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It's not up to me to fix this

(29 Posts)
17leftfeet Tue 11-Feb-14 00:53:53

Wasn't sure whether to put this here or lone parents

Dd is 13 and has fallen out with her dad -well he's fallen out with her and now the feeling is mutual

He picked her up for his contact weekend and within a couple of hours had brought her back

We talked, I told him he needed to build bridges and figure out how to move forward as I saw a hurt, angry child -he saw a spoilt brat

I also spoke to her and was told that he treats her like a child eg sending her to bed at 8.30 on Saturdays and expecting her up at 8am despite not having plans for the day, they always either sit around watching his choice of tv or do her little sister's choice of activity like visiting a children's museum or going swimming, he never has any food she likes, she can't see her friends etc

I suggested that rather than a full weekend he took the pressure off and just had her for the day and asked what she wanted to do -she's not overly keen about staying at his as its 15 miles, she can't make her way from his to meet her friends, he has no Internet and lives in a 2 up 2 down with no garden and she shares a 6ftx8ft room with her sister when there and finds the whole thing claustrophobic
He said he would take her shopping which he did, that lasted 45 minutes before he brought her back saying she wasn't being appreciative and he had tried to talk to her but she didn't want to know and he couldn't deal with her

He had made no contact with her for the 2 weeks between the 2 contact weekends

Another 2 weeks go by with no contact from him

Contact weekend comes round again and she says she doesn't want to go, he says fine and just took her sister

He's rung me tonight and said he's planning to take them both to visit family 300 miles away at Easter and I better get her used to the idea

Surely it's him that needs to be talking to her?

If he can't cope with her for 45 minutes then how on earth does he think a 300 mile journey and 4 nights with 3 of them sharing a room is going to be ok?
In the last 6 weeks he's spent less than 3 hours with her where he's accused her of being depressed, antisocial, a lost cause and living in a fantasy world

She's 13 and yes can be moody but she's growing up and into her own person. She's passionate, articulate, has a fantastic sense of humour and is doing brilliantly at school -I don't know the child he's describing -yet he expects me to fix this

Sorry this is so long but he was EA towards me, our daughter is a lot stronger than me in someways and I think she's seen through him and I'm not prepared to force her to see him

This is so hard!

2Retts Tue 11-Feb-14 01:01:58

As your title suggests, it's not up to you to fix this.

Your relationship with your DD is just fine apparently. Give her time to process the prospect of travelling with him to visit family at Easter and do what you can to accommodate her wishes, should she decline or accept.

i.e. It's ok to choose. We'll have fun if you decline. You'll have fun if you accept...but you'll have to understand, it's a choice to have fun (IYSWIM)

It does look a lot like you'll have to do a lot of his emotional legwork if you are invested in ensuring she maintains a relationship with him; it's just the way it is in such situations.

Protect your relationship with her so she knows she has a true ally. Good luck 17leftfeet.

MillyBlodyn Tue 11-Feb-14 01:14:19

I would second giving her the choice. Its such a long way to go with a dad who is being difficult. If she wants to come home and is distraught then you will want to drive to get her wont you.

17leftfeet Tue 11-Feb-14 01:15:40

I do worry about damaging my relationship with her by keeping trying to persuade her to see her dad, she has made her feelings perfectly clear and every time he's mentioned you can almost see her walls go up

I want her to be able to trust me -I told her dad wanted things to be better before they went shopping and it wasn't so I feel like I let her down there

2Retts Tue 11-Feb-14 01:19:42

Don't be worrying about damaging your relationship with her. Be her ally.

Don't try to persuade her one way or another.

Present her with the options and try to put a positive spin on each option (as much as you can), and then let her make her choice...then SIMPLY SUPPORT HER.

She will truly appreciate knowing that somebody is listening to her and hearing her.

17leftfeet Tue 11-Feb-14 01:21:32

milly I couldn't physically drive 300 miles in one day, I have a health condition which means I tire edit, it wouldn't be safe for me to make that journey sad

2Retts Tue 11-Feb-14 01:23:31

Just make sure that she knows this then...you make your decision and that is it for the Easter weekend. She will understand and will learn to take responsibility for her own choices if you let her have the choice now.

17leftfeet Tue 11-Feb-14 01:26:02

I already know what her choice will be sad

2Retts Tue 11-Feb-14 01:29:39

Oh 17leftfeet, you sound so resigned.

If you take the time to walk her through all the consequences of her choices and let her know that there is no 'out' on this occasion, I wonder if she would decide to go?

Even if she did, perhaps her relationship with the IL's is greater than her relationship with him. Don't take it as a judgement call. Just let her know that if she decides to commit to it, she has to commit to it. It's only a few days after all and she can reflect with you when she comes back...as her true ally x

sykadelic15 Tue 11-Feb-14 01:48:43

I'll probably get flamed for my opinion but, to be fair, a lot of what you said IS her being spoilt a spoilt brat. Doesn't like having a small room to share? No internet? Having to get up at 8am even though there are no plans? Having to go to bed at an early hour? Can't see her friends? Doesn't have food she "likes"? It's for a COUPLE of days.. it's not for eternity.

She is being disrespectful to her dad and you're letting her because life with you is different and also probably because you're allowing her to project your feelings of him onto him. If the situation were reversed and HIS house was bigger and he had the fun house you'd be on here upset that he's turning her into a spoilt brat and she doesn't appreciate XYZ.

I'm sorry but while it isn't your job to "fix" it is IS your job to teach her respect and remind her that life isn't always perfect. She's healthy. She's warm. She just isn't happy because she can't do her own thing... It's not "ruining her life" and is instead a growing experience. Yeah it sucks right now but she only has a couple of years left then the rest of her life to ignore him if she wants.

Change the routine sure, but she DOES need to adjust her attitude when it comes to her dad. If he were being abusive it would be different. She can bite her tongue for a day or two or simply stand up to him, respectfully.

2Retts Tue 11-Feb-14 02:20:54

I don't disagree with you skyadelic15...but I do think it is a process...taking a young teen through the thought process of consequence and taking responsibility for said decision made.

They still need to know that at least one person is solidly on their side.

Sparks1007 Tue 11-Feb-14 02:31:04

"Ally" sounds like a strange word to me here.

Is there a reason why they can't/won't use phone/email/skype to keep in touch between visits. It sounds like little tiny doses of each other might help build bridges without the pressure of being lumbered with each others company for hours on end.

17leftfeet Tue 11-Feb-14 07:22:48

syk
Unfortunately I can't be 100% sure he's not being emotionally abusive to her

I appreciate why it sounds like she is being a spoilt brat but when I say food she doesn't like, it's all food her sister likes, the bedroom is decorated how her sister wanted it, the places they visit are where her sister wants to go -there is a pattern and its always been like that which is part of the reason I found the strength to leave him

I try to treat them fairly, they know that they might not like every meal, every tv show etc because in a family you compromise -this is a bit more than different house, different rules
She asked if they could have rice instead of chips one night and got told it was too much 'faff'

And I don't live in a big house but they do have their own space

The reason they don't speak in the 2 weeks is because he chooses not to

We have no formal contact agreement, I've offered him more contact he's not interested, he doesn't come to parents evenings, school plays etc even though I tell him about every one

akawisey Tue 11-Feb-14 07:58:07

Sorry but I think he sounds like an arse and she knows it. And if you think for one second that he's being EA toward her (and from your posts I think he is) I wouldn't encourage contact. She is old enough to make her own decisions about seeing him so don't make her.

Lweji Tue 11-Feb-14 08:10:05

At 13 it's not likely that a court would order contact, so just leave her and him to it. Let him do the work and support her emotionally.

I have a similar problem with my 9 year old ATM, but there is no way I'll force him to put up with an emotionally abusive gaslighting father.
All I'm doing is giving ex tips on how to approach DS and convince DS to talk to him again. His choice to follow them or to keep being a twat.

Lweji Tue 11-Feb-14 08:13:35

I disagree with sykadelic, because as much as a brat a 13 year old could be, I wouldn't take her back my child to the other parent just because she was acting like a brat. I'd try to deal with it, as I would with a resident child that I couldn't send back to the shop.
That's the worst behaviour I see in him.

Lweji Tue 11-Feb-14 08:14:21

And cutting contact with her too. I wonder who the child is.

Bitofkipper Tue 11-Feb-14 08:59:36

She sounds like a normal clued up thirteen year old to me. Why would she want to spend precious weekends with a domineering boring father who favours her sister. I'm with her.

He needs to raise his game considerably.

BrunoBrookesDinedAlone Tue 11-Feb-14 09:12:06

One of my main worries would be that actually, he'll end up being fine with no contact with her... And will concentrate instead on building an equally abusive 'you and me against your horrid mum and sister' with your younger DD. Take care this doesn't jeopardise their relationship too OP. I'd be stating clearly that the favouritism isn't in either if their best interests and saying both or none to contact long term unless he's willing to put in a lot of work with your older DD. If he does, and she still doesn't want to see him, then fair enough.

My DD is nearly 13 and she would hate the situation you describe at her Dad's house unless there was a loving adult there to interact with her. And if there was a loving adult there, they would be trying to find ways to interest her, even going out for a walk etc.; it sounds like being locked away for 48 hours. Syk where did the OP say her child wasn't respectful? Would you treat an adult like her Dad's treated her?! I hate it when adults start on about "respect" - you usually find they are the ones who haven't earned any. You sound like a great mum OP, and I agree with other posters saying let her choose.

PottedPlant Tue 11-Feb-14 14:04:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ThinkFirst Tue 11-Feb-14 14:20:24

Do you know exactly what he meant when he said she wasn't being appreciative when he took her shopping? Sounds like he totally favours her little sister and expects her to be extremely grateful when he actually pays her some attention once in a blue moon. I'm not suprised she's not happy with him.

Why on earth should you alone be dealing with problems that are most likely caused by him? He should be the one trying to fix his relationship with her, not you, it's not like you're causing it or encouraging her attitude to her father.

From what you've written, I'm not suprised she's been moody around him, she's bored stiff and feeling neglected while her sister gets all the attention. This situation isn't healthy for either her or her sister, one being favouritized to the detriment of the other, neither DD should have to be in that position.

I'd let your DD decide if she wants to go on the trip with her dad, and I'd consider stopping contact with both DDs until he realises that he can't treat either of them that way, it's bad for both of them.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 11-Feb-14 14:32:55

She has only one dad and he is finding a teen hard to fathom, rather begs the question how does he think you cope the rest of the year? Spoilt brat or adult unwilling to bend a bit and apply some thought and effort, I reckon the latter. A bit of divide and rule going on here, how can it not affect the sibling relationship too.

17leftfeet Tue 11-Feb-14 16:23:58

He sends them both to bed at 8.30 because he likes some wind down time before he goes to bed around 10

Dd2 is 10 so no problem for her even though I let her stay up a bit later, 8.30 is not unreasonable

He's not explained what unappreciative meant when they went shopping but I can't imagine the conversation was flowing but she had made an effort getting ready and wanted to go

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