Daughter hardly talks to me any more - FamilyEducation
Daughter hardly talks to me any more
04/19/2010 at 14:26 PM

I'm a divorced father of a very nice 17 year old daughter who will turn 18 in a few months.
She used to live with me part time and her mom part time. When she turned around 15 she just wanted to live with her mom. This just cut the heart out of me.

But the really sad thing is she hardly ever talks to me.

I don't know what I did to cause this. I used to always take her shopping on weekends and movies. I'd pick her up every day at school since kindergarten and take her to after school things then pick her up when done every day except weekends because he mom was always working late.

The other day I went to her varsity softball game, a double header. I got there near the end of her first game. Between games she walked right past me and I said Hi (her name) to her. She just kept walking to her mom. Then she met her old coach and she gave him a big hug and they talked and laughed together. After they were done I said Hi (her name) again and she just said "Oh, hi" and walked away. So I grabbed my stuff and went home.

She texted me a bunch text messages telling me she was really upset for me leaving. So she said she wanted to talk. I said O.K. I want to talk too. A week later I texted her and asked her if she set aside some time to talk. She said she first wanted to know if I was sorry for leaving. I said I was, then she said she doesn't want to talk. To me, this is abuse. So I just said the ball is in her court. When she wants to talk just let me know. It has been weeks and NOTHING. It will probably be years too.

I have been so sad about this. I feel her mom is partly to blame for this abuse since she often verbally abused me in front of my daughter.

I sent her a little peace gift of a pair of silver earrings Tuesday (13th) of last week (it's the 19th now) first class (she lives in the same small town I do) and just wrote on the gift "Just because you are special" but never got a thank you for it.

Will I have to write her off? I can't talk to her mom because we are not on speaking terms due to her verbaly abusing me in front of my daughter's teacher too. (that was the last straw).

I just don't get it. I've been a good dad. I've done more with her than most dads do in raising their kids since I was a work-at-home dad.

I lose sleep over this. I'm just so tired worrying she will never speak to me again over something so petty as leaving her game early. Of couse she wouldn't hardly ever talk to me before this incident too.

For the most part she's a good kid and does good in school and wants to go to university upon graduation this year. I doubt she will even invite me to her graduation.

What would you do?

Call the school and arrange to get a ticket to the graduation if there is limited seating. Take a camera, bring her a nice gift. Get a picture of the moment when she receives her diploma. If she is rude, just give her a big smile, hand her the present, and say, "I think I'll be going now. Congratulations, honey!" and leave. If you don't get an acknowledgment, Don't ever give her a gift again. Send nice cards, no money. It is possible that her mom intercepted the earrings. You can mail things so that the recipient listed on the package is required to sign for them, but you have to pay extra. It's worth it sometimes.

Thanks mayamay for your input. Do you think I should wait for her to contact me or would you (if she were your daughter and not living with you) try to get her to talk?

I agree with what Maymay has said here and what she thinks you should do about approaching your daughter and the graduation dilemma. YOU ARE HER FATHER!!! If this young lady cannot figure out what kind of respect level that carries, then you will have to take the graduation matter into your own hands. Is there a way to find out from someone trustworthy if your ex-wife is filling your daughter's head with a bunch of junk about you? Do you have anyone who might know if she was doing this? If so....see if you can find out. It sounds like this might be what is happening here. I have several friends who are divorced and went through this exact issue with their teens and it was because the "other parent / ex" was causing problems. You don't want to complicate or cause drama on that level but you do want to address the issue and defend yourself against things that are untrue, out of line, or attack your character as a person. You have a right to do that. Never stoop to a low level that involves talking badly or rudely about your "ex" no matter what she does. What I can tell you is that teens eventually grow up and in doing so, they see things in a more mature and adult fashion. They will and do come to their senses about what is truly right and wrong. They do sniff out inconsistencies and false accusations. Your daughter may be overly influenced by her mother right now but as her dad....do not retreat. If you have done nothing wrong then hold your head up high, continue to make efforts, but if she's going to act rude and distant...address the behavior and demand to know why. You deserve an explanation and you need to get one!

Thanks. Ever since the divorce I know my ex has been telling my daughter things like "your dad is a loser" because when she was around three and her friends would come over she was say "My dad is such a loser." Of course she couldn't possibly know what "loser" meant. So I know it had to come from the ex. Whenever she would say something bad about her mother I'd tell her "I never ever want to hear her say anything bad about your mother. You love your mother." But I guess it wasn't a two-way street. Yesterday I tried to straighten some things out with my daughter concerning what happened at the ball game (as stated in the first post of this thread). Of course it is all my fault. Then she called me "childish" etc. So I put my foot down and said I'm your dad and you don't talk to me like that. She said she yelled three times not to leave as I was driving away. I told her if I had heard her I wouldn't have left. Then she said don't come to the ball game tonight or the game tomorrow or this weekend 'cause you'll just ruin it. So I told her "I can't come tonight because of a board meeting, or tomorrow due to having my car worked on, or this weekend due to having to travel out of state." So that put a dent in her controlling me, LOL. I asked later after she got home (via text message) if she received the gift I sent her in the mail and how the game went. She said "Yes, thanks!" and said "they mercied the team both games and she got 6 out of 7 hits." I texted back "Way to go! I'm proud of you!" I guess if I never asked I'd never have known she got the gift. It is a roller coaster!

Sorry Daddyo, I have no advice for you. Just wanted to say, I know what you are feeling ~ as I have 3 sons, who I had sole custody of since 1988 ! and they are all trying to "control" me as well. Don't understand it either ~ but it is quite an adjustment, having lived your life to provide for the kids and meeting their demands as best as you could, and NOW - they turn on the custodial parent. Got to say, like my sons have told me, "its time to get your own life" ~ and stop focusing on us! Yep, thats the best I can offer, and I know how deeply it hurts.

Sounds like you have made a teeny bit of headway here!! I am very happy to see you taking control of your situation. Now that you posted this last message, I am 100% convinced that your ex-wife has been speaking badly about you around or directly to your daughter. Rude, immature, obnoxious and I think your daughter had a word that she used....CHILDISH! That about fits the bill for your ex. It is a problem and above all, she is literally causing emotional and psychological issues with your daughter by continuing to belittle you. No matter how a person might feel about an ex-spouse, you never bring the children into the fray of heated feelings or commentary. It is a term in psychology that we call "crazy making". Your ex-wife does not have boundaries that set her apart as a capable adult and mother....instead, she appears to be more of a gossipy and opinionated friend to your child. If you cannot confront this lady and put an end to that, do you have a Guardian Ad Litem who can? This is an objective and outside person who is appointed to represent someone in litigation or a problem that needs to be mediated. Just a thought. Keep the control on your level going. Do not succumb to the moronic behavior of your ex and DO NOT let your daughter EVER address you in public or to her friends as a "loser". NO WAY. You basically need to sit her down or discuss any and all infractions on her part with this behavior. Teen girls are brutal and headstrong unless given clear rules on how it is going to be. I have a 13 and 16 year old....both girls....believe me, I know. Keep taking baby steps to assert yourself as her father. If she tells you that she doesn't want you to come to her games, you ask why and discuss this. If she says you embarass her....ask for examples of how. My guess is that you don't embarass her but she's trying to control you and this is a classic way to do this if you're a teen girl. You may also want to let her know that she is NOT the boss or life planner of you and your whereabouts. Anytime my girls get spicy with the "bossy comments", the first thing I tell them is that I am an adult, their mother, and the only person who controls my whereabouts in this lifetime is me. End of story. I am my own boss, CEO, and President of me. I do not require a teenage VP of Operations but thanks for your concern. This has become such a known comment in my house that my kids actually think this comeback is pretty funny and very witty. Teens do have a huge sense of humor when they understand where you are coming from.....eventually. Keep going forward and keep taking control. I think you have been beaten down a lot and kind of backed into a corner here for a while. Time to step out onto the dancefloor and cop a mean Tango with ex-wife and teen daughter. You are just as entitled to raise her as her mother. Claim it!

Its very difficult to combat spousal alienation. Children will always love both their parents and when parents split up in an un civil fashion you will find this going on. You will suffer heartache unless you stay confident. if your children are old enough they will utlimately find there way back you, but dont get sick over it. The parenting classes usually show Kramer vs Kramer to parents to get them to see how fighting will tear a child apart. This is whats happening. If the situation becomses unbearable and I know first hand it can, seek help from a mediator aor family services cousellor and demand that discussions occur to stop the alienation cold. I am very close to making this move myself. It wears on you but be srong.

Teen girls suck, they are mean and just don't get it! My oldest is 13, but I remember being there myself. I am divorced also with 3 kids from that marriage. I would try talking to her mom and explain to her that you want to be able to have some communication with her to help you daughter, and that it has nothing to do with the two of you.And reminder her you both wan what's best for your daughter. I would not cut ties with her, just back off a little and tell your daughter you love her but see she wants to be on her own, and that you are always there for her no matter what!!

Hate to say it but your Daughter sounds like she has learned the art of manipulation. Go to her graduation, be there for her, text her, show her that you are the adult and eventually she will grow up. She is young and she may be under the influence of your ex, however that won't last forever and one day she'll realize that we all have choices in life. You chose to be a part of her life, you chose to keep reaching out to her...in the end that will count. Girls are tough, they can be really harsh not only to their parents but to everyone (friends, family, etc...). She will regret her choices but she will try to reduce her blame by placing some of it on you for walking away without a fight. Don't let her win that way. You will both loose something that is really, really important. I can't imagine what it feels like to be so isolated from a child, and I truly go out of my way to be sure my Daughter's Dad is included and that she knows that maintaining contact and a loving relationship is so important. She doesn't always want to go to her Dad's and sometimes there is complaining but she has never regretted it. We have to push them to do the right thing because it is easier sometimes not to. I hope in time she comes to see how much you care about her.

This reply is probably really late, but it is coming from a 16 year old girl (almost 17) who has an intense disgust for her own father. More than likely, your ex-wife is trash talking you to your daughter. My mom, since I was in the third grade, trash talked my dad almost every day and I bought into it. I started to believe that my dad was as bad as she claims. I realize now that he is a caring, supportive person but I still can't get past what I have been taught. As a result, any thing he does, no matter how small (even though it never is, my dad is sort of an arrogant jack***, though you might not be like him), it only reinforces what I've been taught and increases my hate. Leaving your daughter's game probably really set her off and added strength to what her mom tells her about you. Your daughter will always be on her mom's side because every story she tells your daughter is one-sided and your daughter never gets to hear your side. More than likely, her mom exaggerates just like my mom did. It was my brother, who used to hate my dad at age 16 as much I do now) who told me that mom exaggerates about my dad and that he is not that bad. He grew up to realize that Dad is a pretty cool person and I'm sure your daughter will, too. Just be there for her no matter what. Believe me, she knows she treats you badly, and she feels guilty, but she will put alot of blame on you to make herself feel better. Time will pass and she will come to appreciate you.

What I am about to say will be wildly unpopular. Oh well, so be it. I'm 27 years old. One day, I messed up really bad at work. I found all sorts of reasons to blame other people who I considered partly responsible: the organization's rules, a few co-workers, etc. However, as I took time to reflect upon the situation, I realized that there were certain aspects of the situation that I was entirely responsible for. I went to my boss, and I apologized. I explained what I could've done better. A few months later, I received a promotion. Now, I'm not saying that I received the promotion because of the chat I had with my boss, but it's curious nonetheless, isn't it? Why does a guy who recently engineered a goof up get promoted? Interesting. Yes, it was painful to look at all of my faults, and to truly admit all of my responsibilities for the situation and commit to changing my approach. But, it was worth it. I say this because we've heard a lot about why the daughter is responsible for this problem, we've also heard a lot about why the ex-wife is responsible... not so much about you. And, indeed, maybe you're not responsible. Still, perhaps we could try and look at this situation from a different angle. 1. Have you apologized for the pain that the divorce has caused your child and sought to make amends? As far as I know, YOU chose to marry this woman (who you consider a negative person and a slanderer). Your child did not choose your spouse. YOU chose to father a child with this negative, slandering woman. Your child did not choose to be born. YOU chose to end the relationship. Too often, parents focus on themselves as the "victims" of divorce, but what about the child? She had no choice, at least you had a choice. Your child is not a mistake, but you did make a mistake by engaging in this relationship, bringing a child into the middle of it and then it all fell apart and your child had to suffer the consequences. 2. Have you apologized to the child for the pain of making her grow up in a situation where she had to "alternate lives" between you and your ex? Most parents don't seem to consider this painful to the child at all, which I find flabbergasting quite frankly. How would you like to be bounced back and forth constantly from home to home and parent to parent? How do you think that would affect the way you grow up? (Perhaps you were and it did, in which case you need to get in touch with yourself and your own feeling about your parents) When you said you've "done more with her" than most dads, have you provided her with a loving and nurturing household? Because many dads have done that, but you apparently did not, since she spent much of her life with her "verbally abusive" mother. Now, let's be clear: that is NOT my opinion. That is FACT, as testified to by your very own words. FACT, not opinion. So please don't make it out like I'm trying to attack you, I'm not.. just examining the evidence that you provided. A good heartfelt apology, and a consistent COMMITMENT to making amends to your daughter would go a long way towards restoring her respect for you. That could take years... or even decades. But it's worth it. Contrary to the responses of others, your daughter doesn't OWE you anything for the mere fact of her existence. You created her, she's your responsibility. She does not OWE you tickets to her graduation, since you were just as much an obstacle on her path as an aid, and probably more of the former than the latter. Also, if you want a quick summary of what the problem might be here just review your own posts and those of the respondents. There's so little empathy displayed for this child it's staggering. I guess "teen girls suck!" don't they? Maybe that's the problem right there.