DD is never going to forgive me is she?(83 Posts)
I had to go away for 3 days to attend the funeral of a family member. DD never met them and the funeral was mid-week so I decided not to take DD out of school.
Travelled with my parents, my grandparents and aunts (we were in 2 cars, but shared the driving between everyone except my grandparents so we stopped and swapped around cars – 500 mile round trip) the night before the funeral and came back the morning after.
DD was with my ExP. She is used to staying with him for 1 overnight at a time every weekend, it was originally more but she told cafcass during the court case that she didn’t like staying away from mummy for too long so they cut it back and awarded more midweek contact with no overnight. She absolutely hates the overnight, but I need her to go for my sanity as between work, caring for DD, helping my DPs with my autistic sibling and helping with my GPs I never get a rest. If it helps add context I split with ExP due to DV, but DD was tiny when we split and the overnights started when she was 3. We were originally supposed to build up to 2 overnights at a time and then switch to 2 nights EOW once she settled but DD gets so upset about going overnight for 1 night that ExH told me not to force her to stay 2 nights. She is absolutely fine going for tea and would happily go every night, and is fine with the weekend contact until bedtime when she starts saying it’s time to go home, she doesn’t want to sleep at daddys. It takes ExP ages to get her to sleep and she sometimes gets into such a state that she panics and triggers her asthma. ExP follows my routine (he was told to be cafcass) but she just doesn’t want to sleep there. We even tried taking ExP out of the equation in case it was him that was the problem so his mum did bedtime but she still got very upset. When I’ve tried to help calm her she says she wants to go home with me. She is absolutely fine going to bed when on holiday with me, but when ExP tried to take her away for the night he ended up bringing her home early as she kept saying she wanted mummy. I thought as she got older things would get easier but she still hates the overnight. She also won’t settle if she stays at my parents. ExP has told me she doesn’t sleep some nights she’s there – she has no problems settling or sleeping at home, even if I keep her up later or need to change her routine for some reason.
I discussed it with her teacher and we decided she was best staying with ExP. We thought even if she didn’t sleep keeping her routine was important. We also thought 2 nights might help reassure her that dads house is ok and it’s ok to enjoy sleeping there.
She didn’t sleep at all the first night (ExP picked her up from school, this is normal she stays Friday – Saturday with ExP so is used to seeing me in the morning and not again until next day we tried Sat – Sun and it made no difference to her behaviour at bedtime). And apparently went sobbing into her classroom in the morning saying she wants her mummy. The TA tried to find out why she doesn’t like being away from me (gently of course) and she just kept repeating that she misses me and wants to stay in my house with me for ever and ever. They tried asking if she was worried about her pets or me, but she said no, she knows I am ok and that her pets were being looked after by my cousin (on other side of my family so no relation to passed family member) but she missed me. She spent the day on and off sobbing for me; she is usually such a happy girl and skips into the classroom in the morning. She apparently ran to ExP at the end of the school day and asked if mummy was picking her up after tea, when ExP said no tomorrow she screamed and refused to leave school with him. He ended up having to carry her screaming to the car with her shouting “I want my mummy”.
She apparently screamed until she exhausted herself and did sleep but woke in the night shouting for me. I did end up skyping during that night just to let her know I was still about and she just sobbed at me saying she wanted to go home and she missed me.
When I got her from school the next day she told me she is never going to sleep at daddys again. She’s told her teacher and the TA the same thing. Everytime she goes to ExPs she says she’s not sleeping there and is coming home afterwards. We haven’t tried overnight with ExP since and ExP hasn’t mentioned it, but I really want her to be able to go overnight again, even if it was only 24 hours EOW, I really need that rest (it’s my only guaranteed chance to socialise with other humans that aren’t 3.5ft tall or forced to spend time with me due to being paid/related to me).
I really don’t know how/why she hates being away from overnight. If it was to do with the bed she’d hate holidays with me but we have stayed in hotels and holiday cottages several times since I split with ExP and she’s always been fine there.
Even stranger is she’s not a clingy child at all, she’s generally happy, loves school, has friends, quite independent in most things but just hates being away overnight.
She’s never going to forgive me for going away is she?
It's not about forgiveness but I don't think you can force her to do the over nights when she's so traumatised by it.
You need to find another way for you to get a break, I'm sorry.
Op if it's traumatic for her you really can't send her can you? What exactly is happening at her dads? Are you worried about abuse?
Your daughter needs to come before parents, grandparents and siblings. They are the ones who you need to cut back on and be firm about it. Not her.
I think I would be taking her to a child psychologist to get them to have a poke about to find out why she's so scared of sleeping apart from you so they can help you crack it. Could you afford that?
Have you tried her staying other places? Grandparents? Siblings? Ex’s parents?
Tell her that usually you wouldnt have to go away for 3 nights but it was a very important thing you had to do, and as she can see, you came back exactly when you said you would, and no matter what, you always come back and to remember that, and try to not be worried too much, because her daddy loves her very much too and she is perfectly safe there
Have you tried her staying other places?
Yes she won't settle if she stays at my parents either she shouts and says she misses mummy.
What exactly is happening at her dads? Are you worried about abuse?
She just repeats that she wants mummy, she misses me and similar. I'm not worried about abuse, as she's the same if she tries to stay at my parents.
Right, so you've been away now and that's done is it? Reassure her now and surely don't put her in the position of feeling so traumatised until you can work it out and she's comfortable with overnights? You might feel like you "need a break" but that's not the priority here
It's makes me sad reading that. Surely if it's making her this upset just leave it until she's a bit older and is ready to try again.
No one is gaining anything with her spending the night distressed at her dads. Just pick her up for a late bed time. You can have your break in the day/evening.
so you've been away now and that's done is it?
No she hated even 1 overnight with ExP before I went away, she told cafcass that she didn't want to be away from me for too long but she was only 3 at the time so we thought as she got older she'd get better with the overnights but she hasn't.
My dd was like this until she was 10, ds would pack his bag at 4 and run to nanny's house! I honestly believe it's just different personalities and dd genuinely just liked her own bed!
I think the child needs to come first here. I see your point about wanting a break but many people dont get a weekly break at all. I have never had a break from my children.
Her having asthma makes me even more inclined to safeguard her away from stress and triggers.
I hear that you need the break but I just don't think that justifies what you're putting her through. How do you even feel relaxed or rested when you know what she's going through at her dads? She's not doing it deliberately, whatever the reason she just can't sleep when you're not in the house.
She hasn't been to ExHs overnight since then, and he's not mentioned it but it is technically in the court order so he could insist and me have to comply this is what worries me more than the break - I'll book some AL when she's at school if I need to.
Do you share a bed?
No never have, even when she was tiny. That's what I mean she's very independent, happy, has friends etc.
I was like this as a child apparently and wasn't happy with overnights until I was a teenager. I don't know why, I have suffered from anxiety my whole life and don't know if it was linked with that.
I'm also very much a home person and unless on holiday, I just don't like staying at people's houses
Have your parents tried looking after her for a night in your house? She may settle better in her own bed without you as more familiar surroundings
Have your parents tried looking after her for a night in your house?
I haven't tried that but can suggest it to my parents.
Why does she hate staying with her Dad so much?
You did what you needed to do. She won't be permanently scarred from it.
Why does she hate staying with her Dad so much?
She says she misses me, when we tried to get her to stay with my parents she said the same. She'll happily go for tea, and is fine up until bedtime on the overnight with ExP then she starts getting upset and saying she misses me.
She will forgive you OP. It’s a really horrible situation to be in. Is there any way that someone (maybe your Mum) could try and have her overnight at your house and see if she manages better in her home environment. It doesn’t help the problem with your ex I know, but you might get the odd night off if things are really getting you down? You can’t fill from an empty cup. Its easy for people to say that you shouldn’t have a night off, but they aren’t in your shoes. Hope it works out. X
What about arranging a sleep over with a good friend of hers? First have them at yours and make it really fun. If she's happy, get the friend to return the favour (obviously choose a parent you trust who understands the situation and why you're doing it.) Seeing another child coping with being away from their own home at night might help her, even if shes not quite ready to stay at theirs yet. I'd also suggest finding some books where kids go for sleep overs or stay with other parents. All these things subtly help.
Lots of children struggle with being away over night but you'll get there.
It may be that being a child in a house with DV has affected her anxiety levels and she sees you as her safe person. I agree with a PP that until she grows out of this, you need to prioritise her.
Or it could just be her personality. Our DS has always hated staying away. He would sit up all night chatting with whichever relative was babysitting but would absolutely resist sleep. As soon as we collected him, he'd fall asleep. Like you DD, he's chatty, happy, confident on the surface but he does have an underlying anxious nature.
Did she witness any of the DV? Could she be worried that something bad is going to happen to you if she’s not there?
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