, Advice by Ann Landers - []
Section: relationships, teenagers, children, marriage, family

Dear Margo,
My ex-husband and I have two young daughters. It seems that as the girls get older, their father is less interested in having a role in their lives. He no longer attends school functions or award ceremonies, nor does he return their telephone calls, which he used to do religiously. He can call or visit the girls as often as he wishes, but he simply picks them up after breakfast Sunday and brings them back before dinner the same evening. The girls enjoy being with him, but they complain that he usually takes them to a fast-food place for lunch, to a movie and then right back home with little conversation. He pays his child support on a regular basis, but it seems to me that he is going through the motions during his visitations, as if they're an obligation or chore. I have tried to talk to him about this, and he agrees with me, but nothing changes. Do you think I'm expecting too much by wanting him to be more involved and enthusiastic about what goes on in our daughters' lives? Or should I just be grateful that he at least visits them one day out of the week and pays his child support regularly? -- Troubled in Hawaii

Yesterday's Response:

Dear Hawaii,
Perhaps the girls could tell their dad they love being with him. Suggest it. If nothing comes of it, leave it be. He's "doing his duty." Too many fathers don't.

Today's Response:

Dear Hawaii,
I don't know how he treated the girls when you were still married. If he was always an indifferent father then there's your answer. Being divorced may have added a layer of distance, and sad to say, some men are not all that interested in their kids. Don't ask me how I know this. Stop trying to work on him; you've seen that it's getting you nowhere. Help your girls understand that he's doing what comes naturally, as it were, and that people do the best they can. Stress that his deficiencies as a father have nothing to do with them. This somewhat uncomfortable situation is on him.
- Margo

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A Note from Margo:
Hi! It's Margo here. I'd love to know what you think of the letters -- and the answers!

Also, any additional thoughts you might have. Thanks!

Joe's Comment
You can't change people. Be glad for the money. I'd leave it up to the girls if they are ok with what he's able to give of his time. He probably doesn't know what to say to them. Their relationships with him may improve as they become adults. At least they know him. Some don't have that much.
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Our Reader to Reader Question of the Week:

Dear Readers,
, whatever they needed I provided. What really hurt my son and I the most was the obituary - we were not mentioned at all. Our friends (mine and hers) were appalled. I was embarrassed and upset for not just me, but for my son-who loved her also. I never been so upset. Her x-husband put his wife and kids and their grandchildren in the obituary, who my girlfriend barely knew. They live an hour away from us. I know its silly to be mad over a little section of the newspaper, but it still hurts. Will time let this devastating loss of her and this article ever go away? I am so angry at this whole situation, its not like we can go and rewrite an obituary notice.

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"If you marry a man who cheats on his wife, you'll be married to a man who cheats on his wife."
-Ann Landers