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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience:  Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist
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Customer Question

Divorced mom, kids 10 and 14 i have custody. My 14 yr teenage daughter wants to move to dad and start highschool in another town where daf will move (close by). She says she is not happy with me, that i always have to be right,that i am "crazy", that she is happier w dad. She is very closed, always have been. We have had a good relationship before, now it is terrible. She disrespects me, does not speak with me, ever, unless she needs somthing or wants someyhing. She us aggressive towards me and acts like she hates me. I want to become close to her but she locks me completely out and dont know how to reach her. Dad us her hero, and he completely undermines my authority as a parent. For ex, i took her ipod away as she was rude and disrespectful and continued after i warned her. Next day she comes home from dad, saying i have NO right to take away her ipod bec dad said so. Dad, i feel, nurtures conflict between her and i as that makes him the hero and he feels loved. My daughter shares nothing with me. I invite her friends over, i drive her everywhere, i am always there for her but whatever i do does not change her view of me as someone to get away from. I have a great rekationship with her brother.
For many reasons i wont get into here, i cannot give up my custody to dad. But the two of them has planned this out together and dad left it to my daughter to tell me instead of telling her that mom and dad have to discuss this. He wants custody and not to pay support and needs that to buy a house. There are other financial benefits for him to get custody. He says she is 14 so she has right to decide. I cannot give her up. I can give more visitation and have always been very supportive and flexible in kids seeing dad. But i cant let her go there, not even to try, because if i do i will loose financial support that i neec and i cant get that back and i do not think that it will be good for her to move w dad. She gets top grades, has close friends in neighborhood, a network. All that she will loose if moving w dad. But now she treats me like i am a horrible person that she cant wait to get away from. I want so much to be close to her, support her, be there for her, but dont know how. And now i need to tell her that i cant allow her to move w dad and that will aleniate her from me even more. And, we may end up in court. I am very distraught and do not know how to approach this
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I am sorry that this your daughter has turned against you and is - and has - made life quite miserable for all involved.

Dr. L :

First of all, I would go back to the attorney you used during the divorce and custody to see what your rights are here and if she has any ability to chose where she lives. This is critical so that you do not end up in a battle that you can't win.

Dr. L :

Hello,

Dr. L :

I am so sorry that your daughter is acting so disrespectful and hurtful to you. It certainly sounds like she and your ex-husband have a goal in mind and that they are working very hard to reach that goal.

Dr. L :

My first advice is to go back to the attorney that worked with you during the divorce and custody to see what your legal rights are here. Does she have the right at this point to change custody arrangements? That is for your attorney to respond to. By knowing what she can and cannot do, you will know what options you have.

Dr. L :

Your daughter has pulled away from you as a way to punish you and to make you so disgusted with her that you will be glad to push her out of the house. This is where tough love comes in.

Dr. L :

I would ignore all the negativity she directs at you...I'm not saying this will be easy....but you must stand firm. She is 14 years old....do you remember how you acted and talked when you were 14? This is a very rough time in the lives of most teens. The pressures from friends are enormous and one's emotional life is all over the map. So...my point here is that she is unable to understand the long -term consequences of what a custody change will be. You already know this as you realize that she would lose friends, etc. Obviously she is not capable of thinking this through to the degree that you - as an adult - can.

Dr. L :

I know it is terribly hard to withstand the disrespect, the negativity, the ugliness...but what you want to model here is that you LOVE her...you don't love her behaviors...but you LOVE her. Do you understand my point here?

Dr. L :

So what you can say is:

Dr. L :

I love you...the person that you are...I don't like your disrespect and your attempts to hurt me...but that is not going to change how I feel inside about you. I know that you are trying to punish me and that you are trying to pressure me into letting you live with your dad. I am willing to listen to how you feel about that, but I will make the decision I feel is best for our family.

Dr. L :

When she talks disrespectful or acts aggressively...then you walk away! You can say:

Dr. L :

I am not willing to listen to your respect. I am leaving the conversation now and when or if I want to take up this subject again, I will let you know. (This takes the power back).

Dr. L :

Same with if she is treating you aggressively...walk away!! Keep YOUR power.

Dr. L :

You know darn well she is trying to push your buttons, trying to get you to hate her, trying to be as miserable as possible so that you cave. But - as you said - you won't cave.

Dr. L :

I see that you are offline. When you come online I will be notified.

Dr. L :

Thank you.

JACUSTOMER-nvdk0a07- : Hi thank you. I have an account problem, somehown
JACUSTOMER-nvdk0a07- : Thank you
JACUSTOMER-nvdk0a07- : Thank you. It appears that i have an account problem, could fike this question but cant log in. I also tried to de
JACUSTOMER-nvdk0a07- : Thank you. It appears that i have an account problem. I could fike my query but cant log in. I tried to do the one month trial and paidv23 but a pop up said there was already a user with that id-which is me.bi contacted the website and they cant find that i have paid, nor that i had logged a question, so i have no idea whats going on. They are working on it. I will be back
Dr. L :

Hello...I'm sorry that you are having a problem with your account. I will wait for you.

Customer:

thank you very much. I got the log in problem resolved. It seems that the court does take into account my child's wishes but that is not a determining factor. However, currently she won't speak with me at all. She won't tell me why she wants to move, she basically just shuts me out completely. She has decided and that is the only thing that is in her mind. She will live with dad. I think she has sort of a 'romantic' picture of this, she and dad living together in a nice house - he treats her and calls her his princess, and they will live together in full harmony. She adores him and is heavily influenced by him. I have always been very flexible with visitiation and have encouraged contact. I do not understand why suddenly I am the huge enemy. I have done everything for my kids. In any case, it is a financial issue for my ex. If she moves with him he gains financially and this he has told me straight out. My daughter looses a scholarship that would carry her through bachelors degree if she moves, as the scholarship is given to me, as long as she lives with me. She is willing to forego this, as long as she can live with dad. Dad supports this, saying that she can get a student loan. I can;t believe he can agree to forego this, it was a huge deal to have that scholarship and of course she doesnt care about it because she is too young to understand. Her dad says it doesnt matter, the monies. THat will not be the case when she is due for college.

Customer:

I want to ask you - my ex is now taking the case to court. My child will not speak with me so I do not even know what reasons she have not wanting to live with me and her brother anymore. I have told her what you advised me, I am here for her, whenever she wants to speak etc. She basically just tells me to get out of her room and she wont say anything.

Customer:

I am getting upset about this. So my question to you is, should I give her the silent treatment? I am tired of being the nice one, asking how is school, etc etc, taking care of her, drivng, shopping, cooking what she likes, I am tired, as I only get negativity back.I am tempted to give her the silent treatment, simply ignore her. She clearly does not want to have anytingto do with me, so why should I be running after her? Should I just ignore her?

Dr. L :

Hello...

Customer:

hello

Dr. L :

Your daughter is doing everything she can to manipulate you. And...you are tiring of the chase. Very understandable. And on top of it all...she has her dad wrapped around her fingers and he has his own reasons for treating her like a princess.

Dr. L :

I think it is going to be very hard for you to win this battle. I can hardly imagine why a father would want to have his child throw away a college scholarship!!! That is baffling. Does your lawyer advise that you bring that up in court?

Customer:

well I dont have a lawyer yet. I did consult with one but each time you do its $350 for the hour and I just don't have the monies. If I am getting served I will need to engage a lawyer. I have though received two responses from this site, both say that the issue of the scholarship is very important as this is really in her interest.

Dr. L :

As to the silent treatment...you have been loving and consistent with her...and it seems you have gotten no where. Ignoring her would seem appropriate - if it does not result in hostility or negativity. That is...go with the flow here...if she asks you for something...then treat her respectfully. But if she doesn't want you in her room...then don't go in there. Be the "nice mom" as much as you can...but don't go out of your way at this point.

Dr. L :

Can you get legal aide to help you?

Dr. L :

Yes then about the scholarship....get those figures put into a chart so that the court can see the full impact of that decision. Make copies of the official documents from the school. Your ex might look like bad for jeopardizing those monies.

Dr. L :

Especially if he does not have the monies to pay for her schooling. This might end up being in your favor. Anything you have that shows he is jeopardizing her future would be good. You might look at comparisons between the school she attends now and the school he will put her in. If there are big differences in academic achievement scores that might also benefit you.

Dr. L :

If there is a school counselor who can verify that a move might negatively impact her academics or social relationships that might help as well.

Dr. L :

It would seem that you need to build a case. I don't know if the burden of proof will be on him or you...that you will have to find out.

Customer:

Thank you. Ignoring her may confirm to her that her decision to go to dad is the right one. But I did not speak with her tonight over dinner and she actually said thank you for the food as opposed to just walk away. No he does not have monehy for her school, he says she can get a loan or scholarship. But the grant I have is a grant paid to me as long as my daughter lives with me. She doesnt even have to earn it, it is given automatically. And he is willing to throw that away because if she moves with him, his salary increases and he doesnt have to pay me child support. he says that the scholarship she does not use at the moment so whats the big deal. She doesnt because she is in public school but will use it when she enters college and university.

Dr. L :

Yes...that ignoring may back fire on you...that's why I suggested that you use it carefully and not in every situation. How interesting that she said Thank You! Hmmm..

Dr. L :

Yes...her dad is being very selfish here and hopefully the courts will see that he is not thinking about her future. The value of that scholarship could range from $80,000 for a state school to $160,000+ at a private school. The courts will look at this seriously.

Dr. L :

Let him continue to look at this foolishly...no one else will take that attitude!

Customer:

thank you very much for your kind advises, much appreciated. I am just so tired now and I dont understand why she suddenly seems to hate me and she is willing to forego the grant and all as long as she gets to live with him. I am offering him and her to see each other as much as they want, and that has been the case to date, but he doesnt want that, as he wants custody so that he does not have to pay support. Thank you again> I really appreciate your time. I will close now

Customer:

But the rating thing says I cant rate you because you have not finished answering.

Dr. L :

I will unlock the rating for you.

Dr. L :

It really is difficult with him having money on his mind and she being too naive to see the truth. She is way too young to be making this decision and she has no ability to think into the future to see how this will all turn out. How truly sad.

Dr. L :

Hopefully the courts will be smart enough to see through his story and understand that this is about money plain and simple. Still...if you win you are going to have one rebellious kid on your hands.

Dr. L :

Is there any teacher or counselor that could help you by sitting down with her and helping her to see reality? At this juncture...she is not going to listen to you. Does she have an aunt or uncle, grandpa or grandma who she trusts? It might be good to think about the network you have surrounding the family to see if there is anyone who can put a crack in her thinking.

Dr. L :

I wish you the very best. If you would like to chat in the future, please just ask for me by name and I will be notified.

Dr. L :

Take care!

Customer:

yes it is. I only want her the best. I have always supported her seeing her dad. Yes, I know, if I win she will hate me. But I would hope that she will see it differently later on. I will think about talking to a teacher that is a really good idea. Family too but my worry is that she will run to dad with everything whoever tells her so I am worried that will be used against me in court, that I sort of did not keep it between him and I. Thank you very much for your kind responses. Good night

Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 1165
Experience: Licensed as psychologist and marriage and family therapist
Dr. L and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello again i have an additional question. If i go to counselling/family theraphy together with my daughter to try to achieve a better communication between us, could what transpire during such sessions be shared in court? Could my ex use it saying that "even they tried counselling and it didnt help, daughter still wants to move with dad, and then the judge would take that into account and rule against me maintaining custody? Secondly, in your experience, does it generally help to go to counselling/family theraphy in respect to teenagedaughter/mother relationship? Thank you
Expert:  Dr. L replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
Yes..that is the risk of going to therapy. However, it can also be a positive...meaning that you care so much about your daughter and want to have an improved relationship with her so badly that you were willing to go to therapy. The best judge of this is really going to be an attorney. They will be able to help you think through the risk.

Did you have a custody study when you first divorced? I'm wondering if the results of that custody study might be brought forward in this instance or if a new one might be ordered. Again...your attorney ought to be able to advise you about this.

To your 2nd question. Yes....mothers and daughters going to therapy can be extremely beneficial. These relationships are a strain for most moms/daughters...and so therapy is a good avenue to take. No matter what happens with the custody...you want a healthy relationship with her. And therapy is probably the best way to accomplish that.

There is a book I would like to suggest:
Raising Strong Daughters. by Jeanette Gadeberg

Also see this link:
http://www.today.com/id/35201685/site/todayshow/ns/today-books/t/improving-mother-daughter-relationship/#.URnOwGdi2TU

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