Dear Sue Ellen,
My 11 year old daughter goes with her dad every other weekend and she comes back mad at me every time. My ex-husband lets her do anything she wants. Last weekend she came home with purple hair! If I turn him into CPS would they do anything?
Dear Mad Mom,
It seems to me that you and your ex-husband are putting your little girl in the middle of a nasty fight over who is in control. Everybody has different parenting techniques, but when you throw a divorce into the mix it gets downright crazy, and the kids caught in the middle. Have you ever watched a tennis match? People watching the match turn their heads from right to left; back and forth; over and over again. Your daughter is the bystander watching you and your ex-husband. Her head is turning back and forth. Do you want your daughter to be a traumatized bystander?
I really hate divorce. It can destroy kids. At the very least, it will leave an emotional scar. How you handle this situation will be a defining moment for your little girl. What are your choices? What is the solution? What will you teach your daughter about life as you grapple this dilemma?
Those are questions you will have to answer for yourself, but I do have some suggestions:
1. Be honest with yourself about what is really going on
2. Do not speak against her dad, but don’t defend bad behavior from him either.
3. Stay positive and upbeat
4. Remember that you can’t control him but you can control how you respond to him
5. Let your little girl be mad at you but she still has to be respectful.
6. Find humor in situations. Laughter is good medicine. I can see you both chuckling over the purple hair fiasco when she is 18.
Do you think your ex-husband is trying to punish you through your daughter, or is he just struggling to have a relationship with his baby girl? Let’s assume the latter. A little tolerance from you could go a long way toward building a friendly relationship between you and your ex-husband. Then you might be able to figure out a way to co-parent with grace and collaboration.
So, to answer your question; I don’t think purple hair is grounds for calling CPS. Purple hair on a child doesn’t necessarily indicate child abuse; but rather just a bad parenting choice; and we all have those from time to time. I’m thinking a nice streak of purple in my hair might be fun. Maybe you’d consider dying your hair purple too.
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