Dear Ann Landers, I am a 55-year-old grandmother who has developed an online friendship with a 13-year-old girl in another state. "Emily" told me her parents divorced two years ago, and that she has not seen her father since. She said she thinks the reason is because her mother is still angry and won't allow the father to contact her. Emily does not know where her father is and told me, "I will never see him again."
I have begged Emily to talk to her mother, teachers, etc., but I don't know if she has. I also realize it may be that her father simply has no interest in seeing her, and that it is not the mother's fault at all.
Ann, why do parents do this to their children? Why does a 13-year-old girl have to tell a total stranger about her sorrow? I can be sympathetic, but I cannot really help. Why can't these parents see what they are doing to their little girl by making her feel abandoned?
It breaks my heart that this child is so unhappy. Please, Ann, tell those divorced parents to put their children's needs first. -- Houston Grandma
Dear Grandma, Most divorced parents try hard to put their children first, but troubled children often pretend everything is fine because they do not want to cause additional disruption in their parents' lives. Please stay in touch with Emily, and be her friend and adviser. It sounds as if she could use both.