Suggestions to 12 year old daughter emotions regarding divorce

Tina - posted on 09/17/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My 12 year old daughter blames me for her father's and I divorce. It was unexpected and over quickly. Briefly we were married 13 years, seperated in Feb 2013, divorce was final June 2013 and we share her 50/50 which is what she wanted also. She was there for the past 3-4 of emotional, verbal and mental abusive I dealt with from her alcoholic father. Now he is not allowed to drink when he has his time with her (her response to that is "daddy will not be happy now"), he is not allowed to have his soon to be new wife over night when he has her unless they are married. He has moved in with her on the opposites that he doesn't have our daughter and then he stays at his place when he does have her except on the weekend. My daughter finally opened to me and said she blames for leaving...her father does not wrong in her eyes, her words "its like he walks on water" she wanted to stay him when we first separted bc she didn't want him to be alone and sad bc nobody loves daddy...now that he has a g/f...she says she is fine with it and likes her but when she comes to my place the week, she totally disrespects me, is rude and has a major attitude. She does not know that he had this g/f long before we split up, or that he was physical abusive also, I don't feel she needs to know that. She will get mad and say "I had no say in the divorce", or "You not the one going off and getting married" so I thought this is whast wrong, she is in fear of losing him, so I talked to him about it and he talked to her and she will only tell him "as long as you are happy daddy" I don't know what to do but she tells me different. Now all's she wants to do is sit in her room and do nothing but watch TV. Over the summer we went bike riding all the time or to the park almost 3-4 times a week just to be outside and now she won't even come out of her room to watch TV in the living room. So I told she is not going to sit in her room all the time and no matter what kind of attitude she gives me I make her go bike riding and walking, or help with dishes or something to get her out of the room but her attitude towards me seems to be getting worse. Any suggestions?? She is seeing the couselor at school.

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Enna - posted on 09/19/2013

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I think the thing that you need to be clear with her about is that she has absolutely nothing to do with your relationship with her father. I'm not saying she thinks this is her fault, though I guess she could. I think she sees herself as an active participant in your relationship with him. She has nothing to do with your relationship. She has a relationship with you and she has one with her dad. Whatever happened between the two of you really isn't any of her business. You obviously have given her reasons why you got divorced and that should be enough. You don't have to tell her the other stuff if you don't want to. It's obvious that her dad isn't too unhappy about all this if he's getting ready to get remarried. I think it will help her if she understands that you guys weren't married to her. :)
Also, you can take the TV out of her room. She could find something else to do in there, like read, but it will give her one less reason to be in there. Unfortunately, your daughter is getting to be "that age" where it's difficult to deal with them. I always just tried to remain constant. Keep doing your normal thing. Keep asking her to go ride bikes with you, keep asking her about school, and how she's feeling. Everything that you normally do. Try not to take what she's saying and doing too personally. But if she is being disrespectful, etc. then put a stop to it as soon as you can. Otherwise it's just going to get worse.She's just got a lot of emotions going on, and you may not be the person she wants to talk to about them. However, always make sure she knows that you will always be there if she is ready to talk to you. If she's seeing a counselor, then just try your best. She needs some time to adjust. And to grow up a little bit :)

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Tina - posted on 09/19/2013

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Thank you! I appreciate you answering me and giving me suggestions...I just feel like I am disconnecting from her and its very different than it was when we were together as a family. I have actually at one point had to tell her that my and her dad's marriage and divorce was non of her business, that we both love her very much. She is confused about him getting remarried again, I have to keep telling her that she can talk to me about it but for answers she needs to ask her father but her outlook on that, she is afraid to hurt his feeling even though I know the answers that he told me "he will not be alone" If I wouldn't have left we would still be together. I don't know if she feels threatened like he is going to leave her...she did state one time that daddy is never happy except when he is playing with my son's dog or when he is around the new g/f but when its just him and her he doesn't smile or laugh or do anything with her but for her to tell him that, she would rather shave her head and eyebrows that for him to know she said that. Her dad and I having different rules in bothering her also, I am more structured and discipline to where he is a little bit but doesn't follow up. I talked to the school counselor today, so we are going to start there.

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