16 Answers

I can’t go into the legalities of things, but our 14yo, has run away and “self placed” herself with her mum. It has broken her father’s heart so much. I don’t know how to help him cope with it. He’s worried about her well-being, and he can’t legally do anything about it. He’s depressed, and short-fused. We are trying to keep our communication with her open but she isn’t really interested which hurts him even more. What can I do for him? I just want to help! Thanks!

Posted anonymously, 27th October 2020

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  • Second the professional counselling. They will be able to give him coping strategies and a healthy outlet for his emotions and grief.

  • I would encourage him to seek professional counselling so he can process his emotions and learn techniques to communicate with his daughter. He can do lots of things to let her know he cares and wants to be involved with her life. I would encourage him to write letters to her and keep the door open to her return. (Make sure the letters are supportive and don’t try to guilt her etc). Parental separation is tough and being a fourteen year old is tough too. A girl’s relationship with her dad is really important to her development. You can help by being as supportive as you can to both of them – I’d encourage lots of involvement from professional mediators/counsellors who specialise in family relationships.

  • Sorry that sounds really tough. He needs to keep regular contact with her to show he’s always there for her. She will come around in time

  • My daughter left home for a while at this age. We kept communication open and she came home. Dont give up hope

  • My son is going through a similar situation only it’s their daughter. He keeps trying to communicate with her and let her know she can come back home if she so wishes. She has shut both her Mum and Dad out and living with a boyfriend and his Mum. It’s certainly not the ideal situation if you knew about that family. Unfortunately there is nothing he can do except keep telling her they do love her. Wish you all the best trying to get her to respond. Maybe she has problems that she doesn’t want to share. Could also be that her Mum gives her the freedom she thinks she wants.

  • What a tough situation ???? is there anything mediation will do to help?

  • He just needs to let his daughter know he loves her and to keep communication open. Teenage years are hard and she will come back at some time in the future. Just be patient until then.

  • Let him talk about it if and when he needs to an acknowledge his feelings. There’s nothing you can do for his daughter – she’ll come around if and when she is ready so just letting know you’ll be is all you can do. Its a tough one, he’s allowed to feel what he feels and as long as she’s okay where she is she needs to be allowed to make that choice too.

  • What a difficult situation to be in. I would encourage him not to give up and kids can always change their minds. Encourage kindness, patience and acceptance of the situation at the moment. He could try asking her more on dad/daughter dates or outings instead of living with you for awhile and keep reassuring her that even though she wants to live with mum, her dad and you will still be there for her. Also some professional counselling might help too.

  • Unfortunately there’s nothing you can do to get her back. Not sure if he can accept the age old philosophy that ‘children are on loan to us to look after until they are old enough to look after themselves’. At which time us parents must let them go to make their own decisions in life.

    Back in the day, 14yo are considered adults. It’s only in this modern era that we consider an adult at 18.

    My step daughters made that same decision at 12yo and we just have to deal with it. Apparently their mother has been coaching them from a young age to make this decision when they reach 12yo. And apparently the courts allow 12yo children are able to choose.

  • Aw bless this must be hard.
    Yes I would contact school as well and be open about the situation.
    Not so much you can do about the situation; his daughter has the right to chose by which parents she wants to live. She may or may not come back. All he can do is try to keep the communication with his daughter and her mum open.
    All you can do is be there for her father by listening, attention, patience and encourage him to seek help especially since he appears to be depressed.

  • Hopefully She will soon realise the grass isn’t always greener.. I’m so sorry your and your partner are going through this, its so hard.. there’s unfortunately not much you can do but keeping communications open and let her know you both want her home when and if she is ready and that she’s always welcome home

  • My grand-daughter did this when she was 14 but ended up back with dad till she finished school because she realised her mum wasn’t helping her to grow up properly. She is friendly with both parents now and I am sure it will be the same for your partner’s daughter. Sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence till reality sinks in. A previous answer mentions to get the school involved and I would second this too, as well as getting counselling for himself.

  • 14 year old girls are so difficult at the best of times give her time I reassure you she will be back .
    Please tell your husband to stop worrying as this will make him sick I know he is worrying and loves her dearly he needs to talk to a professional to sort out the problem and sit down as a family and find out some answers .

  • He is still the father he can ask her school to help him. He can get progress reports and trust in her ability to make decisions and keep herself safe. School monitor kids make sure they attend school and meet their class targets. It might be best is to try trust her and her ability to decide where she lives. Mums house might be ok and best for her right now. Dad will always be Dad and she will come around if she knows he loves her and supports her decisions. Dad might need to talk to a counsellor to get some advice from a professional for himself to cope. Kids go through stages in their lives and we all need to cope with these stages. Dad needs to reach out and support his daughter no matter what. You sound like a supporting Step mother and a good parent and partner. Give this some time to work out what happening with your stepdaughter.

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