Posted by: Liz | 2009/07/20

Daughter age 12

My ex husband of 6 years already and my daughter had an argument yesterday. Her father dropped her off at my mom' s place and rode off in a huff. My daughter is distraught and does not want to speak to her father or see him. He does not want to see her either. Does my daughter have the right to say she does not want to see him? Can he force her to see him once he has calmed down? My daughter has told me she wants to see him when she is older, maybe at the age of 16?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDivorce support expert

Hi Liz,

this must have been quite an argument that you are all left feeling so distraught by it and as a well intentioned mother you want to fix it.

The hard part is to let it be.
Whatever has been said, was said under extreme anger, from both your daughter side and her father side.
Let them figure it out. It is their argument.
What you can do though is acknowledge your daughter's anger and hurt. Not try to fix it. Hear her feelings. Say things like: this what quite a disagreement. You are very upset by this. if you need to talk about it, I am here for you...(but then just listen). You can offer your support by asking: would you like me to talk to your father about this? or: Can I help in any way?

At 12, she is slowly moving towards the next phase of her life which is discovering her needs for independence and she is clearly wording this by saying that maybe she will see her father at around age 16. However, her emotional immaturity won't always allow her to make the best choices and this is where, as parents and role models, we need to guide them appropriately. But right now what she needs most is to have her feeling validated. There is no right or wrong, just what she is feeling.

Love and Gratitude
SADSA | The South African Divorce Support Association

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