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Jennifer's four daughters, MaRyah, Mikennah, Onaleah and Kaylah, tell Gary that while their father lives close, they rarely get to see him. Gary tells Jennifer that each of the girls is suffering in her own way—from expressing anger to bottling up her feelings. "You as a parent have to know that they're all going to react, and we have to kind of work with the private time … to get them to open up so they can express it out instead of keeping it in and acting it out."

Sometimes, a mom can inadvertently get in the way of her children's relationship with their father, Gary says. "There are times when moms will criticize everything the dad's doing when he's with the kids. 'You're only watching TV with them. You didn't do the homework well enough.' Although that's not an excuse, it sometimes makes some of these dads more prone to saying, 'Well, I just can't take them and watch them.'"

Jennifer says she thinks her ex-husband stays away in order to punish her. "He has said that to me many times, 'You chose this for yourself, now deal with it.'" Since the divorce, the girls say they have tried to tell their father how they feel, but Jennifer doesn't think he understands. "Especially Kaylah, she has no problem getting on the phone and expressing, crying, 'Please, Dad, please.' He doesn't seem to feel their pain. He doesn't seem to understand what it's doing to them."

Gary says he hopes things improve, but sometimes the situation can't be changed. "There's a point at which you get so stuck in it and you can't make that other person do and be responsible, so you have to say, 'Look, we're a family. We're going to make new traditions. We're going to do what we're going to do. We're going to do great and be a wonderful family because of it.'"

The girls' father declined an invitation to appear on The Oprah Show. He told the producers that he is unable to spend more time with his daughters because he has to work to pay child support.
FROM: Divorce 911, Plus Babyface: His High-Profile Split
Published on January 01, 2006