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Long Term Effects of Forcing 15 year old to Live with you

klthornton72's picture

Hi all,

I posted previously in this forum about my boyfriends daughter.  He was awarded temporary custody (until final hearing in May).  She was living with her mom in Florida and we live in Indiana.  Boyfriend was awarded temporary custody because daughter refused to do her one week visits with him.  Daughter is 15 and does online school.  she has severe social anxiety and has a therapist in Florida.  In my previous post, I posted the conern having this girl come live in Indiana- she already threatened suicide and has been very angry.  There is a Guardian of Litem involved and at one time daughter liked her but now won't speak to her, won't speak to her dad, and is totally shut off.

She arrived at the house Friday and since then it's been awkard to say the least. She will not talk, she won't eat with us, she stays in her rooms and only leaves to go to restroom and take her dog out potty.  When she does interact you can just see the anger in her eyes.  her grades have fallen the past month due to all the stress of being pulled from her home.  

I know my boyfriend thinks he is doing the right thing and doesn't want to look like the bad guy for not fighting for custody of her.  He has made so many comments about his integrity and how he was accused of so many things and he so bad wants to prove them wrong (accusations by ex) but at what price? 

I did learn more about the family dynamics- he filed two years ago but daughter has been in Florida for 4+ years- with mother.  My boyfriend would go down and visit once a month or so.  So no wonder this child doesn't bond with her father! 

My biggest concern is what this is going to do to this child.  I can't hardly be around to see her so depressed.  I know boyfriend is trying to get into counseling with her. But is the damaged done?  Is there hope?  I really need hope right now for this little girl.  I'm somewhat miffed at my boyfriend because I feel like he is not looking at the bigger picture or how his daughter is suffering, it's more about his self validation and thinks she will come around.  I mean is this girl ever going to like her dad or will she come around?  


justmakingthebest's picture

Maybe.. maybe there is hope but it is going to be a conscious effort on your SD's part. If she is too angry to try- no, the damage is too great. 

BM has probably told her to make your BF's life a living hell and she will get sent back to FL. 

Your BF needs to stop "trying" to get her in counseling and GET her in counseling. He needs to tell them that this is urgent, that this is a crisis situation and can't wait. That if they can't help- tell me someone who will. NOW. Fight to get her in immediately. 

ESMOD's picture

I know this makes you uncomfortable.  I think it is showing you a side of your BF that makes you wary in some ways.  I mean, while he wants to have a relationship with his child... was going to a nuclear option of pulling from her environment.. knowing her mental health issues really in HER best interest.. or did he perhaps allow his anger at his EX to be more important?  or is winning the game more important than the fallout?  

Obviously, he and her need to be in family counseling.. it's actually something that should have been set up before she got there.. and he needs the help of a professional with his child.  

Will she/can she get over her anger?  I mean.. I think you get her POV.. and at her age.. she really feels she has lost control of her life and on top of her other existing conditions.. well. that has to be really hard.  And it's not like he was saving her from abuse really.. it was because she wouldn't come on visits..which.. yeah.. can be harder to get teens to be on board with when they start having their own independant social lives.

I know it must be hard to be around this.  thank goodness you have your own place (I think that's correct).. your BF and his daughter have a lot to figure out.. and he needs to make fixing this a priority.. (whether the fix is a reversal of his decision to have her live with him FT.. or other therapist suggestions)/

klthornton72's picture

Thank you, and yes I don't want to be resentful to him, he has his own journey and story and reasons why he feels the way he does.  I'm outside looking in, but I have been through a divorce and have a daughter, who went through alot at 15.  He's made comments about revenge to his ex - he is so hurt and mad that she alientated his daughter from him.  

He just made the comment that his daughters problem is that she is struggling with allowing herself to make the most of it.  I don't even know how to take that! 

And yes I have my own place but I'm always with him and feel I need to be there to support him, but it's getting really hard.  I don't want to be selfish, but I can only take so much.  

ESMOD's picture

He needs to make getting some family counseling a priority. period.  She IS struggling.. and yes.. she is so mad that she is not allowing herself to get past it.. SHE needs help with that.. and it will likely be some combination of therapy with them separately and together.

I understand he is hurt that his EX has created this divide.. but when you are long distance it makes things extra difficult.  In the end, I would not be surprised if she doesn't figure out how to run away back home (because she doesn't feel she is at home where she is).

I know you want to be helpful.. but other than them getting some therapy.. I'm not sure what else is really going to start the healing process.

Rags's picture

Keep in mind that this is not a little girl.  This is a young woman whose BM created this problem and now BM and SD are living with  the consequences.

I applaud your BF for rescuing his child.

CajunMom's picture

NOW. And not just for your BF and his child. That 15 year old is going to need MAJOR personal counseling. Think back when you were 15 and what your world would have looked like, had you been ripped from it. It's not that the child was in an abusive was just a visitation issue. And now the courts have stepped in.....given zero thought of the "punish" the mom. While I do not agree with what the mother did with visitation, there were other ways to handle this.

I strongly support punishing PASing parents but something about this goes sour in my mouth. Sure, he "won" and BM is the looser. But the biggest looser is that 15 year old. Again, there were many different ways to handle this that would have given your BF the visitation he wanted. I loudly hear what he "vindicate himself" because of past comments about him. He handled this poorly, in my opinion. And his child will most likely have major issues in adulthood.

klthornton72's picture

I agree, both of them need to have counseling! I also agree that he could of done more to try and see her before all of this.  When I was 15, I would not of went and lived with my dad, I didn't have that relationship with him. I have a great one now but back then, no way! My boyfriend needs counseling to get past the hurt and anger of his EX so he can have a clear focus on his daughter.  What really is upsetting too is that the GAL told her before she came here that "you have to make the best of it, if you don't go, your mom will go to jail and you will go to juvy"  This poor girl is caught in the middle of a divorce that she didn't ask for. The mom is not mom of the year by no means but a 15 year old doesn't see that and she's forced to be somewhere she hates. 

I am very worried about her and her future and what damage this is doing to her. It's time to put the differences aside and do what's best for this girl.  15 is such a hard age.  I know my boyfriend wants to look at the positives and everytime she speaks, he thinks it's a win.  He also thinks if she sees our realtionship and how good we are to each other that she'll come around.  I disagree, i've been a step parent, it doesn't work that way.  They will always be loyal and that's ok, I don't want to be her mom.  I just want her to have a happy teenage life and be successful in life. 

I just have a very bad gut feeling about this and try to be optimistic but its very difficult to say the least.  


Crr18's picture

I am so confused why the courts did this to her. Just wondering if your BF actually wants her full time or did he just  want to win against the ex?  If he really wants her full time he is going to have to work hard at this. Good luck to all of you.

klthornton72's picture

One minute he says he wants custody because she would be better with him, then he says he doesn't want full custody, he just wants to see his daughter.  And because she wouldn't do her visitation with him October - January, this is what happened.  Part of me thinks its spite and I'm having a very hard time with that.  My morals and values are struggling with all of this, my daughter was cutting herself at 15 and struggling with her father and I's divorce (she was 13 when it happened), her own struggles of growing up, and I never knew, she hid it from me. I never kept her away from her dad, he just didn't know how to connect with her but if she was taken away from me from the courts, I can't even imagine what she would of done.  This is why I'm so worried. 

I sometimes think what the hell was I thinking getting involved in this but I'm in so deep now that I'm lost on what to do.  (we have known each other for over 30 years - high school prom dates so I didn't find him on a dating site, lol) 

ESMOD's picture

Just because a child might have a better life with one parent than another doesn't mean they don't have a good or meaningful life with the other parent.  

I really find it unusual that a judge went full on reverso just because a teen missed a few visitation opportunities.  I mean.. was it one week a month she was supposed to be going?  

Were there any efforts to work with her on "why" she wasn't coming.. or traveling there to force the contact on his end?  

I mean.. her mom may be PASing.. or she may just not be aggressive in getting her child to go to visitation when she is reluctant.. because friends she will miss.. or anxiety over changing where she is.

I don't think that the judge or your BF is going to get the intended result by strong arming a 15 year old girl.  I guess they can't know how stubborn they can be.. and how long they may hold a grudge for "ruining their life".

It seems like there could be some more pressure put on mom to make it happen.. withholding CS until the girl complied for example.  

Because yeah.. having her full time is going to mean he has to MAKE time for her and get her mental health issues addressed.. he just doesn't seem like he is working on that as quickly as he really needs to do.

notsurehowtodeal's picture

Are you sure there isn't more to this? It is hard to believe that a judge would temporarily flip custody in the middle of a school year just because the child missed some visitations.

klthornton72's picture

Child does online school so it doesn't affect her like a child that attends in person.  The GAL believes there is alientation with the mom so reports have been submitted on that.  And I believe there is as well, however you dont' just pull a child out of her home, send her to Indiana, and expect the alientation to just fade away! They are requiring counseling for SO and Daughter.  There are so many gaps in this story as well.  I think GAL has a power trip at this point, she was suppose to set up a meeting with SO and Daughter BEFORE he picked her up and didn't happen.  GAL likes to throw her power out there but I have not seen any POSITIVE results, only that custody was awarded to my boyfriend, but at what cost?  The system is failing our kids caught in the middle of divorces. 

justmakingthebest's picture

Our judged threatened BM with that- we all know he would never go through with it but threatened. Also, she is in school online so there wouldn't be a change in her education. I can see this happening if this was a 3,4,5th contempt.

Thumper's picture

Do I understand correctly? You have a teen daughter who has her own set of mental health problems ie cutting. OR is she grown by now, doing well.  

I have to say, I tend to believe there was a lot more going on at Moms than just blocking visitation. Didn't bf tell you everything?

It was Enough to raise eyebrows with the court, changing custody, giving dad the green light to move from Fla to Indiana. Not only that, but threatening  mom with jail time and boyfriends daughter into juvenile detention.  Kids of divorced parents end up there based on their actions, not parents marital status. *edit, a GAL has power but not stand alone power. 

  My guess she, bf's daughter may have been arrested a few times and/or a runner?

The road ahead will be very bumpy. BF's time will be focused on his daughter, as it should.

It will take months to see where this is going with his daughter. She may do well OR maybe she will tail spin.. 

You have decisions to make for you and your daughter.  


klthornton72's picture

My daughter is 22 now and doing great.  She has had her trials herself and is now living in my home.  She is a great example of a divorced child.  My ex and i had a decent relationship so for her it wasn't as difficult as my boyfriends situation.  

My boyfriend tells me everything, probably more than I want to hear but he wants to be open and honest about everything.  Daughter has not gotten in trouble (ie arrested or runner) it's a case of alientation from mother.  I can see where they are trying to difuse the alientation and build a relationship between dad and daughter.  However, I don't agree on how they are going about it.  Dad never lived in Florida, they had a home here in Indiana and a home in Florida.  Mother, child and another sibling lived in Florida and my boyfriend was up here in Indiana.  Other child, who is neither his nor hers (mothers niece actually) won't even speak to him either.  There has been so much hate and evil gone on that everyone is damaged.  

I know it will take time with daughter, I'm trying to give them space and time to sort it all out while being there for him.  I feel as long as the mother is in the picture, this little girl will not open to the idea of having a relationship with her dad and it hurts to see that and see what he is going through.