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Question
Posted by: Heartbroken | 2011/01/07

Girl of 16 and fam

Good morning Doc and compliments to you and your fam.
My eldest is 16 years old. Her dad passed away when she was 9 months old. Anyway doc on Tuesday, this child exploded. Everything came out, how she feels and what not, it was a good “ explosion”  coz at least now I know I she feels and we are working very hard on our relationship. However her father''s “ people”  are still around and they live like in 15-20 min away from us. Doc I can count on my one hand how many times they''ve seen my daughter. The tend to forget about her for a few years than if my daughter doesn''t initiate visiting them, they would have forgotten about her ages ago. It her father''s mom, one brother and 5 sisters........Now all of the have their own children and they see grandma on a regular basis. Just my daughter. This topic also came up when my girl had her moment on Tuesday and she really wants to be a part of them. I got married in the interim and have another child from my husband and my 16year old is a bit jealous of her younger sister. Yes it''s normal, nothing wrong with that. My mom died a few years ago, and my husband''s mom died also 1 year ago. My 16year old gets just as much attention as baby (4 years old). We do things as a family. But it would appear 16 year old wants more. My husband is like a father to her, but it''s not the same I suppose. In her explosion she also said I keep her away from her “ people” . (Father fam). It is really not true, she kinda knows it, but I suppose it was a cry out maybe to do something. Something like calling her Grandma and tell her that I feel they should start getting their act together..........Be a part of her life or simply forget about her once and for all. Coz they also confusing her even more. Oh she is in contact with her “ cousins”  on Mixit and that''s the only contact she''s basically got with her fathers people. I am sure granny will call her easily by Dec and why Dec coz it''s her birthday in Dec.......... No man, this is not on. What should I do...

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

At 9 months, a child is not old enough to remember a father or to "miss" him in the usual way, and is more likely to respond more generally to the atmosphere of shock and grief in those around her. And I suppose with the death while she was so young, his family may have had less opportunity to bond with her and feel that she was a member of their family.
But of course this is thoughtless and inconsiderate of them, and its very understandable that your daughter feels this as rejection. Maybe, despite how obviously it's not so, it feels better for her to blame you for keeping that family away ( because you could then stop doing this, and solve the problem easily ) rather than to face the fact that that family as a whole has no real interest in her, which is more insulting to her and harder to solve.
Have you tried talking with her Grandma about how their behaviour is upsetting the girl, who is indeed a close relaive of theirs ?
You're right that ambivalent or mixed-mesage ocasional contacts can be more upsetting than a clean break, as it keeps re-kindling hope and then dashing it.


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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/01/08

At 9 months, a child is not old enough to remember a father or to "miss" him in the usual way, and is more likely to respond more generally to the atmosphere of shock and grief in those around her. And I suppose with the death while she was so young, his family may have had less opportunity to bond with her and feel that she was a member of their family.
But of course this is thoughtless and inconsiderate of them, and its very understandable that your daughter feels this as rejection. Maybe, despite how obviously it's not so, it feels better for her to blame you for keeping that family away ( because you could then stop doing this, and solve the problem easily ) rather than to face the fact that that family as a whole has no real interest in her, which is more insulting to her and harder to solve.
Have you tried talking with her Grandma about how their behaviour is upsetting the girl, who is indeed a close relaive of theirs ?
You're right that ambivalent or mixed-mesage ocasional contacts can be more upsetting than a clean break, as it keeps re-kindling hope and then dashing it.


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