How Do I Get Back My Daughter from My Parents?

Updated on May 02, 2018
T.W. asks from Port Neches, TX
17 answers

I took my daughters phone last year for being disrespectful. While tending to my infant she took it back & I had to wrestle it back from her. My husband of 1yr (not father) has not been on same page with discipline & got on to me for getting on to her. She called my parents to come get her. I threw my hands up, let her go & she came got most of her stuff to move in with them. Over time I realized how much my husband was controlling & ugly to me so I didn’t want her there. I’m getting my ducks in a row, move & divorce since now my husband has been physically violent, but I feel I’ve lost my daughter to my parents. She’s 15, they let her go out with whoever, stays gone on weekends, has access to their credit cards, wears fake nails, shopping sprees & even went out of town with people we really don’t know. She says now she’s not coming back to live with me when I move. She does have good grades & says she has a plan with this school & doesn’t need me but yet told me I would be stupid to leave her stepfather & this house. I hate to ruin her high school years moving out of town but see no other way to get her to come with me & be my child again. What to do?

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So What Happened?

I appreciate all responses. The ideas I hadn’t thought about & even the hurtful ones. I did march to my parents demanding the week at granny’s was over way back then. But they kept giving me an excuse of different sorts like my sister & nieces were coming thru & wanted to see her or they just let her go to a friends house. I was very tempted to call police & threatened since I do have court custody but really? Do I do that? My parents are in their 70’s & thought if my daughter would absolutely resent me then. My daughter had also seen my husband push me up against the wall 1morning before breakfast over is arguing about gym clothes. With her seeing that power struggle with her stepfather & I, I did become more cautious of how much he should be around her. I also did/do continue ask for dates for her/us. She has paid private lessons for gymnastics she stopped attending. I’ve made appointments for counseling which we will have again Friday if she doesn’t cancel this 4th time. I do not pay cell her bio father does but only gets her about 5 days a year & lives 10mins away. He’s “trying to get his life together”. I want her for all reasons. I don’t want to miss another day. I’m now aware how disfunctional my marriage is after he gave me a concussion last week for my bday & let me bleed all over. Which I reported to police next day after he left. I want her to be back to the family we were before him. To know her siblings. They/we were close& funny& looked out for each other. & I do need a babysitter. I’m paying the other girls from her old circle &or from school. She wants $50 watch your sister while I work to provide & if I come home to my kids home safe & dishes put up, there you go. I don’t think you guys realize I feel stuck. To breakdown. I’m sole custody of daughter. I live in PN. If I move out of this town, my daughter will have to change schools with no other address to use. I feel it would be better for my other 2 kids & myself we would thrive where I started working my 2nd job, which I love & see so much potential & now know other parents, people, kids, about 30 mins away. Grandma is opposite 20mins away in other town & they are pushing for home school. There’s always more to the story. But yes I look forward to a great visit to a family therapist with my family.

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M.6.

answers from New York on

You need to put your daughter's needs before your needs. Is your driving factor for getting her back because YOU want her home, or because you truly believe she is better off with you?

If it were me, I'd first sit down with my parents and talk to THEM about your feelings, both about getting her back and your concerns about the other things. Then I would discuss getting everyone into therapy to actually have a non-biased 3rd party help make a decision about whether moving your daughter is best for her or some kind of a co-parenting with you and your parents for awhile is a good idea.

This isn't something that is going to happen overnight and I think I would strive more for rebuilding a relationship that will take you into her adulthood than getting fixated on getting her back with you.

Good luck.

8 moms found this helpful
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L.H.

answers from Abilene on

Please don’t uproot her. You’re in a lot of transition. You need to do what’s best for you by separating yourself from an abusing person. You need to figure out how to avoid those choices so you NEVER find yourself there again. She’s your daughter and nothing can change that. Act like her mother and put her first. She’s making good grades and has a plan. That’s a good thing.

My parents moved my brother during his high school (senior) year. We moved to Spain because of my dad’s job. It didn’t occur to them to let him stay and arrange something with friends or family for him to finish there. It didn’t go well. It bruised their relationship.

Read all of these responses. Remember adulthood is a lot longer than childhood. Be involved in her established life. Don’t treat her like she’s your property. She’s not. She doesn’t trust you, you will have to work hard to restore a very damaged relationship. Be grateful she’s doing well. Get counseling for all of you and maybe after a lot of work, things will be better.

7 moms found this helpful
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M.S.

answers from Washington DC on

I would just focus on having a good relationship with her, instead of forcing her back. Spend time with her and let her know how proud of her you are and that you love her. Keep getting your life together and be a good example to both of your children. Don't date until they are grown. Sounds like you don't really pick the best partners for healthy relationships. Let your daughter know your door is always open for her. Maybe you guys could decorate a room at your new place for her.

7 moms found this helpful
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S.B.

answers from Houston on

She has built a new life and now you want to pull the rug from under her? Sometimes we have to make the hard decisions as parents. Your daughter is safe, secure and happy where she is at. Pulling her out of her high school and moving is not in her best interest. Your life is a train wreck. Before you blow up her world, get yours in order.

7 moms found this helpful

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

She's 15.
In 3 years she will be an adult.
What will living with you for 3 years do for her?
I don't know how long she's been living with your parents but I think you need to let her go and leave her be.
She sees herself in a somewhat stable situation and she doesn't trust that living with you will be more stable.

You are taking some steps to build a better life for yourself - and that's good.
You have some healing to do, and at least one other child to raise.
It's going to be hard to be independent and not fall back into bad habits (maybe finding another man who is the same type as you are leaving now).
You need to not be in any rush to let another man in your life - for at least several years.
She might think you want her back for free baby sitting.
Or she might not trust you to not get involved with another man who will make her life miserable.
From her point of view - these are valid concerns.

Certainly talk with your daughter - take her out for dinner every so often - keep communication open and be interested in what is going on in her life - but let her keep living with your parents as long as they want her there.

Additional:

You WANT your 15 yr old daughter back so she can babysit for you for free?
Oh no no No No NO!
Your daughter did not get you pregnant and her siblings are not her responsibility.
She is not built in baby sitting.
Your motives are selfish in the extreme.
If you do gain custody of her - she'll run away - and I'd be first in line to buy her a bus ticket back to her grandparents.

7 moms found this helpful
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A.L.

answers from Atlanta on

As most others have said, it seems to be in your daughter's best interests to live with your parents right now--and it's probably best for you too. Think about it: you are in the process of separating from an abusive husband and therefore have a life to rebuild as well as a toddler to raise. The last thing you need is to be managing a teenager who is furious at being uprooted from a reasonably stable home and school where she was succeeding. Maybe your parents will let you give some input on how much they let her spend or who she spends time with, however at this point, you can only MAKE SUGGESTIONS. You lost the ability to control her upbringing when you left her with your parents for a year. You can rebuild your relationship with her through caring interactions (lunches, attending her special academic events, spa days, whatever) and ultimately by acknowledging the mistakes you made by picking an abusive husband. I suspect she still has a soft spot for you and will open her heart to you again, but it will take time and growth from both of you. Good luck with it.

7 moms found this helpful

T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I'm sure there's a lot to this story, but really if your daughter is doing well in school do NOT move her just so she can be with you again. You need to put her needs first. You can still be her mother and stay close by talking and texting every day and seeing each other whenever possible. Focus on getting yourself and your baby into a stable situation and let your older daughter be for now. I am speaking from personal experience here, changing schools at that age is devastating and can really have negative long term effects. Even if your parents are "spoiling" her I really don't see that as a reason to move her, in fact it will probably backfire and she will just resent you even more.

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J.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

I think the time to get her back was last year. Now that shipped has sailed. Get your own life in order, set up a room for her and tell her she always has a home with you but don’t have expectations she will uproot her life to live with you. As long as she is welcomed at your parents house she is old enough to decide where she wants to live. Also, any money you would have spent on her for food, toiletries, prom dresses etc. you should be giving to your parents for her care IMO. If they won’t take the money then put the money in a savings account and give it to her when she graduates.

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

I'm sorry, T.. The time to get your daughter back is long since passed. It was last year when she originally went away.

Right now, you need to get your stuff together, get out and get safe. You FIND a suitable home for you and your 1 year old. Get your life right. Make sure you have a room for her and tell her that she has a place in your home.

Then you show her that you know she is important and priority to you. You keep in contact. You ASK how she's doing. Make sure she's on track with her goals. DO NOT be selfish and uproot her because you finally want to make her a priority again. It doesn't work that way. Put yourself in HER shoes. How would YOU have felt if YOUR mom had done this to you??

She's got a few years before she's an adult. Be the role model she needs now.

5 moms found this helpful

D.B.

answers from Boston on

I can only imagine how tough this is. It's great that you got rid of the violent and controlling husband (which takes great strength) and that you are moving into a better situation as a single parent.

It sounds like your daughter is an a largely stable situation, getting good grades and saying she at least has a plan. She's showing some signs of being strong. Moving out of town with you would certainly disrupt that, and she's already had plenty of upheaval.

I hope that your parents are controlling the credit cards and shopping sprees, but if they are spoiling her a little, I think it's understandable. You don't say whether her father is in the picture, but if he's not and now she has also (from her perspective) seen you choose a man who didn't value you yet you didn't fight to keep her at your home, she may feel she's been abandoned by 2 parents (or at least placed her further down on their priority list). If they are making her feel special, that might be okay. I wouldn't say a thing about fake nails - that seems like really small potatoes even if you wouldn't have permitted it.

It's hard to know what you mean by "gone on weekends" and "out of town with people we don't really know." Who doesn't know the people? You? Or your parents? You haven't been in her life much for the past year so you probably aren't in a good position to pass judgment here. It's possible that your parents know them better than you do.

I'm a little concerned by her statement that you shouldn't leave your husband and the house. That suggests that she thinks a woman should put up with anything just to be married and have material things, so mixed with her desire to purchase material things, she may be headed down the wrong path. But I don't think there's anything you can do about that in the short run.

The first thing you should do is try to have a relationship with her, and that means giving up talk about her moving in with you. Living with your abusive husband and watching you choose him over her (in her view), along with the year in between, has changed her. It will take time to help her find herself (even though she thinks she has done so). You will need a lot of time for her to trust you, see the changes in you, and admire you again. So start with simple things that don't involve telling her what to do and not do, especially regarding her friends or superficial things like clothes and fake nails. Go out to dinner with her (get a sitter for the baby if you can), attend her school events, go to teacher conferences, and go to her annual physical. Just be in her life. You can talk, over time, about how you have changed and how you have found your strength and backbone, and how you have learned that a man cannot be the be-all and end-all for any woman.Just let her absorb that from your point of view. It will take time to show her you are strong, you aren't going back to the abuser, and you have changed your world view. Your goal is to be welcome in her life, to gradually meet her friends, and to slowly reestablish yourself as an admirable role model. You can ask your parents to modify a few things but you really have to be sure you have all of the information and also that you don't come across as bossy since you have made your own bad choices. You really have to be so grateful to them for giving her stability and love.

As you get back with her, consider the scene you describe of wrestling her phone out of her hands. That just doesn't sound like something a mature parent would do. She also called your parents AND they actually took her to their home - so your maternal authority was suspect or fragile from the get-go. You can't just muscle your way back into her life and "wrestle her away" from her life, friends and choices. Your influence must be much more subtle and supportive, and you have to prove your ducks are in a row. I don't know if she will ever live with you again, but I do know that trying to force it will drive her further away.

4 moms found this helpful

T.D.

answers from New York on

if your parents are ok with raising her, and don't mind it then leave her with them. let her finish school and go off to college. once you are stable and settled and she sees that she may wander back on her own. but for now as long as shes got stability with your parents and they want to keep her then leave it all alone.
but you can talk to your parents. tell them how you want her to be more responsible for her own finances, how you want to be involved in who shes going out of town with, and tell them you want her to have a curfew and see what they think about it all. see how they feel about enforcing rules.

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A.D.

answers from Minneapolis on

Divorce and move out of your house with your baby, yes. Move out of town or too far away from your parents, I would not. Stay in the general area, stay as close and connected as possible to your teenager. See her regularly for dinner dates, school functions, one on one time doing whatever she enjoys. Let your her live with your parents right now. Your life is in huge transition, and right now your teenager needs stability, especially since she is doing well and is engaged in planning with her high school. If you have concerns about your parents not having a handle on her whereabouts on weekends, go meet your parents and have a rational discussion about your concern. You have to pick your battles. The other things, I would let go.

3 moms found this helpful

W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

I'm sorry. Your time with your teenage daughter is over.

It's not about your parents giving her "no rules". She saw that you LET her go. You didn't fight for her. You chose your 1 year old and husband over her. She's done.

If she has a plan and is on-track with those plans? Why ruin it? You stay in contact with her and support her as best you can. Otherwise? You won't get her back until you can prove SHE is your priority.

As to your husband beating you. If he lays a hand on you again? Call the police and press charges. Don't let it slide. Make sure you document everything and don't give up.

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M.P.

answers from Portland on

My grand daughter refused to go to counseling. I went by myself and learned about me which then helped me to parent in a less stressful way.

You said moving will be better for you and your children. It will not be better for your daughter and your other children as well. We take our problems with us. Moving is one of the major reason for increased stress. Now you'll have to deal with a new house, new schools, new neighbor hood. Moving will increase your stress. Moving will cause more difficulty for your children. You are taking away the little bit of stability that they have. Take time to work out problems first. Talk with your counselor first. Learn about how to get what you need. Learn about what your children need. Make a decision based on information. I suggest you're wanting to move expecting life will be better. It won't. You still have to deal with making sure your husband stays out of your life while still being involved with his child/children. You still won't have a good relationship with your daughter. If you have other kids in school they will have to get to know their new school, make new friends. Moving causes more instability which you will have to deal with. Your children will be afraid and probably be difficult. You and your children NEED stability. Please talk to your counselor first. You have nothing to lose and something to gain.

&&&&&&&&&&&&&

My grandchild moved into my house at that age. My daughter and I discussed major decisions for awhile. Not anymore. My daughter feels guilty and has mood swings. I had to be the calm one. The first of this year she decided to let me make the decisions so that she didn't feel so anxious. All of us still do things together. My grandchild visits them from time to time. We celebrate holidays and birthdays together. Relationships are better.

I had fewer rules and allowed her more freedom. I choose my fights with both of them. My daughter was angry about that for a year or more. She finally accepted my parenting so there would be more peace.

. My grand child will be 18 this summer and will continue to live with me. Big transition for all of us.

Her home life was chaotic. She and her mother and stepdad were constantly fighting. My daughter and her husband often fight with each other.

My daughter made her come back home. She ran away. Reluctantly her mother agreed for her to stay with me. After a few months my daughter and I worked on our relationship until we were able to have productive conversations.

I suggest that your life was and still is loaded with angry exchanges. Often in a situation like yours the person is anxious and depressed. They are trying to control everything as a way of avoiding dealing with their feelings. Depression is often expressed in anger. You must be depressed. Your whole family is depressed. That's what happens when you have a major change in life.

This is what happened to me in 20's and 30's. With counseling I learned a different way of thinking about my life. I was still too controlling. I still reacted to certain triggers in anger. In my 60's, I realized that I'm less controlling, can just listen to my daughter and granddaughter without getting angry. I've learned to not take other's comments personally most of the time.

If you can step back from feeling that you've failed, it will be easier to decide based on your daughter's needs. You are a good person who has made some mistakes. You are doing the best you can in a very difficult situation. Take time to take care of yourself. Focus on what you can do. And, important to do some things for yourself. I walk and read a lot. I need to do more. I need more exercise and being with friends. I treat myself to eating out. And....I'm still seeing a counselor. You deserve to be happy! It will take awhile for you to find a pattern for living that is less stressful and allows you to be happy.

You haven't lost your daughter. My daughter has felt that way. Instead she is gradually building a relationship with her daughter. I suggest that if you try to force her to come home you will lose your daughter. Work on building a positive relationship with her. She's 15. You cannot control her! Teens need guidance. A parent cannot force a teen to do as you want. If the parent tries to do that, the teen will be angry and not cooperate. She is doing well in ways that count; doing well in school and having a plan for her life. Why would you take that away from her? Clothes, fake nails, going with friends that her grandparents are not important! Having success in school and with friends, in her relationship with her grandparents, having plans toward success is very much more important!

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S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

sounds like your parents have stepped up and given her somewhere safe and loving to live. she may get to do things you don't approve of, but that's what happens when your kids don't live with you.

at 15 if you yank her back against her will and (presumably) theirs you will have a whole new ocean of righteous resentment to contend with.

the fact that she's settled and getting good grades would tell me that she's doing well, and that i shouldn't disrupt her life for one that is uncertain and fraught with anxiety right out of the gate.

maybe once you leave your abusive husband, get your life in order, get settled and secure, you can offer to let her live with you again.

but at 15 she gets a say.

i suggest you work on repairing your relationship with her without issuing ultimatums or trying to force yourself back into an authoritative position. be happy for her that she is doing well and with people who love her. thank your parents.

khairete
S.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

Unless she has been emancipated you are her legal guardian and your parents can not legally keep her. I would consider contacting a lawyer for advice.

But, if she is safe and well cared for you may want to consider if you want her back for her or for you? If she is happy where she is and your parents are happy with the arrangement do you really want to disrupt that? What might that do to your relationship with her? These are all things to consider.

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M.D.

answers from San Antonio on

Hmm im nt sure if u said u got away bt prob thats why you think shes a brat.. she picked it up frm u or the step dad.anthr thing ppl act out if nt speak out when they cant stand something stupid & so guess she doesn't support your desicion of being bullied..i kinda dont blame her .maybe they should take the other one.better then getting hit too.to bad that mean fool has a baby also watch for step ppl who dont recognize step kids or responsibility for them, cuz hate to say it bt they can also touch step kids.maybe thats y he doesn't want u getting mad at her..special treatment in a way is not always good .good luck.

Updated

Hmm im nt sure if u said u got away bt prob thats why you think shes a brat.. she picked it up frm u or the step dad.anthr thing ppl act out if nt speak out when they cant stand something stupid & so guess she doesn't support your desicion of being bullied..i kinda dont blame her .maybe they should take the other one.better then getting hit too.to bad that mean fool has a baby also watch for step ppl who dont recognize step kids or responsibility for them, cuz hate to say it bt they can also touch step kids.maybe thats y he doesn't want u getting mad at her..special treatment in a way is not always good .good luck.

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