As a 12-year old girl, how do I tell my dad that I want to live with my mom?
I’m sure this is a very difficult position for you to be in. It’s not only difficult, but it’s also very unfortunate and unfair. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. You shouldn’t have to choose between living with your dad and mom, and then have to bring up the subject to them and risk hurting someone’s feelings.
But since you are in this position, I’d like to share with you some thoughts that have helped other kids. The most important thing I can tell you is to be honest about how you feel. Your desires matter and it’s good to give yourself permission to have your thoughts and feelings. Lots of kids of divorce feel torn between their parents; they love them both, but, for various reasons, want to live with one more than the other.
It’s very natural for a 12-year-old girl to want to be with her mother. There is an important and vital connection to be nurtured between a mother and a daughter. Mothers can help their daughters through life because they fully understand what it’s like to be a girl growing into a young woman. Your mother can help you through certain challenges like body changes, boys, and friendships that your dad, naturally, can’t do in the same way. Even the best dads in the world can’t answer the question, “What does it mean to be a woman?” just like the best moms can’t answer a boys questions about manhood.
Something else to think about is that some kids live with one parent because the other parent is not able to care for their child at that time. Whether it’s because of serious parenting issues, a health problem, or the inability to provide an adequate home, a child your age is old enough to know if there are specific and important reasons that you’re not with your other parent as much.
If you feel safe with your dad, you can tell him your feelings. It’s likely that he wants closeness with you and wants you to share what’s on your mind. Maybe you can start out by saying something like, “Dad, I love you and I like living with you. But lately, I’ve been feeling like I need more time with mom. Do you think there is any way we can arrange that? I’m 12 years old now, almost a teenager, and I feel like I need my mom.”
If you’re afraid that even these gentle, true words will hurt him, please remember that this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t say them anyway. It’s important to have this discussion with your dad because you’re in a transition part of your life and the need for your mother is becoming more urgent. If you simply can’t talk to your dad, (you don’t feel safe), please find another trusted adult (i.e. teacher, pastor, youth leader) who you can talk with.
If it’s not possible for you to spend more time with your mother, maybe there is another adult female in your life who you look up to and can trust that can help you with the “girl” things of life. Let’s face it; there are just some things we can’t talk to our dads about. And you need an older woman to discuss these things with. If your dad has remarried, it might be worth a try to talk with your stepmother. She was once a girl as well.
I hope these thoughts are helpful to you. If you think it will help, show your dad this article. He may be able to get a clearer picture of what you need as a young lady.