Kids copy what their parents do…


QUESTION:

 

A few years ago, my 8 year old daughter would wake me up to go to church together as a family. Since the beginning of last year at the age of 10, she told my wife that she does not want me to go to church together with them, have meals outside or even go on holidays together. I persisted and I can see that she is unhappy whenever the three of us are together. Recently, she told me that she does not like to see me holding hands with her mother or talking to her mother or her mother talking to me or her mother paying any kind of attention to me. My wife and I are the biological parents.
She mentioned that none of her schoolmates go to church with both parents but this is due more to the fact that only one parent is a church goer and it tends to be the mother. There was a schoolmate who goes to church with both parents but her sibling also comes along.
My daughter also mentioned that if her sibling comes along, she does not mind me going to church together. She mentioned that she experienced emotions of anger and stress whenever her mother and I are together whether it is going to church having a meal.
However, my daughter and I have a normal relationship when it is just the 2 of us like when I drive her home from school or take her to tuition or music class and have a meal afterwards.
My relation with my wife is not good and will continue not to be good. She refuses to see a counselor because she got scolded by an earlier counselor (who is a Christian mother just a few years older than her) for not doing her share of the work to improve the marriage. I am still seeing a Christian counselor monthly but running out of past hurts to be resolved.
Regarding my daughter’s negative emotions, did she pick them up from her mother? Is my wife putting on a cordial front but is actually seething with anger and resentment towards me?
By the way, my wife agreed with her daughter that I should not go out with them so every Sunday morning; they sneaked out quietly to church while I am asleep. Or they go out to the mall and have meals by themselves.
I noticed recently that my wife had declined to join church outings and activities like Christmas parties since last year. Could it be that she wants to minimize her association with me in church social activities? By the way, I have been on and off jobs for the past decade against my will but that is another story.

 

ANSWER:

I get the sense from what you describe that this marriage is headed for a divorce. I also get the sense that your daughter is just emulating her mother. If focusing on your marriage to make it better is not an option, then I would focus on your daughter. You are in an unfortunate situation. I would also encourage you to keep seeing your therapist and bring this issue up with them.

Doc David

www.DavidSimonsen.net

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