Dad Missing 15 year old Daughter

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-21-2003
Dad Missing 15 year old Daughter
45
Tue, 10-21-2003 - 8:45am
I've lost contact with our 15 year old daughter who has lived with her mother since we divorced in 1990. Daughter and I had a good father/daughter relationship until April this year (2003). I've not had chance to talk to my daughter since then. How do I get back in touch? We live in the same city. I'd like her to know that whatever happened in the past, I'm here for her and I would like to see her soon.

Any help or advice would be appreciated - thank you.

Mike

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2003
Tue, 10-21-2003 - 11:58am

Have you contacted her mom and have told her what you've told us?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Tue, 10-21-2003 - 2:38pm

how did you keep in touch before? she phoned you/visited? what happened to stop the contact? do you still have contact with her mom? (sorry for the questions, but I am trying to understand).


iVillage Member
Registered: 10-21-2003
Wed, 10-22-2003 - 7:30am
Thank you cm twoki and sk1960 for your replies and questions.

Daughter and I used to spend weekends and holidays together. We got on well and enjoyed each others company.

Mom and I fell out with each other earlier this year so I haven't felt able to contact mom to discuss our daughter. Each time I telephoned, mom told me that daughter did not want to talk to me - I've never been able to check this with our daughter.

Daughter did email me in May and again in June (2003) saying that she did love me and that she needed some space to sort it all out. She did not reply to my next email.

It's as if mom and I have 'fought' over our daughter. I'm trying to work out what went wrong to stop contact. If we were fighting, I realise that our daughter has 'lost' her dad (and her dad his daughter).

I'd like to put this right - if I can, and I pray it's not too late.

I recently came across the following;

Your children are not your children

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself

They came through you but not from you

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you

I have just sent a letter and an email to my daughter saying that 'I'm thinkng about her and that I'd like to hear from her', fingers crossed she replies.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-02-2003
Wed, 10-22-2003 - 3:02pm
hugs!!! that is so sad. I was just thinking - maybe there is an adult who knows you and your DD, who can intervene for you? maybe a relative, good friend, priest? did you and her mom have a visitation agreement? are you paying child support? without knowing the details ---- it doesn't sound like mom would have the right to prevent DD from seeing you, or talking to you.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 10-22-2003 - 6:31pm
I was thinking the same thing (about child support and visitation agreements). I would continue to send emails and letters. Even if she doesn't respond (15 is a hard age for a girl. I know. I was one once. LOL) at least she'll know that you are there. Maybe offer to take her to a concert or something. Good luck.
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-21-2003
Fri, 10-24-2003 - 5:43am
Yes, I do pay money to my ex for my daughter. We came to an informal visitation arrangement at the time of the divorce, which worked well until this year.

I need to find a way to get in touch with my daughter so that she feels able to get in touch with me again. Then we could try to sort out what went wrong. It's difficult because I do not know if daughter is being a 15 year old teenager with respect to her Dad, or if there is something more complex going on.

Perhaps the time will come when I feel able to talk to my ex again. My concern is that she won't talk to me.

Asking a priest is a good idea.

I'll keep sending letters, as you say, at least daughter will know that I'm still around.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 10-24-2003 - 1:48pm
My heart goes out to you. No matter the circumstances, when our teens make us feel like they don't want us to be a part of their lives in the same ways as we've been before, it hurts like heck. To have it happen for these reasons must make it even more frustrating.

Something to keep in mind... teens are very emotion-centered. They live with huge dramas in their every day lives at school and amongst their peers. They RESPOND to emotional displays and relate to them in ways that, as adults, we don't anymore. I would suggest that you write her an email that really lays out how you feel about her. About the situation that took place with her mom that led to this estrangement. Without bad mouthing her mom. Don't belabour the situation; just acknowledge that it happened. If you have a role in it, acknowledge your role and tell your dd that you wish you could go back and do things differently because 20/20 hindsight is always clearer than in the moment, when emotions are running high. Tell her you are sorry if she was caught in the crossfire and ask her for her forgiveness. At most, if you have to mention the mom, just say that you and her mom obviously have issues (if not, there'd have been no divorce once upon a time) and that you can't speak for her side of this situation, but you can clarify and explain YOUR side. Remember that it's important, not just for your dd's sake, but for YOUR sake as well, to keep the issues separate: the ones with your ex are yours and your ex's; the one that involves this estrangement with your dd is yours and your dd's to work out. Tell your dd the things that you love about her, what makes her unique and special, not just because she's your dd, but in ways that show her that you really see her for *herself*, as an individual. Share the ways that she makes you laugh; the ways she has made you think. The ways she has, by *who* she is, changed how you view life; what you have learned from her. This shows her that you truly have thought about *her*, not just what you want from her... Share with her something you recall from when she was still a new baby; the kinds of hopes and dreams you had for her and for the kind of relationship you envisioned having with her and why. This helps to reinforce the history that you have together ... and history is a powerful factor when a person decides to build bridges back to someone again.

You need to show her these things in order for her to know you are doing more than 'just thinking about her'. Notes like "just thinking about you" have their place of importance within a relationship, but re-establishing a relationship needs more to get it started it again. Putting ourselves out there, and leaving ourselves vulnerable to our kids is something that is hard to do - we risk rejection or judgement ... but it's vitally important for a relationship to grow,and to become more emotionally real over time. Don't write her this with the underlying motive of getting what you want ... do it because it's the right thing to do for your child as her parent and as the adult in the relationship. The 'tone' of your letter will reflect whether this is your motivation or not. It needs to be done even if the end result is not what you want ... just simply because it should be the truth, period. Give her time to assimilate what you've written. Follow it up with the odd note of reinforcing that you meant it. But give her time, too.

If you do not receive a response and if you think your ex has access to your dd's email and may ahve responded pretending to be your dd, I would print off that email, seal it in an envelope and take it to her school and ask that the school call her to the office and give it to her unless a priest can do that for you.

Good luck. I think it's wonderful that you care enough to ask for advice. Let how you love your dd guide you and let your heart be open even if it means being hurt while she works through this process ...

I hope you will let us know how things turn out.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-21-2003
Mon, 10-27-2003 - 4:00am
Yes, I will keep you up to date and let you know how things turn out.

Although I've not had a reply from my daughter, (or her mom), I now have a plan to put into action, rather than just waiting for my daughter to get back in touch with me. This plan is based on your advice in this discussion. This feels very positive.

I've also learnt so much from reading messages on this, and other 'parentsoup' message boards.

Thank you for your help and advice.

Has anyone (parent or teenager) experience of regaining contact with a 'lost' family

member?

Best wishes, Mike.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-21-2003
Wed, 11-05-2003 - 5:24pm
Good News Update....... My daughter emailed me today.

I saw in local paper that the School of Dance, of which my daughter is a member, was to perform at the local City Hall last Saturday. So I went along to watch. I then emailed dd at her school email address saying that I'd enjoyed the evening and dd replied today. I'm so happy. Contact established.

I'd just finished preparing a letter to dd so I was able to email her back straight away.

I'll keep you updated..........

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-14-2003
Wed, 11-05-2003 - 6:41pm
Alright!!

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