Recently, I went back to the city where my children are living with my ex-wife. I have 2 children. It was my daughter's 16th birthday and she, her younger sister, and I went out to celebrate this in a small way by going to the mall to window shop, have a bite to eat, and to purchase some gifts for her. Everything was going very well for some time, like it usually does...holding hands, talking, smiling, laughing...until my oldest daughter took me to a camera shop, where she preceeded to direct me to an $800 camera. I told her that that was way too expensive for me (more appropriate for Christmas) and that I could not afford it. She then preceeded to badger me about it and then gave me the cold shoulder, which greatly hurt my feelings. I then lost my temper and said some things that I should not have...which I greatly regret. My youngest daughter totally seemed to understand the situation for what it was and took no sides...which I am grateful for. I was agreeable to purchase a $200 camera which had the same amount of pixels...but, to no avail. The cold shoulder continued. Out of anger, I purchased a $600 camera for her instead....but, the hurt was still there between us two. We spent some more time out at the mall, but ended up not talking to each other, the mood distant and spoiled. I was hurting so badly. My youngest daughter held my hand and tried to cheer me up. I ended up dropping them off at their home, back to their mother, some time after that, then drove back to my city of residence. This type of situation has never happened between us before. A couple days later, I sent an email to my oldest daughter that I was sorry that this happened, especially on her birthday, which I truly am. I received no response. Today, I attempted to outreach by phone to her, but only ended up talking to my youngest for awhile. I instructed my youngest to have my oldest give me a call in order for us to talk and connect. I know she got the message. No call came. I am very hurt and ashamed. I have always tried to be a good father...even during the separation from their mother, which they both know. I just had to pour out my heart, to get it out. As a man who values his children, I am feeling the hurt badly. Not all men our beasts or beastly. And even the biggest or best of men can be brought down to their knees by the smallest of people....their very children. In keeping with the native way, I am telling my story. Please say a prayer for me in the hope of our reconciliation.
Last edit by Thunderwolf on Oct 16, '07
Oct 16, '07
Prayers said Thunderwolf.
Teenagers are hard. My mother didn't turn gray until I turned 17 and dated the wrong guy - drugs, beatings, etc. We got in a big fight and didn't speak for almost 6 months. I married the idiot, and learned real quick I screwed up and got an annulment. This doesn't really compare to your dd wanting an expensive camera but I think it helps understand teenagers. We patched things up, we don't speak of that period of time. We're not super close but that's the way I want it, not her.
How often do you see your girls? Maybe she felt that if she doesn't see you often she can then buy your love and if you didn't purchase that outrageously expensive camera then you don't love her - which I don't think is the case at all. But teenagers, girls especially think differently than boys and are much more sensitive.
What does their mother say about all this? I would hate to see your relationship ruined with your dd over a camera.
There was a story in a Chicken Soup for the Soul book that reminds me of your post. The story was that this boy was graduating hs and it was customary in his town and school that upon graduation you received a car. On graduation day, this boy's father hands him a bible. The boy gets very upset and stomps out of the house never to be seen or heard from again. Years later his father dies and as this boy (now a man) is going through his father's belongings he comes across the bible. Inside the bible is a check large enough to buy a car. The check was stuck between pages with important biblical passages but I don't remember which ones they were.
I would really hate to see your daughter as that boy. Don't give up on calling. Don't lose contact with her.
Oct 16, '07
Sometimes kids don't think to where money comes from. I am sure things will settle and your daughter returns to you. ((((hugs))))
Oct 16, '07
Thunderwolf, you are definatly in my prayers. That is so hard to go through.
Being a good parent doesn't mean that you buckle in to her will when this happens. You have nothing to be ashamed about. It kills me when parents buy anything their child wants with no regard for how much. The kids come to expect it and become spoiled rotten.
Would your exwife let you just come over at any time to talk to her? That way you don't let her off the hook by having her call you back when she feels like it. Confront her and get it out of the way.
Good job by the way Dad!
Oct 16, '07
Thunderwolf, I nixed the $800 Canon myself because it was really too much camera for my purposes.
Is your daughter going to be a photographer? Maybe then I'd consider it for my teenager, but only if he'd shown an interest in photography for a number of years.
If my kid wanted the $800 camera just for bragging rights, the answer would have to be no.
Even so, a $600 camera is nothing to sneeze at. (I'm quite happy with my $350 one.)
You might feel badly because of some of the things you said, but teenagers sure do know how to push those buttons. Just be patient and keep in touch anyway. Eventually she'll come around. Maybe it'll take awhile, but at some point, in her heart of hearts, she'll know that she contributed to the argument and she'll know that she still loves you very much, despite the fact that you and your ex had to split.
I hope the problem will be resolved between you both soon.
Last edit by UM Review RN on Oct 16, '07
Oct 16, '07
Raising up teenagers is tough and isn't for the fainthearted. Kudos to you, Thunderwolf, for wanting to be such a caring and involved father - This is such a rarity nowadays. I am sending prayers your way for reconciliation and healing of your wounded souls.
Oct 16, '07
thunderwolf my prayers are with you. teenagers are very hard to work with. i know i had my share of troubles. she will come around again and talk to you. i know she will. you sound like a wonderful dad and she is lucky to have you. it wil be okay. please keep us posted.
Oct 16, '07
Biologically speaking, teens brains are not fully developed yet and they cannot reason well . . . . at least that is what I hold onto when I get into head butting with my kids.
My #2 son recently talked with my husband as they were driving to a logging job (captive in a car works well for communication). He told my dh that he wishes he had listened to us, been more focused on grades, less on partying while in high school and that he had gone to college. I guess his brain fnally developed. It was good to hear.
I took my materialistic 17 year old daughter to Vietnam this summer - on a medical mission. She worked in the dental clinic with great dentists, really funny people who taught her to pull teeth and give injections and fill teeth. She helped hold down little children with infection gums and black teeth. She saw true poverty in some of the small villages. It changed her.
I took my 2 older boys on a similar trip to Mexico when they were in high school. It made an impression on the older one, enough to send him to a Christian college and two mission trips (Africa and Scotland/Ireland). My second son did have a heart for the kids and brought them by to eat with us and gave them clothes and shoes and he also organized a baseball game. It just didn't make a big enough impression to keep him from making bad mistakes, which he now regrets.
I feel you pain - being rebuffed hurts. You are the adult - stand strong and don't let this make you shy away.
Prayers sent your way from me too.
Oct 16, '07
I am afraid I would be a little harsh on your daughter. She needs to be taught while she is still young. She is manipulating you. I will pray for her. I knew a friend of a friend and we clicked together in our late 20's. She was Hispanic and lived with sweet rather poor parents in South Texas. She lived with her parents who refused to have air conditioning in their part of the house. They slept on the floor because that is how they grew up and were comfortable with it. Her mother wore peasant dresses and was an extremely humble,generous, full of personal integrity, and hospitable. HER daughter was the exact opposite. She was rude to her parents and openly TRIED to shamed them about their lifestyle and the beat up car they drove.(worked just fine). This friend would barrow money and never return it. She would steal and and feel entitled to it. She used old men as sugar daddies to get expensive possessions. She lastly married a foreigner for $2000 to give him legal citizenship. She took money from his overseas family to help with the paperwork for citizenship and used it to buy cable TV and groceries with NO remorse.She lived behind a thick wall of denial to her moral falts. She saw nothing wrong with how she treated her parents or the people she encountered. Her mother and father I believe kept to their old ways and old car to teach her what was important. Even she knew they had the money for better things and she would just fume about it. I am not saying your daughter would be like this, but the fact that you feel guilty and she does not is something that NEEDS to be reversed. She is 16, she is testing waters, she can get a job for that camera. Sorry so harsh...don't flame. I am concerned too.
Oct 16, '07
Wolfie--I have no children nor advice but wanted to offer my prayers and a (((hug)))
Oct 16, '07
I may be reading something into this that is not there, if so, pls forgive me. Could your ex have somehow planted a seed in her mind that since Mom can't afford that camera, your dd should go to you. Is it also possible that mom said no, not appropriate, and dd decided to hit you up for it?
Maybe you could talk to ex about it?
I will definitely pray. I sure know how it feels to get hammered on many levels by one's child. How in the world do they know how to do that?
Oct 16, '07
you know, thunderwold, i do understand the challenges in raising teenagers.
what i do not profess to understand, is being a parent who lives out of their children's home.
i wonder if you are feeling more guilt than 'normal' r/t the living arrangements?
that the absent parent, tends to overcompensate in ways s/he normally wouldn't.
you have expressed your remorse and your love, to your dtr.
if able, let it go.
i'm not suggesting to ignore her.
but do not give her power over you.
her request was extravagant, and still, you bought her a $600 camera.
if she cannot forgive you now, i promise you, she will at a later time.
continue in being the stable, reliable, loving presence in her life.
but she needs to recognize that you, as her father, have truly demonstrated your regrets.
that is all you can do at this point.
the rest is up to her.
keep in touch w/her, through emails, writing.
do not bring this incident up again...unless she initiates the subject.
i will pray for a peaceful, loving reunion.