easy child says I don't want relationship with difficult child


Which is understandable. One time one of the difficult children said well I have been through so much is why you have to give me a break on this. She rattled off a list of things and said I have been through just as much and don't do this crap. This was a few years ago. She has not had contact with either of them in about 2 years. Nor them with each other. We literally have three different worlds we live in. So she just changed therapists and when I explained difficult child 1 was getting ready to send an apology for things done and what not so difficult child 1 could have visits with easy child here her new therapist outright asked her if she wanted a relationship with difficult child. She didn't even think about it when she answered no. easy child has been at her dads for a month so has not been in therapy during this time. So I love the attitude of the difficult children placements that easy child is somehow holding up their care by living her life. The day after easy child gets home she goes right back into therapy. (She doesn't know that.) The social worker is putting pressure on me to get her going on these things. How is this fair? Well I know life isn't fair but crap she is a kid too. Just cuz she hasn't caused trouble doesn't mean she needs to be crapped on. Or me for that matter on her behalf. And believe me I won't tell her they are complaining. She doesn't need that. She has not had control over so many things in her life that were dictated because of the difficult child behaviors and I imagine that she sees this as a way to hold onto some control of her life. I just don't know how to get others to back down. I mean it took difficult child 1 a long time to come to this point in her treatment. They expect easy child to magically be ready in 2 months. What a crock.



Well-Known Member
in my opinion and experience, you can't force a relationship. She may resent him all the more if pushed. I hope it all works out.


Well-Known Member
No experience here, just opinion. easy child is not responsible for either difficult child's therapy. If difficult child 1 wants to write a letter, let her write the letter - that in itself may be theraputic in that she is acknowledging past behavior and her responsibility for that behavior. I believe it is her therapists' job to let her know her sister will read the letter when she is ready, not when difficult child 1 is ready.

But I would not think that easy child, especially given the abuse she has experienced in the past, should be forced to face anything she is not ready to. The fact that she is in therapy herself, when with you at least, is her saving grace in all this. She should not be forced. I am with you on that one.



I just don't know how to get others to back down.

When there's more than one child's well being involved, things get real complicated. Timer lady deals with this type issue on a continuous basis. She may have some ideas for you.

Relaying to them, "...it took difficult child 1 a long time to come to this point in her treatment. [Don't] expect easy child to magically be ready in 2 months," sounds good to me.


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You do not have to make the call. Just tell them easy child is not ready. It is her life, she gets to decide if she wants a relationship. However it may seem to outsiders, no matter, you have to do what is best for easy child, too.

So, even thought difficult child 1 is ready for a relationship, easy child is not. I like the letter idea.


member since 1999
One of the falsehoods when it comes to difficult children therapy - all they have to do is apologize and the damage they've done will be repaired. Not so much.

I think if part of difficult child 1's therapy is to send an apology letter, great. It is *not* part of difficult child 1's therapy that easy child has to accept it. I think this is such an important lesson for our kids and one that gets lost sometimes... "I'm sorry" is not a free pass. It is entirely reasonable for easy child to not want a relationship with- difficult child 1, especially at this age.

Had kind of a similar situation a few years ago with Weeburt and thank you - thank you made his usual nasty comments during a family therapy session (which the pcs had not been exposed to before) and it completely sent Wee over the deep end. He was utterly devastated and I felt like such an idiot for allowing it (hindsight being 20/20). Family therapy came to a screeching halt at that point as far as the sibs were concerned. It was up to Wee to decide when and if he wanted to reconnect with- thank you.

Our pcs go thru far too much to *force* them to have a relationship with the person who has, in essence, been the abuser. It's hard enough to keep pcs mentally healthy... I'd stand firm here that it's your easy child's choice and decision, period. If it doesn't fit in with- difficult child 1's treatment plan, then therapist needs to come up with plan B (maybe what to do when you've burned your bridges?).


I am so grateful to hear people agree with me. I love all of my kids but sometimes it just seems hard when the workers get locked in on only one thing and they seem to want to sacrifice one child for another.



New Member
If the SW presses too hard, have SW talk to easy child's therapist. Give the therapist permission to discuss how harmful any contact would be but no more or ask that therapist write a letter on this issue! (Put it in writing and be very, very specific -- cc the SW so there is no question and SW cannot try to get info that is none of CPS's business.)

To force a child to do something that is harmful to that child in order to "help" a sibling is, in in my opinion, obscene. However, I'm sure the logic is that easy child is not in an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and it is much cheaper to give easy child some extra therapy if it in fact injures her than it is to continue paying Residential Treatment Center (RTC) costs. However, no child should be put at risk for the sake of another child without the first child's consent.

You are 100% right to fight this for your daughter.

timer lady

Queen of Hearts

My concern in all you're telling me is that SW is asking for something that easy child cannot & most likely should not have to do at this point in her young life.

What is SWs "agenda" behind getting easy child on board? Is it a treatment plan written up with-o informed consent by you or your easy child? The problem, as I see it, isn't easy child - it's difficult child's ability to write that letter & accept however easy child responds.

None of this is on easy child's shoulders.

Having said that, while both kt & wm, have letters of apology they have written to one another; have worked & not worked toward a relationship of sorts there are certain relationships that may be doomed to being toxic.

in my humble opinion, abuse, of any type, puts a relationship in the "toxic" zone. Our team doesn't expect or necessarily want the tweedles to have a sibling relationship. Our goal is to teach them to be in the same room with one another with-o disintegrating to that ugly picture of survival from bio home. At best, I would expect them to see one another on an occasional basis (like now) & let it go.

It just seems that SW has some kind of "discharge" agenda based on PCs response to this letter. Am I off base here?


Active Member
No where else in society would a child victim of a sexual crime be expected to have visits with their perpetrator. We would be outraged if that were expected of them.

If these are step siblings with no expectation of the family being reunited than I see no reason she should be expected to develop a relationship. And it should never be initiated for the sole purpose of helping difficult child along in therapy.


Active Member
Sue, you said it first, specifically. I think we're all in agreement here - Saying "sorry" does not mean a free pass.

Words are easily said; they cannot be so easily unsaid. You can't unring the bell. The moving finger writes... and so on. And that's just words - deeds are even more difficult to undo.

difficult children have done damage to easy child. They cannot expect the world to say, "That's OK, darling," every time they apologist for another of their sprees. Life is not like that.

A story from Australia, you can Google it online. I've met the parents involved.
Michael Marslew was a good student, in his final year of school, working at the Pizza Hut in Jannali to get some spare money. Then one night, as Michael was putting out the garbage at the end of the shift, some more garbage was waiting for him - a couple of young lads trying to rob the store (with a shotgun, I believe). Michael was shot through the head and died fairly quickly.
The perpetrators were caught and jailed. Michael's parents went on TV to describe their outrage at the senselessness of the crime - it had been badly planned by kids who should have already been in some remedial program somewhere and not out on the streets trying to get easy money.
But Ken, Michael's dad, wanted to go further. He founded an organisation called "Enough is Enough" and through visiting schools, talking about Michael and his plans, talking about how one stupid, senseless act of violence ripped all that away, did his best to turn around other kids. As part of his own healing, Ken wanted to meet and talk with the kids who had murdered his son. By this stage, the marriage had begun to crumble, at least partly due to Ken's crusade. Michael's mother was dealing with her grief in a different way. She did go to the meeting at the jail, but couldn't cope with Ken's approach at all. Nor was she as ready as Ken, to give the murderers a hug and to thank them for being there. She was still very angry.
I can't recall whether Ken said he forgave the murderers or not. I think one of them, yes, because he was trying to make something positive out of what went wrong; but the other one (I think) was less interested in changing.

"Enough is Enough" has moved into other areas now, a lot of it aimed at trying to head off problems with delinquent youth, but a lot of it also with victims of crime recognition. For Ken, this is how he puts to use the death of his son. For Ken's former wife, this is a travesty.

I will not say who is right and who is wrong in this - all I'm saying is they each have their own viewpoints and their separate reasons.
And it's the same for easy child - just because the SW thinks it would be good for easy child to forgive and reconcile, doesn't mean SW is right. And even if SW IS right, it has to be easy child's decision, when she is ready. If she is ever ready.

And the difficult children will just have to live with that - it is not a perfect world and they are far from perfect individuals. Life (and easy child) owes them nothing.



Well-Known Member
I didn't realize there was sexual abuse! I would think easy child should be left in peace. This is such a personal and deep violation that I can't see the point in making poor easy child feel guilty that she doesn't want to participate in difficult child's therapy! in my opinion I wouldn't even bring it up. I would tell the social worker NO NO NO. What is she thinking??? If easy child becomes an adult and wants to forgive, that would be her option, but it should come from her, and I wouldn't blame her if she never wanted to see them again--and I wouldn't encourage her to see them again. It almost makes it seem like she's doing something wrong by not accepting their apology, and she isn't (in my opinion).
We had a situation in our home where we adopted an eleven year old boy. When he turned thirteen, we found that he had sexually violated my two younger kids, and more than once. The boy is gone from our home, never to return, and we don't deal with his therapy. He's eighteen now and doesn't know where we are. I know your situation is different, but I'd never even broach my two kids as helping the boy's therapy.
If I have details wrong, I apologize.


Well-Known Member
Well, I agree that it's therapeutic for difficult child 1 to write a letter, and that she shouldn't be discouraged from doing so. I have been thinking about apologies lately, and I am more and more of the opinion that apologies should be about the person who is offering them. "I am sorry that I..." an apology. "I am sorry that I ... but..." is not an apology.

What an apology is not is a free pass to start fresh with no regard for what may have happened in the past, or an obligation for the person accepting it to forget the past.

An apology should be accepted, in general. "Thank you" or "OK" is good.

Forgiveness has nothing to do with an apology. Someone may be truly sorry for something they did in the past. That doesn't mean that you have to forgive them for it. Forgiveness is something you come to on your own. Or you don't.

Hopefully you move on. If you want to move on and keep that person in your life, you need to forgive to make it easier to continue the relationship. If you can't forgive - and sometimes you can't - then you probably shouldn't hope to have a meaningful close relationship with that person. I don't think that we get to judge someone else for not forgiving. We're not them. We can't forgive for them anymore than we can apologize for them. People live their own lives in their own heads and their own hearts.


I am not sure where SW is coming from but I do know that difficult child!s therapist is trying to get it that difficult child can visit at the same time easy child is here so she can visit more. Right now difficult child 1 can only visit if easy child is gone. (She did so wice this summer as easy child is at her dads.) easy child comes home on Tuesday and goes straight to therapy Wednesday. I was once asked if easy child could go stay at a friends one weekend so difficult child 1 could come home for a visit. I said no that is not fair to her. This is her home and she has done nothing wrong. When I told SW that easy child didn't want a relationship she didn't say much. difficult child 2 isn't even able to come home at all for visits so he is not a problem at this point. I understand that easy child should not be forced into anything as the victim. It is just getting the folks that work with the difficult children to open their eyes that it is not just one person we are dealing with. We are supposed to have a staffing for difficult child 1 on the 17th. I figure I will address this then. I will have had the chance to get PCs therapists feelings on it and we can move on from there. I appreciate all of the input.