One month ago my 14 year old daughter texted me from school saying that my husband (her stepdad) had asked her to change her shirt in front of him while I wasn’t home, and that he had also came into the bathroom while she was in the shower and ruffled the curtain and said “let me see”. I was devastated because I never ever thought something like this could happen. He has moved out now, and has promised to go to counseling. My question is if families are able to come back from something like this or not, and also, if he gets help and apologized to her and I make sure all precautions are in place so this never happens again, if it’s horrible for me to expect her to be ok with letting him move back in. We have two sons together and I want our family to stay intact. He is an incredible person and provider. He has been very depressed since the passing of his father. He admitted to it and cried for a whole week because he feels so horrible for what he has done. I know on he inside he is a good person. I’m just blown away that this happened. I want to protect my daughter above all else. I’ve told him if he moves back in and anything like this happened again I would report it and he would lose his kids. He swears it was just a glitch and he was just depressed and he is very, very sorry for it and he would never do it again. He did not ever touch her, and when he asked that of her she said no, so he didn’t see her at all. It was mostly just words but I know words can be the most hurtful. I really just want to know if you think it’s possible for us to keep our family together if everyone gets some therapy and help. Thank you for your time!
While I am a big fan of therapy, I do not think this situation as you’ve describe it is on track. He cannot move back in first just because he feels bad and wants to change. This doesn’t honor your daughter’s needs. This also isn’t a time for some collective therapy with you, your daughter, and your husband. He has significant therapeutic issues in front of him that are not a quick fix.
Endangering the welfare of your daughter is not a normal reaction to grief over his father’s death. He needs to stay out of the house, away from your daughter, and in therapy with an expert. Just like you said, you never imagined that he could do this — so you cannot make the assumption that he is okay enough to bring back into your home. If you are going to make an error, make it on the side of your daughter’s safety.
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). Husband Made Advances Toward Teen Daughter. Psych Central.
Retrieved on July 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2018/07/25/husband-made-advances-toward-teen-daughter/
Last updated: 24 Jul 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 24 Jul 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.