Dear David Coleman: 'I have a six-year-old daughter. Her father and I split when she was 17-months-old and I withdrew my consent to him seeing her'

Q I have a six-year-old daughter. Her father and I split when she was 17-months-old. After much stress and acrimony, over years, we could not agree on reasonable access for him, so I withdrew my consent to him seeing her. The result has been that he hasn’t seen her since then. I have tried to remedy things over the years, but all to no avail. Will she be scarred?

David replies: Unless her dad mistreated or abused his daughter in some way, then it is probably a good thing that she and he develop a relationship. As I understand it, the only reason she doesn’t see him is because you didn’t want the access he proposed and refused any access, at which point he stopped trying to see her.

This is an issue between you and her dad. Your daughter is a very unfortunate pawn in the middle. I could imagine that she will be the one to suffer, in the long-term, if she believes that her dad has abandoned her, or that you prevented her from seeing her dad. As a matter of interest, what does she think about her dad and seeing him?

I would strongly recommend that you continue to try to build the bridges between yourself and her dad, such that you can get back to some kind of communication, about your daughter’s needs, rather than about the hurts you have inflicted on each other over the years. You may need someone to broker a deal, mediating between you. But, if it is at all possible for your daughter to see, and spend time with, you both, then I think it is worth pursuing.

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