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Desperately seeking advice from this great group. BD disowned child.

Sunlover92's picture

When BD16  was 14 yrs old  she had a HUGE fight with BD(EX) and his wife. Problems had been building for over 6 months and finally exploded one night. This happened over 2 years ago and she has not been back to see her father and he has not reached out to her to try and mend anything. Up till 2 years ago BD16 was going over to BD's every other week with shared custody. EX and I also have BD13 that still goes over to EX's house every other week. When all this happened I reached out to my ex(not easy as we don't get along) to try and fix the broken relationship between older BD and my ex but he basically said the ball is in her court and she needs to apologize. Trying to get a teen to apologize first when they feel abandoned and hurt well good luck.  At this point I got the court involved as he and his wife was starting to talk negative about older BD to younger BD and I feared they would try and turn younger BD against older BD. In court my EX "acted" like he cared and wanted a relationship with older BD but my attorney said he only "played nice" because he had to infear the court would take younger BD away from him if he did not. The court recommended therapy for older BD and ex which he agreed but two years later he still has not done it and unless the court forces him to I guarantee it will never happen. Older BD will go to therapy she already said so.  Ex has not in two years called even on older BD's birthday. We all went to a sporting event for BD12 and both my EX and his wife walked right by older BD16 without even looking at her. My younger BD said they(EX and wife) sold all older BD's bedroom furniture and turned her bedroom into a gym/office. Older BD16 acts like she does not care but I know she does. Younger BD12 will come home from xmas from ex's with gifts or fun vacations and that has to hurt older BD16. I have so much anger towards my ex that he could just throw away his child. Should I try and get the court to force him to go to therapy with older BD to try and fix this? Would they even do that? As much as I hate my EX I still feel BD needs him. I fear if this does not get fixed before she turns 18 it may never get resolved. Advice? Suggestions?

justmakingthebest's picture

I think your ex is acting like a child. He is acting on the same level as his teen daughter. Teenagers say stupid things and regret it later- one of the reasons they can't be tried as adults in court- their brains aren't fully functioning! 

I think you made a huge mistake by not kicking her out of the car at her father's and letting them work it out at his house 2 years ago. Before going back to court, start taking your daughter to counseling. Maybe they can come up wtih a plan where SD invites her dad to the counseling sessions. I agree that she needs her dad in her life. This has gone on too long. 

hereiam's picture

I would have to wonder what went on to cause this kind of treatment by her father. It was either very serious or he is an ass.

Do you know what happened? I take it that your daughter has not reached out to him, either?


notasm3's picture

No way to assess this without knowing what the blow up was about.  If your daughter did something really horrible like physically attacking an adult, a child or a pet or if she destroyed things , brought drugs into their home than she should not just be let off since 2 years have passed. 

Not saying she did anything at that level -  but it does make a difference what it was. 

Sunlover92's picture

This is my BD but Im a SM too. Older BD is in therapy and her dad has been invited to join but he refuses. Like I said unless the court orders it he's not going to do it. Older BD has been diagnosed with Oppositional defiant disorder by her psychiatrist so I know she's difficult. That night she stole money to buy or at least try to buy cigarettes and when they caught her she started yelling and swearing at them. Yes she was wrong but she was only 14 years old and a very troubled sad teen. I would like her father in her life as I feel she needs him. I would like him to go to therapy with her to find out WHY she did what she did. I'm remarried and moved on but she still needs her dad. Like all mothers I just want to see all my children happy.

justmakingthebest's picture

I hate to say it but if they have tried to get him to join counseling and he refuses, you have your answer. He doesn't want her. As horrible as it is, those are the facts. You are 100% sure that the counselor and your daughter have tried to get him into counseling? Like together made a phone call in his/her office and asked him to meet them the following week? 

Sunlover92's picture

My daughter has not contacted her father in two years but the court STRONGLY recommended it and forensic psychiatrist did. He agreed but only because we were in court. He dragged his feet and then court was over and he never went.

justmakingthebest's picture

To me this seems simple. You tell your daughter to pick up the phone and call her father and ask him politely to join her at the counselor's at the next appointment. When she says NO, you say fine, you lose privileges for X Y Z until you do. If he refuses to show up, your daughter can work on that with her therapist, but if she doesn't ask you won't ever know. BE THE BOSS OF YOUR HOUSE. Don't let a teenager make this decision, you have let this go on for far too long. 

ESMOD's picture

This may not have been the only incident in their home.. but it obviously was the last.  I don't know if they have other children in the home but if they do then I am guessing that your EX and his wife also owe it to them to have a safe and drama free household.

Honestly, I think that one of the things that is causing a continued problem is that your daughter never apologized for her actions.  I'm sorry.. but don't play the "injured puppy" card with her.  She was acting out of control.. stealing, lying and who knows what else.  She has problems... a disorder, but she needs to own her actions and her therapy should insist that she apologize for those things she has done that were wrong.  Your Ex is being stubborn on this.. but again, if she was potentially abusive or violent in their home... especially if other children were present.. then he is probably not too out of line to insist on an apology from her to start the ball rolling.

If she cannot at least give a sincere apology for her horrible actions.. I can see him thinking that therapy for them both would be pointless.  If she wants a relationship.. she will need to apologize.

As to how a dad can turn his back on her?  Well if she was acting out of control and dangerous...I can see how that might come out as a result.


CompletelyPuzzled's picture

This is very difficult to have an opinion on, as my DH is in a similar predicament. My SD15 was living with us full-time about 3 years ago. She went off the rails, cussing, hitting and throwing things at me and DH. She even attacked her other siblings in the house. DH tried to get her help: counseling, medication and even tried to have her committed after she started making scary threats. But in the background, we had BM and GBM instigating it and doing whatever they could to keep it going. It all culminated when she caused serious physical harm to her sister and then looked my DH in the face and told him she was going to say he sexually abused her. She actually told him that she hoped he'd die. This was not said in anger but in a calm moment. He finally let her go back to her mom's house. He worked with the courts to force her in counseling and he goes with her several times a year. But he has reached out to her outside counseling and she refuses to meet him halfway.  After over a year of her refusing, the counselor suggested DH back away while she gets the help she needs. He has let her know the door is open but nothing in response.  


I am not saying your situation is the same but teenagers can say some very hurtful things. Do you know what was said? Has your daughter reached out to her father? Have you encouraged her too? I ask all this because these situations dont always come about just because tge dad is childish or a jerk. Even teenagers know that words can hurt. I think you may want to have your daughter reach out to her father. If she wont, then you have bigger problems than just her dad refusing to see her.

Sunlover92's picture

Wow sorry you are going though all this. No its not this bad. BD has not reached out yet and acts like she does not care but her therapist says its a "defense mechanism" to protect her from rejection. She cares as I see the sadness in her eyes when younger BD talks about thier dad. Her therapist also asked her if she would agree to she her dad in therapy and she said yes. If her dad reached out to her I know she would accept BUT she wants him to make the first move.

lieutenant_dad's picture

So they are both being stubborn.

My guess is that Dad feels his daughter owes him and his wife an apology. I don't disagree. Would it really be that hard for your BD to offer a sincere apology to them?

My SSis has several mental health issues and has caused YEARS of suffering for my family. She has nevet once apologized, but wants everyone to pretend like her behavior was okay because she is "sick". It doesn't work that way. You don't get to start treatment and improve yourself, then expect everyone else to fall in line. 

It hurts my SSis that she gets excluded while my SBro is included. However, my SBro has never stolen from any of us. Hasn't lied (in any significant way, at least). Has always been respectful. Has always apologized when he effed up. His presence and actions don't cause our home to be unhealthy, anxiety-ridden, and chaotic. My SSis presence within the family causes issues, and if your daughter has ODD, her presence does as well.

Now, I don't agree with Dad pulling himself entirely out of his BD's life, but your BD is going to have to take the first step so your ex doesn't feel like he is putting his family in danger/chaos again.

fakemommy's picture

I'll be honest and say that I don't think your daughter is being fair toward her father. Yes, he's the adult and she was "only" 14, but what she did was on the verge of if not directly violent. She violated their trust and if she's ODD, then I'd guess this was the last straw. It would be hard to reach out to your child to mend the relationship if you don't believe they are sorry or willing to change. For us, this would mean she sends a text or calls explaining that she knows what she did was wrong, she's working on herself and would like to work on her relationship with him, even if that relationship were strictly outside her home. 

I don't know if your ex or his wife have other kids, but I would not want your daughter around my children if I were them. At some point you have to think about the greater good of the family, not just focus on one person, and I'm sure before this incident, there was a lot of focus on your daughter's bad behavior. 

If you want them to havea relationship, you should encourage your daughter to take personal responsibility for her actions and attempt to show her father and SM that's she's willing to put in the work to make it up to them and to prove to them that she wants to be different. This doesn't mean she doesn't express to her father her feelings of abandonment once they do start to mend, but she's the one who broke their trust and I'm sure hurt them both very much. 

Indigo's picture

I would suggest making the approach to her father and his wife in the presence of DD's counselor. Skype, text, email, e-card, whatever.  Proportionately, DD's disassociation from her father is significant.  Two years to adults is not the same as two years to teen girls. 

DD sounds as if she was a major PIA.  ODD plus whatever alphabet jargon you choose. Living with a troubled youngster is excrutiating.  You've moved on. Ex-DH moved on. DD sounds as if she was left behind.  DD needs an adult, responsible, sober male in her life.

I am suggesting that ANY intentional contact between DD and her father include her counselor. Whatever led your family past/present to this place could use some professional perspective.  Ex-DH likely doesn't want to join some kumbaya counseling session chosen by his Ex-DW & DD where he will be bashed upside the head for his failures as a parent and for his sucky choice of SM.  Got it.

An outside counselor that perhaps Ex-DH chooses may produce better results.  It isn't all the parents and it isn't all the teen, but what they've been doing is not working.  I've learned that having a 3rd party involved in a conversation to clear the air in town or out of state may sound intimidating but be effective over time.

zerostepdrama's picture

Since he has refused counseling and hasn't reached out to her.

My DH and MSD haven't spoke in 2+ years. This comes after MSD put her hands on me during a verbal discussion that turned bad.

I do think that DH and MSD should have resolved the issue between them by now. MSD is mad that DH is with me and didn't defend her and DH is mad about her behavior and the fact that she hasn't apologized to me.

I think MSD was 20 when this happened.

As much of a relief it is to not have to worry about MSD and her behavior affecting our home I think DH and MSD should have had a discussion over what happened and tried to work it out for themselves and their relationship. They were very close before this happened.

DH has not seen his grandson in over 2 years. He has not met his new granddaughter. I worry that down the road he will regret it.

Ideally MSD should apologize but that is never going to happen either out of pride or because she doesn't think she did anything wrong. As a parent I couldn't imagine having this unresolved issue with my child.

Steppedonnomore's picture

I'm sorry your BD is going through this.  When my BD was 13 she got into some serious trouble and her dad told her that he no longer had a daughter.  I knew at that moment that my life would be hell because she was going to see if there was anything she could do that would make me say those words.  BD is now in her 30's and has a very superficial relationship with her dad.  BD has had lots of counselling, but the minute they start to delve into her relationship with her dad, she stops. Even now, she holds out hope that one day he will initiate a father/daughter relationship with her.  It may happen on his death bed, but I doubt it.  He has 5 children and doesn't really have much of a relationship with any of them.  Even if you were able to force your ex into counselling, it won't help if he doesn't want it.

Thumper's picture

OP, let me understand this.

YOU got the court involved because dad and daughter were on the outs.

Wow I sure hope you were able to get more support out of him. You did, right?




Loxy's picture

As sad as it is for your BD, I don't think there is anything you can do about it. Any reconciliation will only happen if there is a genuine desire on both sides to work through the problems and that clearly is not the case with your ex so going back to court is a waste of time. All you can do is focus on your BD and help her to deal with the rejection.

Thumper's picture

You asked for advise, and I will give you advise. I am a Mother, a SM and a Grandmother. MY one adult bio is married to a wonderful wonderful person.

THIS is between your nearly grown daughter and her father.  You do realize that in most jurisdictions at age 14 a child....A child has input into where he/she lives. THAT is huge but mommy and daddy stick there kids (mostly mothers) under the bus and want them to pick one or the other. "I"AM the best wonderful parent".

By age 15 in many states kids get their drivers permit. THAT is really huge. I don't know about you but hey, I don't want a 15, 16 year old driving a several ton car around around me.  Parents toss little Johnny the car keys to a new or used car because the teen wants one. By age 16 they can get a job, go to the doctors and get bitcoin in some jurisdictions. Imagine that.

Those are adult, very adult actions don't you think? BUT gosh forbid a parent and teen get into a kafullel  especially a divorced situation and POOF the parent is hauled back into court. Deemed a bad man. 

A great mom would tell her daughter she better get it together and admit her poor behavior to dad, say she is sorry and PROVE to him she means it by actions. 

I tell you this because my one bio was really mad at my ex---I MADE her fix it.  And no, I didn't go into court. I didn't need to...because I was her parent. THAT is called having integrity, good character.

I suspect there is more to this story. 

Hope it works out. GoodLuck.

My advise is to stay out of it.....your teen is almost an adult. I bet she has a cell, and key to the car. IF you gave her this much adulting --then let her handle this too. YOU have responsiblity to make sure she has the tools to reach out to dad, take him to lunch and fix it. You are in that important role. You have full custody right?....Look at what the court consider when they give full custody. Act on it and make it right.

beebeel's picture

If your daughter isn't in individual therapy to manage her ODD, family therapy with dad is going to accomplish squat. This environmentally caused disorder will affect ALL of her relationships going forward and will doom her for life if you don't get a handle on it now. Stop worrying about your ex and start parenting your daughter. Although at 16, you should have started parenting her in 2004.

My DH and I started having problems with my SD when she turned 13. Before a full year was up, we had the police to our house a half dozen times, false abuse allegations filed with the county, and two hospitilization for suicidal threats. My Sd, after lying to everyone about everything, causing us countless sleepless nights and costing us thousands of dollars, announced she would no longer be coming to her father's house. This was a year and a half ago. Geez, how peaceful our home has been! And yes, like your kid, she is telling all that her dad "abandoned" her. Her worthless mother also allowed a CHILD to decide to stop seeing her dad, as you have done.

If you really "want her to have a relationship with her dad" as you claim, you would have never allowed her to stop visitation with him. You seem more concerned about controlloing him through the courts and therapists than you are with your daughters relationship with him.

Ispofacto's picture

In real life, when you poop on people, guess what?  They don't want a relationship with you anymore.  Life lesson.  My  SD is learning it right now too.  You get fired, go to jail, get divorced, get arrested.  That's what happens.

Tell the little B to apologize.  

Cover1W's picture

My DH just told SD14 that if she really hates it at our home so much to leave. She's been very horrible lately (I blame both parents) and refuses to come out of her room, participate in any activity, or eat with us. After the latest blow up, DH has had it. But the biggest issue as I see it, aside from DH not parenting, is that BM allows her to leave. Which doesn't help anything as now they have zero chance to talk. I don't trust that BM doesn't have ulterior motives either.

If SD14 stole and had ODD, and I've had to lock things up before, besides being totally entitled and rude (I have disengaged) then I would have concerns having her in the home. Likely there was more going on than you know about.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

Do you want your daughter to be a person of integrity and good character? 

Then show her that you find stealing from ANYONE unacceptable. You have more power than anyone else in the equation. Hold her accountable. Stop hiding behind the courts and therapists and disorders. Take hold of your daughter's ear, drag her to your ex's house, and make her apologize for her transgressions. You'll be doing your daughter and society a big favor.

Curious Georgetta's picture

The dad if he is an active and effective parent should have as much control over his daughter as does his ex wife. Neither should have to rely on the other to"fix" things in their respective household.

The mom should not have to "fix" the daughter 'd relationship with her dad that is the responsibility of the dad. Both father and daughter are acting in a very childish manner, but only one of them is a child.

The dad's refusal to participate in therapy speaks volumes about his level of maturity. The daughter may simply be following the behavior that her dad is modeling.

The daughter is old enough to know when an apology is called for; the dad is too old to behave in such an immature manner.

Sadly, the daughter is the one  most likely to suffer from the lack of a relationship with her father  Many adults seem all to  capable of moving on from their children as though they were just a completed chapter in another life.  Many adults grow old without ever having grown up. That seems to be the situation with your daughter 's father.

Please see that your daughter continues in therapy. You want her to learn to own her behavior. You do not want her to become an inflexible and stunted adult like her father.

Whatever occurred in her father's home, there is no excuse for his refusal to take part in therapy with his daughter.  He can be angered and disappointed by her behavior and with some or much justification, but that is not a reason to avoid seeking an effective solution.

Perhaps he is as incapable of owning his role in the deterioration of his relationship with his daughter as your daughter appears to be of owning her responsibility in the deterioration of the relationship.Your daughter is young and capable of maturing and growing.  Her dad may not have that same capacity.  

You cannot fix either of them ,but you can get the help for your daughter that she obviously needs 


still learning's picture

I feel for you and understand how hard it is to see your child hurting because of the actions of a bio parent.  exH was stealing money from bd22 and then grabbed her by the hair and threw her out of their home while she was attending school. In one day her life was turned upside down and the relationship w/her father completely severed.  exH then turned the entire side of his family against her and I even got a call from exMIL telling me how sad it was but "That's just how dd22 is."  

Like you I was always trying to facilitate and fix the relationship between the kids and their father because they *need* their father right? I've finally learned that any relationship or lack therof is between parent and child is solely between them I can't do a d@mn thing about it. I can get out of the way and let it happen but little else.  dd22 and her father have not spoken for several months even though he lives five minutes away from her.  

It's too bad that your BD16's father has chosen to sever ties with his minor child rather try to mend things through therapy. 16 is a rough age, I know. I went through YEARS of rough patches with my own daughter but there is no way in h*ll that I would ever turn my back on her.  In your case since exH has turned his back on dd and basically disowned her I would have the CO modified to full custody with you and visitation with him with the condition that he completes his court ordered counseling.  You can't force her father to have a relationship w/her but you can get the CO changed and child support modified to reflect the new custody situation. 

Hopefully someone else can step up and be a fatherly figure to dd16, a grandpa, uncle, stepdad.  Make sure she channels her anger and hurt into a positive activity.  I'm sorry, but riding in on your white horse will not fix the issues between bd and her father. Stay out of it and do all you can on your end for her. 

Old sm's picture

She was stealing at his house and he refuses to have anything to do with her until she apologizes, correct? Frankly, I’m with him on this. I’m sure there’s more issues that what you’ve related and that was the final straw.  I’m old fashioned and really tired of these politically correct labels. Personally I think this ODD is just an excuse for crappy parenting and overindulged kids. But that’s an old woman talking

NakedBee00's picture

Now we don't know all the details BUT I don't feel its BM's responsibility to fix this. We Steps need to remember just like how there are evil Bio's(like mine) there are evil Steps too. I think because we here deal with the  worse of the worst meaning the bios and Step brats we immediately attack the BM and Step kid and think the steps are always the innocent bystander. If I step back from MINE situation and look at this situation I see a BM concerned about the emotional welfare of her child. Yes BD had some sort of argument but by the sound of it there is no real proof she stole any money since they did not actually catch her in the act. Regardless if every parent disowned their teen for taking money or being rude there would be lots of homeless kids. Yes she needs punishment BUT one would think the father would want to go to therapy to find out why BD has been acting out and fix the relationship. Sounds like BD is willing to go to therapy with BDad so why won't he meet her half way?  Maybe in therapy BDad would find out why BD has been acting out? Maybe he knows he won't like the answer?  I agree with other posters that there was other "issues" at BDad's house and my take on this is BDad, SM or both used this last outburst as a reason to get rid of BD for good. BDad just gave up to easy.

still learning's picture

"if every parent disowned their teen for taking money or being rude there would be lots of homeless kids."

Seriously, I would have disowned all of my kids by now.  All of them have been rotten maniacs at one time or another. I get that the SM wants to wash her hands of the situation and disengage and she has every right to do that, but dad still has legal responsibilites toward his minor child.  Kinda dumb to disown your minor kid for stealing money because the courts will adjust custody time and give BM more money.  

Ispofacto's picture

What we didn't hear is BM's willingness to issue consequences for the ODD behavior.  When XH and I had problems with one of our kids, we BOTH came down on him/her.  This BM is feeling sorry for the child, which is what a manipulative child like this is striving for. The BM's willingness to get the court involved to force BD's compliance is a huge red flag. Chances are this child has been problematic in many ways, and the BM is enabling her.  ODD children need consequences.