When one parent doesn’t want to be involved in their child’s life
Here’s what you can do or say to help
When a non-resident parent refuses to be involved with their child it can be very painful and difficult to understand. There might be very little you can do to force this issue and it might simply come down to you reinforcing to your child how much they are loved. Explaining that sometimes people behave in ways that are hurtful to others will hopefully help them to understand that they have done nothing wrong and needn't blame themselves. As adults we all have choices but when your child starts to ask questions it is important that you give them age appropriate information that you feel they can cope with.
Knowing both parents gives children a sense of their own identity, but this can be really difficult when one parent doesn’t want to be involved in their child’s life. One way to help your children stay connected to their other parent is to create a memory book with photos of their mum or dad so your child knows what their other parent looks like and is not simply left to guess.
When your child is a bit older, they may decide they would like to try and trace their other parent, and this can sometimes be a really emotional time for all involved. You might feel traces of resentment at the thought of your child making contact with someone who hasn’t cared about them all their life and these are all natural reactions.
It might be worthwhile working through these feelings yourself, as this could help you find a sense of security in yourself which can leave you better placed to support your child through this process. There will be no guarantees that your child won’t be rejected if they do make contact, so it is important that you stay emotionally strong to help pick up the pieces if things don’t go according to plan.
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Bounty is proud to bring you this information in partnership with www.familylives.org.uk. Family Lives is a charity with over three decades’ experience helping parents to deal with the changes that are a constant part of family life.
Comments on this article are monitored but NOT answered. However, Family Lives has extensive advice on their website, live chat services, and information about befriending services and parenting/relationship support groups. There is also a helpline and an online community forum offering a safe space for families to share dilemmas, experiences and issues with others who understand the ups and downs of family life. https://www.familylives.org.uk/how-we-can-help/forum-community/