12yo daughter distraught at me going away for weekend.(18 Posts)
My daughter has always been a really mammy's girl and also a real home bird. From being small she has hated staying at grandparents for the odd night to allow me and her dad to have a night out. On the few occassions that hubby and i have had a weekend away there has always been tears from her before we go and tears on the phone throughout the weekend.
We are going away this weekend and last night she was almost hysterical, crying and sobbing about us going away. I calmed and hugged her and asked what exactly it was that upset her so much, but she couldn't put it into words. I told her i felt she was being unfair and making me feel guilty for going away with Dad to which she said she didn't want me to feel like that.
She's 12 and a half now and i really thought she would have moved on from feeling like this. I really don't know what to do. I've told her to stop being silly about it before last night but i was a bit annoyed that she was so upset... how bad is that?
Any ideas on how i can help her and stop myself feeling so guilty at leaving her?
Who is she being left with when you go away?
I remember my mum going away with her long term boyfriend when I was 12. She went for the weekend and I sobbed my heart out. I stayed with my grandma who I was very fond of but I couldn't cope with the fact that my mum was prepared to 'abandon' me for a romantic adult only break. 12 year olds are sensitive souls and sometimes a little OTT (I cried whenever I thought about it for several months later). In my defence it was my 13th birthday on the weekend that she was away.
I eventually got over it and it didn't scar me for life.
who is she staying with whilst you're away?
Sorry, I forgot to offer some solutions to make you feel less guilty:
Plan a girlie day out to make up for your absence when you return. Treat her to a facial and some shopping.
I assume she is staying with grandparents. Can you organise a playdate for her some time over the weekend so that she has something to distract her and that she can look forward to? Or some other activity she will enjoy?
Sounds like attachment disorder to me.
I can understand you feeling guilty but I don't think it's wrong to want the odd bit of time away with your DH. Can you explain to her how important that is for Mums and Dads to stay happy and healthy? Can you dig into what exactly is bothering her?
Are you completely sure this isn't anything to do with who or where she is going while you are away?
If so, then sorry but no I wouldn't pander (going away on your 13th birthday weekend is pretty unforgiveable though!). She's old enough to realise that you and her dad need some time to yourself and she needs to be a bit more independent as well at her age, has she ever voluntarily gone to a sleepover with a friend? Have you encouraged things like that?
My daughters can be a bit sulky when we go away because they percieve it as fun they are missing out on so yes planning something fun with them afterwards is a good thing to do but hysteria is a complete over reaction surely?
It isn't necessarily attachment issues, why does it have to be something so dramatic?
It could be more like my case which is the realisation that the world actually doesn't revolve around you and that you parents are happy to spend time away from you for more than a few hours. 12 year olds sometimes behave in an overly dramatic fashion and blow things way out of proportion. Behaving in typical 12 year old fashion doesn't always mean that the child has been scarred for life by some early childhood issues and left with an attachment disorder.
Thanks all. I should have mentioned that my parents are coming over to our house to look after them as we felt she'd feel more comfomfortable in her own surroundings. I already asked her if she wants to invite a friend over on the Saturday but i think i'll be a bit more forceful about it!
She is a very sensitive soul and i do pander to her a bit, but last night was verging on the ridiculous. I have a 15 year old daughter too and she is the polar opposite!
I'm finding that the older ds's get (now 12 and 9), the more difficult it is to leave them - something the parenting books don't tell you! When they're tiny, although it's difficult to leave them in other ways, we sometimes just flung them at their grandparents and escaped for a night - now they're older they can tell us that they don't want us to go and the emotional blackmail starts...
So I feel for you OP - dp and I go away for maybe 1 - 2 nights a year and we'll carry on doing this as we're lucky enough to have grandparents very nearby who ds's are close to, but it certainly doesn't get easier! I think you still have to go though - just be pragmatic and maybe agree a couple of set times for you to phone her/her to phone you. Can you facetime? Dp and I will do this with ds's when we're away.
Cheese I really don't think you should be diagnosing something as serious as attachment disorder based on one short snippet of info. Good grief!
Do you think she would actually like to come with both of you and that's part of the problem? My husband and I have both had the odd night away individually with friends, but generally if we have a weekend away it's a family thing and our daughter (same age as yours) wants to come.
As it's all set up, she'll obviously have to be with your parents this weekend, but is there anyone else - perhaps Auntie & Uncle (who may seem a bit younger and more fun) or what about a friend's house next time. Every child is different, but my daughter would jump at that. In turn, make it clear you'd have the other girl back one weekend/school hols so it's two things to look forward to.
It may not help, but is there somewhere fun your parents could take them out, either a day trip, cinema, swimming or something simple like going to the local shop to get some cakes/chocolate & magazines as a treat. Or maybe there's something she likes doing with you, that your parents could do. Maybe get her favourite tea in. Simple things may help a little.
I've told her to stop being silly about it before last night but i was a bit annoyed that she was so upset... how bad is that?
For whatever reason, your DD is very uncomfortable with both her parents being away and dismissing that as being silly will not help. She's unable to articulate her reasoning but doesn't want to make you feel guilty, that suggests to me that this isn't deliberate - she is genuinely distressed.
Would it help her to work her feelings and reasons out using a journal? Some people find it easier to free write rather than talk and she might be able to pinpoint what she's experiencing e.g. panic, fear (that you won't come back/that you get hurt etc), feeling abandoned and so on, from there you'll have a better platform from which to help her. Does she have the same issues going on school residential trips?
One thing my DS describes (he has PTSD and phobia issues) is that theoretically he 'knows' that situation X isn't a big deal, but when faced with the prospect of being in that situation he reverts to the experience that triggered the problem (he's made huge progress though and is now much better but it has taken a long time). Could your DD be 'flashing back' to those first (clearly distressing) experiences and having trouble breaking the cycle?
I don't think there is any harm in letting her know that you were a bit annoyed. After all, it is annoying.
Does she do sleepovers with friends? If so, is she OK with her leaving you? And just not you leaving her?
Honestly at 12 I think you have every right to be abit annoyed. This is very 'young' behaviour for her age: she should be going away herself on sleepovers and school trips. I think you need to stop feeling guilty and enjoy the weekend. The more you allow her to think this is upsetting you the more she will do it.
I used to create about my mum and parents going out, it was just a way of trying to demand attention from them.
I did have a dysfunctional upbringing generally though!
My DD, 12, is the same which is strange to me as she's generally a very independent and confident child. A recent day trip to the city had the effect of her getting into bed with me and holding my hand all night (she's not particularly tactile normally). This went on for 2 weeks after the trip! When I questioned her about it, she said she worried about me being blown up by a bomb and didn't know what would happen to her if she lost me. So, insecurity caused it.
She then started telling me I didn't want her around when my boyfriend visited and she was invisible to me.
I think it's called "playing someone". 4 weeks later and she's gone back into moody teenager world but at least it's a world I understand!
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