It is more common than you may believe that a daughter hates her father after the divorce. Divorce is hard on everyone involved, especially the children. If you feel like your daughter hates her father this is something that needs to be studied closely and addressed.
If not, there is a good chance that they won’t have a relationship moving forward. This happens all the time in divorce. The parent (typically the one that gets custody) builds a relationship with that child while the relationship with the other parent slowly dies off.
Especially if there are hurt feelings, it can be very easy for hate to turn into resentment which inevitably leads to the end of the father/daughter relationship. Relationships between fathers and their daughters are already difficult to manage as it is, throw divorce in the mix, and in most situations, the relationship between the girl and her father does not survive the divorce.
There are things you can do to give the father/daughter relationship a chance to survive after the divorce.
Find out why She Hates her Father after the Divorce
The first step to fixing the post-divorce relationship with your daughter is trying to understand why she hates you in the first place. There is a wide variety of possible reasons but typically a child will hate the parent they blame for the divorce.
Although divorces typically have both parties to blame children typically associate the responsibility of the divorce with one person. Now the father may be to blame. After all, infidelity is one of the top reasons for divorce.
Another fairly common reason why your daughter may hate you after a divorce is that she may miss her old life. Divorce drastically changes the lives of everyone involved. Your daughter’s life was shaken up. As a result, many children begin to build resentment for their parents for taking away the life they once had.
the good news is the younger your daughter, the more likely she is to let it go with time. During a divorce, most children are flooded with emotions one of them being anger.
Try not to take your daughter’s words to heart. She is just scared and confused.
Having an Honest Conversation
One of the best ways to find out why your child hates you is just by asking. Don’t ask when in the heat of the moment. Wait till emotions are brought back to proportional levels. Depending on the age and temperament of your child, you may or may not get a straight answer. The point of asking is not to get an answer but as a gesture.
Discuss why she felt that way and how her words made you feel. Try to get her to see things from your perspective but more importantly make a genuine effort to see things from her perspective.
How to Stop the Hate
As cheesy as this is about to sound the best way to combat hate is with true genuine love. If your daughter hates you, do everything in your power to be a better father. Imagine if this divorce rather than pulling you and your daughter apart it brought you two closer together.
Your daughter does not hate you, she hates what happened. She’s hurt and chances are, no matter how old your daughter is, she is going to say things she does not truly mean. As she gets more and more accustomed to what her life is going to look like now, she’ll start coming around.
Hate is a really powerful emotion that we tend to overuse. It is very unlikely your daughter really hates you. She may be angry and disappointed but you but I doubt she really hates you.
Stay in Your Daughter’s Life
Whether you get custody or not, make a strong effort to stay in her life. This is important for many reasons, the first being that emotions settle over time. The more time you spend with your daughter the more opportunities you have to change the way she feels about you.
Remember the important dates and more importantly show up. “Being There” for her in this case is literal. Show up to the softball games and birthdays.
There are apps out there literally designed to help you be a better dad in a co-parenting situation. Apps that help you schedule times to see your daughter and communicate with her mother.
We partnered with Our Family Wizard to create an app that helps co-parents be better parents. Their app helps you plan time to spend with your daughter, share expenses, and remember important events.
Especially if your daughter is still young, you have lots of time to spend quality time with her. Don’t let this divorce define her childhood. This is why a sense of normalcy is important for children after a divorce.
Time is Your Best Friend
As I mentioned earlier, things are likely to get better with time. As you put in the effort to be a better father she’ll start to realize that this divorce was not all bad. If you make an effort to build your relationship with your daughter better after the divorce than it was before the divorce I guarantee she won’t be able to hate you for too long.
Now if she blames you for the divorce (fairly or not) it will take longer for her to get over the feeling of hate. Especially if her new life is worse than her old one.
- Maintain a Level of Normalcy After the Divorce
- Spend Time With Her
- Be There For Her
Once you’ve done everything in your power to show her you love her and are still interested in being in her life, waiting is the only thing left to do. Even though we are her parents we can’t force her to take her father back in her life.
How To Be a Better Father After Divorce
I’ve mentioned earlier that you should try to be a better father after the divorce than before. But what exactly does it mean to be a better father. What are actionable things you can do today and tomorrow to be a better father now that you are divorced?
1. Check In With Her
Especially if you no longer live with your daughter, you need to check in with her. The younger she is the more often you need to check in. If she is in elementary school, I’d give her a call 4-5 times a week and physically see her at least twice. On the other hand, if she is a late teen or young adult, calling her twice a week and physically seeing her at least once will do the trick.
When you actually see your daughter, it can be easy to launch into an interrogation. “How have things been?”, “How is your mom?”, “How is school?”, etc. The goal is to do something that she would enjoy, an actual activity.
Maybe take her to her favorite concert or movie. If she likes rides take her to an amusement park. Also, a great way to win “daughter points” is by allowing her to invite her friends. If you take her and her friends out a couple of times, she’ll find it very hard to hate you.
We are not trying to bribe her to love you. Rather we are showing her love through action.
2. Show Up to Important Events
We remember the times in our lives when emotions are high. Things like graduations, weddings, and funerals are events that stick out in our minds. You’ll want to be a part of her life for the important events because these are the ones she is going to remember.
Making the time to show up to her games, recitals, and graduations is a shortcut to getting back on her good side.
3. Gift With Meaning
When birthdays/graduations come around, this is a good opportunity to show her you care and listen to her. Again we are not trying to bribe her. Money does not equal meaning. Get her something that she has mentioned she has wanted before. Something that would really make her life better.
Let me give you an example. When I got divorced, I lost contact with my 20-year-old daughter. Eventually, I decided to be a better father and visit her for thanksgiving. We spent some decent time together and I remember while in her car to pick up some groceries there was a jump in the transmission. I asked what that is she said she did not know and just hopped it would go away.
So for Christmas, I got the problem in her car fixed. I told her I was worried about her driving a vehicle that may not be safe. In one gift I was able to express how I cared for her and increase her safety on the road.
Gifts don’t always have to be luxuries like a new phone or computer. In reality, the things that people need the most are overlooked when it comes to gifts.
If you think the divorce was hard on you, you have no idea what your daughter just went through. It is actually pretty common that a daughter hates her father after the divorce. The reality is though, that she may just be angry with him.
Follow the steps above to rebuild your damaged relationship with your daughter and before you know it, she’ll be proud to call you dad.