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DD and her Dad

(33 Posts)
NewNameNeededToday Wed 02-Dec-15 10:37:20

DDs dad and I have been split for about 8 years - and we've had 50:50 care since then - she's now 15.

Ex has always been close to his parents and wider family, and prefers socialising with them than anyone else, despite them being about two hours or more travelling time away. Weekends and school holidays that DD spends with him invariably involve him/DD spending time with them, either at their home or on joint/shared holidays - often leaving literally straight from the school gate on a Friday evening and returning the night before school restarts. He's also close to other family members with regular visits and Skype calls.

As DD has got older, shes become less happy with this; missing out on time with friends, and not getting any time to just 'chill' at home when she's with him. His family are quite full on - she doesn't get any time to herself when she's with them, as they schedule activities, trips and visits throughout, sit with her in her room, and ask who she's texting and what they're talking about. Even when his parents visit them at home, he tells her that she can't go out and see friends and she is expected to join in everything that is done - even though they see each other every few weeks.

He told her on the phone yesterday that when this term ends they would be leaving for a weekend visit to one set of relatives straight from school, then back for a couple of days before going off again for a week to his parents for Xmas (ex and I alternate who she spends Xmas with). They get back on NYE, when she comes to us.

This is the latest in a string of incidents, and shes finally had enough, and told him that she won't be going on the weekend trip straight after school ends. She was willing to call the relatives and let them know herself. His response is to not only blame her for the disappointment that will be experienced by the relatives who are expecting to see her, but also deduct the cost of the hotel room and travel tickets that he's already booked from her allowance. His position is that as she's only 15, he can make plans for her to see family, without discussing it with her first, and that she should do as he says. By refusing, he thinks that she should suffer the consequences, which includes the money being repaid by her.

Her position is that she is old enough to have her POV considered, and old enough to be trusted to consider all the factors before deciding whether to go or not.

I've mainly tried to stay out of the way he chooses to parent her in the past, but in this case, I'm fully supportive of her, and have been incredibly impressed with the way she has dealt with this so far. He said some hurtful things by text to her about how she was disappointing him and upsetting her family, but she had predicted how he would react and was able to stay calm and reasonable. But she's already aware that this is having an impact on her (she hardly slept last night after the conversations with her dad last night and she is worried about how she'll perform in a test today).

I'm worried that her Dad is pushing her away and their relationship will suffer. Thing is, I know he's not being malicious or deliberate. He's a totally devoted Dad, just a bit clueless. He is singleminded when it comes to his family and very judgemental of people who don't have the same close relationship.

mix56 Wed 02-Dec-15 10:59:40

She needs to speak again with him face to face. texting is crap when it comes to this kind of thing. I don't think you can get involved. Their relationship is between them, if your daughter is overdosing on his family, then they have to discuss it. & work it out with a compromise, otherwise, she will start backing off. I don't think there is anything you can do about it. You seem to think she is dealing well, let her do it.
re money. He's using the money as persuasion/blackmail, & is not a nice tactic.
He will may calm down after a while, & even apologise. He has to adjust to the fact that she is growing up & has her own ideas & increasing independence

OurBlanche Wed 02-Dec-15 11:01:42

How do you get on with him? Would he respond well to you telling him he needs to take a step back or she will get angrier and maybe not want to see him as much... and that she is now worrying over a test because of their argument?

He is being very short sighted if he thinks that 'fining' her for disagreeing with him will work out well. But I doubt he will be able to see it like that. But at 15 she could very easily choose to stop seeing him and ask to live with you more, maybe even cancelling his Christmas altogether. She is 15, she can probably be very stubborn especially as she is right, he really should be taking more notice of her views.

But, if you think he will just get angry with you, that any comment form you will just give him an excuse to ignore her point of view, just support her and let him get on with it.

NewNameNeededToday Wed 02-Dec-15 11:21:44

I did raise it with him a couple of years ago, and she's tried to explain it to him previously, but he doesn't seem to understand.

She said last night that she felt that until she actually said "no" to him it would just carry on, as he doesn't get it when she explains - she even compared the situation to that of her Aunt (ex's sister) who lives near to their parents and who often has arrangements made for her by their parents, even though she's in her late 40's!

And that's the problem, ex doesn't know any different. His parents did it to him and his sister (and still do), so he does it to DD. And because he doesn't mind, he doesn't understand why DD does.

DoreenLethal Wed 02-Dec-15 11:29:45

My line with this sort of thing is 'It is her holiday too and if she doesn't want to spend it running around from pillar to post then she is old enough to say so.'

AnyFucker Wed 02-Dec-15 11:35:55

She sounds like a mature 15 yo who knows her own mind

Isn't that what parenting strives to produce ?

My 15yo doesn't tag along to a lot of "family activities" that he did when he was younger and we don't force him to

Your ex is in the wrong here and yes, he is likely to push her further away if he persists in trying to control her

NewNameNeededToday Wed 02-Dec-15 11:42:41

I like that doreen, thanks - if he talks to me about it, I may well use it.

I suspect he'll disagree that she's "old enough" and also consider her "not wanting" as a character flaw/fault that he needs to correct.

AnyFucker Wed 02-Dec-15 11:43:25

Ugh

That doesn't sound like a great dad to me

AnyFucker Wed 02-Dec-15 11:45:27

I presume that controlling arrogance is part of the reason you are no longer together

Nice that he is moving it along to the next generation

I would help your dd stand her ground. I foresee more problems ahead if this is allowed to slide into him getting his own way.

NewNameNeededToday Wed 02-Dec-15 11:59:40

Thanks AF. It's less about controlling arrogance, and more a total lack of awareness that his misogynistic views are not universally shared. He genuinely doesn't realise that not everyone sees the world as he does.

I can't decide whether he socialises almost exclusively with his parents because they don't challenge his POV, or whether he has never had his POV challenged because he socialises exclusively with his parents.

Whichever it is, he is clearly willing to openly express his disappointment that his DD doesn't share his views.

After a particularly difficult week with her dad and grandparents at half term, DD has begun to realise exactly how far apart their views are from her own.

AnyFucker Wed 02-Dec-15 12:33:43

What a shame. And so preventable <shakes head>

KurriKurri Wed 02-Dec-15 12:54:09

I think that he has to start looking at what would be reasonable if you were all still living together as a family. From my own experience, by 15 teenagers start wanting to do their own thing, being with friends is much more important than family trips. I never expected mine to come on family outings at weekends if they didn't want to or had other plans. they are old enough to start planning their own activities and their own lives.

My XH expressed disappointment in his young adult children when they refused to be controlled by him, he now has zero relationship with them.
In a few years she will have absolute choice in whether she spends time with him and he might well find that if he forces the issue now, she will opt out in the future.

mix56 Wed 02-Dec-15 12:55:11

I am guessing he doesn't spend as much time with her as you do, he isn't used to her refusing as she has gone along in silence up until now to make him happy.
At 15 yrs old, he should start to discuss his plans, before booking a hotel.
She should say this to him to avoid repetitive clashes. Also she should say that this clash has upset her, & she hopes she didn't flunk her test because of it. He needs to know that stomping over her personality will have consequences.

cailindana Wed 02-Dec-15 12:57:02

How can a misogynist be a great dad to a girl??

NewNameNeededToday Wed 02-Dec-15 13:08:58

Good point, cailindana - as a toddler/younger DC he was excellent with her, but as she's become older, I suppose he's been less able to "overlook" the fact that she's a girl/young woman.

mix56 no, she hasn't been silent - there have been previous incidents when she's spoken up. In the past, he has made slight alterations to the plans which has in turn led to her agreeing - he tried that yesterday -saying he'd reschedule the trip so they left a bit later in the evening rather then straight after school, but she's adamant that she won't go, this time. From experience, I know that he just doesn't hear, or disregards, things that he doesn't agree with. He finds it hard to generalise - for instance, if she's said in the past that she'd prefer not to travel to her grandparents straight after school, he will view these latest arrangements as different because they're not going to grandparents, they're going to another relative.
Although her care has always been split 50:50, she has often been in the care of grandparents or her stepmum during "his" time, so you're right, he doesn't spend as much time with her as I do.

mix56 Wed 02-Dec-15 15:48:57

OK, that 's good & natural that an adolescent starts demanding her own schedule. I still suggest, that she tell him she wants to discuss what he plans from now on, as if she doesn't want to go, then she can arrange something else, either with or without him. Are there any step brother/ involved?

NewNameNeededToday Wed 02-Dec-15 18:29:07

No, there are no step or halfsiblings - a step-parent on both sides, though, and her relationship with her stepmum has become more strained over the last few months - apparently, DD's teenage attitude is causing her stepmum to relive painful memories of her own teenage years.

Both DD and I have asked her Dad in the past to consider/discuss things with her when he makes plans. He says he will, and I'm pretty sure he means it at the time, but he doesn't follow through. In some ways, this latest trip is unusual in that it's been planned only a few weeks ahead - he generally prefers to make long-term plans a year or more ahead, in order to accomodate his time off work, holiday bookings, etc.

PolarBearNecessity Sat 05-Dec-15 07:27:18

The lack of control, space and privacy sounds awful, not to mention exhausting.

The sad thing is that he cares about upsetting his family, but not about upsetting her.

Duckdeamon Sat 05-Dec-15 08:42:19

does she want to spend more time at yours?

NewNameNeededToday Sat 05-Dec-15 09:00:57

She texted me after they'd 'talked' last night - initially he was planning on grounding her so she'd miss the birthday outing she'd planned tomorrow, but when she told him that I'd said she could stay here instead of with him, he changed his mind!
The pre-Xmas weekend trip has been cancelled completely for all of them - she's going to have to help with household chores that weekend instead.

But, more concerningly, he told her that he's worried that they don't 'connect' as a family and that he's dropped his weekend hobbies so he can plan more family time.
I think he's left it too late - the last few years when he could have spent weekends with DD he's been too wrapped up in hobbies/work and now he's realised he's losing touch with her, she won't want to spend more time with him.

I'm going to see how she gets on over Xmas and then talk to her about whether the 50:50 is still working for her. She's very aware of her Dads feelings and knows he'll be upset if she decided to spend more time here - but equally, she realises that she's able to be herself here rather than with her dad.

PolarBearNecessity Sat 05-Dec-15 09:12:30

"She's very aware of her Dad's feelings and knows he'll be upset"

Whereas he clearly doesn't give a shiny shit about how she feels

Is he one of those who is repeating the same parenting because otherwise he might have to question it?

NewNameNeededToday Sat 05-Dec-15 09:26:29

Probably, polarbear.

There was a really unpleasant incident not long before we split where his dad was incredibly deregatory towards his mum in front of us (including DD) - I was fuming and ex was uncomfortable, but went on to behave in exactly the same way towards me (and his new DW, too).
Admitting that his parents aren't perfect is probably a step too far for him - they've spent the whole of his life reminding him of the sacrifices they've made for their DCs.

Just to complicate matters, the pre-Xmas visit they've cancelled wasn't to his biological family, it was to

NewNameNeededToday Sat 05-Dec-15 09:29:20

......sorry - posted to soon.

The planned trip wasn't to his biological family, it was too his ex in-laws; my parents, who he's maintained contact with since we split.

HPsauciness Sat 05-Dec-15 09:37:25

Very difficult, all I wanted to say is that this isn't just an issue where there are divorced families, my dad also had difficulty accepting I had grown up and also knew my own mind, this continues into several decades later! I agree with your approach which is to be quietly supportive of your very mature sounding girl.

DoreenLethal Sat 05-Dec-15 11:45:05

The pre-Xmas weekend trip has been cancelled completely for all of them - she's going to have to help with household chores that weekend instead

Is she now. How wonderful for her to have to do his chores for him.

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