I just got married 6 months ago and my teenage daughter refuse to talk to my wife. She will not say hi, bye, good morning etc. Everything was fine until we got married. Clearly this is putting a strain on our relationship. There are no other kids and we have no plans on having any more. My 14 year old spends alternate weeks here and then with her mother who lives about 10 minutes away. Any advice you can give would be appreciated.
Dear Confused Dad
This is a little bit tough because to me it seems like there is a lot going on and you don’t know exactly what is happening because she won’t talk to you. The most likely culprits are as follows: she is sad her parents aren’t together anymore (and will never get back together) you didn’t’ mention how long you were separated from her mother, but your marriage add a sense of finality to any hope/thought that her parents could work things out. She is having a difficult time sharing you with your wife. For a while it was just you and her at your house; she had all of your attention and had all of your time. Now she has to share you with your wife. She may have gotten along better before but the job description better dating and being a spouse is completely different. Let’s also not discount the possibility of general teenage angst. She is 14 and there are a lot of changes going on in her world, both internally and externally and it is tough to handle and even tougher to verbalize. She could also be feeling bad about her mom not being married and could be taking it out on your spouse. It could be any of these or something completely different.
My recommendation is to take her out on a daddy- daughter date (it may take a couple to find out the problem) and you may want to make it a regular occurrence. Don’t talk to her directly about your concern right away. Ask her about sports she plays, school, friends etc. The important thing is to get her talking and to keep her talking, then GENTLY get into her recent behavior. If you can get her talking she will eventually tell you what is up. Just remember, this is chess not checkers so you have to be strategic about it, if you run up into it too soon she won’t open up. I hope this helps.