Teen daughter wants to live with Dad

by CJ
(NJ)

Hi, I've been divorced 11 years. My daughter is 14 and about a year ago started saying she wants to love with her Dad. He is remarried with a step daughter 2 years younger than ours and a 23 year old step son. His step daughter calls him Dad. My daughter had issues with this but seems to have resolved. She's been treating me like she hates me and won't let me even hug her. She's in therapy and disclosed to us she wants to live with him in therapy session yesterday. Her Dad and I had a great relationship until he got married 3 years ago. He has created a split and his wife won't even say hello. She won't even come to my daughters soccer games. He has been bullying me saying my daughter says things about me that are negative and he will fight me for her if I don't let her go live with him. The distance between us is 35 miles and its never been a problem until now after 7 years. I think he wants out of child support and feels guilty he doesn't make any effort to spend time with her this past year. It's all about his new family. I think my daughter is trying to create a negative scenario in order to feel okay about wanting to live with him. After all he has another daughter living 24/7 with him and my daughter is a second class citizen. I'm beside myself, she is my world. What do I do, is this common?

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To: I want to do what is best for my daughter
by: Sara

You have every right to be concerned. Dad is definitely manipulating here. It also sounds like your daughter is desperately hoping to connect with her father on a meaningful level, and that is just not possible. He has created quite the codependent situation.

I would suggest counseling again. This time, you want to find a counselor who deals with trauma and codependence.

Your daughter is herself with you, because you are safe. She knows she is accepted and loved, and she really wants this situation from her other parent, but her other parent isn't able/willing to provide that. That keeps your daughter stressed and hoping for love.

Dad doesn't want counseling, because he is enjoying the little set up he has created, and he doesn't want anything to interupt it. It is your job to interupt it.

Your daughter needs to learn how to cope with this kind of mental abuse. Both so she can have a manageable relationship with her father, and so she can have great relationships moving forward. Learning how to establish healthy boundaries and not twist herself into knots hoping for love will serve her well. Unfortunately, the conditions of a relationship with her father have taught her to eliminate her instincts for healthy boundaries.

Dad is not going to take this lying down. Have the counselor do a good formal assessment, create a plan that outlines what success looks like, and get whatever legal and therapeutic support you need so she can continue counseling and reach success.

I wish you the absolute best!

I want to do what is best for my daughter
by: Anonymous

Good Day,

I am presently going through this. My daughter is almost 14 and recently she has been constantly asking to go live with her dad. She has been saying hurtful things including on more than one occasion, wishing I was dead.

I want to make the best decision and at first thought I needed to protect her but at times I wonder if the need to protect her is all just me and that she really needs this now.

I have always feared parental alienation. My daughter acts differently when she is around her father and even when she was younger there was clear indication that she was not handling the situation well and it was always leaning on her dad's side. If both of us were in the same space with her she would totally ignore my existence but as soon as her dad left she was a totally different person. Sometimes she did and say things to please him even if she felt differently (admitted). I was not sure if it was intentional on his part or she just did not know how to handle the situation. Still, there were times he would lie or things will slip out that indicated that he was being manipulative. I have been heart broken, not knowing how to protect her from all of this and have her live the best and fullest life possible. When I wanted to have her get counseling he was dead against it and I held back because of it until my lawyer said that even if the custody was not settled, it was my right to do so even if he objected. So, she has been to two counselors but gave difficulty opening up to both until one said it does not really make sense. I feared due to some things which happened that he was controlling how she responded to the sessions. Once she has an emotional outburst/ anxiety attack at school. The first thing she said to her father was "Are you mad at me?"

I have had to fight for my daughter which I think no parent should have to go through including him. Crazy thing about it that amidst all of this I sometimes doubt myself. My relationship with him ended in emotional abuse. My self-esteem was low. He criticized my parenting, my personality, the parts of me that I valued and was constantly throwing my weaknesses in my face. Now my daughter is doing the same, she uses the same abusive language. I am stronger now but it hurts that my daughter can even treat anyone like this.

Due to all this I am scared that I will loose any connection I have with my daughter and my ability to protect her the best as I can even if I feel helpless in the situation. When she is by her father she does not talk to me. She does not always answer wnen I call and when she does her response is cold and she quickly cuts off the call. I am actually paranoid about her safety and sometimes I wonder maybe all of this is just part of being paranoid about it all.


Worried about my daughter

Daughters Want to Live With Dad
by: Sara

I can certainly understand your shock at the change of events. While I am glad the girls are able to enjoy their time away, and finally having a good time with their dad. As we know, all good things must come to an end.

I went through the same thing with my son. His dad was completely absent for 10 full years. When my son hit those teen years, he wasn't all that excited to have a parent. His father viewed this completely normal situation as an opportunity to swoop in, make himself feel better for being absent, and become my young son's new best friend.

A best friend, isn't a parent. You have only 5 more years with your girls and you have a ton to teach them, and very little time left to make sure they are prepared to step into the adult world.

Your kids aren't running the show. They don't get to choose where they live. They feel like they have hit paydirt and are getting everything they want. Obviously, they want to keep the party going and are willing to say whatever is necessary to get their way. In other words, they are being kids.

Your job is to be mom. Mom's don't often win popularity contests, and that's ok. At the end of the summer the kids come home, like it or not, and life picks up where it left off. They can certainly go live with their dad after they graduation from high school. That is when they get to decide where they life. Not before.

And it is perfectly appropriate to call them out on their BS if you believe that needs to happen. Trust yourself. You've got this. :)

Daughters what to live with their dad now
by: Anonymous

My ex-husband has bipolar disorder. I was taking care of him and my two daughters for about 3 years until it's gotten bad and out of control and we divorced. We have 50/50 custody on paper, but he left to another city (3 hours flight away from where we live) right after the divorce because he couldn't find a job closer to our home, and been seeing the girls every school break there was.

I've remarried after a year and my daughters do not particularly like my new husband, but we all were living in relative peace, I thought of them as happy kids and friends with their step-brothers. All four of them played board games and we took trips together and they all have great grades at school. I thought the girls were looking up to their step-brothers even.

Five years passed since the divorce, my ex got his disorder under relative control, was successful at his job, single, but never tried to move back to where we live.

Now my daughters are 13 visiting him this summer and he is taking fantastic care of them, does basically anything they want, buys things. He lets them rant about their life with me and how they hate my new husband and how I stand by and do nothing. How stepbrothers are bullying them. How I don't take care of them.

But unless I was living some alternate reality none of it is real, it's like some kind of over-magnified, negative, inside out way to see how we were living in the past 5 years!!! My ex says nothing in my defense or talks about where he has been all this time. The bottom line they told me they hate me and my husband and his sons want to stay with their dad for the foreseeable future.

It's a complete shock to me, I put happy 13 year old twins on the plane and now they are gone. I am not sure what to do in this situation, completely devastated.

I am also afraid that my ex's sudden focus on them is just another mania (he had previous episodes where he'd get extremely interested in something, explored it from 0-100% then moved on to another thing and so on and on, that's how mania works) and will go away soon and they'll be heartbroken.

Daughter Living with Mom Against Her Will
by: Sara

I am so sorry that all of this has happened.

Your daughter needs therapy, and not going isn't an option. It is too much pressure on her to have her make these decisions.

Either something happened that has created her fear of you, or she is using this idea to control her situation.

It sounds like she has had a horrific experience. God bless her. She may be afraid that you will abandon her, and may feel incredibly alone because you weren't there to save her. She is for sure testing you.

You have to step and secure the help she needs. She is deeply wounded, and surely feels betrayed by her father, if not by both of you.

This is not about you. This is about your child. She desperately needs to know, understand, and feel that you love her. You cannot take her actions personally, and you must kick the momming into high gear and get your daughter the healthcare she desperately needs.

Many prayers for both of you. You've got this!

Daughter living with me against her will
by: Anonymous

When my daughter chose to live with her father solely, due to reasons she is unwilling to discuss in a healthy way, her father neglected the court order for joint custody. I respected my daughters wish to stay with him, while we seek therapy. My ex immediately sent her to another state for weeks without my knowledge. I feel he has intentionally alienated me and allowed a 13 year old to make adult decisions. That being said he was arrested for child exploitation 8 months after my daughter left and now cannot be with ANY minors, including her. She is very unhappy, unwilling to go to therapy, and has terrible breakdowns when I try to talk about it. Prior to the estrangement from my daughter, she had never cursed at me or screamed at me. The last few days she has done both, she ran away yesterday, but came back. I don’t know how to help her. She stated she is afraid of me. I have not ever abused her physically, I did have bad episodes when I drank though. My guess is those episodes are the reason for her fear. I haven’t been drunk since she has been back, I don’t yell. She still claims to be afraid. I’m lost. I want her to be ok most of all. I can reframe our relationship to respect her, to accept that she does not want to love me. I will never leave her or put her down. It hurts so much to be hated and having no hope for a healthy relationship with her.

Broken Hearted
by: Anonymous

My story is very similar to these. I married a man that had core values that allowed him to cheat and mooch off of me. I saw red flags and still thought I could work through them. I had a daughter with him and got a divorce with she was 1 year and 5 months old. She never knew us as a couple.

My ex-husband dated women after women, moving my daughter into another home and then she was not allowed to speak with the person or their children again after he and the woman split up. Of course this was because he had started another relationship prior to the break up.

My ex-husband placed chasing women with low self esteem over my daughter and would frequently call and say he had a cough or other issues in order to get out of picking her up if a date arose. My daughter spent all of her time with me except every other weekend. We were very close, our personalities meshed well together. And although she loved her dad, she would say things like, "No offense Mommy, but why did you marry my dad."

When my daughter was 15, he met a woman and moved into a house with her and her daughter and my daughter. Now my daughter started spending more time with him. (Actually not him, because he was out looking for other women) but she spent more time in the house.

His girlfriend began to cut me out of the picture by competing for holidays with celebrations that my daughter had to choose between or go to both. Then one night, she got into an argument with me and left.

I believe she needed an excuse and wanted to pull a move that her father is so famous for...creating an argument and making the other person believe that it is their fault so she can do what she wanted to do which is move out.

A year later, my ex and his girlfriend "broke up" and sold the house and my daughter went to live alone with him. None of this makes sense to me. She and I both laugh at his lies and cheating but she still wants to stay over with him.

He is explosive and frightening but in the same breath, she tells a story of how they got sandwiches at a drive through. It is the weirdest situation. It reminds me of an abusive relationship, similar to what I experienced with him.....Rage, explosion, verbal or physical abuse, honey moon, repeat. I don't get it.

I keep trying to make sense of it. I am glad I found this site for people that understand. Anyone who has not experienced this does not know the deep pain.

Broken hearted
by: Anonymous

I have a similar story as the first person. My daughter told me at 13 she wanted to live with her dad and step mom and 2 half siblings. Shes lived with me all this time and I thought we were close. Shes mean to me and treats me like I'm nothing. Im.re married but maybe feels left out. I'm so lost and heart broken.

14 yr old daughter wants to live with her Drug Dealing Father
by: Anonymous

I am heart broken that my teen wants to live with her father who deals pot. I have struggled a few years building a business but my daughter never went without. She says her father is more stable and it's because he has alot of cash. I can't compete with what he offers her but I also can't deal with the danger she would be in living with him! In the same token I am having struggling with the hurt I feel and going through menapause doesn't help matters. Help please

Dear Need Help
by: Sara

I am not certain what you mean when ask what steps you need to take to have your daughter live with her father.

Does the father want her to move in? If so, then you would need to transfer legal custody and stop the child support. You may have to pay child support to him. Or, the 2 of you could work out an acceptable agreement.

If dad doesn't want that, then you could approach the court to attempt to force the situation. I am not sure if that would be in anyone's best interest.

Raising children isn't easy, and it is especially challenging because no one is ever taught how behavior works. I mean it's no cake walk when you understand.

If you'd rather learn more about how behavior works so you gain more control of your family situation, just click on the Home page and download a free copy of the 7 Ps of Positive Parenting, and/or stop by the Podcast page and listen to episodes 1-7 for more detail about each of the 7 Ps.

Use even just a few of the Ps and you will see a difference in your child...no matter how old they are. Implement all of them...and welcome to your new family life.

My best,
Sara

Need help
by: Anonymous

what steps do i take to have my daughter go
live with her dad if my she is not listening to me and giving me a hard time.





Same
by: Anonymous

I am going through something similar and would like to hear the input.

Dear Not All Dads Are Awful
by: Sara

You are absolutely correct. Each case is unique. Thank you for taking the time to write such a fair comment.

Being a woman doesn't make you a good parent anymore than being a man makes you a bad one, and vice versa.

Not ALL dads are awfull
by: Anonymous

I am a step mom and my husbands ex has a mental disorder which has caused many issues throughout our years of marriage, not to mention on his/her kids. She is ALWAYS the better parent, as she states. My husband has always been there for his kids or at least has tried very hard as she intervenes and brain washes them. He has never missed a payment as he feels its his responsibility as it is for him to be there as a parent. Now my real point...
His son is 14 and wants to live with us. Due to his moms mental issue she is driving him confused, literally. He acts one way to please her but acts different in school because its his normal personality, which has caused some issues for him. He is an A/B student but she expects a straight A student. Hes frustrated because he feels his mom does not understand him and does not allow him to be himself. I have 3 boys, grown of course. My youngest in college (17). Any time my step son acts up she blames my son for it. However, my step son wants to take responsibility for his own actions but she prefers to brush it off on someone else like my kids or his father. Its very frustrating because my husband and I want whats best for his son regardless of which parent he is with, but also feel as if hes screaming for us to help him, and at the same time he doesn't want to hurt his mom because obviously he loves her and we get that. But from what we've seen she just wants to take all the glory and doesn't seem to show the best interest for my step son.
Unfortunately, now we will be engaging in a legal battle which we have tried to avoid for years for the well-being of the kids.
I understand a lot of the comments on here but in some cases the father did not ask to be separated from his children, the mother made the call, and the father is no less of a parent... sometimes its the mother that pushes him away from being a good father. It takes a lot of strength and love to deal with parenting situations, I'm in one and I can surely speak for those fathers dealing with a mother that denies him his right as a father.

Dear Wow...
by: Sara

No one in this thread is complaining about paying child support, or painting a bad picture of the father. They are describing situations and seeking help to do what they think is best for their child. (Hardly selfish) Everyone seems to be quite child focused here and attempting to work with the father of their child (children), but aren't quite sure how to do that give the situation.

I haven't seen anything from these ladies that meets any kind of criminal definitions. However, I welcome any specific input you may wish to share.

Dear Broken Heart...
by: Sara

You are the parent, and you are responsible. If you have custody, you do not have to let your child live with her father and run around all over the place unsupervised. A minor child does not get to make those decisions for herself. It is difficult to step into that role, but you have to do it.

Broken heart
by: Anonymous

My daughter 17 and son almost 15 have been with and lived with me all their lives. They hated staying at dad's.he was abusive verbally for 13 years and I have had enough. I am remarried and my husband has helped raise my children for 11 years now. But my daughter got her drivers license and her dad gives her the car whenever she wants it so she's not been coming home. She stays there for easy access to the vehicle. I don't even know where she goes anymore. He is awful to talk to and I miss my daughter.I dread the day this car is the deciding factor on her living with him when I know she tells me she only stays there because of it. My heart hurts because we were so close.... now he is making his hard for me since we cannot communicate without him always being right and me being bullied by him. Help Me!!!

Parental Alienation
by: Anonymous

I don’t think this case is parental alienation... my daughter is 14. I went thru a two year costody battle to keep my 14 year old daughter. I knew I wouldn’t have to pay child support my ex was behind 10000.00. That part was a wash. But the family judge did grant my daughters wish she now lives full time with her dad. The step mom causes a lot of problems she always wanted a girl and couldn’t get pregnant... so she eventuall was able to get my daughter. She has brainwashed my daughter telling her she was pregnant with her. I have a 14 year old who believes two women were pregnant with her. This is a very emotionally sick step mom. She has pics on Facebook with her saying this is her daughter. This is the worst form of parental alienation I have ever experienced; I give up. I left her with her dad and my daughter has blocked me on her phone. I’m hoping when she is 16 she will come and see me. My daughter acts like a zombie in my house and doesn’t bond to this side of the family. Even with her special needs brother from another dad. My son is in kindergarten... my 15 year old no ability to bond.. I have no more options but to wait for her to come back to me, I have dreams about her being an angel and kissing me on the cheek. She had beautiful long brown curls in her hair. Her step mom cut it all off.. now her hair is a bob very evil stepmom. There is constant bashing of this side of the family.. by my daughter dad and stepmom. Please respond if u agree this is parental alienation. My da

Wow!
by: Anonymous

After reading several of the comments and replies on here, I can see a few things in common. 1. A fear a loosing or having to pay childsupport. Your more worried about money than your child. 2.Your too busy trying to paint a bad picture of your ex-husband than work with him to help your child. 3
You are selfish! If your child does better with your ex, why isn't this utmost priority? (Because of statement #1). This is textbook Parental alienation and some of you need to go to jail!

Should you let your teen go?
by: Ask Sara...

In a word...I say the answer is "no", your daughter does not move in with Dad.

I had this issue with my son as well. Teens want to get away from the confines of life. It is definitely a time when the grass REALLY looks greener on the other side of the fence.

There is no evidence in this case that the father is requesting his daughter because it is in her best interest to be with him INSTEAD of you. And as I feel you are, I would be very concerned that the addition of another female (one from wife #1) would not necessary be welcomed with open arms, love, and support, by wife #2 and her daughter.

I struggled with what was best for my child for awhile and then my mom said, "This is ridiculous. You are the mom, you have the authority, and you tell them all "no"." Once I did, it never came up again and everyone went on along their merry way. I never once regretted my decision.

Follow your gut, and stick to your guns. Blessings!

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