I was shopping in Kmart the other day and couldn’t help overhearing a conversation between a man and a teenage girl walking behind me. He was obviously distressed. “You are telling me that you have to buy your own clothes with money you make, the man says, “so what does your Mother do with the money I send her every month?” I turned around and saw the unhappy girl shrugging her shoulders and looking like she’d rather be anywhere but in that store having that conversation. The father continues talking. (Now we’ve established his connection to the girl.) “I can’t believe that your Mother is taking advantage of me like this. She’s probably spending the money on herself!” The teenager remains silent and as we walked in separate directions, I had a sudden urge to pull him aside and give him some advice. But of course, I didn’t!
With the slim hope that he is reading this and will recognize himself, here is what I wanted to say but couldn’t.
Dear Frustrated Father,
I’m sure your time with your daughter is very limited. I’m also assuming that it’s very important to you. You need to put aside your anger toward your ex wife and/or lover (makes no difference) and remember that this child (yes, she is still a child) had absolutely nothing to do with your break up with her Mother. With all due respect, it’s insensitive and potentially harmful to take out your frustration and anger on your daughter. I saw the sadness on her face…She doesn’t deserve this.
I think kids have enough to deal with in today’s world without the additional burden of shouldering their parent’s grievances toward each other.
Enjoy your daughter’s childhood. It goes by much too quickly!