Question: My daughter is almost seventeen and has never seen her father as he has chosen to be absent (but somehow lives in the area!). I feel it was my karma to bring her up alone but I feel this has now started to affect her moods and self-esteem (the fact that her father never makes contact). Fortunately she is doing very well at school and is a credit to society. Wondered what you felt about this. Thank you. Lynne
Answer: Dear Lynne: As you know, sixteen is often a rocky time, even when two patient and loving parents are present. Moods are the order-of-the-day and self-esteem is all over the place. For your daughter, there is evidence “out there” that something is lacking and, at sixteen, such information usually is interpreted as an inner insufficiency…that it’s somehow her fault. Your daughter doesn’t have to imagine something isn’t OK, which is very common…it’s in her face.
I would give her a lot of room to express how her father’s choices make her feel. If she would like to talk with a therapist about it, I’d set that up. The most important action right now is to not stuff what she’s feeling. Such a mistake could set up a life-pattern of self-deprecation and denial. There is no way I can over emphasize the value of keeping the communication lines open between the two of you. She may feel angry that you didn’t do a better job of picking a father for her and not see that she wouldn’t be who she is, if you had. Do you know how many parents would like to be able to say that their kids are doing well in high school and are a credit to society? When she vents, which she probably needs to do, please don’t forget what an incredible job you have done and are continuing to do. Congratulations! Blessings, Luise