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Family problems Dear Maura: My daughter feels so alone and I don't know what to do

She has been giving trouble and I had to go to her school a few times last year.


Stock photo

Stock photo

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Maura O’Neill has been responding to a wide range of problems and issues for the past 20 years as Agony Aunt with the Sunday World. With a Higher Diploma in Education and counselling qualification she also draws on her own life experience in responding to readers’ letters.

Dear Maura,

I'm so afraid that I've lost my daughter, that I've messed up our relationship and she will never have a closeness with me. I've sensed this for a good while but only really became fully aware of it over the last month or so.

She has been giving trouble and I had to go to her school a few times last year. I'm a single parent. Her father left when she was eight. She's now 12. He turned out to be not a nice man at all.

My own mother was quite hard and I guess that's had an influence on me. But I don't want this for my daughter or for her to feel alone which her Year Head told me she said. I don't know how to make things better for her and me.

It's not easy. I have to work from home and I'm quite busy, so she's on her own a lot. I've no family nearby but she does have cousins and she had a nice time over the holiday with them, making me more aware of how miserable she is with me.

So where or how do I start? Is it possible to mend this relationship for us both to heal? I know I carry baggage from my own childhood which makes this whole process so difficult.


How about starting with something very simple, like an invite to your daughter to have hot chocolate, treats and watch a film you both like.

Sometimes an atmosphere like this can create a sense of love and care which I feel for whatever reason has been missing for both of you.

Nobody is to blame, it's important to remember that. Have you ever considered talking about your own childhood and your daughter's father? You have experienced a lot of emotional trauma and I feel you have just got on with everything rather than taking time to work through these experiences.

Focus on healing by taking a step back from pressures in your life and making your relationship with your daughter a priority.


Email your problems to Dr Angela Brokmann: dr.angela@sundayworld.com or Maura O'Neill: maura.oneill@sundayworld.com

Sunday World