Dad's drinking leads to daughter's escape
Dear Amy: When my daughter was three, I divorced her father -- in part due to his violent temper.
Now at 13 years old, she, too, is afraid of her father's temper, particularly when he is drinking alcohol.
She just revealed to me that on several occasions during her visitation with him she has asked a friend's parents to pick her up and sleep over at their house out of fear of her father.
Apparently, when drinking he has violent arguments with his girlfriend over the phone, and this scares her.
I have instructed her that she is to contact me immediately to remove her from the situation. She is afraid that contacting me will only escalate the situation and he will turn his fury toward her.
Her therapist has recommended Alateen, as well as voicing her concerns to her father when he is sober, but she is petrified to have any sort of conversation relating to his temper or alcohol consumption.
Short of discontinuing visitation (which she still desires, despite everything), I am at a loss as to how to proceed.
-- Concerned Mother
Dear Concerned: Your daughter is to be commended. She has found a smart strategy for getting out of the household when she is afraid -- covering her escape with a sleepover. Smart girl!
You should communicate with her friend's parents to thank them and to gain some insight into these rescue missions.