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Estranged Relationship With My 16 Year Old Daughter

by Troy
(Bronx, NY)

Hello, My name is Troy. I have an estranged relationship with my 16 year old daughter. I haven't been in her life since she was very young because her mother and I separated for several years.

I've currently reconnected with my kids, and now my wife, their mom. My daughter now is defiant, disrespectful, sexually active, using drugs, a recent run-away, and is threatening suicide.

I really try to communicate with her by talking, writing letters, and family therapy. Anger management, parenting, and alcohol treatment have been requested by family court. I feel like I'm just being the father that I should've been in the past; her rebelliousness is making it impossible to accomplish this.

My wife and I just don't want her to become a teenage statistic like so many others that claim "Parents don't care or don't understand."

I am from 'the old school' of child-rearing if you understand my meaning, I think she's using these antics as a ploy, in hopes that her mom and I will separate again.

This has brought my wife and me closer together. It’s like she still doesn't want to accept the fact that I am her biological father and that I am back in her life for good.

I know that it will take time for her to grasp this concept, so far it’s been two years, going on three.

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Feb 28, 2016
No Control
by: Trevir

You may feel like you have no control over your daughter, and if you do that is a helpful reminder that in fact you don't have any control over her.

Really all you can do is try to reflect on what part of your own behavior may have contributed to her current state, accept responsibility and give a heartfelt apology for any negative influence you had on her, tell her you love her and are there for her, and then actually be there for her in each moment.

If she chooses to, she will respond to that in a way that is helpful for her. There will be times you want to tell her to obey the rules under your roof. You have to be very creative how you say that in order for her to choose to respond in a positive way that is helpful to her.

She is almost an adult now, so she really is the only person who decides how she will behave and respond to situations. She may be very hurt, or suffering mentally, and she probably needs an additional lifeline.

Is there someone else available to her to fill that need?

Feb 17, 2016
Your Process Sounds Good
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hi Troy - Thanks for telling your story here. I commend you for your efforts to heal your relationship with your daughter.

As you know, this could take some time, but you sound like the kind of man who will stay the course and continue with your current efforts.

Ultimately, your daughter's future is in her hands, but as long as you and your wife have the chance to influence her, it is good to do your best to help her correct her path.

I encourage you to consider getting a copy of one of our audio programs for helping parents with their teens, which you will find here. This will give you and your wife some further support and help for your process.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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