Hello and Thank you for using the services of Just Answer. I am sorry to hear about the problems that you are having with your daughters. How old are they? Why do they want to live with their dad? Have they ever had any counseling? Thank you.
Thank you for responding. There are several issues going on here. First of all, it is the rebellious behavior of your daughters. They are in the thick of their teen age years and are constantly in a power struggle with you as they are trying to assert their independence. They did not just one day wake up and act rebellious. It was probably a gradual process that has overtaken your authoritative role as a parent. They may have always held onto negative feelings toward you about the split from their dad. If you were married and actually went through a divorce, it was understandably hard on everyone despite the reason for the divorce. Little girls need their fathers. They have matured without their dad and have come to the realization that they have missed out on that relationship.
However, the other issue is that they want to run away to be with their dad. First of all, street life is romanticized by television and movies. Your girls think that running away will give them power of not having to listen to anyone and doing whatever they please. But the streets are very dangerous and filled with cruel and predatory individuals that are just waiting to snatch up young girls. They would probably end up living on the streets or even become involved as a human trafficking slave and would never make it to their dad's house.
If you are open to the idea of the girls getting to know their dad and he is as well, start scheduling visits during school breaks. However depending upon what state you live in, when children reach a certain age, usually around 13, they can decide what parent they would like to live with. If your girls ever brought this issue up, then you would need to seek legal advice.
If you keep telling your daughters not to run away, you will push them to actually do it if they have the willingness to leave. They have opportunities every day to run away. That is the scariest part. There is really nothing you can do to physically stop them. However, unless they are just completely out of control, you can guide them back on the right path. Let them know that you love them and you always will love them even when you all disagree.
You will need to try to break through to them and get them to tell you what is so bad about their home life with you. If they will not talk to you, then you need to seek family therapy from a neutral source. Ask your daughter's pediatrician for a referral for a psychologist or counselor that can provide you all with the necessary means to reconnect with each other. Your daughters need to learn effective problem solving strategies instead of continuing to run away from problems that everyone endures. You also need to gain intervention and coping techniques in dealing with your daughters.
Hope this helps.