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Father in law is saying my dad is abusing my teenager


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Old 12th December 2017, 6:18 PM   #1
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Father in law is saying my dad is abusing my teenager

My wife and I have been married for 20 years. Our fathers, never really have been the best friends, which shows especially when it comes to their interactions with our 16 year old daughter.

My dad is very close to my daughter and my sisterís kids. Usually when they arenít in school he takes them all and does stuff with them. Itís good because it keeps them, and him, out of trouble.

My daughter adores him, And I know at times she can get a little touchy-feely. Over the last couple weeks my mom has actually gotten after her for being all over him. Hanging on him and stuff, but it wasnít anything out of the ordinary.

Well, on Saturday we were all going over for dinner and my daughter was already there. When my wife and in laws got there, they were asleep on the couch, sitting up, and had a blanket on their laps.

My father in law sees this and starts suggesting to my wife that he was touching her. My wife says it didnít seem like that, but ďgiven how close they areĒ we should ask her about it.

My heart is broken, and Iíd never think my dad would do anything like that. More importantly, I donít think our daughter would let him. I have no idea what to do about this. Does anyone have any suggestions? I donít want to ruin their relationship, but I also donít want my kid being hurt and not telling us.

What should I do?
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Old 12th December 2017, 6:51 PM   #2
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How open is your daughter with you about sex and male/female interactions? To me, she is the primary point of contact and arbiter of boundaries.

Is she dating boys yet?

I had this problem when younger with extended family members. Kids are, generally, pretty sensitive to safety stuff and adults who behave in a 'safe' manner and I'd get both boys and girls hanging on me and sometimes the girls would develop innocent adolescent crushes and overstep boundaries. Of course that was innocent on their part, natural exploration of their burgeoning sexuality, but was a great opportunity to communicate what's appropriate. I also ran into the same thing as an older man dating women with young children. Mom would be sitting in the chair and the kids would be on top of me, along with the dog.

I'd do the fatherly thing with daughter first then, as appropriate, have a conversation with her grandfather.

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Old 12th December 2017, 7:10 PM   #3
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That's a yucky thing to have to think about. But what you write doesn't make me think that something bad is happening. It strikes me that FIL might be looking for a way to paint their relationship as negative because he's jealous.

I also think the place to start is with your daughter. But I would hate for her to feel self conscious about her relationship with your dad. It's probably really wonderful for her that things are comfortable and easy between them. And I feel like that is a sign that nothing bad is going on.
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Old 12th December 2017, 7:33 PM   #4
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Talk to your daughter. Also get your dad to start enforcing some boundaries as your daughter at least physically matures into a young woman.
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Old 12th December 2017, 7:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carhill View Post
How open is your daughter with you about sex and male/female interactions? To me, she is the primary point of contact and arbiter of boundaries.

Is she dating boys yet?

I had this problem when younger with extended family members. Kids are, generally, pretty sensitive to safety stuff and adults who behave in a 'safe' manner and I'd get both boys and girls hanging on me and sometimes the girls would develop innocent adolescent crushes and overstep boundaries. Of course that was innocent on their part, natural exploration of their burgeoning sexuality, but was a great opportunity to communicate what's appropriate. I also ran into the same thing as an older man dating women with young children. Mom would be sitting in the chair and the kids would be on top of me, along with the dog.

I'd do the fatherly thing with daughter first then, as appropriate, have a conversation with her grandfather.

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No, she doesnít really date yet, and she doesnít really have any friends. Sheís painfully shy and a little awkward. I know she talks about boys she likes to my dad because he said that she likes the boy who works at the gas station on the corner by their house.
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Old 12th December 2017, 8:47 PM   #6
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Given what's shared, I'd strongly suspect this is completely innocent on all sides and she's acting out some of her natural teenage hormones with a safe male, someone she's looked up to since young. However, worth a talk with her, not about grandfather, rather how she feels about boys, dating and appropriate contact with males. IDK, maybe that's better a mother thing but I've always been of the opinion that both parents can do equally well in such situations given the right approach.

At this point, based on what you posted, I'd tend to discount FIL's opinion for now. Sure, take it on board but look to the principals for more information. Also, review your history with your father and knowledge of him throughout your life, for any commonalities. Good luck!
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Old 12th December 2017, 11:59 PM   #7
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That's disturbing stuff whichever way you look at it. If your Dad is completely innocent and just a good grandpa who likes spending time with his grand-kids then it's awful that someone is smearing his reputation, possibly motivated by jealousy .....or something more sinister. On the other hand, how many times has a whole family unwittingly turned a blind eye to something a family member is doing under their nose because it was too awful to even contemplate?
I would have a quiet talk with your daughter as she's reached the age where the wrong kind of touchy-feely affection can be misinterpreted by both onlookers and the recipient. At the very least you don't want her to grow up to be one of those stupid women who're all over other women's partners with no realisation that they're making a fool of themselves.
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Old 14th December 2017, 10:55 PM   #8
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Father in law is saying my dad is abusing my teenager

Oh, so sorry that you have to feel concerned, hurt and frustrated! It sounds like your daughter and your father have a beautiful and special relationship since she was young....and that is precious. Your father-in-law is angry and frustrated as well as he has not had your daughter's affection as he probably wishes he did.
To err on the safe side and put your concerned heart to rest, speak to your daughter. Share with her that as she gets older, she may need to be aware of how she dresses, her outward affections, etc. Make it part of a bigger conversation about her body changing, how she is viewed, appropriate touching, etc. Perhaps you want to have your wife there as well so that she understands her parents love her and are supporting her in the next stage of her development. As part of that discussion, you can bring up yourself as an example. Share that she may not want to sit on your lap anymore the way she did when she was a little girl....and that's ok. Give her some room to understand the changes without feeling uncomfortable or scared. Assure her that you are both there if she is ever in a position where she feels concerned or confused by the way someone is acting toward her....whether it is someone she knows or does not know.
Our guts are usually sensitive to those we love. Observe the relationship with your father and see how you are feeling. If necessary, you can even share in a matter-of-fact way with your dad that your daughter is growing up and that less physical contact would be better as you are teaching her modesty and she is transitioning into the next stage of her life.
I hope that some of these ideas help and that you can feel assurance that all is well. If this continues to trouble you, you might want to consider speaking to a professional for additional advice. I wish you all well.
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Old 24th December 2017, 2:14 AM   #9
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A lot of good suggestions here. I really like OptimismHopeTrust's thoughts.

Especially that the conversation is broad, and includes both you and your wife. Don't make this a secret. The more secret it is, the harder it will be in the future for your daughter to tell you or a teacher or pastor, etc. about something concerning in her life.

Remember, part of the fear is that your daughter keeps, or will keep, a damaging secret with another adult. Communicate that this subject is not a secret to you, your wife, and your daughter. It is one new subject of many in her life, and you all can talk about it when ever, without the earth grinding to a halt.

I'd encourage you to talk about it in the day time, in a public room like the kitchen, dining room, living room. Not behind closed doors.

Also, it might not work for you to get the whole conversation through in one session. Consider speaking with your daughter about part of this over maybe three conversations.

One of the problems I think some people have with heavy issues with their children is that they give a little prepared speech, ask if there are any questions or statements, and then exit the room, task completed thank goodness!

To you, you will have dwelt on this, asked us, talked to your wife and maybe a sibling, etc. about it before talking to your daughter.

To your daughter, she's thinking everything in life is clear and readable. She probably won't have anything in mind to reply at first. After she's had it rolling around in her head for a couple days, she might participate in the conversation more. Give her that chance.

Best Wishes
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Old 24th December 2017, 11:28 AM   #10
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Talk to your daughter.

And talk to your father. It's nice that they have a close relationship, but it is important that he enforce healthy boundaries. It's not appropriate for your daughter to be "all over him" as she gets older. He needs to be the one to be sure that nothing they do is inappropriate - he is the adult. If he has her best interest at heart, he will have no problem setting some better boundaries.

And, watch the situation, very closely...
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