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Parenting --Teens/What should an American father do?


QUESTION: What should an American father do? His daughter wants her American father to visit her in the United Kingdom. His daughter that is born in the United Kingdom (she is a citizen of the United States and United Kingdom) tells him that she does not want to visit the United States before child custody ends at age 18, because she is afraid that her American father will not allow her to return to the United Kingdom before her 18 birthday. She is also afraid that if she were to visit the United States before her 18 birthday, he will file for custody of her in the United States family courts. She is also afraid that if she were to visit the United States and return to the UK, there would be a Interpol Red Notice issued against her British mother for violating The International Parental Kidnapping Crime Act 1993 (IPKCA). She knows that this will not be a legal issue if she were visit the United States for the first time after her 18 birthday.

ANSWER: Although you are writing in the third person, I am assuming that you are the American father. You are asking me legal questions which are a bit out of my expertise. If I were the American father who seems to want to keep up a relationship with his daughter, I would understand her concerns and go visit her in the UK. Depending on what state you live in, it would seem that there might be some validity to her concerns. The quickest way to end up with a totally estranged daughter is to treat her as if she was a child and demand that she visit you despite her concerns.

My last suggestion is for you to go to Amazon and obtain a copy of a book called Parent as Coach. It is short, inexpensive and will change the quality of the conversations you have with your daughter. This is, in my opinion, required reading. †I know Diana Sterling, the author. She is a coach of teens and the book was written as a result of that work and her raising a teen herself. There are two versions of the book. Get the most recent version although both have basically the same information. You might also find that my other writings on the blog of my parenting website might be useful; ††

I hope this has helped. You can always reply with additional questions or need for clarification if you want to.

Jason Wittman, MPS

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Why would she want her American father to visit her in the United Kingdom, but only if he abides by UK laws while in the UK? She makes the following clear to her American father.

CRIMINAL PENALTIES: U.S. citizens are subject to United Kingdom laws while traveling in the UK. Your U.S. passport wonít help you avoid arrest or prosecution. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than in the U.S. Itís very important to know whatís legal and whatís not where you are going.

Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in the United Kingdom are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United Kingdom as well as the United States.

Many pocket knives and other blades, and mace or pepper spray canisters are illegal in the United Kingdom and will result in arrest and confiscation if detected. Please refer to ďA UK Customs Guide," detailing which items visitors are prohibited from bringing into the United Kingdom.

Air travelers to and from the United Kingdom should be aware that penalties against alcohol-related and other in-flight crimes (ďair rageĒ) are stiff and are being enforced with prison sentences. Please also see our information on customs regulations  that pertain when returning to the United States.

Drivers of non-UK-registered vehicles may have to provide an on-the-spot deposit of up to £900 (approximately 1400 USD) if stopped for a motoring offense. If the driver cannot pay due to lack of cash or credit, the vehicle may be impounded until payment is made, and a release fee will be charged in addition to the deposit.

Non-UK-resident drivers charged with motoring offenses are often unable to provide a verifiable address for delivery of a summons (subpoena) to appear in court, or fail to return for court if released on bail. U.S. citizens may be detained and arrested if they cannot provide a UK address to receive a subpoena or are about to depart the United Kingdom and have to be brought to court quickly for a motoring offense. If alleged offenders attend court and are found not guilty, the deposit is returned.

Donít buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal to bring back into the United States, but you may also be breaking local law.

Arrest notifications in host country: UK authorities regularly notify the U.S. embassy or a consulate if a U.S. citizen is detained or arrested in the United Kingdom, but to ensure the State Department is aware of your circumstances, request that the police and prison officials notify the U.S. embassy or nearest consulate as soon as you are arrested or detained in the United Kingdom.

SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES:  We are not aware of any special currency or customs circumstances in the United Kingdom.

The legal drinking age in the United Kingdom is 18 years of age. Social drinking in pubs (bars) is often seen as a routine aspect of British life. Parents, organizers of school trips, and young travelers should be aware of the impact that this environment may have when combined with the sense of adventure that comes with being abroad. Please see our Students Abroad website to help you plan a safe and enjoyable experience.

The United Kingdom has very strict gun control laws, and importing firearms is extremely complicated. Travelers should consider leaving all firearms in the United States. There are restrictions on the type and number of weapons that an individual may possess. All handguns, such as pistols and revolvers, are prohibited, with very few exceptions. Police control the licensing of firearms in the United Kingdom. Applicants for a license must be prepared to show good reason why they require each weapon. Applicants must also provide a copy of their U.S. gun license, a letter of good conduct from their local U.S. police station, and a letter detailing any previous training, hunting, or shooting experience. Background checks will also be carried out. Additional information on applying for a firearm certificate and/or shotgun certificate can be found on the London Metropolitan Police Firearms licensing web page. For firearms certificates for Scotland, please check with Police Scotland, as Scotland has separate regulations. Licenses from England or Wales may not be valid in Scotland; please check with the appropriate authorities.

I answered your first question as well as I could. This question can better be asked, directly, of the daughter. If you are not able to do that, I would guess that the original question and this follow up are hypothetical. That kind of question is beyond the realm of this website. I am my other experts do our best to answer the questions of real folks. If you have any further follow-ups, please let me know just what your connection to this girl is and exactly what your problems are regarding what she is doing.

Jason Wittman, MPS

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Jason Wittman, MPS


I can answer most question regarding the raising of teens. Since my personal experience has been raising 13 foster sons and an adopted son, I am stronger talking about parenting male teens and young adults. When it comes to teen problems and how to parent them, I am equally well versed with male and female issues. I am also very strong answering substance abuse and addiction issues, teen dating drama, questions about sex and questions relating to same sex issues and concerns.


I have a master's degree in Counseling Psychology from Cornell University. I am certified as a Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner and as a Hypnotherapist. I have been a Life & Mentor Coach for over twenty years. I have been running youth programs and working with teens and young adults for over 35 years and have personally raised 14 teens.

International Coach Federation International Association for Coaches

My Parenting Blog I recently published an autobiographical novel, "The Street Shrink Chronicles" Articles in The American Journal

Master's in Counseling Psychology from Cornell University B.S. in Bus. Mgt from Cornell University Certified N.L.P. Practitioner from Grinder-DeLozier Institute Certified Hypnotherapist from Gil Boyne Institute

Past/Present Clients
My clients are very private people who do not wish to be public about their personal business.

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