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how to cope and communicate

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

Casual scribe

how to cope and communicate

I am a remarried father of 2 girls. My oldest from my first marriage as a teen is 26 and done uni and now a teacher. The youngest (11) is from a non relationship and I have not lived with the mother and only a 4 month relationship to begin with. 


I am struggling more than ever trying to be in my daughters life. Her mother makes our time together so hard. IF she has any fun or any regular things we do that make it our special time like camping out in the backyard or going to starbucks for a drink, her mother tells her that is not right to do, or that she shouldnt do that because that is their special thing. My daughter is visibly confused by the fact we dont talk.   I finally tried to speak to her face to face 7 months ago, when I asked if we could all see a family counsellor together because our daughter deserves better from us both. Well, that did not go well. For days I was getting msgs of how Im ruining the relationship myself and they dont need counselling. I am the problem and so on. When I go to her baseball, there is no hello, or greetings. In fact worse, Im belittled and sassed at by my daughter now because the other parents and the coaches came to see me after a practice. Its made her mother so mad that she tells our daughter I dont even pay attention to her and she asked flat out, how was my game if you even saw any of it. 


So my question is. If anyone has been through this and been successful at maintaining a relationship with your child while the other parent tries to alienate you. 


Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. 




Re: how to cope and communicate

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Hi @fightfordads and welcome to the forums - we're glad you joined the community.

It's clear how deeply you love both your daughters and I'm sorry to hear you're feeling so much pain over your relationship with your younger daughter. 

Do you have an agreement about your contact with your daughter or a co-parenting plan?

There's some information on our website about co-parenting plans, as well as about handling conflict with your ex-partner that might be helpful. Raising Children network also has some good information on co-parenting.  
I hope this helps - please feel free to post here any time if you need to talk.

Casual scribe

Re: how to cope and communicate

We have no co parenting plan or communication agreement outside of the court order that we achieved after I had to fight for proper visitation. I have my daughter every other weekend and every wednesday, one over night and the other for 3 hours.  Additionally, I get 7 days that we mutually agree upon (although it has been dictated not agreed) at Christmas and half of spring break and 2 individual weeks each summer. 


I have asked for an extra hour for a family pool party to which I get `No, stick to the court order`. I have also been threatened that calling without notice is harassment. 


My daughter is 11 and not once, not one single time, have we spoken. Its awful for parent teacher night, silence. I am made to feel like the outsider, and I have been run down to other parents in the school. Yet, I am the one calling the school to get set up on the app for parents. My daughter even told me once that I was not allowed to have the app because only one parent per child can be registered. She had one teacher that was so sweet that she hand delivered my fathers day card because she was afraid I wouldnt get it. Well that teacher is no longer in the mix so Im left out again. 


I get no notice of dr appts or braces until after they are done. 


Then the mother tells our daughter that I am not involved. I truly have no idea what is ever said of me because my daughter is afraid that she is not being loyal to her mother. 


All I want is to be an equal part in my daughters life. I do not ever want or wish ill upon her mother or anything of the kind. Every child deserves both parents equally, and sadly, all communication from her mother says MY CHILD. 


I need and want to be the best father I can be in this situation, I need to learn how to communicate without saying or asking about anything to do with her mothers home. 


Has anyone successfully navigated these waters?


Re: how to cope and communicate

It sounds like a really painful road for you @fightfordads 


It can be really complicated sharing the care of a child with someone who you experience conflict with, but some people find it helpful to communicate via a third party or mediator - do you feel like that could be useful in your situation?

Sometimes it helps to create some distance from what the other person says as their comments are filtered by the mediator. Do you think that could be an option for you?


I really liked what you said about wanting to communicate without asking about your daughter's mother's home, and what you said about your daughter feeling she needs to be loyal to her mother. 

I think that shows a lot of insight into how this must feel for your daughter.


It's very difficult for children when they feel caught in the middle of grown up problems and it's clear you're really trying to protect her from that. You sound like you have a lot of empathy for your daughter . 

I think maintaining a focus on positive communication sounds like a really helpful way to support your daughter to know she's not responsible for any issues between you and her mother, and she doesn't have to take sides. 


I'm wondering if there are other ways you could build on your relationship with your daughter that don't rely on a positive relationship between you and her mother?

For example, could you stay in touch with your daughter via messaging or email to maintain a light-hearted and positive relationship with her? Eg. Sometimes teens can respond well to a little check in every now and then like "hope you have a great day at school. Love you" or "how did your soccer game go - I was thinking of you" or similar.


I'm not sure if these ideas are useful - only you will know your situation and what might work.

It's not easy to co-parent, and I feel for you trying to make this situation work in the best interests of your daughter.