Absent parent wants to attend my games

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“All of a sudden my dad says he wants to start coming to my basketball games. He’s never around, he didn’t teach me how to play basketball and he doesn’t pay child support. My mom comes to my games when she cans. I think it would be weird for her if he was there. Sometimes I look out at the stands and I see my friends’ dad there and wish my dad was there but it’s different, I feel like he doesn’t deserve to be there. I don’t know what to do.”

Dear reader,

As you’ve already pointed out, you’ve got a difficult decision to make. Let’s start with the facts.

The facts

Fact 1: Your dad wants to get involved at some level in your life. It’s maybe not the best level to get involved in considering his general absence and lack of financial support but the fact remains, he has expressed his interest in getting involved in some way in your life.

Fact 2: If he shows up it might make your mom feel uncomfortable not to mention make you feel uncomfortable. (By the way I think it’s admirable that you thought about your mom’s feelings in all of this.)

Your options

You’ve got a couple options. One option is to tell your dad that you don’t want him at your games but you have to tell him why and you should try to offer a compromise. Like this: “Dad, I think it’s great you want to come to my games but I don’t think it’s a good idea because mom might feel weird to see you there and that would make me feel uncomfortable. Can you take me to my practices instead and maybe after practices we could hang out?”

When you deliver bad news, always tell them why, it will help them understand your decision. And try to offer a compromise whenever possible. Don’t just say: “No, I don’t want you to come to my games.”

Your other option is to let him come to your games. Tell you mom about it, maybe you can suggest that they alternate and attend different games if she doesn’t like the idea of seeing him. Tell her you appreciate everything she does for you and even though your father could do more, that it’s important for you to take this opportunity to spend time with him and get to know him.

My opinion

This is a difficult decision you have to make for yourself and one you’ll probably have to make again in the future for other events like your graduation, wedding or some other family gathering.

Whatever you decide do not not attend an event because you want to avoid the situation. And don’t deny your parent of seeing you because you want to punish them. Because when you do these things you also punish yourself.

You have to do what’s best for you and each case is different but it is my hope that you take these opportunities, whenever and however they present themselves, to start rebuilding your relationship with your dad.

Good luck.
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