Pat's Answer

My parents got divorced 7 years ago and since then my relationship with my father has gotten really strange.

Your Question

Hi, I am gonna get right to it. My parents got divorced 7 years ago and since then my relationship with my father has gotten really strange. (Dad lives alone and I visit him every other weekend). I feel like I have nothing to talk about with him. I get very uncomfortable around him. We ‘play fight’ a lot and I feel like he takes it too far. Sometimes he hits me with a TV remote, just across my arm and it feels like he’s trying to be playful, but it hurts. He doesn’t take it seriously when I tell him to stop. I guess what I am trying to say is, that he doesn’t respect my boundaries and takes nothing seriously. He also is mad when I am trying to explain something to him and tells me that I am just trying to be smart. Also one time, I accidentally didn’t pick up his call when he went out in the morning and yelled at me on the phone when I finally picked up and I apologised and started crying. When he came home he forced me to apologise again and then forced me to hug him. I get that he was scared because I was home alone, but I didn’t like how he acted. Part of the reason our relationship is bad is because I cannot relay on him. Sometimes he has to deal with some problems that my mom and I are dealing with and everytime he just complains about how he’s not used to being stressed like this 


Welcome to Ask Pat,  

Thank you for contacting us with your question. We are sorry to hear that you are struggling with your relationship with your dad. It sounds like you are concerned about the relationship. 

In all our relationships, it is important that we feel seen, heard, listened to, and supported. It sounds like you have tried to communicate this to your dad. We understand it can be difficult sometimes to talk to our parents about our thoughts and about how we feel.  Sometimes it can be hard for our parents to hear and understand our thoughts and feelings.  As we grow up and begin to become teenagers and young adults, our relationships with our parents can change. There are times when parents may forget this as they still see us as their little children and as a result, our relationship with our parents can feel strained.

It may help to talk to a trusted adult about your concerns regarding your relationship with your dad.  This person could be an aunt/uncle, older siblings or cousin, grandparent, teacher, or coach. This person could help to facilitate a conversation between you and your dad to improve your communication with one another, establish respectful boundaries and explore shared interests you may have such as TV shows, a sport or sports team, an artist or music genre.  

This person might also be able to support your dad to manage his own feelings of stress so that he can be more present when you confide in him with any problems that you are struggling with at the time.  

Remember, you can always phone Childline on 1800 66 66 66 to talk about what is going on for you. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our text service 50101 and Web Chat service through are also available daily. While we at Childline will not tell you what to do, we are here to listen and support you, and to help you to explore the options that are available to you in your life. We are here to help you in a way that suits you. 

Take Care,  


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