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Ryan LCSW, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 872
Experience:  Master degree and Licensed Social Worker.
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I recently had an argument with my 13 year old daughter. She

Customer Question

I recently had an argument with my 13 year old daughter. She refused to go to bed even though it was 11 pm. I am divorced. She rang her dad because she was upset and he came over to talk to her. I explained to him that there was no need for him to come over and that she was just manipulating the situation and he was making things worse for me. He said that every time she rings and is upset he will come over. I feel so helpless. what do you think?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 5 years ago.
Hey there,

It sounds like her father may have good intentions and that he wants to be there for his daughter, however, in this case you are correct that she is likely manipulating the situation. If your daughter now knows that he will come running every time she is upset, it is highly likely she will continue to use this to manipulate situations, which greatly undermined your authority as her parent.

In order to resolve this, some type of agreement has to be reached with her father so that you are on the same team as parents, and so that she cannot put the two of you against each other. If you and her father can both agree on some ground rules for her together such as bedtime etc, and when these issues come up, even if she calls her dad, he should reinforce the rules that you have already discussed together.

In some ways it is great for her to know that her father is there for her if she is ever upset. If this was about a personal issue, or a problem at school, it would be completely appropriate to call her dad for help if she felt like she could talk to him about it. However, especially with basic household rules, there has to be some agreement allowing you to be the authority figure in your own home, and her father should respect that and be encouraging her to listen and respect what you are asking of her.

I'm sure this has been difficult but I certainly wish you the best. If there's anything else I can do to help just let me know.

Ryan LCSW and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
If he comes over again when she is upset, what do I do? i do not want to cause a seen.
Expert:  Ryan LCSW replied 5 years ago.
It may help to talk to him about it ahead of time so that he either doesn't come over in the first place or at least it doesn't cause a scene. I agree that you don't want to have a confrontation with him in front of her, however it's important for him to see how she can be manipulating him by doing this. If he does insist on coming over, he should still be supporting the rules that you have set in place for your daughter and encouraging her to respect you.