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Question: I've heard that when girls hit puberty they tend to turn away from their mothers and turn towards their fathers. Since our divorce, my daughter has been away from her father for 2.5 years now, and she is in the throws of puberty. Is there any validity to this theory?

Susan Epstein responds:

What you are referring to is based on Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory of how girls develop their sense of femininity during their early oedipal years. Certainly, there are psychoanalytic researchers who might agree that a girl without a father in her life might develop differently than one with a father.

However, the definitions of 'family' and 'parent' have changed drastically since Freud's writings, and children are being raised more and more by single women, single men, and same sex partners. There is more that we don't know than what we do know about father/daughter relationships and their impact on girls' development.

More important than focusing on "theory" is that you talk to your teen about the differences she is experiencing in her family. How does she feel about not having her father around? Does she miss him? How does she feel around male teachers and other men in her life? Are there other good men that she knows and respects?

What it comes down to is keeping the conversation alive and taking what you learn from your daughter and helping her fill those voids in her life.

Best regards, Susan

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2 comments

  • Comment Link Roseannsdanna Sunday, 14 May 2017 04:33 posted by Roseannsdanna

    In my case, yes, I do feel my ex harbors deep resentment towards me that will never abate. I had him arrested for physically​ assaulting me and threatening my life many times. That was all very humiliating for him to lose his job and be told he had to take anger management classes.so our kids are now 13 and 17 and they are all smiles when he comes to visit for a weekend once a month. They set their activities aside and spend quality time laughing with him . But they live with me but I seem to have significant ly less quality time with them. My ex has wormed into my kids' heads and convinced them u am not worth the effort to hang out with because I am boring, not fun, and crazy, basically.i feel like I'm in a torture chamber watching the big bad wolf convince lil red Riding Hood to help him kill gradma bc what good is the crazy old coot. Anyway that's what this feels like. A slow decline to death where I slowly lose the ability to have the children I've taken care of with 100% priority all my life respect and need me. They exclude me and tolerate me. I am smthg they have to work around. And behind this "show" is my ex, working has magic to ensure that he will hear "mom is crazy" "you did nothing bad dad"

  • Comment Link Guest Saturday, 13 August 2011 02:55 posted by Guest

    the silent treatment from my teenage son: I'd like to know if a divorce can make a son feel like he would make a better husband than their dad did?
    "With his mom"
    I know this sounds bizarre, but my son recently turned 15 and knows "everything" now. He realizes that i missed alot of his years growing up because i left when he was four. I have a four year old from another relationship and when we go places he says that people probably think that he is her dad. I have just disregarded his comments like that and said something to change the subject. I am so fusturated now because he got upset with my choice of a boyfriend and has now resorted to the silent treatment. His father cradles him in his efforts in not talking to me. I continue to talk to him and he texts or walks away or just shrugs or pushes me away. The last time i tried to talk to him i reached for his phone because he was not paying attention to me and he held my wrist and bent it backwards and then pushed it away.
    Im so hurt emotionally by this that i dont know what to do to try to get him to talk to me again. We had such a great time together before and now he just flipped like a light switch. I dont understand the silent treatment?????