shared parenting struggle - my ds's behaviour vs. my guilt

(6 Posts)
PintandChips Tue 17-Sep-13 13:47:47

Hi,
My DS is 7; i've been separated from his dad for 4.5yrs, we co-share parenting 50/50; are civil to each other (sometimes even friendly), both of us are in long term happy relationships with new partners, both of whom our DS adores. It's all good on paper. Apart from the terrible guilt that i feel about the fact that DS has this split life, two homes, has to always be with either mummy OR daddy, remember constantly to pack the things/toys he wants to have to play with in a bag to take to school, often realising he's left something important at the other parent's house that he needs for PE or whatever...
The last couple of weeks he's started doing this thing where he gets into a real strop at bed time, i don't know why, and he just lies in bed crying and won't look at me / talk to me. I end up getting cross because i don't know what's going on, and give him an ultimatum (talk to me or i'm going downstairs - you can call me back when you're ready to talk) at which point he cries more and begs me not to leave the room, then turns his back on me and we start all over again. Doesn't want me to comfort him or touch him. Three times in 2 weeks. I don't know if he's testing boundaries, trying to exert some control or what - but it makes me really cross. Eventually he will say something like 'i thought you weren't going to read me a story' or 'you said you were coming to help me brush my teeth' - a totally made up issue of some kind (i always come if he asks and we always have a story) and we make up and have a cuddle but the whole process takes almost an hour and i find it really difficult. I feel cross with him for behaving that way, and guilty that maybe he finds life difficult because of the circumstances and how unsettling it must be to constantly be swopping houses... and he can't articulate it. Then i feel guilty for being angry with him, and the guilt overwhelms me to the point that i am tearful and unable to sleep.
I don't know how to handle it and i really need some advice.

cestlavielife Tue 17-Sep-13 13:55:08

how to talk...etc.
www.amazon.co.uk/How-Talk-Kids-Will-Listen/dp/1848123094
has some good ideas on approaches to try . was recomended to me by child psychologist follwoing a telephone consultation about my dc.

dont force the issue but try subtle ways to get to what he is trying to tell you. eg do soem drawing or role play wih him, find a book tor ead which ahs a cahracter living in separate houses (or write one) . what ar ethey studying at school have they done family trees? is he picking up on somthing? might be nothing to do with family set up.

have you got two of everything? eg duplicate pe kit and duplicate toys? so he doesnt have to trawl things around from one house to the other.

cestlavielife Tue 17-Sep-13 13:56:09

if he has been used to two houses for three or more years it is unlikely to be the shock of it is it?

PintandChips Tue 17-Sep-13 14:24:52

thanks cestlavielife. you're right, I think i put an adult perspective on it re the 2 houses (i live in 2 places and it drives me nuts). he doesn't have dupes of everything but the important things like bikes and clothes he does. The more i think about it the more i think it's about my guilt and i think he was probably just knackered, maybe i'm keeping him up too late because i only get an hour with him when i get home from work before bed time, 2 nights a week. i think i'm struggling, not him.

PintandChips Tue 17-Sep-13 14:25:15

also, thanks for the reminder re that book, have it on the shelf!

cestlavielife Tue 17-Sep-13 14:31:04

maybe there are more things he needs dupes of though as you said "important things" toys and you mentioned pe kit?

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