(quote) Marge-938695 said: At the risk of sounding harsh (who, me?) ---
-- The relationship of an adult child with his parent is a problem between the two of them and nobody else.
-- An adult child can understand the concept of "who knows why?" -- and in his heart can understand and accept the concept of "some people are louses".
-- It's not easy to see your kids hurting...but it's not the first time, nor will it be the last. In any case, it's not the parent's job to bear this burden.
So, to answer the original question: What do you do/say? NOTHING. You just stand by to catch the tears...if there are any.
I knew this would be coming from you, and I DO agree with you. As a matter of fact I DID remove myself from any involvement with the relationship or lack therefore between the kids and their father/his family, initially.
BUT my therapist said children of "dead beat dad's" do not emotionally develop at the appropriate rate, therefore, though they may be chronologically 20, emotionally they are preteen/teenagers. They do NOT understand "who knows why", nor can they accept the concept that their dad is a "louse".
Your statements hold true for the child that grew up in a emotionally healthy environment. The kids dad left when they were all teenagers and at that point their emotional development stopped. Many times when an individual experiences emotional trauma, the age at which they are when the trauma occurred, is where they get emotionally "stuck". I see this all of the time with my E.D. kids (emotionally disabled) in school.
As I described earlier, this situation is not one in which the Dad just walked out, but so did all of his family; grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. They have completely abandoned the kids. No more Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas presents (not even a card, though we send cards to them), no acknowledgement of cards received, NOTHING. It is as though the kids never existed.