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Losing my 13 year old daughter


I am posting for the first time so this may be a bit long. My wife had three children with a man who later became addicted to cocain. He became abusive and she left him when her oldest child (my daughter) was only four. They have had no contact with him since. I met them when the oldest was 7. We were married when the oldest was 9. I am a High School English teacher, and my wife is a secretary.

Lately, my daughter seems sad almost all the time. I just don't know why. She won't respond to me or her mother. She doesn't have a bad life. My wife and I do everything we can (within reason) for her. She doesn't have any of the hardships some children deal with. Her mother and I do no fight, argue, or anything like that(really, it is great marriage). We are not poor, downtrodden, or disadvantaged. We have a nice home, good food on the table, and money for entertainment. We don't yell at our kids, abuse them, deprive them, or even vary often punish them (they are really good kids).

Recently, my daughter asked me to fix her computer because it wasn't working properly. While doing so, I found numerous e-mails to one particular friend of hers talking about how much her life sucks, how we just don't understand her, and how she is going to do "ne thing she wants" wether we like it or not.
The thing is, she gives no details! Why does her life suck, what's wrong?

Yesterday, we took the kids to spend a few weeks with their grandmother (the ex's mother). When we got home I saw a new addition to my daughter's bulletin board in her room. It was a print out of some song lyrics. The lyrics a like a letter written by a girl to her dad talking about how she hates him because he broke her mother's heart and broke her's as well, but fiinishes up by talking about how much she misses him. She left this for me to read. She is obviously relating to the song because of her real dad.

I am losing my little girl and my heart is breaking.

please help me


Re: Losing my 13 year old daughter

wow, this is a pretty tough situation, and i dont know if i can help too much except to say that at this age she will be wanting to separate from her parents and form a separate identity of her own, except there is one problem! she can't know yet just who she is. this takes time to work out and issues of self identity and belonging are probably making her very frustrated, i know i was at 13. you probably do this already, but making a concious effort not to talk down to her and to start treating her more like an adult will probably help to affirm her sense of growing up. on top of this there are also feelings of abandonment because of her biological father. she probably feels very resentful towards him and is taking out her feelings on the nearest father figure which is you. maybe you and your wife should try having a chat to your daughter and simply reassuring her that what happened was not her fault, that she is loved very much and that both of you are always there if she needs to talk. she may simply be looking for some reassurance and to know that you understand her feelings, or at least are trying to! if she is feeling really down all the time, or you think it might be good for her to talk with some one other than you guys, it might be good for her to talk to a counsellor or psychologist, i know this helped me a lot when i was going through some issues at the same age. having someone else outside the situation's point of view is very helpful and she will probably open up more to someone who knows how to talk to her objectively. anyway sorry for the long rant, good luck with this, you sound like a very good supportive family and im sure you will get through this.

Re: Losing my 13 year old daughter

Boy can I relate to your post. I am a step parent to a 12 year old girl, soon to be 13 in October. When my husband and I married, she was 4 years old. My husband has primary residential custody of his daughter so she has always lived with us. She would see her mom occasionally, like every couple of weeks. They have always had a rocky relationship because her mom doesn't really know how to be a mom. When my daughter was 6, her real mom moved to Las Vegas without saying good-bye. We got a message on the answering machine and that was that. My 12 year old was devastated at the time and I was there to comfort her.

She feels the same way many times that your daughter feels. I think it must be really hard to feel abandoned by your biological parent. That is what my daughter goes through. Her real mom never calls, never writes, never emails. She sees her mom once a year for that fun-filled weekend, where every activity is crammed into one weekend. It is difficult.

I also remember back to being that age. I had a great life, great parents, great house etc. However the grass was always greener at my friend's house. Things were always better over there, I mean at my friends house they had Kool-Aid!!

From what I read in your post, I pat you on the back for stepping up to the plate as dad to the kids. You are doing a great job. I recommend keeping an eye on your daughter, and if your wife and you feel that she is getting depressed or really anxious, then you need to seek some professional help for her. It might be that she needs someone to talk to that is outside of the family and situation.

My 12 year old sometimes thinks her life stinks, etc. I think some of that comes from the age, because in my heart I know that I am doing the right things for her.