zannie asks:

My stepdaughter's mother is not encouraging time with her father, and it is becoming a huge problem.

My stepdaughter is a handful.  She is 14 and she practically lived with us last year.  Then in August her mother put her foot down and said she had to come to her home on her nights.  Ever since then, august she has not stayed the night here at our home.  Lately we have been putting a little more pressure on her to stay here, and what she does is builds herself up and mopes around so we ask her what is wrong and then she says she wants to go to her mothers.  Her mother is not encouraging time with her father, and it is becoming a huge problem.  She is supposed to stay here on wednesday and thursday nights and every other weekend.  We have a nice home, she has a lovely room and we are a loving family.  We dont know what to do and think this crying game she plays is not right.  We have told her no that it is our night and needs to stay here, but she tells her mother to come and get her anyway and her mother does, it is almost like her mother enjoys this.  
we need help here................
In Topics: Parenting / Our Family, Teen issues, Blended families
> 60 days ago



Jan 4, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Sorry to hear of your blended family difficulties.  It's time for you to get some legal help with this issue.  If there's a separation or divorce agreement that states the visitation rights for the noncustodial parent, you need help enforcing these rights.  Your husband has the legal right to spend time with his child.

Here are some thoughts to consider:
*At age 14- your stepdaughter does not have the right to come and go from your house as she pleases. She has to conform to the visitation agreement.  Have you considered confiscating her cell phone when she enters the house so she can't call mom?

*Your stepdaughter is stuck in the middle between mom and dad.  It's easier for her to support mom because she is in her home more often. It's important for your husband to convey to his daughter how much he (and you) love her and want her to be a part of your family.  He should explain to his daughter that a visitation agreement is in place, and from now on, will be enforced, for the better of the entire family.

*If there are other kids in the house, make sure that your stepdaughter has to conform to the same house rules as the other kids.  Some dads believe that if they lessen the rules for the visiting kid(s), they will have more fun, love their dad more, and be happier- but it is really the opposite.  Kids thrive on boundaries and security.  The adults need to be in charge- not the visiting child.

Also, your husband should have a conversation with his ex and understand why she decided in August that their daughter should not spend the night anymore.  It's important to understand if she has any concerns (whether valid or not) and also if there are issues you need to discuss. Your husband and you can figure out how to deal with this after you hear her answer.  He can explain to his ex how this does not support the agreement and is not in the best interest of their daughter. Their daughter needs a dad, and needs to be able to spend regular time with him.

Good luck.  Contact me if you need further assistance.
Shirley Cress Dudley, MA LPC
Blended and Step Family Coach

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Additional Answers (1)

haileycolt writes:
at age 14 she should have the right to choose and if she wants to be with her mother you should let her, probably not what you want to hear and it will hurt a little bit but im sure she has her reasons. don't push her to do something she doesn't want to do all you are doing to do is hurt her and make things even worse.
> 60 days ago

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