what to do when 11 yr old daughter contacts bio dad after no contact for two years?

Michelle - posted on 04/06/2011 ( 7 moms have responded )

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My 11 yr old daughter contacted her bio dad after they had no communication in over 2 years. He filled her full of lies and turned her against the only man she has ever called DAD. now their relationship that use to be rock solid is barely there. I know she wants to know where she came from and wants to know him, but she doesn't know the bad side of him, and I refuse to let her be in a bad situation. how do i help her through this part of life?

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In part, you may have to let her go through this and hope that her "real dad" has the inner strength and patience to let her get through it and still be always present no matter how bad it gets. The bio dad, if he is as bad as you suggest, will let her down again.... it will happen and you may have to figure out a way to make it happen (if possible - I'll explain that more in the end). But what I mean is that the man she knows as dad has to be REALLY strong and REALLY resilient because your 11 year old is going through one of the toughest things for a girl that age, or any girl, to go through and all the anger and pain will be taken out on the man that has been there, that has been stable and loving and been her dad because she can't yet take it out on her bio dad. she needs to work through a lot of stuff. perhaps a great idea would be to have your husband/boyfriend/her "real dad" go to talk to someone about how to stay present and available and loving and in her life without being affected negatively by all that she is going through. does that make sense? It is TOTALLY normal for her to take her anger and frustration and pain out on the people who she knows are NOT going anywhere. and she needs to get it out but you also can't expect her to just take your word for it on her dad plus ultimately it doesn't matter because she will eventually have to come to terms with the fact that her dad is not trustworthy or safe for her but he's still her dad so she'll have to figure out how much of herself to give him. and she'll figure it out. you just have to keep her safe and give her a safe place to be angry and sad and broken by it all. MOST LIKELY her subconscious mind doesn't believe the lies he is telling her because she knows you and your husband but her conscious mind drives her behavior - her unconscious is angry and sad and in pain and her conscious mind has to have a way to take all that out. make sense? as a professional psychologist i just want to tell you that this will get better and unless there's something huge that you're leaving out then i really believe that. it might take a little while but you guys just have to be really patient with her. get her help working on this stuff if you need to.
You also may need to force her bio dad's hand on this. make him fail by letting her invite him into things that you know he can't measure up to. of course only do what is safe for your daughter but sometimes the best thing may be forcing him to fail her OR he may surprise you and follow through and eventually get better. clearly for the most part the deadbeat dads usually just keep failing. either way it's a win win. you might want to try to get him into mediation with your daughter and you and her real dad and him. a skilled mediator could really help get the "truth" out there.
hope something helps in this response and hope things get better sooner rather than later.

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Michelle - posted on 04/06/2011

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we have 50/50 custody. and legal aide can't help my get full since he isnt trying to take them at all

Jodi - posted on 04/06/2011

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Oh, and are there any court orders in place in relation to custody at all?

Jodi - posted on 04/06/2011

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Okay, well, that is a bad side, I'd be concerned too. Is he still using and selling drugs? Who made the initial contact, your daughter, or her dad? Is she only communicating by phone/internet, or is there actual physical visitation?

Michelle - posted on 04/06/2011

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the bad side is mainly use and selling of drugs, he is always under the influence of something illegal. When we were married he was abusive to me and neglectful of both our girls. when i left he wanted to sign away all rights to them but refused to pay for it. so he just stays away. Or use too.

Jodi - posted on 04/06/2011

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What is the bad side of him (other than the fact that he is obviously a flaky and unreliable father, given the lack of contact)? Are they things that will bring her to harm? Or are they things that, over time, she will figure out for herself? With some things, it is better to allow your kids the space to figure these things out for themselves. if you put yourself in the middle, and in any way try to stop or restrict her relationship with her dad, she will resent you for it. But as I said, you haven't said what the "bad side" is, so it is hard to know how I would handle it.

With regard to the relationship with her step-father, I would suggest you all take time to have some fun family days out, and that step-dad makes sure he makes an effort to be involved in her life, such as taking an interest in school, helping with homework, maybe inviting her to help him cook a meal to treat you, etc. Whatever it is that works for your family.

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