Maudlin and Associates ™
Karen Maudlin
Psy.D., CPCC
Kenneth Davison
Cindy Takiguchi
Manette Galván Turner
Robert Gregory
Daniel Doebler
Trevor Simpson

"I'm a 12-year-old girl. My mom and dad got divorced when I was 3. I live with my mom now, but I'm thinking of living with my dad. I am scared about making this decision. What should I do?"

A. Whether you end up moving or not, it's important that you try to have a good relationship with both of your parents. Mothers and daughters your age are prone to argue. If this is the case with you and your mom, tell your mom you want to have a talk and schedule a mother-daughter meeting over ice cream or lunch. Share your concerns by using "I" statements, where you say something like, "Mom, I feel hurt when you … " Talk about solutions you think would help the two of you get along better. If the problem is that you want to see more of your dad, set up the same kind of meeting with him and develop some solutions to help you see more of each other.

Give these plans two to three months, then re-evaluate your plan to move. If you are still unsure of what to do, make a list of the pros and cons of moving and staying. Keep in mind factors such as the stress that comes from changing schools and neighborhoods, and finding new friends.

If after this exercise, you still want to make a change, set up another meeting with your mom and review your list with her. This is likely to be an upsetting conversation for her, so try to stay calm. If the conversation turns into an argument, don't threaten to leave - that will only upset her more. Instead, tell her you want to work out an arrangement that works for both of you. If you feel you've accomplished nothing, ask your mom to set up a meeting with a Christian family therapist (your pastor can help you find one) to discuss the matter more effectively and help guide you both to a good solution. Remember that God is with you as you make this decision and wants to be your Wonderful Counselor. Hang in there.