rejection from my dad was felt. My mum was a cow, so not bothered x”

JJ – “I have a son who 7 and my wife has not seen him in 3 months missed his birthday Halloween and the beginning of CYO season there comes a time and a place when you need to tell these children the truth even though it hurts them . it will be easier on both of you in the long run. Later on let her try to explain why she wasn’t there but just don’t lie to these kids because they are very observant and smart and when they grow up you want them to understand that you did not lie to them and you tried to do the right thing. God bless you and your family and remember everybody this is just my opinion.”

AA – “It is hard… You dont want to upset him telling him that she doesnt want anything to do with him, but on the other hand, in a very gentle way he deserves the truth. Maybe if he sees her at xmas he will realise by himself what she is like (if u can find a contact for her!!) and then get even closer to you 🙂 OR maybe now that she’s got another child (his sibling) spending time with him can be the very very beginning of a relationship. Who knows! to be honest sometimes its better to not have any contact whatsoever and have your amazing relationship with your child, your rules, etc…Than having to share with a non-sense person.”

VW – “Honesty yet be gentle that’s all you can really do hun unfortunately. Really feel for you and your son”

AI – “The truth. Just be there to reassure. Won’t be easy. Good luck xxx”

LC – “my daughters father hasnt had any contact with her father since she was born… despite my efforts he doesnt want to know… my daughter has a lovely life, she wants for very little, however behind all the nice things, holidays and all mine and my parents love and attention she wants her dad… i know she would guve it all up to have a ‘daddy’ and its heart breaking… she asks about him and i simply tell her that he just cant be with us… he cant be with us as he lives to far away… its worked till now and i know one day she will need more but for now its all i can do…”

JE – “Im in the same situation with my son and daughter, I have been more than flexible and he just isnt interested. Its like they are important to him its so sad. All you can do is fill your childs life with as much love and happiness as you can. Be honest, I am with my 9 yr old I dont slag him off but I tell her not to expect anything of him and to take what he gives and thats that. I make it very clear it is not them as kids take rejection so personally and leave them to make their own mind up. My ex will regret it but I will have no regrets and the full love and ressppect our my children as thry grow older. Good luck xx”

CJ – ” I tell my 4 year that his dad isn’t very good at being an adult & until he (dad) learns how to be a good adult I won’t let him (child) see him (dad) xx”

LM – “I’m in the same situation, won’t even give a blood test for the genetics behind my sons autism and doesn’t care to ask – knowing I left my career to be his carer. I’ll i do is explain on my sins level the kind if person he is, it’s not my sons problem and he’s the one missing out on my son. Tell your son how awesome he is and what makes him awesome and that if anyone doesn’t want that then they’re silly. Plus, don’t bad mouth infront of the child – it would paint you in a bad light should they ever meet and him then feeling torn”

LSD – “What a heartbreaking situation . I always explain it by saying that: “some people are good at riding bikes or dancing & other people are rubbish at it. Mummy isn’t good at being a Parent. Daddy is much better at it, so that’s why you live here. Perhaps when she is a bit better at it, things might be different” Best wishes to you both xx”

LMW – “Cant believe a woman could do that to her child, feel for both of u”

VC – “The truth”

JW – “Firstly – what a bitch!! If I was in your situation I would say that you were doing your very best to contact her but she wasn’t replying to your emails. Don’t lie. If you have any other avenues of contacting her then try them. You can then hold your hands up and say your did your very best and also keep copies – just in case she decided in years to come that it was you that stopped contact.”

RL – “Its a hard one but i am with most people. The truth, but in a way that a nine year old would understand.”

JW – “I’ve been through a similar situation with my 10 year old son this year. His father told him he loves him but doesn’t want to see him until he is older. The most important thing I learnt through this very emotional and confusing time for my son was to reassure him that it is not his fault that daddy doesn’t want to know. Kids do not always express how they feel and often secretly blame themselves. It hasn’t been easy but with the support of my parents, great friends and his school, he is happier than ever now and made his own decision not to bother with his dad anymore. Sounds like you are being a great dad.”

EM – “How on earth can you love one of your kids and not care about the other…. absolutely astonishing. He is better off without her. I hope whoever this person is finds a way to explain that to him (as best you can to a 9 year old) x”

KK – “Be honest tell your child you have tried to contact her but with no reply, Try not to say anything bad about mum, your child will make their own mind up, dont influence it by yours or other people believes in regards to the morals of mum but be positive. Try to get a book about different families. Teach him that we dont need both a mummy and daddy that familes are all different, instead teach him to count his blessing. Make a scap book of favourite memories and the people who are important in his life. All children will will ask for the impossible at christmas at some point but we have help them be realistic but also show them christmas can still be magical.”

ED – “Yeah telling a child their mum or dad is not a nice person even if its true is not good for the child …explain some things happen in life and we don’t have the answers why … This Xmas mummy is busy but maybe another year … Just give your child all the love you possibly can <3"

TH – “ED, not agree, don’t cover her, don’t give a promises for her. If she is not here today, she is not here, no need to give hope for tomorrow, so next day/X-mas your kid will look in window expecting her to walk in and you will curse yourself for this words. Agree with everyone about short cut truth. It’s painful but it’s the best way for everyone.”

LN – “He has eyes and I would let him call her and write to her asking to see her for Christmas this way if she disappoints him its not your fault for talking bad about his mom even if its true…this way he sees her true colors for himself. …”

LM – “Very sad , I am sorry that your son is having this experience at such a young age. Be kind to him and break it to him gently. It will not be an easy conversation. But do not say anything harsh about his Mum. In time he will learn the awful truth for himself. But for now he is too young. I wish you all the very best and wish you didn’t have to go through this.”

SS – “My son never speaks to me about his father, although I have never bad-mouthed him. However he does talk to other people about him, his friends and their parents, which I find heartbreaking.”

NP – “I always tell my son the truth. he is 7 and we are honest with each other. I don’t make excuses for his dad because My ex don’t deserve it. He cannot be bothered to see him he see someone else s kids that are not even his. He made that choice and we don’t need him, My son is happy with out him , don’t get messes about. And can tell you that my son is much stronger at times than I am. My ex has been messing up my son’s life since he was 18 months. Sit your child down ,have him on the same level and speak to him calmly , explain , tell him you love him and you tried to get in touch .Just speak calmly and explain, reassure him , its not his fault and that his mom made that choice.”

NF – “Yell your son the truth…i know it’s cliche, but kids are resilient and if you arm him with the truth and assure him that he is loved, he will find a way to cope with life’s many disappointments. It’s unfortunate for him to learn that his mother is one of those disappointments, but with you by his side, he will cope.”

KH – “You may have the wrong email address. Tell your child what is happening and the choices. Maybe mum isn’t getting the mails. Maybe shes crazy busy maybe she isn’t interested. BUT make it clear this is NO REFLECTION IN ANY WAY AT ALL ON HIM.”

The original post is available on the Single With Kids Facebook.

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Claire Thompson says: December 27, 2015 at 11:05 am

Why not just say that you don’t really understand what’s going on with her, but there’s things in her life that mean she isn’t able to do this right now? It’s the truth and blames no-one.
Your communication may not be arriving. She may be in an abusive relationship, ill or in another situation that means she doesn’t want a child dragged in.
Don’t let a child believe they came from someone bad – they’ll start to believe that’s part of themselves.
Good luck x

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