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To Sam

Divorced parents

My mum and dad divorced when I was 4, and I'm now 14 so they've been separated for a good 10 years. Anyway when I was 7 I decided to stop talking to my dad as my mum used to tell me all this horrible stuff about him, but now I've grown up I've come to the realisation that she just doesn't want me to get hurt by him like he hurt her (not physically) but I want to have a bond with him again but the last time I approached my mum about it we had a huge argument and didn't speak for weeks, so I'm worried to ask her again if I could talk to him, any advice please? 
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thank you for your letter. It sounds like you’ve taken a long time to think about what you want. I can hear that things really didn’t go well last time you asked your mum about talking to your dad. I’m sorry to hear that it even led to you two not talking for weeks afterwards. It sounds like something really got in the way of you both being able to talk about it calmly.

When parents split up it can be hard for their children not to get caught up in their personal feelings towards each other. Even if they have a difficult relationship with each other, that shouldn’t affect your relationship with either of them. 

If it’s safe and possible for you to have a relationship with your dad, you deserve to be able to make your own choice about seeing him. It's really important for you to have the chance to fully understand your mum’s concerns about you getting in touch with him again. That way you can be sure that you’re making a decision based on all the facts.

You told me that your mum was really hurt by your dad in the past, and I can hear that you’ve realised she’s probably just trying to protect you from going through the same thing. If you are going to persuade your mum to let you try and find your dad, then you need to really listen to what upsets her about that idea. She should also really listen to how you feel about wanting a relationship with your dad. You know your mum better than anyone, so you are the best person to decide whether or not you think it’s possible that she might respond more positively if you bring up the subject again.

Perhaps you could try to work out what turned your discussion into an argument last time. Then you could think about how to stop the same thing happening again. Think carefully about when would be the best time to start the conversation. When do you think your mum will be most able and willing to listen?

It might be easier to write things down for her in a letter. That way she would have time to prepare herself in advance before discussing it with you. Would it help to have support from another adult or someone else in the family? They might be able to help you decide the best thing to say to your mum. You could even ask if another adult or family member could talk to her about it for you. For more support you could look at CAFCASS, who can help families when they can’t agree on difficult decisions involving their children.

If you would like to talk this over a bit more with a ChildLine counsellor, you can call us for free on 0800 1111. Or, if you find it easier, you can log on for a 1-2-1 chat or email a counsellor.

Take care


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