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I have 3 children to a previous marriage. The two eldest are now in the workforce and the youngest in her second last year of school. I have been alienated from them for about 15 years through various nefarious tactics. I was wondering how I regain contact - proper contact.
The eldest two have responded sporadically in the past twelve months but their communications have remained distant. My eldest child occasionally asks how I am and how their younger siblings, to my second marriage, are. My second child made brief contact when in the area. He really only seemed interested in how much my house and car cost and where I work. It felt like an intel operation. I have not heard from him since (over 6 months now). It was the first time I had seen him in 8 years.
I would appreciate some guidance.
When it feels like an intel operation turn things around and make the conversation about the children as it might be being nosey, a lack of ideas for conversation or a genuine interest to get an idea of living costs so, when they ask how much is...
Ask them what kind of a ... are they looking at getting in the future?
If they were just looking for advice or trying to make conversation then this will go over well as you are showing an interest in them.
Perhaps you could try organising a monthly family dinner. You don't need to tell the kids that's what you are doing straight up just invite them over for a nice sit down meal with a decadent dessert or bbq, just make it something you wouldn't have on a day to day basis. You could say you have been experimenting with recipes and that you'd like them to come and try it or something like that, every first Sunday of the month or whatever day you know will best suit everyone and just consitantly invite them every time regardless of whether they turn up or not. If they do turn up eventually they'll start to expect it and they'll be asking you about the plans for that day.
My family have very strained relations but I write whether I get a reply back or not. I know this example is not of children but I use to send a Christmas card every year to one of my cousins and a few letters through the year. I never heard back from him not in over 20years and he passed away never having written to me but when he was diagnosided with cancer and given only a couple of months to live he made a small change to his will and that change was me. He never made contact whilst living but he let me know, my just having maintained contact and loving him unconditionally meant something to him.
You sound scared of them, what they'll ask or think. In my view, they are frightened. The dad they always wanted maybe, the dad that was demonized maybe and they don't know whether to believe what they've heard. All these possibilities. The unknown here is what I'd be concerned about.
My youngest daughter now 27yo I have no relationship with. She visited a few times and sorry to declare- she has listened too much from her mother, twisting of facts, adopting the same attitudes and generally has been destructive to out relationship. So much hurt I severed ties. My eldest is wonderful in contrast.
I'm happy to say that I think you have a good chance of building up strong bonds with all of your children but you have to make some efforts, maybe surprised efforts. Not be afraid of saying "I love you", or "I miss you" or "would you like me to be at your school presentation" and so on. Even if they reject your offers they will go away and think "Gee, he made an effort".
I hope that helps. Hey, it was great effort writing in.
I expect he'll see it but you sent that message to me not Outback Dad.