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I am seeking advice about what to do about my estranged 13-year-old daughter. But first a little background before I get to my dilemma.

Its been 10 weeks since she and I had a falling out over what was initially a minor tiff that has turned into her refusing to talk with me. Her mother and I had week-about-shared-custody with her and her 16-year-old sister, but now she is full-time with her mother. I send my daughter texts asking her to talk about it, for us to see a counselor together, but pretty much all I get back is "go away and leave me alone".

I was bewildered by her reaction, which is way way out of proportion to the circumstances. I am not the perfect father but I've always put the girls first, giving my love, support and understanding. Up until recently we had a warm, loving relationship.

I have good evidence that my ex (who has been diagnosed by her psychiatrist with a personality disorder, which may have something to do with it) has been cleverly sabotaging my relationship with my daughters. A significant number of things my daughter has angrily fired at me, but not all, has come from my ex. Thankfully my 16-year-old is not so affected – our relationship remains loving. On the other hand, my 13-year-old has, believes damaging things about me that aren't true but she thinks she's acting from her own thoughts and will. My ex is very intelligent and manipulative and is good at making herself look innocent and me look like the bad guy.

In an email, my ex denied saying bad things about me to our daughter. Then when I emailed her back the things my daughter has been saying to me (including things related to conflict between us, and painting me in quite a bad light) she admitted saying them, but reasoned it was my fault that she said them. When I asked her to stop saying these bad thing about me she denied they were bad. She will never admit fault and blames it all others.

I am most concerned about the mental and emotional health of my daughter in both the short and long-term. If she wants to live with her mother full-time, I am OK with that but only if that's in her best interests, but not under these circumstances.

I understand parental alienation is a form of emotional and psychological child abuse. If this is true then I am obliged by law to report it. I'm afraid that if I went down that path, it might upset my daughter even more and she would hate me forever. But as the way things are going this might be the case anyway. On the other hand, it might bring out the truth and help her to understand what's going on. But then she might hate her mother, and I want her to have the best relationship she can with her mother.

At the end of the day, I would like us to sit down with a counsellor, talk about it and hopefully mend our relationship.

I'd appreciate your thoughts.


Re: Alienation

Hi @Watermelon thank you for sharing with us, it's definitely a tough position to be in. Counselling could certainly be beneficial for your family and opening up those communication lines. I'll tag some of our members to further assist with providing advice and support @taokat @Netbell123 @Schooner @Sister

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Re: Alienation

Thank you @Lan-RO. I have an appointment for my first Reachout coaching session next week.

Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Alienation

Hi @Watermelon, this sounds like a such a difficult situation for you and it's so sad things are currently like this. It must be really hard for you and I'm sure you must miss your girl terribly. 


I agree with @Lan-RO that family counselling could be really beneficial in moving forward, and it sounds like you've certainly been trying to set that up. I can hear you just want what's best for your girls in the short and long term and a counsellor can work with you all to figure that out. My daughter used to refuse to attend or engage with any counselling and one of the things I tried was telling her that counselling was an opportunity for her to vent about her grievances with me as well. It wasn't just for me to talk about things from my perspective. I had to say it more than once, but it did sink in. Is that something you'd feel comfortable trying?


I hear what you're saying about your ex and what is being said about you, and also see your dilemma around what to do and what is the legal thing to do. We can't give legal advice but maybe give the Parentline a call on 1300 1300 52. Whilst they may not be able to give legal advice either, they could best direct you as to who you should talk to. 


I'm so glad you're doing the parent coaching. I did it last year and found it practical and useful, and personalised to deal with the specific issues I was facing and I'm sure you'll find the same. Let us know how you go with it Smiley Happy

Active scribe

Re: Alienation

Hi @taokat, thanks for your suggestions. Its a good point you make about reassuring her that counseling is a place where she can air her grievances. And I'll give Parentline a call and let you know how I go.


Parent Peer Supporter

Re: Alienation

Anytime @Watermelon. I look forward to hearing how you go. 


Re: Alienation

In my opinion, unless there’s more to the story or why your daughter is so mad. IF the reason is legitimate where you did something harmful toward her abuse wise (not implying but just saying In that case, leave her alone). However I don’t believe that’s the case. She’s 13, she’s mad about something. If her parents were together, she’d have to be around you. I’m not sure what happened but maybe you punished her, didn’t give her what she wanted, offended her, who knows.
But she’s 13 and in my opinion, it’s not her choice. Children are given too many options. If you’re a fit parent , she comes to you. She can whine, cry whatever. I would force her (with reason) lol . And if she refuses over a trivial matter, then any financial “extra” or “want” you contribute to, take your contribution. Not for necessities. Parental alienation with a child with no proof of harm you’ve caused, shouldn’t have a choice. And depending on your court agreement, you should get her instead of the grandmother. Guaranteed she didn’t ask your daughter and if she did, there’s incentives given that make you look bad. My mother was like that.
At 13, my mothers spoke horribly about my father. I’d go there with the worst attitude and no respect. Basically on a throne. He kept quiet but eventually lost it and told me some truths and showed some documents. To be honest, I’m glad he did. I can’t imagine if he allowed me to be a manipulated and entitled brat forever. Your daughter won’t hate you forever. You’re her parent. Until you cause her actual harm, that’s that . I’m curious the reason she’s mad at you because that defines the proper solution

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