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DD 13 in tears she had divorced parents, been 5 years since split

(26 Posts)
Igloo100 Wed 09-Jan-13 22:53:34

Not sure this is exactly the right board but not much traffic on more appropriate ones.

DD was odd when I picked her up, unusually quiet. I questioned a bit but she clearly wasn't up for talking and so I left it.
Went into her room just to find her in tears. She said she hates not having a normal family and feels like she isn't as good as her friends when they talk about their families.

I broke up with exH 5 years ago after he had a very long messy affair and got his now wife pregnant while still with me. DD was, as far as possible, kept out of the drama but he was pretty hopeless and left by disappearing one day without notice and not seeing her for a few weeks then not acknowledging what had happened to her but seeing her and pretending everything was wonderful. She emotionally broke down and had some counselling. Over time she stopped seeing her dad because their relationship became so poor. He tried for contact via court but was denied it, she was invovled in the court process via cafcass.

DD said today over and over she hates him and how he has ruined her life. Her eldest sister is at uni but brother is 16 and at home. Until now everything seemed fine, shes doing well at school, has great friends, lacks confidence but is generally fairly happy.
I told her there are lots of other girls, and named the ones I knew, who had divorced parents, she replied 'but they're dads not horrible'
I asked her if she wants to make contact with him and she said no.
We chatted a bit about what she wishes he was like and she described how her friends dad were and how they'd all compare things like how embarrassing or boring their dads were and she haed how they moan because they don't understand what its like not to have a dad. sad

We agreed she is going to talk to her best friend tomorrow and let her know how hard she finds it so hopefully her friend will help change the subject or let the others know to not talk about it in front of DD.

I think there is more to it though, I dont know how to help her. I don't know whether to talk to school or not. She said there is a teacher who she had spoken to about it today and the teacher had been comforting. I just can't tell if this is something that has been building up and she needs more help than she is letting on.
Sorry for long post!

Igloo100 Wed 09-Jan-13 22:54:05

O bum! title should say 'has'

Igloo100 Wed 09-Jan-13 22:56:21

their not they're - i'm tired!!

squeakytoy Wed 09-Jan-13 23:00:41

How well does she get on with her siblings? Do they have any contact with their father?

Sometimes older siblings can get through to a teen where a parent fails.

Igloo100 Wed 09-Jan-13 23:03:54

She gets on with her brother but they aren't close. They'll joke about together but not have a deep conversation. With her sister she looks up to her but they had very different experiences of the divorce because of age difference. They both share the same feelings about their dad though. I will suggest she talks to her sister, that's a good thought- thank you! Especially as her sister is at uni she can text/skype/email her which might be easier than talking face to face about feelings which is something she struggles with.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 23:04:52

I'm the proud owner of a lovely DS, similar age, who occasionally goes off the deep end, pulls together all the (real or imagined) horrible things in his life that he can think of and conclude that his life is 'rubbish'. He has a rant and a sob, we talk about it, and it seems to act like a pressure valve and then he's back to normal.

Your DD's got every right to be annoyed at a parent turning out to be a PITA and feel that she's missed out on something other kids take for granted. It's good that she can talk to you and express herself. Maybe this was her pressure valve moment?

Igloo100 Wed 09-Jan-13 23:16:24

This seems something more, she has those upset times but she brought up a fair number of issues aside just feeling a bit miserable. I know my DD and can tell theres a lot more up and sense she has been feeling upset for a bit of time. She is quite shy and the fact she went to a teacher is big warning bells for me.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 23:19:54

Was it prompted by a personal development or lifelong learning class at school? I find DS comes home from those sometimes in very thoughtful/philosophical mood. They often seem to talk about family, relationships etc.

Igloo100 Wed 09-Jan-13 23:24:50

She does have PSHE on wednesdays so possibly, she said it was lunchtime that her friends were discussing dads for the whole time and she just sat in silence trying not to cry sad I'm surprised they didn't notice.
She said it happens a lot. I was more concerned with her really low self-opinion saying she doesn't think she is as good as them and feels she is missing out. She said she doesn't know how to control her emotions once she thinks about her dad.

This is whats making me concerned, its not the usual teenage hormonal blip, it seems a lot more and like she has been feeling this way a long time for her to tell me and explain it so clearly.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 23:31:50

Sounds like she needs to meet him again and have a conversation. How long is it since they had any contact?

My parents divorced when I was eight but I didn't really feel effected until I hit adolescence, I think it was then that the mourning for my parents not being together kicked in.
Sounds like your daughter has had a very rough ride but it's good that she can talk to you.
My parents never were very approachable which made everything ten times harder for me.

Happymum22 Wed 09-Jan-13 23:37:46

Its been 2 years now. She is relutant to see him, when I ask her she comes across frightened of the thought. She has counselling during the time she saw him after the split and after contact was stopped. Since she ended counselling she has always had a very good understanding of it and until now been very positive that having her out of her life is HER choice and the right choice.

I think maybe now shes that bit older a whole new lot of confusion has come to her as shes more aware of others dads and what she is 'missing' as well as perhaps being more aware of what he did.
I'm not sure- guessing here completely.

Happymum22 Wed 09-Jan-13 23:39:47

Oops name change fail there! never mind..

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 09-Jan-13 23:46:26

Having known a few people who chose to drop contact with various appalling parents, my observation is that it's rarely a satisfactory solution. All of them seemed to end up needing (awful word alert) 'closure' for one reason or another. Unanswered questions mostly.

Igloo100 Wed 09-Jan-13 23:52:24

Um I'm just unsure how she can get (yes awful word but no alternative!) closure until she is prepared to see him. They have contact via him writing letters and sending presents xmas/bday but (to my knowledge) nothing more and she rarely replies except to thank him for gifts.
I am trying my best to make sure she knows I'm happy for her to see him and think it may be a good idea/needed.

I don't know if going back to a counsellor will help or blow the problem up. School are very good pastorally and I don't know how much they are aware other than DD being upset today.

I think if she is still having issues regarding it(who wouldn't really) then going back to a counsellor is entirely appropriate.

Kione Thu 10-Jan-13 07:58:09

My mum had a one night stand with my dad when he was on and off with his girlfriend, when she found out she was pregnant he was back on with gf and got married, so my mum didn't tell him anything. She wasn't very communicative at all so I grew up not talking about my dad at all, I envied kids with divorced parents, even if they where horrible, at least they knew who they where! not sure if this will help, but what I did wad talk a lot to my friends about it, we used to joke about ut when we where a bit older and the fact that she can talk to you is brilliant, I never had that and still turned up ok, although I am a bit rubbish at relationships... Age and hormones dont help, but if there is giod communication between you two and she can talk to friends and sister, that is a great support network and she will come stronger out of it.

Igloo100 Thu 10-Jan-13 12:33:25

Thanks for replies. DD was better this morning but still teary and a bit down. I sent her off to school and will see how she is tonight and discuss if she wants more professional help.
Has anyone had experience of good support for children of divorce/bad relationships with parents? I don't know where to go!

My 15yo DD has counselling at school from a TA who she has a good relationship with. DD loves her dad but has suffered emotional abuse especially since the split (I'm not there so he's turned on her instead). She is at boarding school for the rest of Y11, but I also checked out what was available locally and there is a youth counselling service as well. Try your GP practice or just look online, you may find something.

mummytime Thu 10-Jan-13 13:24:19

I think this is teenage angst.

Does the school have access or advice on counselling? At my DCs school I would phone the HOY and get her an appointment with the in-school counselling. If school can't help you (and it will be good if they at least know she seems anxious/stressed); then you could try your GP.

It may well be that it is something else which is underlying this, so please don't blame yourself at all. It could be: boy trouble, bullying, exam stress or just hormones; or whatever...

iamjustlurking Thu 10-Jan-13 13:54:13

I have DD's in the same situation and to be fair I don't think you can ever understand how it must feel for a child to be "let down" so badly by a parent.

I split up 9 years ago from their Dad he has continually hurt and rejected them DD1 cut contact 3 yrs ago DD2 just can't and keeps going back for more it's heartbreaking to watch.

They both find it so hard with friends and cousins having a real Dad, jealous I suppose and as DD2 says how can you explain to a friend who's Dad is their world and they his that you HATE yours not just I'm pissed off with him because he won't give me a lift but you HATE him.

I personally don't think it's teenage angst I think it is them realising what a failure someone who should love them unconditionally is.

I tried councilling with both DD's unfortunately there seems to be a void in suitable help, even when DD2 was anorexic and self harming. I suppose they just have to reach a point where they find a place to accept he will never be what they need him to be, but you will hold their hand all the way.

Igloo100 Thu 10-Jan-13 15:46:49

Had a look online and really struggling, there are lots of general youth counsellors but few specific for what DD needs.
She will be home soon so will chat with her but know there is a school counsellor so probably best bet.

I've noticed the big void too iamjustlurking, there are huge numbers of children in this situation but no real specialist help or support groups etc. There is a real need for someone to address this, there are lots of youth bereavement groups and eating disorder help but nothing specific to divorce and loss of relationship with a parent which I know so many are going through and so many suffer very badly from the experience. If they could be caught younger and supported I'm sure a big reduction in later problems as a consequence would be seen.

mummytime Thu 10-Jan-13 15:52:14

Most Youth Counsellors have lots of experience in counselling kids in this area, and the underlying issue may be something different from what she says.

Igloo100 Thu 10-Jan-13 16:20:44

DD got home just now and we had a chat. She said today was better but then got quite upset and said its so hard and she hates herself for not keeping her dad in her life but she hates him so much she doesn't want him. All sounded a bit muddled. I suggested the school counsellor and she said maybe and that she had talked to the ((i think) pastoral) teacher again today. She said she finds it too hard to talk to me as she doesn't want me to be upset.
I probed if it was anything else and she said her friends aren't being very nice at the moment and there was an argument about one girl leaving another out. So I think that is whats making her so emotional and bringing all this out
We left it that she would think about counselling at school and if she wanted it she will tell the teacher who seems to be giving her a lot of care.
So looks like we've worked out a plan. Thanks for help.

Mayisout Thu 10-Jan-13 18:54:07

she finds it too hard to talk to me as she doesn't want me to be upset
I def recognise this - my DF was an alcy and we DCs NEVER troubled DM about anything as we thought she already had such a horrid life with DF (now v much older and wiser realise DM didn't HAVE to stay with him).

But the upshot was we never discussed any upset or worry with DM, we were always 'fine'. When in fact we were v troubled DCs with an alcoholic DF.
So I feel you should reassure DD again and again that she can offload about anything to you and that you don't want her keeping secrets. Just offloading can make a mountain into a molehill.

tuffinmop Thu 10-Jan-13 22:32:13

I am 37, my dad has always been an emotionally distant pita and it still upsets me years and years after my teens. I even cry about it still. She is missing something lovely (a good relationship with a loving father) and she is allowed to feel upset.
Hard for you to witness though. Just tell her how much you love her and try to make your relationship as special as you can.

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