Posted by The Family Law Company on 20th December 2011

If the children wish to have contact with their father and yet he refuses to see them this can be a very hurtful situation.

There may be many reasons for his refusal, he may simply find the emotional turmoil of the break-up too great and consider walking away as his only option. Sometimes, a new relationship or a step-family can split loyalties and make a father feel he cannot divide his time between two families.

It is often tempting to try and protect children by accepting the refusal and withdrawing from all communication with the father. However, if possible, it is in the best interests of the children to promote an open dialogue and encourage the father to change his mind. He may feel able to maintain less frequent contact visits or at the very least agree to indirect contact via email and telephone.

Sadly, the courts cannot force a father to see his children if he doesn’t wish to and they can often feel deeply rejected by his refusal. In this case, it is beneficial to be open and honest with your children about the situation whilst encouraging them to vent feelings of anger and hurt without casting judgement yourself. If you keep the option open with their father, he can approach you if he changes his mind and as the children get older they can have more input into the decision whether they wish to see him or not.

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