48 answers

16 Year Old Daughter - Moved Out

About a month ago, my 16 Year old daughter moved out. One night, during an argument she called her father who I've been divorced from since she was about 2 to pick her up. HE DID. He felt that he was helping his daughter.
So for the past month or so.. she's been at her father's house.
I feel betrayed by both my daughter and ex-husband. He had never asked for more time before and yet he's decided that it's ok for my 16 year old daughter to "decide" where she will be living. I don't understand why he didn't back me up and tell her that she has to stay at home to work things out. A Teen should not have a choice.
I've talked to my daughter and seen her a few times since she left. I've now changed my schedule so that I'm busy and not have too much free time to think about the situation.
How do I move on?? How do I live this way??

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Updated: Friday, October 3, 2008

I thought I would give you all an update:
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. All the advice that has been posted on this site has really helped me process certain feelings that I wasn't sure how to handle.

Just to give a little more background..
I have been remarried to a wonderful man since July of 2000. My ex also has remarried and for the past year, we have all been getting along. They have an 18 month old son that I adore and have taken care of him for them when they had a function to to go.
My husband does not have any children of his own but has also been a devoted stepfather to my daughter. He thinks of her as his own.. So that is ANOTHER ISSUE in itself. He is also hurt and we haven't really addressed it much.

That said....
Since reading everyone's advice, I've reached out to my daughter a bit.
Not as much as I think or some of you may think I should, but really this is all that I can do for now.
I do realize that I CANNOT stop being the mom, that I CANNOT just walk away from her, that I SHOULD be there for her.. I know that. I'm almost there..
It still hurts and I know it will hurt for a long time.

My daughter has always been called the "good" girl. She still is. I know she is.
I know that being a teen-ager she wants her independence.. I get it.

I've been working out everyday and is now part of my daily routine. I feel so much better after I work out.. ENDORPHINS. :o) This has definitely helped me deal with my stress.

Again.... THANK YOU ALL!!!!
You all have helped me more than you'll ever know

More Answers

Dear C.-
I have a 14 year old daughter (my only child), and have been divorced since she was a toddler- so I can imagine how much you're hurting and how much you must miss her. I would be heartbroken if it happened to me. That being said, I think that your 16 year old daughter can choose where she wants to live. If you went to court, a judge would ask your daughter what she wanted and give her desires tremendous weight- especially at her age. I really think that the best thing you could do is keep the communication with your ex as positive and open as possible. He has the right to parent your daughter also, even if he hasn't been as active in the past. Your daughter will be better for building that relationship, and she will be more secure in coming back to you to make things right. The more contentious you make this, the more difficult it will be to resolve. Remember that your daughter has one family. If you want your ex to support you in trying to repair your relationship with your daughter, you must be willing to support his efforts to step in. Both things can be accomplished, and in the end, I think your daughter will thank you for being such a good mother.
This is probably a true test of your love for her. Remember Solomon's story: Two women were fighting over a child, both claiming to be it's mother. Solomon said he would solve the issue by cutting the child in half. The one who let go and relinquished her claim was the true mother.
Good luck to you- truly.

4 moms found this helpful

Wow, speaking as someone who left home at 16, while my situation was extremely different, I know now looking back I would have benefited greatly by being forced to face certain issues. Allowing her to "run-away" from her problems with you could create patterns of running away from problems later in life. I know that you don't have full control over her leaving since custody is an issue I'm sure, but definitely appeal to her father, let him know this isn't about making good with his daughter or "helping her out". She's not 25, she's 16 and needs structure and rules. She has to learn that problem solving and communication are the most amazing tools she can have in life. He shouldn't let her use him as an escape. It is my most sincerest regret that no one kicked my butt back home and saved me from myself because I was WAY too young to be making decisions about how I would spend the rest of my life.

Goodluck to you, I hope that you find a way to move forward in the right direction for all of you.

4 moms found this helpful

Okay-First stop and think how you were at age 16 years old. All the hormones, trying to find your independence, and dealing with the pressures of life. Being a female is hard and being a teenager even harder. There are a lot of expectations coming from the World these days. Second, take your selfishness out of the equation which is the feeling of betrayal. It's okay to feel hurt because you love her and only want the best for her. However, you are the Mom and not the one that obvisously needs the attention right now. She is trying to tell you something and you need to listen or you will loose her. Third, you can't expect someone else to back you up when they are trying to bond with her as well. You clearly have to be the bigger person here and see what really is going on with her because it seems she is trying to find stable ground anywhere she can find it. I think you should look deep inside yourself and see the big picture through the love you have for her. Do not place the blame on her, your ex or yourself focus on trying to find the root of the problem and fix it. Lastly, a teen shouldn't have to take on the Responsibility your right of making the choice of who she should live with that is why you need to figure out what is really going on with her. She does have the right to feel, communicate, and express herself because she is a human being that like all of us has imperfections. I hope this helps and I know you guys will work it out...because I'm sure there is a lot of love left in the both of you.



3 moms found this helpful

Hang in there... Whatever motivated her decision to leave (whether there was on-going tension with you) and whatever her relationship has been with her father is unclear, but I can tell you from experience that sometimes these things work out for the best.

I left home when I was 16 because my mother and I were constantly butting heads... The longer I was away the more I missed and realized how much I needed her. I stayed out my whole senior year but moved home after graduation and our relationship was (and still is!) so much stronger!

The most important thing you can do is be strong, for yourself and for her. If she wants to come back you need to let her know she isn't going to call the shots or walk all over you. Maybe talk to your ex and make sure there are rules there too (curfew, chores, etc) so she didn't leave your house to live at Disneyland... Then she'll realize it's just life, and not you that sucks! ;) Kids need (and some actually crave) discipline. Stand your ground and she'll respect you for it.

3 moms found this helpful

Ditto what Jenn D. said. I know this is really hard, but let those two have a chance to develop a closer relationship. In the meantime, work on yours with her as well. Be the fun weekend parent! Take her out to dinner and the movies, lunch and mannie/peddies, shopping at the mall and Starbucks. Set up some standing dates---every Wednesday night, etc. These are fun things that allow you to bond and connect w/o the everyday hassles of parenting. Consider some therapy for the two (maybe even the 3) of you. You are experiencing a premature empty nest and it's painful, no matter how busy you are (but the business helps, doesn't it?). This will get better, I promise you. You're missing your daughter and the life the two of you had and in a sense, you're mourning that life as you knew it. It will take time, but you'll be feeling better within a few mos, and then you'll just continue to adjust. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


This sucks... I can't even imagine my daughter doing this. But I do think that 16 is old even to make a choice about where she wants to be, it maybe wouldn't have stung as much if it had been under different circumstances.

Just her some space and I'm sure she'll come around.

Good luck!


2 moms found this helpful

If your daughter was "your life", there stems the problem. This whole thing is the Universe telling you that your daughter is her own person, and so are you! You say a teen shouldn't have a choice. Why is that? She a person, too, with feelings and thoughts, just like you! Just because she is a teen doesn't mean she doesn't get a say in how she lives her life. I personally come from a broken family, where I did not get a say, and I would rather have lived with my father, because my mother was smothering and melded too much with me and could not see that I am my own person. I have been in therapy many years dealing with the fact that I didn't have choices (in many more ways than where I lived). My parents made them all for me. You will do your daughter a favor by giving her choices, because when she gets out into the world, she will have to make some big ones! My advice is "Let go and Let God". And if you don't believe in God, then this is my advice. "Let go, and ALLOW". Life is going to happen whether you agree with it or not! Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I have a 10 yr old and an 8 yr old, so who am I to talk. I just remember my teen years well and all the issues my friends had.

At 16 she is growing into a woman... tho certainly not yet there. I agree your x should have backed you up, but he probably has guilt over not being there and welcomes the opportunity to have her around full time.

It's fair and a good lesson for her to see you stand your ground. There's a great teacher on such issues (parentingsos.com) and one of the things Sandy talks about big time is natural consequences. Be reasonable and firm. Let her know you love her. Perhaps have a family meeting with all of you. Take her out to dinner just to spend time together until tempers have cooled and you can work on the situation.

I cannot imagine how hard this is. I will pray for you!

Lord, I lift up C. and her daughter to you. Will you restore this relationship and help them both to be reasonable and loving towards one another. At 16, we think we know it all and I pray you would give wisdom far beyond her years to C.'s daughter. I also pray that you would bring this family back together. That C.'s ex would realize regardless of their marital relationship, they should both parent with the other in mind and the best interest of their daughter. Give C. peace Lord.
In Jesus' name... Amen.

2 moms found this helpful

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