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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 16 year old grand daughter does not want to attend her fathers

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My 16 year old grand daughter does not want to attend her father's wedding . Her parents have been divorced only 8 months. Should she be forced to attend his wedding? Primary custody is with her mother and she does see her father every other weekend.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your granddaughter still has unresolved feelings about her parents separation, which is completely normal. The fact that her father is getting married so soon after the divorce may be ok for him (since he may have been emotionally prepared to leave the marriage way before the actual divorce), but your granddaughter has not had enough time to heal from the pain of her parents separating.

Because she needs more time, forcing her to attend a wedding that may bring up those feelings and cause her a lot of pain is unwise. She may feel she has no ties to her father's new bride and may even feel resentful or angry. Also, her father's marriage may make her feel like he is creating a new family and she is being replaced. She is of an age where she is capable of understanding what she feels and her opinion should be considered.

It would be fine to let her tell her father that she does not want to attend. Whatever his reaction, your granddaughter should not feel bad for not going. And her mother or another adult should be there so your granddaughter is not hurt by anything her father would say to her. Additionally, her father's partner should not be included in the discussion. This is a situation that should be handled with minimal family involved and no one who is not part of the family.

Here are some resources that may help:

Putting Children First: Proven Parenting Strategies for Helping Children Thrive Through Divorce by JoAnne L. Pedro-Carroll

A Smart Girl's Guide to Her Parents' Divorce: How to Land on Your Feet When Your World Turns Upside Down (American Girl) by Nancy Holyoke and Scott Nash

I hope this has helped you,
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