What to do if your ex does not want to be involved with the children

Family Lives recognises that 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.

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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. For more information, you might want to read our article on "Who is my real parent?"  

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.

How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums. Family Lives is here for you and you can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

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