I moved near to my parents five years ago. My daughter was 10 years old at the time, and she stayed with them. But she is almost 15 now and I want her back.

My mom has been ill and I don't know long she will live. At first I thought it would be selfish of me to not let her stay with her, since my mother preferred to have her. But my mom has completely taken over and I miss my daughter. I don't know how it got to this point.

I've already missed so much of my daughter's life. I desperately want my daughter back. How can do that without seeming selfish and being mean?

Ive talked to daughter about how I feel. My mom lets her get away with more than I do, and buys almost everything she wants. My mom also undermines me and involves my daughter in our disagreements.

I wrote my mom a letter saying "thanks, but she's my child and my responsibility," but she ignored it.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  • 1
    Are you saying she lived with your mother for the last 5 years and your mother has been raising her that time?
    – Erik
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 7:25
  • 1
    Ask your daughter what she want's first! Remember, your daughter spent the last third of her life with your mother, that is the home she now knows. Being taken away from that home all at once can be upsetting if that is what she wants, especially if it means changing schools or being seperated from friends where your mother lives. Talk with your daughter and figure out where she want's to live and what she wants. At that age she is old enough to make her own decisions, and any state (and either women) should respect that decision.
    – dsollen
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 18:03
  • 3
    Who is the legal guardian, you or the mother? You may need to get a custody lawyer involved.
    – Daenyth
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 19:43
  • Have you talked to a lawyer?
    – WRX
    Commented Dec 21, 2016 at 17:12

1 Answer 1


The best thing to do is what's best for your daughter. At minimum, this question is complicated, and so the best situation for your family may not be what's best for any other family. First, take a look at your daughter's life. Is she (a) happy, (b) performing well academically, and (c) getting the recommended medical attention (dental, physicals, vaccinations, etc) to be healthy? If she's doing well mentally, physically, and emotionally, you might need to just let your daughter remain with your mom for the next three years-- any attempt to move her now could cause more harm than good. If you're just not sure about how she feels, ask her how she's doing, speak with her teachers, and her doctor.

However, if you feel your mother isn't the best case, either because she's not doing well in school, is constantly sick, or seems unhappy/depressed, you may need to take aggressive action. I'd like to mention at this point, that doing anything to remove your daughter from this situation will be considered hostile by your mother, and you're likely not going to maintain a good relationship with her. This sacrifice might be necessary if it's for the good of your daughter, but remember, if she's really attached, it's likely going to cause emotional stress. You might need family therapy once you get her back, as well as a rehabilitation program. What I mean by "rehabilitation", is to start off with the "same rules" that your mom had, and gradually reintroduce the rules you expect her to abide by. It will be challenging for both you and her, and will take time. She may hate you simply for removing her, so expect resistance.

As far as getting her back, this will depend on the legal status of your daughter, and your legal relationship with her. If you've retained legal guardianship, simply asking for her back is sufficient. You can involve the police if necessary, because keeping a minor somewhere against your will is basically kidnapping, family or otherwise. If you don't have legal guardianship, you'll have to go through the courts to regain guardianship, unless you can argue your case with Child Protective Services. If the situation is dire, CPS can keep your child (relatively) safe while you work on getting legal guardianship back. I'd recommend against CPS, unless her health is endangered.

You can see, however, that no matter what you do, involving the police, CPS, or the legal system may cause financial burdens on yourself and your family, and will almost definitely breed animosity between you, your mother, and your daughter. Make sure that your decision is in your daughter's best interest. Ask yourself, your daughter, and a professional therapist/psychiatrist. It's difficult to gauge how your daughter will respond to anything you do, and you're doing this for her, so make sure that it's the best thing for her, even if she doesn't see it that way.

If she can safely stay with your mother for the next three years, you can always work to start a fresh relationship with your daughter once she's moved out of your mother's house and is living on her own. You've also mentioned that your mother isn't in the best of health. This can be an argument in courts for getting your daughter back, even if you don't currently have legal guardianship.


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