My teen daughter is refusing a family trip with my partner

A woman is struggling to get her daughter to be more positive about her partner. Mariella Frostrup advises her not to foist a new family on the teenager

The dilemma My partner came from Europe to live with us in Australia. Until then it was just my daughter, now 14, and me (her dad left when she was a few days old). Unfortunately, she is still hot and cold with him after two years. He doesn’t parent her – just tries to be there and offer support – but she still refuses to acknowledge him at times. She’s protective of our mother-daughter relationship and I still ensure we do things together. We’d like to visit Greece as a family, but my daughter has made it clear she’s not going. I haven’t gone with him before as I didn’t feel she was ready, yet I can’t keep doing what she wants either! Any advice on encouraging her to be more positive towards our family dynamic?

Mariella replies Drop the word family. The more you try to dictate your daughter’s feelings towards this relatively new domestic ensemble the harder she will resist you. Her life experience (until just a couple of years ago) was a long, halcyon period of mother and daughter bonding, all the more rose-tinted for having taken place during her arguably more maternally dependent years.

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Alex Vidal