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Help teen and dad relationship

Caron wrote:

I am so sad about the failing bond between my teen and her dad. He is super critical of her and she is really a good kid. I am not sure if it is a throwback to his kids from his first marriage that are now adults but he is very suspicious and harsh with my daughter. She is now in counseling and is very depressed.

He would not let her go to the store with him las night because she was wearing a headband and he didnt like it. She feels very alienated and thinks he doesn't love her. He is constantly hollering at her .

Doesnt believe kids need pocket change ever. I mean even a dollar. Kids do good in school, do chores but, it seems he wishes they would jsut disappear and have it be only he and I. Never has anything nice to say to them only criticism. What should I do , I am losing my child to depression and I think he is a major player and he wont go to counseling. Thinks daughter is a manipulator.

Dear Caron

It's not clear whether he's her biological father or not, and that makes a difference.

In general, it's quite normal for teenagers to have a difficult relationship with one or both parents, and also utterly normal for them to be manipulative; it's part of growing up, and nothing to worry about.

Nothing you say sounds particularly unsusual to me - except your certainty that he is to blame; why are you so sure it starts with him, and so certain she is not manipulating you both?

Only you can answer that - I cannot know. But it seems to me that if, as you say, she is depressed and in counselling, a good start would be to talk to the counsellor and see how you (both) can help.

I'm aware that it sounds like I'm taking his side; I'm not - But, it is important to try and see his side. Because if you are right, the options are fewer, and much more unpleasant. Because you must protect your daughter.

So start by listening carefully to them both. Not about trivial rows, but about their relationship. The money thing is interesting; do you give her money? Perhaps he feels she has more than enough from you? Do you spoil her? Have you always 'taken sides' against your partner? How is your relationship generally with him. Be brutally honest with yourself.

You need to look at the hard questions as well as the easy ones, and realise this is a family matter, not a 'bad father' matter.

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