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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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My normally close 14yr old daughter and 12yr old son are visiting their dad (were d

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My normally close 14yr old daughter and 12yr old son are visiting their dad (we're divorced#. My daughter and I have become very distant...I've tried asking if anything is wrong but she acts somewhat indifferent and presses me not to make ruffles #as her dad can be mean and controlling.# XXXXX previously made them stay in the same room while we talk but yesterday stated they need to put the call on speakerphone as well. #My son texted me when he told them that and asked me not to say anything about it. He has remained close to me.) My question is: Do I try to find out why my daughter has changed or do I do what they asked and not make an issue of anything? I'm wrecked with anxiety but want to keep things as smooth as possible for them.
Thank you for any advice.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


It sounds like there is something going on in your ex's home while the kids are there that is making the kids uncomfortable. And your daughter might be being told things about you or the situation between you and your ex that make her feel upset.


Does your ex have a history of abuse, either physically, emotionally or both? If he is mean and controlling, then he is most likely being this way to the kids. Your daughter may not be able to tell you and fears the repercussions if she does. So she distances herself. Your son may either not have the same threats against him or he does not feel the same pressure his sister does.


You should pursue whatever is going on. Can you visit with the kids and take them out? If so, you should. In order to help your daughter talk to you, you should set up a way to reassure her she is safe. Or she could write you a letter about how she feels and send it. The idea is to find some way for her to communicate with you that she feels safe and open to.


If you feel there might be something going on with your ex being abusive, contact your attorney about your concerns. Your attorney may not have any recourse now without proof, but you could find out what your options are and how you can handle this situation legally.


Let me know if I can help any further,



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