I'm struggling to determine what is best for my daughter. Her father was convicted of sexually abusing her step-sister. She currently has weekly supervised visits with her dad. I am getting married and my fiance is willing to adopt her, but I am worried about how to keep a relationship going between her and her father while still protecting her from his negative influence and manipulative tendencies. How much does having a loving step-father counteract these negative effects?

Answer

You have a challenging situation on your hands, and I admire you for thinking about its impact on your daughter. She'll benefit from having stable, loving, and involved men in her life, whether they're grandfathers, uncles, coaches, teachers, or your fiance. I hope he understands his importance in her universe and will stay committed to her even if the marriage were to end.

With the complications in your situation, it would be beneficial for you and him to attend pre-marital counseling. The therapist may want your daughter (and any siblings) to join you in some sessions as well, so you can discuss family dynamics. The therapist can advise you on how to talk with her in an age-appropriate way about her dad's bad behavior and manipulative ways. She needs to know that he has problems that don't, in any way, reflect on her. She deserves an honest assessment of him so she can protect herself.

A good therapist will introduce the hard topics that you and your fiance need to discuss before getting married. Your daughter's father will surely create issues for years to come. You and your fiance want to be on the same page, doing what's best for her. She's lucky to have you on her side and, with some honorable, devoted men in her life, she'll be just fine.

Updated on November 7, 2019

Original Article:

Fatherless Daughters: How Growing Up Without a Dad Affects Women
By McKenna Meyers
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