Two years ago, I became the divorced father of two…. I have shared custody for weekends, but the children’s mother has made sure that I can’t take them with me, so it has been almost a year since I have seen them much. I have become very resentful toward them because I see how they look down on me. I don’t pick them up anymore on weekends, but I love them a lot and want the best for them. What can I do to keep from losing my children?

Dear Friend,

We are sorry for your situation and can understand why it is difficult. However, please remember that the victims in a divorce are the children, and that their lives will be marked forever by your problems with their mother. Do not ever let yourself blame them for what is happening.

Is there a specific reason why the children’s mother does not want you to see them? Do you have a drinking or drug problem? Do you act out your anger with violence? Are you a bad example for your children in some way? If none of these things are true, then the children’s mother is likely acting out of her bitterness toward you.

We have a close relative who had a similar situation. He had shared custody, but the child’s mother would not let him have his visitation. He had to go back to the judge two different times to have the court orders enforced. And he had to ask for a police escort every time that he went to pick up his child so that the mother would comply with the order.

We don’t know if you have these options available in your country, but we strongly advise you to take advantage of every resource to enforce your visitation. Do not give up. Even though your children have been negatively influenced toward you by their mother, they still need their father. They need to know that you love them and will never stop seeking a relationship with them.

Take a copy of your custody order to the children’s school and arrange to be notified of all the activities that they are involved in. Attend every concert, play, or sports event in which they participate. If they already have phones, send encouraging text messages to them, even if they don’t respond or even if they react negatively.

You must love them and show your love even if they won’t receive it at this time in their lives. You must follow God’s example of loving us as His children even when we reject Him and refuse to have a relationship with Him. God continues to love us and offer us forgiveness for all our sins in the name of His Son Jesus Christ. He never gives up on us, and we recommend that you never give up on your children either. Someday, possibly years from now, they will be mature enough to recognize all the issues. At that time, will you be ready and waiting to respond to them? God is waiting for each one of us with His arms opened wide to receive us when we turn to Him.

We wish you the best,