My brother has been married 14 years and is considering divorce. He has been communicating with his wife about his feelings. She is a very jealous type of woman who has not allowed him to have female friends. He has two daughters ages 10 and 11 and recently the girls have been getting more involved questioning him about his female friendships. Recently he took both girls to a concert & his female friend came along. The youngest shared that she told her mom about the concert and mom said “She did not know” his friend would be there. The youngest then told her Dad that it is not right for him to be at a concert with his female friend and not her mom. Another time recently the oldest daughter called him to ask “Dad where are you and who are you with” … I don’t know if this is normal behavior for young girls but I am concerned that they are adopting these behaviors from their Mom. She also shares certain things with the girls (since the marriage is having problems) like “I didn’t know your Dad’s female friend would be there” for example. Is this something we should be concerned about? I worry the girls are being brought into their parents’ marriage issues and in the process are being taught to interrogate their Dad and worry about boundaries with him and friends.
Your brother is putting his children in the middle of something that he shouldn’t — and hasn’t dealt adequately with. While your concern is understandable, your brother is the one that has to take control of the situation by dealing more directly with his marriage. Going to a concert with your daughters with a female friend while still being married is setting the daughters and their mother up for a collision — not good.
The key element here is your concern and over-involvement over your brother’s marriage, his friendships and his relationships with his daughters. Do not take this on as something you have to fix.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). Daughters Acting like Wife. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/09/04/daughters-acting-like-wife/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.