Teenagers - FamilyEducation
02/14/2010 at 22:24 PM

I really not sure what I'm doing. I'm not even sure I really want advice or if I just want to spit it all out there in black and white for my own benefit so that I can wrap my own head around it. So, here goes...

Being the non-custodial parent is a hard position to be in. My daughter's mother and I were never married. We never even liked each other. We were a 2 month fling that ended with a beautiful little girl. For about a year we tried to make it work, but the only feeling for her that I could manage was gratitude for giving birth to my child. Since she had originally wanted an abortion, I was very grateful that she let me change her mind. She was awarded custody when we appeared in court,I had regular visitation, and she was even amiable enough to work with me outside that regular schedule. Again, thanks. For years, she has done a wonderful job raising our child, and I have always been a part of her life,her raising, her discipline, her schooling, etc.

Up until she was about 12 years old, my daughter and I were best buddies. Now, I know she's a teenage girl and that "hormones" are causing my little angel to sprout horns. She's 15 now and occassionally she'll call just to chat, but on our weekends, she always has something better to do with her friends. I try to "put my foot down" but her mom refuses to back me up more often than not. Now, when it seems more important than ever, I'm finding that her mother is unwilling to cooperate. My daughter regularly hangs up on me, won't answer the phone when I call, is more unreliable now than she was at age 5, and has developed a smart mouth that she turns on me without consequence. How do you get past all this? How do you change it? I've talked to her mother and she refuses to back me up when I say she should be grounded, or punished in some way, for the way she talks to me on the phone or for the half-truths she feeds me about her life. She just laughs it off, or adds some mouthy comment of her own. I've explained the need for us to be united, especially right now, but it does me no good at all.

Now, I'm afraid that this woman is raising my daughter to be the same irresponsible, unreliable, smart-mouthed, woman that she is. My daughter has no concept of consequences, or how to be on time for an appointment, or how to show appreciation, and especially not how to talk to her father. I try to get her to think about what she's doing and where she's going. I try to talk to her on the phone about it, but of couse, if what I have to say is in opposition to what she wants to believe, then I just get hung up on. What can I do? I don't know what else to try. I don't want to spend the few hours that I get with her arguing or punishing her. I can't help but feel like this would all be so very different if we lived in the same house.

Try to enjoy the time you have with your daughter. Spend as much time with her as possible so you have the opportunity to teach her your values by example. It is unrealistic to expect your ex to punish your daughter for how your daughter treats you. From your description of your ex, it is highly unlikely "this would all be so very different" if you lived in the same house with your daughter. Don't waste your time on "if". Get counseling for yourself to help you cope with your situation.

It's 35 degrees where I live today. I picked my daughter up from an outdoor school function today, and she had been outside in that weather for hours, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, and no jacket. I told her to be more responsible than that, put on clothes that are appropriate so that you don't get sick. Then she told me to, "SHUT THE F*** UP!!" I know I'm not the first parent to hear those shocking words come out of their child's mouth. What do you do when you're in my shoes?