Mother-Daughter Wars, Round One

Everyone said when your daughter hits 12 things are gonna change. My daughter has always been a daddy’s girl and that hasn’t changed. I get a bit of ‘tude now that I never used to, but with all the hormones flooding her body now I don’t take offense. I never was a girl, but I understand that girls go through a lot more changes than boys do. After all, their bodies are getting ready to make humans. At puberty all we do is get some hair and perpetual hard-ons.

The biggest difference, however, occurs in the relationship between daughter and mother. As you know by now, I am divorced, which probably complicates things a bit, but doesn’t change the main premise. For some reason girls get really weird toward their moms at this age. A dad always get pulled into any problems between a daughter and mother – that’s just the way women are. Problems are discussed – they are a group activity. For men, problem-solving is a solo job. I usually try to stay out of it, but when the “big change” happens there ain’t no staying out of it.

Recently, my daughter has decided she pretty much just wants to live with me. It started slowly by asking for an extra night with me here and there (which of course thrilled me). Then there started to be a pattern. A pretty strong pattern. This puts me in a funny position, because I divorced her mom. Meaning, quite literally, I didn’t want to live with her any more. My daughter has pointed that out. Now, 12-year olds say a lot of things they probably don’t mean. And I know she loves her mama, but it’s a hard spot.

To be honest, I’ve enjoyed the extra time with my daughter. I know she’s gonna grow up and move away, get married, etc. But the extra time I have with her comes at her mom’s expense. It’s a classic zero sum game. I know it’s killing her mom to hear her daughter say she wants to be with her dad tonight (again), and I try to leave it up to them to decide. No manipulation or taking advantage of the situation by me – I’m not an ass and hold no grudge against my ex. She made the best babies in the world. Perhaps, it’s just a bit of karma at work. In my favor, for once.

12-Year Old Female Visual Mood Map



2 thoughts on “Mother-Daughter Wars, Round One

  1. Interesting spot to be in — as a divorced dad, my kids spend Monday to Friday with me.. and often say they don’t want to go to moms/… I try to be supportive of mom always… while our ego might delight in hearing their desire to stay with us more, we want and need our children happy 100% of the time — so your comment at ‘your wife’s expense’ is a true tough spot. Everything runs in ‘cycles’, we just need to be the consistent caring compassionate safety net ready to catch whatever falls… I agree with your position — as soon as you weigh in, the situation beccomes a LOSE-LOSE 🙂

    Jeff Hay (

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