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hintonrae, Teacher and Youth Mentor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 513
Experience:  Mother of Three (Teen, Middle School, and Toddler), High school Teacher, Youth Mentor, Tutor, Writer, Family Blogger, MAEd
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My daughter is very sensitive right now to my situation with

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My daughter is very sensitive right now to my situation with her father. My ex is trying to get primary custody of her so she can live and go to school in Maryland. I am currently with her in Nevada. She wants to live with her father in Maryland but I do not believe that is in her best interest. She doesn't agree. She is 11 years old. She is becoming increasingly disagreeable with anything I say to her. I am trying hard not to yell but she really does no how to push my buttons. Please help me. Is there anything I can do or say to help her understand that I'm only fighting for her best interest?
Hello and Thank You for consulting Just Answer. I am sorry to hear about the difficulties that you are having with your daughter. There are several concerning issues. First of all, I am wondering if you currently have primary custody? If you do, why does your ex want primary custody now?. Could it possibly be more of a control issue? Also, another issue is why does your daughter REALLY want to be with her dad? Has she been happy living with you? If you and your daughter have always had a great relationship and now she has changed, something or someone may be influencing her to turn against you. I am also wondering if your daughter thinks she may be able to get away with more seemingly inappropriate behavior especially if her dad is not an effective disciplinarian.

Nonetheless, you have stated that you want to do what is in the best interest of your daughter. Make sure that you are putting your daughter's needs first and not your own feelings. As the mother though, it is only natural to want our children to be close to us physically and emotionally.

But your daughter is in the preteen years and may be easily influenced by how disrespectful her friends may be toward their parents and even how preteens negatively act on television.

If your issues are going to be resolved on court, there is not really much you can do but just go with what the judge decides. If possible and if you and your ex are on fairly good speaking terms, try to work out some type of agreement regarding your daughter outside of the courts to avoid an expensive battle.

In the meantime, continue to be as loving and encouraging toward your daughter. It is emotionally stressful for her and she does feel torn between you and her dad. If you get upset with her now, that will simply give her more ammunition to not want to be with you. Try to see things from her perspective. Also, keep the lines of communication as open as possible. You may just want to do more listening to your daughter now.

Furthermore, you may want to try family counseling for yourself and her to uncover things that your daughter may be more willing to discuss with a neutral third party. Also, you both may gain intervention and coping techniques and strategies to help you conquer these trying times.

I do wish you all the best with your daughter. Hopefully, I have provided you with some things to ponder as well as a greater sense of direction.

Have a great week and let me know of you need more assistance.

Take care.
One more aspect I neglected to mention is to make sure you are spending quality time with your daughter as well.😊
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Well, just to give you more background into my situation. I was never married to her father and he never signed the birth certificate when she was born. He really wasn't involved physically or financially in the first couple years of her life but still we had constant communication. I wanted her to know her father. When my daughter was 2 years old we decided to try to make things work as a family and he moved in with us but we didn't get married. Things were good for the first year until at age 3, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. My ex boyfriend has been a Type 1 Diabetic since he was 19 so naturally he felt very guilty and blamed himself for her diagnosis. After that things got worse and worse between us because of his guilt, he told me that the only love he had to give was to his daughter and he had nothing left for me. We lived as roomates for a few years after that for our daughters sake but I slowly became very depressed and needed to try to make me happy again for my sake as well as my daughters. I asked Bryan if he could take care of her of a short time until I was better again and he agreed. I moved out in 2009 and moved closer to home and family on the west coast. I am now very content and engaged to be married and want to have a bigger role in my daughters life. For about 6 months I have been telling Bryan that I want her to live with me now in Nevada and at first, he agreed to it but here it is a month and a half away from her starting school here with me and plans to serve me with a custody suit! He has been living in my house rent free for 7 months in Maryland since he has been out of work and he has been smoking pot on and off on a regular basis so I finally told him that enough was enough and that I could no longer support both him and my daughter and I needed to sell the house. My ex has my daughter believing that he is the better parent because he is home more but it's not true. He is still a child himself and needs to stop using our child as and excuse not to be working. I have been spending lots of time with my daughter this summer as I have for the last 2 summers since I moved and I want her to understand that I'm not doing this to hurt her. There has never been any written anything about custody other than the the birth certificate with my name only on it. I thought we always had very open communication regarding our daughter so it's sad to me that he is doing this now. How do I communicate this to my daughter of 11? Or should I? I just don't want her to believe that I am malliciously trying to take her away from her father. She has gotten very close to him these past 2 years so I understand their bond. What should I do or say to make this easier for her to understand that I am not the enemy here?
Hello... Good to hear from you. Where has your daughter been residing during this summer? How does your ex possibly think he can pay for legal actions without a job? Does your ex really think he is the better parent with no job and his past substance abuse history? Do you feel that your ex has sort of brainwashed your daughter? Do your fiancé and daughter get along? When did your daughter first start having such negative feelings toward you? Have you been feeling depressed again lately? Thanks in advance for responding! This information will help me develop a comprehensive answer.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Sorry it took me so long to respond. My daughter has been with me most of the summer. My ex's family has money so I'm sure he is getting help from them financially. He obviously doesn't think pot smoking is a big deal. Yes, unfortunately I do believe he has brain washed my daughter in the last 2 years he has had her. My fiance and her get along very well. He is very patient and reasonable with her without giving in to her which is sometimes my downfall. My daughter started having negative feelings toward me since I left Maryland 3 years ago. I have not been depressed lately at all. I'm just sad and frustrated with the situation at hand and the fact that he is doing this at all! How do I communicate with her without making her feel like any of this is her fault because it's not and unfortunately she feels like it is.

Hello. I will pass this question along to a fellow expert as my computer will be down for repairs for a while.


I've been reviewing your notes, and I sympathize with your situation. I can see that it is deeply frustrating. I'm the mother of a 13 year-old daughter, and I sometimes think they exist to be contrary! Wink There are certainly some legal things going on with your story, and as a Parenting expert I don't have the expertise to address those...they will resolve themselves naturally as your ex and you work things out custodially in court.

As far as your questions concerning your relationship with your daughter--I feel your frustration! A great deal of what you are going through is the age, compounded by the sensitive nature of the situation. It sounds as though your ex is doing what you have sense enough not to do--he is manipulating the emotions of a child and using them for his own gain. Please continue to be the better parent. Children simply do not have the emotional maturity to handle the tough issues of why adults do the things they do (such as abuse drugs and abandon them for a time, for example). It's not fair to burden them with information such as that. You are doing absolutely the right thing--although painful and frustrating for yourself!--when you tell your daughter that you are acting in her best interest when you deny your ex primary custody.

It is okay, as a parent, to sometimes say "because I know what is best for you," and leave it at that. There may be a space of resentment, but that son or daughter will sooner or later come to realize that you make the decisions that you do because you love them, and wish to protect them.

All that said: if I understand your communication correctly, your daughter lived with your ex for two years while you were getting yourself together after a bout of depression, until this summer? It is VERY natural that she would feel the resentment and hesitation that she does at the idea of moving across the country after such a long absence. She is probably wondering if this uprooting is something she is going to have to deal with on a semi-regular basis. My best advice to you is to give this some time. Compromise, if at all possible. Reassure her that visitation is an option, and show her how it would be possible.


I hope this has been helpful to you. I know this is a tough situation, and there are simply no easy answers. Best of luck,


hintonrae, Teacher and Youth Mentor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 513
Experience: Mother of Three (Teen, Middle School, and Toddler), High school Teacher, Youth Mentor, Tutor, Writer, Family Blogger, MAEd
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