My teenage daughter has chosen to live with her Dad

by Kas

A couple of months ago, my 15 year old daughter decided it was best to live at her Dads. Her and I have been struggling to have a relationship for the past 3 years.

I re-partnered 4 years ago after being divorced since 2012. She and I used to be so close, then everything changed. She didn’t want me to re-partner, she loved how things were. But we both knew life was about to change.

She and her sister, Dad and step-family went overseas for a whole month back in 2016. It was challenging to be away from both my girls and in that time I had to start letting go.

They came back wiser and more grown up, my 15 year had become closer to her step mum after years of not really liking her, and also her finding out the day she got her first period that her step mum had BC while they were on their trip.

Since then their relationship has grown. A year later she didn’t want to stay with us, it took a few months of psychology sessions to turn this around which all coincided with us moving all together with my partner to a rental. Then a few years later my partner and I bought a house, we all moved in and I could feel more and more distance between her and I.

In the end she said I can't do this anymore I think it’s best if I go stay at Dads. Of course I was and still am completely devastated. I’ve only seen her 3 times in 2 1/2 months. I used to have her every second week.

Recently she tells me she is sick of packing and going between houses all the time. She doesn’t want to do it anymore. So I need to be supportive of her choice I’m heartbroken and I cry a lot! I message her every day just about. I miss her, I miss us so much. But I have no control over this situation or do I?

Her Dad seems to be more supportive of our relationship this time around, but he can’t force her to stay here. I’m not a perfect mum, but I truly am a good mum and 2 big mistakes I've made are, the first time she chose to stay away I accepted it because she looked so miserable and I should have fought harder for her, the second I leaned on her for emotional support which I’d pushed right back to the back of my mind and once she told me I apologised for. I just want things to be as they were, I’m trying so hard to give her time and space but it’s hard. :-(

Why doesn’t my daughter choose me, and would she feel guilt about all this, is it possible she loves her step mum more than me?

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Where's my kid!
by: Sara

Dear Kas,

My heart breaks for your pain as I read this. God bless you.

My gut reaction here is that you have given way too much control to your teen. She is your child, she is not the parent. Kids do not have the authority to make decisions because they do not have the capacity.

Your daughter is feeling rejected. She may even be attempting to punish you whether she is conscious of that or not.

Clearly she has no issue with re-partnering in general, because it does not bother her in the least that her father has repartnered.

You are the parent, and you have a responsibility to parent. You cannot do that a few days a quarter. If she doesn't like packing and going back and forth, then she should have stayed put. Decisions have consequences.

Work with the father to put a schedule in place that allows you to parent appropriately, and make sure she understands that you are going to fulfill your mom responsibilities no matter what.

You are the mom. This is not about bonding over menstruation (Is that even a thing?) or liking her step mum better. It's also not about granting her wishes like a fairy godmother, or hoping she chooses you.

It is about a child who feels hurt. She doesn't need time and space, she needs her mommy. (And just like every other 15 year old...she gets her mommy whether she likes it or not! haha!) Get back in the game! It's your job.

And that is exactly what I told my kids at that age. "This is my job. I am going to do my job to the best of my ability. I don't need your approval, I don't even need you to be happy about it. I am going to do it nonetheless."

Kids get it. They know what parenting is and what a parent is supposed to do. You go this!

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