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Teen Very Angry Over Divorce

By March 9, 2010

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Quick Links: Real Parenting Questions | Quiz: How is your teen handling your divorce?

A mom on our forum seeks advice: I am in the middle of getting divorced. My husband left 2 1/2 years ago because he wanted his "freedom"...I have 3 children. My daughter was just turning 13 when he left. She is now 15 and is still as angry as she was when he left. At first she would visit him every other weekend and stay with him, but that ended after about 3 months. At that time she got increasingly angry and refused to speak to him or see him. He blamed me for influencing her and "changing her feelings." I have two younger boys who were also struggling with their dad leaving. I attended counseling along with the kids and followed the counselor's advice about not bashing their father or putting him down. I encouraged the kids to see him and to have fun while they were there. My two oldest argued and still do very frequently over their father. Of the three it is my daughter I am most concerned about and need advice on how to help her. She has been to a counselor who finally said there is not much that he she can do until my daughter wants the help. She is no longer going...and doesn't want to go.

We have no court papers mandating custody or visitation as we were trying to work out as much as we could outside of court, although we both do have lawyers. My problem is that my daughter is extremely angry and will fight with her father telling him how she feels, but he doesn't listen to her and always tells her she is wrong..this does nothing for their relationship. She will only see him for one weekend day every other weekend. She has only slept over there about 6 times this year. He now has a girlfriend that he wants her to meet...he has been dating her for over a year and just told the kids. My sons have met her, but my daughter refuses to meet this girl and has told her father she never will. She informed him that she already hates his girlfriend. He says she has no choice and expects my daughter to meet her before Christmas so he can take his girlfriend to his parents for the holidays. They got into a huge fight over her anger and hatred of his girlfriend when she has never met her. He blames me again for her anger and claims it is not normal for a teenager to be so angry about a divorce, especially since it has been 2 1/2 years since he left. He also believes it is not normal for her to refuse to meet his girlfriend. My daughter is very angry and resentful and she takes it out on her brothers and sometimes me. I talk with her a lot about the way she feels and I listen to her when she wants to talk about it. I try to give advice...mostly that forgiving her dad would release her anger and forgiving is for her, not him. I don't seem to get anywhere. I am looking for advice from anyone who may be able to help me figure out how to help my daughter with her anger. If there are any good websites, books, teen websites for her, etc., or if anyone else has been through the same experience, I would appreciate any advice. Thanks

Asking our community: How has your family dealt with divorce issues? Please share your thoughts, experiences and advice in the comments area.

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Comments
March 27, 2009 at 9:37 am
(1) Aimee Stern says:

Our divorce was very hard at first, especially during early separation. We also went to counseling and the best piece of advice we got was if you are angry at each other (the divorcing couple) and can’t learn to work together and just focus on the kids they will always be angry. At the point that I stopped fighting with my almost ex it got a lot better. And it’s not just fighting, it’s snide remarks and body language etc. It’s been about four years now and we still have flare-ups with the kids but they are really fine. They’ve learned how to live in this new life although they would still prefer their parents were together sometimes especially my daughter. My advice to you is it sounds like your ex needs counseling – his fights with your daughter sound toxic. And she is probably fighting with him because she’s angry, confused, sees her mother and her replaced and hates it. She’s most likely trying to get him angry so he pays attention to her. He should not force her to meet his new girlfriend. When my kids met their father’s girlfriend, now his wife, the first time it was for five minutes when she dropped off her daughter to babysit. They really eased her into the kids’ life and now they have a good relationship with her. Of course, I too had to swallow my feelings – but at a certain point you just stop caring. The more the kids see their parents in control, moving forward and acting like grown-ups, the more they will too. Adolescence is hard and divorce complicates it, but you will get through it.

March 27, 2009 at 9:53 am
(2) Kim King says:

My parents divorced when I was about 9; I am now 49. It is an experience you never recover from. There was so much anger with my father and guilt on my part that it took years (until I was 25) to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t my fault, that he had caused the situation. My mother never talked bad about him in front of me and always tried to work things out with him. His behavior was selfish and revolved around relationships with other women. That is very difficult for a teenage girl to come to terms with. We think we are our father’s favorite girl, next to our mother. We believe our father is supposed to care for and protect us. When they don’t the resentment can be unmanageable on our own. From my experience, I would advise counseling soon. My poor relationship with my father led to my seeking that missing element from males my age, an early doomed marriage of my own, and many emotional struggles for many years. As a mom, do whatever you can to keep the lines of communication open with your daughter. She probably feels like you are all she has.

March 27, 2009 at 11:55 am
(3) Tara says:

My youngest daughter was 13 also at the time of our divorce. My husband left us 3 years prior, but never followed through with a divorce, until I pushed the issue 2 1/2 years later. He played the back and forth game and I love you, no I don’t. Once I began dating and found someone, then he panicked and played on both of my daughters’ (my oldest was 18) emotions. He eventually manipulated them into thinking that life would be better with him than me. And he won! Now, 3 years later, my 17 year-old has just been arrested for smoking marijuana and has been popping pills. She has had a drug problem for a while, he has ignored that, along with her asking to come and live with me. She told me just last night that she turned to drugs when we got divorced so that she wouldn’t hurt either of us. She realizes her mistake and I never think that it’s too late, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get custody of her. Unfortunately, under her dad’s care, her life has been one big mess! My goal is to help her get her life straightened out and enjoy what’s left of her teenage years, hopefully drug free. The girls see how much happier I am these days and realize most of what happened. They both admit to having been manipulated 3 years ago. I believe everything happens for a reason and I’m just hoping and praying that this reason is for me to get my daughter back (physically, emotionally and spirtually)

March 27, 2009 at 3:05 pm
(4) Karen says:

It sounds like you have some big issues to deal with. I can relate- I was divorced two years ago, and am raising 3 kids on my own. The first thing I recommend is that you get a custody/ visitation agreement that is solid and agreed upon by your ex and daughter. She needs to have some control. So what if she doesn’t want to meet his new girlfriend- let it go. She may change her mind as time goes on. She may be doing that partly out of loyalty to you. Kids pick up on all kinds of non-verbal communication. Try to not get in the middle of her and her father’s relationship problems. If you step out of the picture, it may give them a chance to work things out. Or maybe they won’t, but that won’t be your doing either way. What is your role? confidant, shoulder to cry on, support… try not to be fixer or scapegoat. Life isn’t perfect. The more we let go and let God, pray, enjoy the moments in between… the better and more satisfying our life becomes. Blessings to you and your family. It is evident that you love your daughter and sons very much- stick with what you know is right and know that in time God will work in their hearts and they will see the truth too. In Christ, Karen

March 27, 2009 at 8:04 pm
(5) Jennifer Baszile says:

Hi,
I faced the challenge of divorcing with children involved just recently and the experience is still fresh.
I wouldn’t presume to offer advice to you but I hope you’ll allow me to share some insights from my own experience and that of women close to me who have lived through this experience.

As to your daughter, I think that we have to distinguish between acknowledging emotion rather than indulging it. Naming emotion in a challenging time like this is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL. But the next question is what, if anything, does the emotion entitle your daughter to do? The answer? From my perspective is that anger is not a blank check to “take it out on anyone.” You have to communicate to your daughter that as far as the way that she treats you and her brothers goes, she MUST respect the rest of you. She’s old enough to understand the idea of difference between what she’s feeling and what she’s doing. This is a critical life lesson that has implications far bigger than the divorce. It is a LIFE SKILL and the sooner she begins to get a handle on it the better.
How do you teach this lesson to your daughter? You know her best. But I would respectfully suggest that you stop catering to her emotion. ALWAYS express understanding. Name the feeling-anger, sadness, whatever. BUT then define the action and behavior that you expect in your house.
Let your husband deal with his own relationship on his own terms. If he thinks he can force your daughter to meet the new girlfriend let him handle that on his own.
I would also humbly suggest that you face a challenge of your own. I offer the insight below with an open heart and complete compassion for your situation– I have lived my own version of this challenge.
If you re-read the beginning of the post, you talk about how your husband “left” the family. Words matter. I’m not just saying that because I’m a writer. I’m saying that from one mom to another.
It’s clear what is ending and that the kids’ dad left. But who are you and your kids now? That’s the question. Are you living like everything broke down when he left? Or are you living in the present?
As you can see, I have a real passion for this subject, as one mom who has LIVED divorce with children.

Peace and Blessings,
Jennifer

March 28, 2009 at 9:14 pm
(6) Deguza says:

Here is what happened with me.

I got a divorce about four years ago. In the initial days my 9-year-old daughter was so excited and curious about the divorce.

I heard her talking to her friends and announcing happily that she will have two homes.

She is now 13 and she favors staying with mom. I make her practice 1/2 hour of violin and 1/2 hour of Spanish each day she stays with me. She thinks that she has no time of her own when she is with me…

Evertime she brings this up I draw her a pi chart and show how small one hour is compared to the 22 hours of freedom she has.

March 30, 2009 at 3:01 pm
(7) Patricia says:

Dear Divorced Mom,

Three cheers for you for paying attention, recognizing the anger and wanting to help your daughter!

My folks were unfortunately divorced when I was 13 – was not an amicable one. I now have a 13 year old (I am not her mom) in my life who’s parents are divorced (also not amicable) and I can see the situation from 3 sides now and it’s tough for all. Destruction of a girl’s identity and self esteem are at stake if you don’t do your best to act on behalf of her best interest.

I agree with most of what is written above including the fact that this can create a lifetime of pain and bad boyfriend choices… but it does not have to.

I was not offered help with my feelings/drastically changed life and I carried that unexplained anger and awful feelings around for 20 years! I finally got myself some help/therapy at a huge cost (but with relief). While there are lots of helpful books and websites out there; I would BEG any divorcing parent to find some help for your daughter/children to express the hurt/anger/fear that divorce puts on them – it’s simply inevitable and very difficult for you as a parent to understand or hear.

1. If nothing else, Please understand -there is NO way she can talk to either of her parents about her real feelings and problem (her parents!!). Both of you have deep emotions and separate agendas in this situation and she KNOWS THAT and desperately needs a neutral person to talk with that puts HER feelings first, is in her court, and with no judgement. She will absolutely need help just to identify her feelings as it is all so terribly confusing when it is happening.
The only people she probably has to talk with are other 13 year olds, who most likely cannot give her the insight and guidance she needs. So, PLEASE, get the sweet kid some help – most likely a counselor. The counselor can then help Her tell You (and her father) how SHE feels and how you can help her. Please don’t expect her to be able to do this on her own or expect that this will just go away. It might go underground, but will not go away without some resolving things on her part.

2.You can’t control your Ex., but at least educate yourself on the small/big and UNCONSCIOUS things that YOU might be doing to contribute to her anger that you are unaware of.
Please pay special attention to info regarding dissing other parent and making a life for yourself where your daughter does not have to ‘worry’ about you (by what she perceives as your) being unhappy, abandoned or unprotected. That alone will cause big anger at Dad – justified or not.

3. There are lots of books,but 2 recommendations:

Now What Do I Do?: A Guide to Help Teenagers with Their Parents’ Separation or Divorce
by Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski (Author)

Divorce Poison: Protecting the Parent-Child Bond -by Richard A. Warshak

Reviews:Divorce Poison: 5.0 out of 5 stars High Conflict Divorce Parents …PLEASE READ THIS BOOK,
August 10, 2008

I have worked extensively in this area of family therapy, and I strongly recommend this book to any parent with children who is going through a divorce> It is also a must read for family attorneys, judges and social workers.
“Barry T. Levy, LMFT” (Palo Verde Ave, Long Beach, CA)

You go girl! (for both of you!)

April 12, 2009 at 5:13 pm
(8) Chrissy says:

Our divorce has affected our kids negatively until we read and bought a book calledStop Fighting Over the Kids, by Mike Mastracci.
This book made my ex-husband and I realize how childish we were. It’s an interesting book because he shares his own life experiences and it’s easy to read.

May 1, 2009 at 5:47 pm
(9) Linda says:

Dear Mom,
I’m sorry for your loss. To me, a divorce was worse than a death. I was married for 22 years and what I thought was a good marriage with a geat family turned into a nightmare. My 12 year old daughter, 16 year old son, and 20 year old daughter at the time of separation were severely affected. My husband had an affair and it was my oldest daughter who discovered it. When the other two found out, they all went crazy on dad. I was a basket case. It was worse, when I later found out he had been having an affair with her throughout the 22 year marriage, plus many others. He became so angry with me during a fight after he announced he was moving out that he struck me in the face causing 7 stitches and a concussion. My son drove me to the hospital, after he attacked his father. After all this, I sat in the hospital and told the doctors I had been at a bar and been in the middle of a bar fight, so my children’s father wouldn’t go to jail. It was the first time he had ever hit me in 22 years. The devastation to our immediate family and our extended family was like a bomb blew up. It has been 4 years since the separation and 2 years when the divorce became final. My son withdrew at 16 into alcoholism, drank heavy for the past 4 years, but just went thru his first dui and has forgiven his father, stopped drinking and returned to school. My 20 year old daughter, looked for a substitute men to block out the pain of losing her dad, losing her role model and the man she had idolized since she was born. She became pregnant at 23 after numerous encounters (thank God no diseases), because only in sex could she find the numbness from the pain that had enveloped her by her father’s betrayal. She now has a beautiful daughter, is engaged to a wonderful army sergeant and is finishing school to become a teacher. They had been able to move pass most of their anger.
Now, my youngest is just like yours. At 12, she showed no outside signs of her anger, she went and stayed with her dad. He was living with his girlfriend (8 weeks after he left our home). She had 2 kids, that my daughter I guess feels some resentment as she now had to share being the baby of her daddy. He married his girlfriend 9 months after our divorce came through. Most of his extended family did not attend. Her mother did not attend, because she did not approve of this union and my youngest daughter now was 15, she cried and cried and could stop at their wedding.

I believed she had a decent relationship with her new stepmother, but as of today, I understand that my daughter’s anger at her father and this woman is in full swing. She has been deeply affected by this divorce. I lost my job and he stopped paying child support and alimony to help support our family. He never financially supported the older two who were in school and college. I still had the full resonsibility to care for them as they did not move out at 18 years old and deal with my own trauma and my children’s trauma. It was a very tough time for all of us. My 15 year old daughter was then sent to live with a family friend to stay at her school and stay with her friends, because the divorce, my loss of job and the economy had impacted our family and caused all of us to become homeless. I moved 2 hours away to sleep on the couch of my parents with my oldest and the baby, and my son had to go live with an aunt. My youngest is feeling the impact now at 16, she has no family to call her own. She misses her brother and sister and mom. I can’t afford to live in the town anymore where she lives, but I want her to finish school there, she is involved with her choir, theater and is getting a 3.3 gpa. I see her twice a week and send her now DA ordered childsupport.
Her father is claiming that she is a pain in the A–, she is rude, disrespectful to him and his wife, she is irresponsible and he said that she better be careful of the hands that feed her with this horrible attitude she has towards him. I am at my wits end as to how to help her deal as I am not with her 100% anymore. The divorce was painful and the kids know just about everything that went down, which is unfortunate, but it’s done now. She had to grow up so fast and the guilt I have is beyond words. I am beginning to get back on my feet, but it will be a year before things get any better. She will then be a senior and ready to leave for college. Is there any advice anyone can give me to help my child in her dealing with the divorce and overall situation? She doesn’t want to see a counselor, so she blogs all her pain on her web page.
So other mom of divorce, I know my story didn’t solve or even give you any answers, but perhaps someone else who has lived thru this with their 15 year old daughter will help us both.
Thanks

July 22, 2009 at 2:20 am
(10) Lisa says:

WOW I am so sorry….my husband left us in December for the other woman (who is a Doctor.) So somehow my husband felt it was ok or something?? He no longer speaks to my daughter. He acts immature and expects her to contact him…He quickly moved to San Diego after he left us and in with the other woman. I see my 16 year old acting out as well…She used to have her dad up in her myspace under her (heros section) Now he hardly makes time for her….I think this hurts the most because Im going through my own pain…im not sure how to even help my kids…I see my daughter acting out with boys and looking for love,,,being promiscuous even…Im terribly troubled by it all…I wish you the best…I dont understand how a man can love his family over 20 years and then just fanish…???

March 10, 2010 at 9:51 am
(11) 4EqltyMom says:

I would look for another counselor for your daughter. Or maybe a divorce group for teens. If she really won’t go to counseling, then consider family counseling again, just you and her, or, better yet, you, her and her father. If there is any talking to her father, I would sit down with him and see if the two of you can show a united front. Dealing with your daughter together will be the most effective – but that’s only if he’s willing.

Look at UpToParents.org. If you can get her father to complete the program, then maybe that will help the two of you come together for your daughter’s sake. It’s an online program – you answer questions and make commitments to your kids. It really makes you think about what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. You personalize it by putting in your kids’ names … which really makes an impact!

Lastly, I think you need to honor your daughter’s anger. She has a right to be angry. But as someone else said, she doesn’t have a right to take it out on the rest of the family. Honor her anger and put boundaries around her behavior. Also consider looking for physical outlets for her anger – like a kickboxing class or karate or something along those lines.

March 10, 2010 at 10:04 am
(12) psychguy says:

If I amy be so bold, I read a lot of anger in your message and there is a chance she is picking up on that (social learning and all). I would start by looking hard at yourself. Second, if your are still reading, there is a strange phenomenom that occurs with daughters such as yours (when the male figure is absent between the ages of 10-13) and that is that there is very little emotional processing. They, even as adults, go from hot to cold with no warm in between. It cna be confusing to those around them that want to “talk about it”….they won’t they have made up their mind and don’t want any of what you are selling.Keep asking questions.

March 10, 2010 at 10:05 am
(13) Aimee says:

My daughter is 10, my ex has not lived with us in five years and periodically she gets really angry with her father. I always encourage her to talk with him about it – which she does – and most of the time he gets very defensive but sometimes he doesn’t. You can’t change his behavior but encouraging her to talk with her dad – even if it doesn’t have the exact result you want – will make her more communicative in her relationships with friends, boys, and probably her future husband.

As to the anger itself, it ebbs and flows. My daughter initially accepted her father’s leaving but she was very young. He is remarried and in a really screwed up relationship and my daughter is no longer enamored with his wife. But she loves him – if she didn’t she wouldn’t care. And he loves her. I’ve heard that support groups for kids can be really helpful because then they realize they are not the only kids dealing with this type of situation. Good luck.

March 10, 2010 at 11:43 am
(14) Mom says:

Talk to your lawyer about having your ex pay for family counseling since it seems he’s blaming you. This way, it takes the burden off your sholders. You already have the day to day struggle of rasing these kids alone, the last thing you need is to help your ex feel good about his decision. Another thing is to ask you child if they feel its their fault. (the divorce) Good luck and take care.

March 10, 2010 at 3:15 pm
(15) Phoenix Parent says:

First and foremost, its not “visitation” is called “PARENTING TIME.” Just the words in your post show that your actions are contributing to your daughter’s issues if not creating them.

Get the book “Divorce Poison” by Richard Warshak (get one for husband too). Read it & see what behaviors you may be engaged in that you might think are innocent. If you TRULY want to help your daughter and your sons, you need to be able to identify and control those behaviors. It will only help if you can be truly honest with yourself on your behaviors. We all have them (married or separated/divorced). Are you an alienating parent? Your husband should read it too so that he is not contributing to the problem as well (likely).

If your posting is in good faith (and not just a veiled attempt to show your daughter or the court/family/doctors how much you really do care while meanwhile exposing the children to the behaviors that do estrange a child from a parent) then the book and other books on raising children when separated or divorced will help you.

Your words betray the fact that you really don’t understand how YOUR (mom’s) actions, words, feelings and beliefs are not as supportive as you think they are but actually causing at least some damage. Mother says “I have 3 children.”, “My daughter”,”I have two younger boys” and these are just a few examples.

“YOU” do not have a daughter when speaking about her; try using “We” & “OUR.” You should refer to the children’s father as “Dad” or “daddy” vs. the infamous “Your Father.” Just like you wouldn’t and don’t give a minor the choice in going to school, you SHOUN’T give her a choice in going to Dad’s either. It’s called “independent-thinker syndrome” and you can then say, “well, the child just doesn’t want to go” which becomes a circular definitions as you give the child control over the adult responsibility of parenting time.

I’m sure that the word choices in this posted question alone are just the tip of the iceberg of word choices, etc.
Neither of you should be sharing any details at all about the legal process.

The two of you SHOULD draft up a “Parenting Contract.” and file it with the court and make it a court order. Get to some form of mediation and get your divorce or separation finalized so you children can be spared the never ending drama. “We have no court papers mandating custody or visitation as we were trying to work out as much as we could outside of court, although we both do have lawyers” 2 1/2 years is LONG ENOUGH in limbo. One of you doesn’t want to move on… wonder who. You don’t think your emotional state does not transfer to the children, your misguided.

Include in it all important aspects of raising the children in the contract with explicit dates and times of visits, penalties for failing to fulfill the contract as you go along (both of you), etc. There are many websites listing good parenting plans/contracts and then tailor it to your specific needs. It should be completely fair to both sides. And, it nor any divorce legal information or documents should NOT BE SHARED with any children (no matter what their ages – ever. You can and SHOULD inform the children that they will be seeing Dad on such an such a day, etc. Post it on the refrig. No OPTIONS. It would a great idea for Dad and daughter to see a counselor together and daughter to see her own to deal with her own anger. Things happen in life that no one wishes would happen. The fact that one’s parents divorce is not something children can control.

Don’t underestimate the potential mental health concerns here either. The ages of 15+ is when teens develop issues such as Bipolar disorder, etc. Unreasonable behavior (beyond the “norm” of being a teen) is a warning flag.

If your soon to be X-husband feels that you are contributing to the daughter’s estrangement, you should sit down as adults and talk about why that can be (with a counselor if needed). You might be surprises that later in life when the daughter is older, she may identify your behaviors that you FAIL to recognize now as destructive to her and her father’s relationship and she will significantly distance herself from you.

Remember that children get but one childhood.

The two parents need to UNIT on all children fronts.

March 10, 2010 at 11:50 pm
(16) Emma says:

My parents separated nearly 3 and a half years ago. I had only turned 16 and was about to do important exams. The divorce is still not finalised. I’m 19 now and I’m still not over their separation, even thinking about makes me tearful. When you’re that young you believe that your parents will always stick together no matter what. Unfortunately my dad cheated on my mum and from there on in, for the last 3 years it has been a constant battle between my whole family. My dad moved out when I was 16 and I stopped talking to him for 6 months because I was so hurt and angry. But gradually started to speak to him again even though it kills me inside that he is sitll living with the woman he cheated on my mother with. My mum also moved out when I was 16 with her newly found boyfriend at the time after suffering from depression for a good 6 months. Staying in her bedroom for days and not eating and attempting suicide. When she moved out she left me to live with my brother who at the time was attending university and was only 21 which wasn’t fair on him to take responsibility of me at such a young age himself. He dropped out of uni shortly after and my school attendence become very poor as I just didn’t care for an education anymore. We both tried to support eachother emotionally and financially though emotionally for myself, I would never talk about my feelings. Never saw a penny from my father although mum still looked after us in some aspect. However my mother seemed to do what was best for her? She constantly talked bad about my dad and still does to this day. When I agree with something that he has done or said, she gets angry with me for it. I’ve kept everything to myself for the last 3 years so it still hurts. What I’m basically saying is that although its so hard for the parents to separate but its harder for the children even if noone agrees with me on this, I think so. Its hard seeing you’re whole family hurt then you have to deal with your own pain. So when you say: find a therapist, you have to be delicate about the subject. Noone wants to admit they are hurt. Although I wish I talked to someone but never got the chance to so I guess I’m kinda talking to people now?

March 11, 2010 at 12:02 am
(17) Meggan says:

First I want to say that I am sorry for what y’all are STILL going through.I can only tell you that it will take time.I went through the same thing when my mom left my dad years ago. I was 13 at the time and when my mom moved out to her own place I would not go with her,this hurt her very much.I also would not ever visit her new place or,later,when she wanted me to meet her new guy I refused.(they have been married now for 15 years). Here’s the problem,for me I felt like my mom wasn’t just leaving my dad I felt like she was leaving me too,and that everything she did after was against me. When she started dating again,I felt like she was cheating on dad and me.Up untill she started dating I hopped that they might get back together.The new guy proved that it was over,that they would never get back together again and that ment that we would never be a family again. As a teenager we are allready confused and angry about everything,this is just one more thing we can’t deal with.I cannot speak for her dad but he needs to BACK OFF…just because he’s all happy and moved on does not mean that she is.Not to mention if your daughter sees you strugling and still trying to deal with what happened than it only makes her madder with thoughts such as “if dad hadn’t run off,mom would be happy,we’d all be happy.” She is mad at him and I dare say she should be….when you get married and have children you don’t get to leave because you need space….that’s what you do when your dating. When he made the commitment to marriage he also made one to his children (born yet or not)she knows this and feels betrayed. I say tell him to back off,and don’t make her go over there.Continue to do the right thing by not bad mouthing him,but tell him that she’s just not ready and when she is she’ll call him.He wanted HIS space…well now SHE needs hers.As a mom we have to protect our kids,even from family members.She needs your protection,love and guidence…all the rest wiil find a way.Oh and if he’s still blamning you for everything..there’s a good chance he bad mouths you in fron of her and is one of the reasons she still so angry,it’s not something she would tell you,for fear of hurting your fealings.I say this because it’s what my mom did to my dad..I was 20 before I had the courage to telll her to stop…that whatever her fealings he is my father and I don’t want to hear it.Out of respect she quit and does not do it anymore (I’m 32)…that could be part of the problem. I pray for you and your family and know that somehow someway all will be right.

March 11, 2010 at 2:38 am
(18) judy says:

My husband left us when my daughter was just seven months. I was badly affected and would cry late into the nigth until one day i caught my baby looking at me with a sad face and she started crying when i noticed. I then realised that i was living a miserable life and vowed that I would give what ever love I had for my husband to my baby. I think thats the best decision I ever made because my baby changed from a moody baby to the ever smiling young girl she is today. Because she was young i also decided not to get into a relationship and concentrate efforts into my work. I have since excelled in my career. My daughter now knows that babies have fathers and i try to potray him as a good person so that she is not bitter. My only worry is that i have to lie to her about this coz i tell her that he works far away. He doesnot bother us because he does not want to spend any money on her which is okay since i earn more and also get my piece of mind. Divorce is painful and i chose to dedicate my love and resources to my child and this worked for me. We are all different but to a child we need to make them understand how much we love them and avoid the negative energy caused by rejection.

March 11, 2010 at 12:12 pm
(19) Jodi says:

I can only imagine how difficult this situation is for you, watching your daughter be in so much pain. I am sorry. Having gone through a divorce myself, I know it’s a huge life transition. That being said, I think it’s really important for you to separate the things within your control and the things that are not. I read somewhere that ‘problems’ are things we can control and ‘facts of life’ are things we cannot, even though we wish desperately that we could.

I suggest that you take some time and really define for yourself what is within your control to change and what isn’t. You can’t change your ex-husband and you can’t change your daughter, but you can change yourself and your perspective. Your daughter will pick up on your beliefs about the situation, whether you speak them or not. If you start with forgiving yourself, forgiving your ex-husband and forgiving the situation that will go a long way. It can be challenging work, but well worth the time and effort. You will then be an example to your children on forgiveness, hope and moving forward into a wonderful, positive life.

When you have truly forgiven yourself and your husband for the divorce then healing can begin. It’s really funny that the change we seek in outside circumstances always starts within ourselves. If you can take an honest look at your beliefs about the divorce, your beliefs about your future, your beliefs about your kids’ future and shift them to a more optimistic place, you will see a major transformation in everyone around you.

As far as your daughter, as hard as it is, try to refrain from giving advice of how she should feel about her dad or the situation with him. Listen, respect where she is coming from and even ask questions for clarity. I too have teens, and know how difficult that can be. I believe the main goal is that she feels heard and understood. You can’t fix this for her, no matter how much you want to but just knowing that you give her the space to feel the way she feels will make a big difference for her. Let her make the choices of when and how long she sees her dad and how she behaves when she’s with him. When she’s with you, let her know that she’s free to express herself to you but respecting you and the rest of the family is essential. Teach her healthy ways to express her frustration and anger without taking it out other family members.

Believe me, there is no judgement here. It’s a difficult situation, but I know that given time and self-reflection it WILL get better. I wish you all the best!

March 14, 2010 at 4:06 pm
(20) Michelle says:

I went through the same situation and the only thing that you can do is most important love her and be a guide for her not her friend. I an my ex had to be very patient and let her vent respectfully of course. My daughter also went to live with my ex for a while so that helped a great deal, she was able to develop a relationship with him. Patients and love are the key ingredients. She will eventually pull out of the anger and bitterness and neglect that she is feeling right now. I hope it all works out in the long run.

March 17, 2010 at 8:42 am
(21) Amber says:

I divorced when my children were 9,6, and 4. He had a girlfriend immediately. And I didn’t drag far behind. My oldest has just turned 17, and has also just moved in with his dad. He struggled the most with our situations. Here’s what I regret the most…I didn’t realize that he was watching EVERY little move I made. He lived with me. He identified every emotion of every second of my day. His dad wasn’t around, and my son didn’t see anything from his side. So, not only was I going through a divorce, I was also teaching these children life skills, coping mechanisms, and thought processes – while I was struggling to keep it together. And I failed miserably. My son has been through a year and a half of counseling and has been back and forth between my house and his fathers twice. I know he loves me, he knows I love him. But I can tell you this…if I could go back and do it over again. I would’ve been more structured and more observant of the kids rather than my failing relationship with their father. Make a concsious effort 24 hours a day to have something on your plate that is healthy, constructive, and happy in your home. Despite what you are feeling inside, you have to keep it together and give the children the appearance that the world hasn’t just fallen apart. Because, in reality, it hasn’t. Everyone moves on. I think the worst mistake you can make is to allow emotions to gravitate towards dealing with this constantly. Talk to your daughter when she is upset or something has happened. But then let it go. She has to realize that life is what it is and that once she has coped with one thing, it’s ok to move on and still have happy things in her life. She can only learn that from you – you are who she spends most of her time with. Lead by example. I know that’s easier said than done; but, who better to go through that struggle for, than your children? Remember the benefits of getting through this with their emotional well-being in tact.

That said, once I realized that I had allowed my oldest child to go through this divorce “with” me and caused him alot of emotional pain that I could’ve protected him from, I realized I hadn’t stepped up like I should’ve. Here are some things I learned about …

1. I talked to my son about his feelings. ALOT. That allowed him to concentrate on the issues. ALOT. Stop talking about it so much. Deal with issues that have consequences or hurtful emotions and then move on. We don’t realize as adults, what too much conversation is for a child. Keep it short, simple, and with a constructive outcome.
2. In dealing with those issues, keep an open and positive attitude. Don’t play the blame game. It’s hurtful for everyone, but remember to always reassure your daughter that it will be ok. And don’t share your feelings of disappoint. It allows her to identify YOUR negaative feelings about the situation. And once she identifies your negativity, it allows her to justify her own. It’s destructive.
3. I began a calendar with my kids. They had a great time writing, drawing, documenting. And that gave us all something else to focus on every day and every evening. We scheduled fun things almost every day. Simple things, like races in the drive way, or calling old friends or distant relatives on the phone to catch up, sports in the back yard, giving the dog a bath, rearranging someones bedroom, washing and cleaning out the car (we once spent 3 hours at the car wash just having fun together and playing around), eating out, a movie night, coloring, cooking a special dish together… I could go on and on. And although it was physically exhausting for me, it took all of our minds off of the divorce and gave us all something happy to look forward to each and every day. What we all began to realize was that we were a happy family – divorce or no divorce. We still had reasons to live a happy life and love each other. Before I knew it, a phone call from dad didn’t result in 3 whaling children, ripping my heart out of my chest. It quickly ended with “love you, too, dad. Bye!” And life went on. As it should.

Bottom line, if your kids see you happy and embracing life, that’s what they will learn to do.

That’s not to say you won’t always have struggles, I think we all do with divorce. But if they see a smile on your face and a willingness in you to be ok with the situation, they will learn from that your example. Maybe once your daughter knows that you are ok, she will know she’s ok. It won’t change overnight, or atleast my oldest didn’t. I just had to allow him to feel his way through and eventually he followed directly behind me with a smile on his face and enjoying himself.
He will most likely always have some emotional scars from the first year or so after the divorce because of the things he went through, but we came through it and I know he has the emotional capacity he needs to be a constructive, well rounded adult.

March 17, 2010 at 2:44 pm
(22) Shelley Moser says:

It seems like you are doing all you can to promote a positive father-child relationship. The truth is, the final responsibility for this relationship lies with the dad. As long as you are there to listen and support her well-bing, you are doing great. It is impor-tant to not bash nor call names, but to also be honest in your responses when she asks question. You can also reply,”You’ll have to ask your father about that, etc.” It is totally “NORMAL” for children of divorce (as well as the “adults,” to have anger issues and to be mad or sad about things. You need to give her the boundaries or limits of acceptable behaviors in acting out her anger, with understood and consistent consequences for her choices. It may take TIME for her to work through her feelings. In the meantime: Live, Love, Laugh, and Lean on the Lord! :) Been there!! Not done!!

March 17, 2010 at 3:40 pm
(23) emily says:

i am 13 years old and my parents got a divorce when i was 4. i can assure you that even though it has been 2 1/2 years things like this do not go away that easily. your ex husband is very wrong for that and trying to tell your daughter how to feel and that she is wrong. my own ftaher tried to use thaqt excuse on me when i stated bawling in the car when i was 8 because i missed my mom. he said it had been five years since then and that i shouldnt be cryiong. things like thgis do not go away in five years because your parents are still not together and you still feel the same insiode. you are doing a great job by listening to your daughter and talking wiht her

March 17, 2010 at 10:49 pm
(24) jagruti says:

hello.
considering matter straightway, ur hubby seems to be suffering from guilt, lack of responsibility for his own actions(or in-actions),tries to target people emotionally and abuse them.
father daughter relationship seems to be more of a power game leaving ur daughter feeling rejected, helpless,confused and incapable.
there is no reson for love but anger definately has reasons.
these facts neither your hubby nor daughter r ready to accept. both seems to be emotionaly attached but r not able to accept reality. both want acceptance fromm each other.
so u could either leave them on their own or take compelete charge of ur daughter(may be just stop her meeting dad,stop any of his talks…….).At the same time u get rid of any negative emotions if any. only then u will
be able to work positiovely.

STOP TAKING BLAME ON URSELF.
BEST IS STAY AWAY from ur hubby.KIDS R WITH YOU AND AT TIMES U NEED TO BE FIRM WHEN UR KIDS MEET WRONG PERSON.
GOOD LUCK.

March 18, 2010 at 8:54 am
(25) Ebrahim Chohan says:

I have not read the feedback responses from other ‘advisers’.

Try this: tell her that because she has so much nager and hatred fro her father, she does not have to go visit her father, and only after a period of 4-6 weeks she can go because she will then be more ready to visit him.

Introspect…check on your own body language, actions, what you talk to her….that might be causing or aggravating her feelings. Are her reactions not due to your anger nad ‘loss’?

Give her confort and reassurance., give her the emotional support she needs right now. She will cool down gradually and she shoud be more receptive to the thought of visisting her father.

I am a psychologist (Clin & Educ) in South Africa.

November 11, 2010 at 10:00 am
(26) Adrienne says:

I’m the step mother of 3 kids, and have 2 of my own. All 5 kids live with me and my husband and we have been a family for nearly 7 years. My husband’s divorce was messy because the ex-wife was a felon, drug addict and pretty much abandoned the family when his youngest was only 18months old. His three kids have angry managemetn issues, and the worst is the oldest — the only girl. She argues with everyone about everything and competes with me daily for power over the household. We’ve been in and out of therapy, which didn’t help because the therapist pretty much reinforced the attitude problem and thus the oldest boy of my husband left our home this school year to live with his cracked out mother so he could “become like her which was better than living in a house with the sister.” My advice is this–my divorce was NOT messy. We left the kids way OUT of the divorce. My ex and I act as if its a different living arrangement so the kids don’t feel put int he middle, and so the kids don’t harbor ill feelings toward ANY of the parents. That worked for me–but my issue is that I’ll always be the bad guy as a step parent because my step kids resent thier own mother, and resent me for being there for them when their own mother can’t. Its an exhausting battle in our household that eats into our marriage, and eats into the youngest of the 3 kids (2 of which our mine and my husband’s youngest). Parenting has changed..for sure..good luck!

March 31, 2011 at 12:02 am
(27) Gloria says:

I had a step daughter and she had problems with her mom always talking bad about me. My husband and I would not talk about her mother in front of her unless it was something good about her mom. Never join in and defend the bad they was spoken of me. It was heresay and I never met the lady. So we ignored the remarks. His daughter stopped saying things and we eventully got to meet the ex, and ended up getting along with her at the various school things we would go to or parties for the child. The child was 13 at the time. I never had that much anger at me. I pray for you and your daughter . Please show her in the Bible about caine and able and what God tells Caine about his anger(attitude) God tells Caine that sin is knocking at his hearts door and its diesire is to have him.But he must get the mastery over it. Proverbs is a good site to read together as a family. When my husband was angry alot, I would tell the kids he had an angry heart and we would pray for him. My kids are grown now and they both are doing fine and my daughter has brought her whole family in knowing the lord. My son is now thinking about going to a church so the children get rooted in the lord. An angry and contrite heart, God will not despise. Your best support is spiritial . Lord I pray that you touch this families hearts and mend them. In the lame of Jesus Christ, Amen…….Now write down a prayer and also have the rest write down things they want God to help them with. Put your papers away. In 6 months look at what you prayed for and see if any of them have been answered. Just remember one thing that the Lord answeres prayers according to his time and not ours. We need to role model and others see a change in us and only then can they change. Life is not easy but one day the kids will thank you for being who you are. Its the age. It will get better…..

September 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm
(28) Aimee says:

As a daughter of divorced parents myself, I can understand you daughter’s anger and resentment to her father.

The only way I have been able to overcome my anger towards my father was to submit the situation to my gracious savior, Jesus Christ. It’s certainly not easy, but with His strength, I have been able to forgive my dad for leaving my family.

At my blog, allfilledup.wordpress.com, I try to help other girls work through some of those issues. Stop by and take a look!

- Aimee

October 25, 2011 at 7:53 pm
(29) Alexandra says:

Im 13. If you want to know how your daughter feels. You might as well get a piece of me . My parents arent fully divorced, but its been 5 months, and my mom cheated on my dad. And she still continues to see this man. Im constantly fighting with her. I never ever insulted my mom. Like my other friends. Like my moms such a BITCH. I wouldnt dare say that about the woman who raised me. But she did this to me. I dont just feel like she cheated on my dad. But also me and my 16 year old brother. I cant tell you how much the memories STILL haunt me. But the only way i truly have somewhat moved on from this is from my dog, and being alone. Just me and my thoughts . I needed this . Because nobody could infulence me, just myself. At 13. This is so confusing so new. I dont know how to handle it. She needs to have some space. My mom also blamed my dad for my anger. I had a talk with my mom. Telling her i wouldnt ever live with her . Your daughter needs time to get back to reality. My emotions took a full throttle when the divorce blew up. I started to freak out. I still dont think straight . She cantchange much at this point. She just needs to calm herself down. The anger is such a powerful thing. Eventually she will know how do deal with it. Just let her do it on her own. Thats always what teens want. Freedom. She needs to free her anger.

November 15, 2011 at 10:03 am
(30) Kortney says:

I don’t blame her. I’m as old as her and my dad left us too. If he was cruel and left, WHY would she want to visit him?! Don’t make her visit if she doesn’t want to!

February 2, 2012 at 10:52 pm
(31) Sad father says:

My story. Divorced after 20 yrs, my call, I would characterize my spouse and verbally and mentally abusive and controlling. Two daughters, 13, 15. 13 yo live with me full time, 15 yo 1/2 time. I was and am very engaged father, cooked, worked, took girls to Dr, did things with them, watched their shows, played with them, made lots of time for them.. Ex was not absent but more focused on herself. Ex is angry, suing me for $$$$ and more $$$. She got hundreds of thousands in settlement, gets many thousands month in spousal and a small child support since they live mostly with me. Still wants more.

13 does not talk to mother at at and frankly mother is nasty and mean to her – seem like method of control. Does not work with 13yo, but does work with 15yo.

However, 13 yo still blames me for divorce and every once in a while she gets angry and says very hurtful things to me. I try to ignore, but also not let her have free reign to be rude and nasty.

I try to be patient but I told her the thing I promised I never would -”If you don’t like it here go live with your F^%$ mother!!!”

Feel like a door mat to the women in my life – kids included and I don’t know how to draw the line between support and authority.

April 16, 2012 at 5:50 am
(32) Don White says:

My Family’s Disintegration!

Hello. I’m sorry about the divorce. There is no way to put it other than it just sucks! I was twelve when my parents divorced. My mom left me Dad. The grief I went to could only be measured years later when my brother took his life. I thought is exactly how I felt back then. Both my Mom and Dad wanted custody and there was a huge battle in court. We wanted to live with my Dad because it wasn’t him who wanted to leave and our mom wanted us to move from Indiana to Texas. We had to go to court that we wanted to stay with our Dad in Indiana. It sucks the life out of you when you see your parents cry. I took the whole situation the worst. I withdrew from all of my friends and become a loner. That was the worst! I hated school because this. I still wish school mates, councelors would have noticed my dissent, but my old friends just thought I was wierd!! I just wanted to die!

Don’t do anything you don’t want. It’s not your fault and your dad has NO RIGHT to place the blame on you. My mom wanted us to call her new husband “Dad”! That was complete bullshit! I have ONE dad and that ended quickly.

The only things that did help were, my Christian Faith, with many prayers. Also, moving when I was older. The most helpful was just living life, dating and and breaking up. That’s when I realized that as kids we hold our parents up on BIG pedestals and think they are perfect. But, when going threw life myself I realized that they are mistake and sin prone just like us. Even after this I stil held a lot of anger inside. My solution was for them to write me a letter each “WITH NO EXCUSES” and just say “sorry”. After that I was able to forgive them.

Thirty years later I have a thriving family of my own. I talk to my mom and dad just about everyday. There is still the pain of those years just like the pain of my brothers death, but I try to think of the fun time before the divorce and all the fun I had with my brother.
My strong Christian faith is the glue that hold my family and I together.
I will pray that all things work out well for your family!

Don from North Carolina

May 31, 2012 at 7:05 pm
(33) Violet James says:

I am fifteen year old girl going through a very similar situation. My dad left my mom for another woman. They had a happy marriage, and this joyful little announcement interrupted my mother as she was literally planning for their twentieth anniversary. And thus, I sympathize greatly with your daughter. My dad has basically ripped my life apart, so in turn I want to make him suffer. This, however, doesn’t give your daughter the right to take it out on you or her siblings. Also, I have to say the father must go to counseling because he is only making the situation worse. There is no reason she should have to see him or his girlfriend until she wants to, if she ever does. The threat of seeing him on the horizon seems to have prevented her from settling into a new lifestyle. Every time I am told I have to meet with my father I go into depression. Having that kind of situation go on for years would be miserable.
My father also blamed my mother for my hatred of him, but you must realize that your daughter is old enough to make her own choices. And, even if your husband does take you to court about it, the chances of them ruling in his favor are slim. Even on the off chance they do, your daughter doesn’t have to talk to him.

I really hope this helped!

June 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm
(34) Brooke says:

Hey! I’m Brooke , and I’m 14 years old. I have a Best friend named Corley and shes 13 ….. Iv been knowing her from birth…. We never really had a fight but we are always there for eachother… When Corley was about 10 her mom left her dad cuz her dad wasn’t respecting her mom and her mom had enough….. Corley came over early in the morning without nobody knowing… Poor thing was crying her heart out ……after she told me everything … My heart droped ….. So I stayed at her house for a month and found her in the middle of the night with a knife cutting her side … I gently grabed the knife and she passed out…. I layed her down on her bed and attended her cuts …. She woke up and screamed until she turned blue… Then she calmed down and we talked ….. She is turning away from God and getting Borfriends her dad dosent approve of…. I see her every Friday at a church event called FNL ( Friday Night Live) …. I really don’t know what to do anymore and I don’t wanna lose my best friend…. Please help me? Thank you! <3

June 29, 2012 at 8:19 am
(35) Denise Guide to Parenting Teens says:

Tell a trusted adult at your church.

August 7, 2012 at 4:19 am
(36) thekidstir says:

Idk what to do but i will say that im a 15 year old guy and im doing the exact same think with my mom and i will say forgiveness dose help but more than anything is finding a good youth group at a church helps and to take some alone time is a big help alone with hobbies to get away fron a broken home and a broken family untill she can get her filling back in order. You need to realize that were she is is supper strange and she is just wanting her family and home back and is desperately trying to get back to something familiar. It will be ok good luck and godbless

August 20, 2012 at 9:46 am
(37) cliff says:

I am a divorced Dad who cares about the children well being very much. I have not had the oppurtunity to speak with my teenage daughter in 2.5 years. Do you have any ideas on to connect and rebuild our relationship? I also have a court order to see her every Sunday. This has been in effect for over 5 months. My ex wife does not care about a court order and is not supportive. Any positive ideas? It is the best interest for the children to have relationship with both a mother and a Father.

Need ideas and support Thanks

December 11, 2012 at 11:44 am
(38) Frieda says:

Sorry, but I just don’t see HOW it’s beneficial for OUR boys (I was careful to use the “proper” pronoun) to be forced to spend time with the offending spouse, who has been a drunkard and adulterer. When the kids have witnessed his self-centered, bordering on mental illness type behavior for years in the home and have gradually lost ALL respect for him as a father. The time they spend with him is forced, awkward, superficial, shallow, pretentious, you-name-it. This is what my sons say, not me. I don’t obstruct visits, I just tell them I understand how they feel, but the courts, their father, and psychologists say they “need” to do this. I will never believe that he can teach them anything, offer them anything, because he spent the last 10 years of our marriage in self-absorbed alcoholic confusion — being absent and rendering himself unnecessary. Yes, HE was at fault…my only fault was trying to hold things together and juggle EVERYTHING. Don’t tell me I have to be “supportive” of his parenting now. Absolutely ridiculous.

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