14 answers

Is My Dad Is Too Attached to My Daughter?

I would love to hear other parents' opinions on an issue that seems to be causing tension at my place. First let me say that my dad has made it known to everyone in the family that my daughter, who is now 8 years old, is his favorite. I moved to another state 4 years ago, and ever since that time my dad has flown out to see my daughter about every 6-8 weeks. He stays with us for at least a week to nine days each time.

Well now I am in a relationship with a wonderful man who feels uncomfortable with my dad around. (My dad will not acknowledge my boyfriend or me when we walk in the door sometimes; or my dad will be rude and answer with one-word answers and not try to have conversation). My dad comes very often and loves my daughter very much. He tells my daughter that she is his heart, his soul, his blood, that he would die without her (that is a bit much for her to handle in my opinion, but that's a different story).

My dad has a copy of my keys, and he knows that my boyfriend is over but he doesnt knock before he lets himself in the apartment. I am starting to worry that when I move into my boyfriend's house, my dad will want to stay there every 6 weeks, making my boyfriend uncomfortable. I dont want to break my dad's heart, but he is just too intrusive.

I guess I am asking if it seems like his 5 hour flights every 6 weeks seem to be a bit much. And if you think he is visiting too often. Thanks so much. Any feedback would help me.

What can I do next?

More Answers

Hi J.S,

I have read your post over and over again. I had decided to not respond. But I feel like I have to. I know these are things we don't want to think about and I'm sorry to even go here but I was abused as a child and reading your post has set off many alarms for me. Please talk to your daughter. Don't give names. Just ask questions. Has anyone ever told you not to tell me something...even family (remind her you won't be mad at her no matter what). Has anyone touched her where she souldn't be touched etc.... If you don't feel comfortable...get a small nanny cam.

I'm so sorry to even throw this at you but you would want to know now and put a stop to it. I truly hope I'm wrong but all of this sounds too familiar to me.

7 moms found this helpful

Do NOT let him have your house keys.
That is really not good.

Next, I think your Dad has an overly displaced "love" on your daughter. Its a bit much...
How does your daughter feel about it all? I mean, that is a lot of OVERT attention on her and not real normal.

Next, you and your boyfriend have NO privacy with your Dad around... and taking 5 hour flights every 6 weeks seems a bit much... weird in fact.

YOU HAVE TO PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN.
And change the locks on your door.
You need to have your own life.... and you do NOT have to be at the whims of your Dad...
Is your Dad married?

I think, it all seems a bit weird, your Dad's behavior. Almost obsessive... that is not healthy for your daughter either....

I would really talk to your daughter about it... if anything inappropriate happens to her, by your Dad, she needs to feel she can tell you....

And, you do NOT have to "allow" your Dad to stay at your place or your boyfriend's home... whenever he comes to visit.
He needs to ask permission first... or stay somewhere else.

All the best,
Susan

4 moms found this helpful

I agree with Susan's advice, too. This is not a healthy relationship, and until you address that with your dad, it will be like trying to ignore an elephant in the room.

See how this comment feels:

"Dad, it's wonderful that you love my daughter so much, and that she's crazy about you. AND there are very difficult consequences of your visits that don't meet our needs: lack of privacy, lack of consideration for my boyfriend, and most of all, a lack of emotional boundaries between you and my daughter that leaves her suffering and anxious every time you visit. I know you don't want to leave her hurting, so I need to set better boundaries here, because you have not. Here are my new expectations: –––––––."

There's no doubt that your dad will be puzzled at best, and angry or hurt at worst, by any changes you require. But someone (you!) has to move this situation in a healthier direction. This approach, making an observation about what's happening now, telling how you feel about it, and making a request or stating your needs clearly, will probably be the most honest and least hurtful way to begin making a much-needed change.

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

I agree with what everyone else has said about this being very unhealty and possibly dangerous for your child. Please make sure you talk to her and if you have access to the resources, I would try to see a professional counselor since they could possibly see things you don't.

As for the visit to the boyfriends house...ask him to stay in a hotel and DO NOT give him a key. There is no reason for him to come and go freely at your house. If he is there to visit you and your daughter, then he can come over for dinner and during the day when you or your boyfriend are home to monitor the situation. I would not worry about hurting his feelings, he does not seem to understand boundaries (your bedroom key), so for the health of your family, you need to make them very clear.

Also, you don't really have to answer this question, but were there any times that you felt uncomfortable with your dad when you were younger?

1 mom found this helpful

favorite of who? are there other grandchildren?

I'm not quite sure what to say... I know I LOVE every minute i spend with my daughters, and I would think when they grow up and have their own children, i would feel the same about them as well. If they lived far away from me, and I could afford it... I would try to visit as much as i can. I think it's great for her to have a grandfather who loves her so much. think of the alternative... how would you feel if he wasn't involved at all?

the part about him dying without her though is a bit much.

As for him coming into your house, I would tell him that he needs to knock, and to acknowledge your boyfriend. Maybe he can stay at a hotel, and maybe you can change the locks, so he no longer has the key until he gets the point?

I hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi JS,

I haven't read the posts here, but I want to say that it's important to realize that if you love your boyfriend and want to eventually marry him, your father has to take a back seat in your life. You were his daughter - he had the time and experience of raising a child already. Your daughter is not his daughter and shouldn't be treating her as such. It takes away from the relationship your boyfriend will hopefully have as her stepfather. Your dad should act like a grandfather instead. Her being so upset when he leaves shows that she is seeing him as a father figure.

I hope you can get this across to him and him accept it. You'll have to tell him before he comes that he cannot have a key because he isn't accepting your family's boundaries by the way he shows disrespect to you and your partner's privacy. His short answers may very well be how he would treat any boyfriend of yours, so perhaps your boyfriend will just have to accept that he will have an uncommunicative father-in-law. Of course, if he is just really there to see your daughter, and you and your boyfriend are just how he gets to be with her, than that's a separate problem.

Good luck putting limits on your dad's visits.

All my best,
D.

1 mom found this helpful

I think you need to set boundries for your dad. I am also concerned about his attachment to your daughter. I hope you supervise your father and if he is alone with your daughter you need to question what they do. He does not sound healthy to me and the big flag is your boyfriend does not feel comfortable around him and your father does not communicate with the adults as well as the child. Open Your Eyes and Ears
Do not give him a set of keys to your boyfriends house. If he can afford to fly so often then he should be able to afford a hotel room.Do Not Leave Him Alone with your daughter

1 mom found this helpful

Definitely not healthy. Maybe innocent but definitely not healthy. 1- are there other grandchildren? 2- WHY does he need to have a copy of your BEDROOM door key for petes sake?!?! Ignoring other people in your life isn't good either.

I have a dear friend (whose wife was the neighborhood "grandma") who molested one of his granddaughters for a while (until she told him to stop, and he did. but eventually she told others and it tore the family apart and he is now a registered sex offender, but not one that I fear). Anyway, his wife said at the time that she thought it was sweet they had a special bond. He knew it was wrong but rationalized that he was "teaching" her love. Sick and unacceptable but at the time.....

Anyway, it CAN happen and HAS happened. Be extra vigilant and never leave them alone. I'm sorry. You need to be sure that inappropriate boundaries aren't being crossed (many are already, but the most important one as well????)

1 mom found this helpful

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