Deadbeat Dad

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Deadbeat Dad

My daughter has always been respectful, well-mannered, and obedient. Lately, she's been missing her dad (he lives in Florida with his new family) and she's been acting out. She's been getting snooty with me.

This past Friday I told her she couldn't go to practice (she's in track), but she went anyway. She didn't get home until 10 p.m. I was terrified, I called her and she wouldn't answer, I texted her, but she wouldn't respond. When she got home she was acting as if nothing was wrong.

The next morning she wrote me a letter, but didn't actually apologize, it was like I feel bad, but it felt good and I'm tired of being a good girl.

When we sat down and talked about what's bothering her, she said that she misses her dad. She's feeling bad because all he talks about is her brothers and sister. He's like the perfect dad to his other children and he says it in front of her. He doesn't acknowledge her accomplishments. Whatever she does doesn't seem to please him.

Now she's lashing out at me, like it's my fault and I don't know what to do. I don't know what to tell her because she's really hurt. I know that she doesn't really mean to be this way.

How can I help her to feel better? Not to be so angry. How can I teach her to direct the anger to the cause? How do I balance being there for her, but at the same time let her know that it's not all right for her to disrespect me?


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May 11, 2010
Write her a response letter
by: Anonymous

I think the fact that your daughter took the time to write you a letter about what happened says a lot. Why don't you write her a response letter, even though you guys have already talked.

I like to write letters, because it is an outlet for the writer. You get to specifically explain how you feel. You can think about what to say and exactly how to say it. It's a one way street at that moment with no interruptions. And when you are done, it will be something your daughter can keep.
She might want to read it several times, or tuck it away somewhere and read it again later.

Face to face contact with your daughter is, of course, important, but from time to time writing her a letter expressing your feelings about her and your relationship and/or any issues you guys may be facing, I think will mean a lot to her.

And all of the things you said in your post, say those in your letter to her. Tell her how it made you feel for her to disobey you and not come home until 10pm. Reassure her that you are her soft place to fall no matter what. Tell her that you can't fix every messed up or wrong thing that comes her way in life-no matter how much you would like to-but that you are her number one fan and together y'all can figure out how to get through every messed up thing in her life. Tell her there are ways around or through every obstacle if she is willing to push forward.

As far as her dad, same advice: you, nor her, can control his actions or choose his words. We are only in control of our own reactions, choice of words, etc.

Encourage her to write him a letter. She should tell him exactly what he does to make her feel bad. It would do her good to get it off her chest and say it to him. Prepare her for the possibilities that he may not respond or may respond defensively. Tell her either scenario, you have her back.

She can breathe easier after she is honest with herself and her dad and communicates her thoughts to him in the letter. And you will be fostering a great life skill for her at a young age: communicating her needs. Good Luck:-)

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