I need real advise on dealing with teenage daughter and her father

Jenni - posted on 12/09/2013 ( 18 moms have responded )

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my ex husband whom I have joint legal custody with for our daughter who lives with him is not taking my feelings into consideration for a trip. my daughter is 13 failing her classes at school and has been suicidal and cutting herself within the last month. I feel she should stick close to home study and wait for winter vacation but her dad is going to go ahead and send her on this trip without my consent. She and I will be missing our visitation time. She is been given a trip to Disneyland to go with her aunt and grandma. I have offered to go t
Along and have been told no. I have told the aunt in writing that she does not have my permission to take her. What to do if she does still take her and unfortunately her dad told her of the trip before we discussed it so now I'm the real bad guy in having to throw logic in. some advice here please.

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Jodi - posted on 12/10/2013

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Ah, okay, so you do not have primary custody, her father does. I'll be honest, this whole thing just sounds like YOU have your nose out of joint because you will miss your visitation and you didn't give permission. And that isn't fair to your daughter. Her mental health is of HUGE concern, even if she IS doing these things for attention. Punishing her by telling her she can't go because her education is more important is not the act of something thinking of their child's best interests. I understand the importance of academics, I truly do, but she needs to get better before this is going to be a realistic goal. A couple of weeks now may make a HUGE difference to her healing process when she returns. Do you really think by saying no and making her delay the trip, you are going to improve the mother daughter connection? Think about that.

LalaBoom - posted on 12/09/2013

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The counselor said a vacation is a good idea for her, but the dean says she can't miss another school day/assignment? Forget the dean. You daughter's well-being is whats important.

Get the counselor to write a letter to the dean explaining your daughter's situation and why she needs the break. This will "cover" your daughter academically while she gets some rest until she can get back.

Jodi - posted on 12/09/2013

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Is your daughter receiving counselling, and what does her therapist say about this? Sometimes, health and wellbeing are more important than school - she can always go back and repeat school if necessary. Not that I am condoning failing school, but at this point, you need to be more concerned with getting to the bottom of the suicidal thoughts and cutting that pushing her about her grades. So while I see your side of it, maybe this trip is about her mental health? You haven't mentioned much about the trip itself, but I think this is something to consider. Have a chat to her therapist about the trip and see what the therapist thinks.

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LalaBoom - posted on 12/11/2013

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So basically you're mad that you will miss visitation time with your babygirl even though going on this trip is for her well-being and even the counselor approved it; and also you're seething a bit because of the fact that she's going to Disney... THE Disney world.... not with you.... and you are not a part in the tiniest bit of this big trip...

Okay, we get it..... It's a hard pill to swallow, no one here judges your feelings, but you need to readjust your priorities. Your daughter is #1, not your feelings.

Good luck with everything!

Jenni - posted on 12/10/2013

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the trip was planned just over Thanksgiving then last week I was told she was going this Wednesday thru Saturday. I do have joint custody my visitation is every other weekend this weekend that they're going to be gone at Disneyland is to be my visitation which would put my visitation for weeks out. I found text messages and pictures on her phone of stories that she was telling to take your friends with in her peer group. all of which were made up and the pictures were of other people that she was saying was her cutting themselves. for counseling that just started a month ago in counseling just one month counseling started. counselor said it was a good idea for the trip not necessarily that it should be right now. I am NOT trying to stop this trip just delay it for a bit and her and I can have an opportunity and she can have time off of school which is coming right up within a week

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 12/10/2013

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Honestly, you're not making much sense.

You have joint custody. Why have you not had contact with her?

You say that the "timing" is wrong, that " I feel that another time to plan this trip without her parents supervision would be better", so what does that mean? YOu don't object to the lack of parental supervision, but she chose the wrong time to want to do it? She probably didn't have a choice in the timing of it, if it is her Grandmother and Auntie planning it...

What are your court orders for physical custody, and the guidelines around that?

I'm sorry. I know that you think you're doing the best for your daughter, but I see a lot of excuses about why she shouldn't go, most that seem sketchy to me, based on hurt feelings.

You say she's got problems, that she cuts, is suicidal. Then you turn it around and say she lies about the cutting, basing her stories on a friend. You say she's manipulative, that she's making it up for attention.

You say you have joint custody, but that you haven't been able to see her. Her counselor recommends time away, but you don't agree.

Jenni - posted on 12/10/2013

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The grandma and aunt are not the issue other than the fact that they also are not taking my concerns and the fact that I have said no. If I was in their shoes I would butt out a bit until the parents have a better hold on the situation. She is out for winter break literally in 1 week where she will be out of school for over 2 weeks seems like better timing. I also have not had any visits with her since the counselor ing and her last cutting. I feel it's important that her and I have some time together to discus and hold hug and connect a little mom and daughter time.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 12/10/2013

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Why do you not feel that her grandmother and her Aunt will not be sufficient supervision? She is, after all, 13, not 2. Honestly, were I grandma, and you my son's ex, I wouldn't be pleased that you "suggested" going along to supervise...just my personal opinion.

So now you go back to your court orders. You have joint legal. What does the document say about extended trips, trips away from the state, etc? Does it indicate that both parents must be in total agreement? If so, pull it out and use it to cancel this trip. (that your daughter, by the way, has already planned for...)

In other words, yes, be the bad guy. If you truly feel that the child's Grandmother and Aunt cannot adequately meet her needs, if you feel that they are incapable of adequate supervision of a 13 yo, if you feel that the therapists recommendations of getting her away for her health are off base, if you feel that her being in school is more important than her mental health, then by all means go for it.

If you can honestly say that you're doing it in HER best interest, that is. The whole point of the trip is for HER health, right?

Jenni - posted on 12/10/2013

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more so it's about my rights also it's being a parent and being able to share my concerns and then be validated at some point she has been making up lies she has manipulated people and the situation I feel that another time to plan this trip without her parents supervision would be better. she has been lying about the cutting basing her stories on another girlfriend's real scenario. Basically she's been making a lot of it up for attention. Which she gets but it's not the right kind of attention. She needs tools to know how to deal with situations and expressing herself openly. Based on dealing with her father on voicing my feelings which I have a legal and moral rights to, I can feel her frustration in not being hear and feelings considered. I only offered to join the trip to give supervision to my child. Trying to offer options

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 12/09/2013

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In the grand scheme of things though how important is that?

Is your daughter's mental health more important, or the feelings that you were left out of the planning?

I don't mean to be harsh, but seriously, it's your daughter's health we're talking about. If her counselor has recommended a trip, and her father is getting that taken care of...seems that you'd both be on the same page when her health is concerned.

My concern is that her health will become of minimum concern because you and her father are arguing about what's best for her.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 12/09/2013

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If the counselor recommends the trip, and she's suicidal, I would say the counselor's word trumps all.

I have to ask, are you upset because your ex agreed to the trip, or are you upset because you tried to invite yourself along and got shut down?

Jodi - posted on 12/09/2013

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I understand mental health issues in students, but the fact that she is so far behind is probably compounding the problem. The school needs to be more sympathetic about this and give her some level of consideration. I am a teacher in a high school that is very relational and have a number of students with the same issues, and sometimes, the kids who are having very serious mental health issues are incredibly bright - but they can't cope with the amount of pressure being put on them. Sometimes, it is better to give them some consideration, attend to their mental health and THEN focus on the academics. Most of them turn out just fine. They have one year of bad grades.....it isn't going to affect their long term future if it is managed appropriately. They can always redo the academics - you can't get your life back.

Margo - posted on 12/09/2013

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i agree school is NOT the most important thing at this point
who willsupervise her?

Jenni - posted on 12/09/2013

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She has been evaluated and going to council for 3 weeks . Council said a vacation is good in these instances which I agree my point is time loss at school her Dean said she should not miss any school she's12 assignments behind and pretty much failing all classes ,and get being supervised by her parents while in the care off someone else

LalaBoom - posted on 12/09/2013

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Your daughter has been suicidal and self-harming for the last month.

During your visitation time take her to a counselor, get it verified, then head to court for an emergency hearing. Bring your paperwork and there should be no problem with the judge granting an order blocking the trip.

As a rule of thumb: You don't get a say on anything he does during his visitation time UNLESS it poses a threat to the child.

I'd say this poses a threat to your suicidal child.

Does the father know she is suicidal and cutting herself? If he doesn't know, then I can see why he's allowing the trip to proceed.

Margo - posted on 12/09/2013

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send her alone?
hospitalize her!
a short hospitalization will be less harmful than setting her loose

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