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Husband jealous of child

(37 Posts)
allthingswillpass Tue 17-Sep-13 17:34:58

We are into week 11 of placement.
All going massively well so far.
LO attached very quickly to DH and attachment to me took a bit longer.
I have been at home the whole time with LO with a strong presence from DH but last week I went out and DH was in charge for the day.
They had a fine old time but since then, LO only wants mummy and runs to me when DH appears.
DH is really finding this hard, I don't support LO behaviour and actually walk away but DH can not cope with this level of rejection.
Help pls.

AngelsWithSilverWings Fri 20-Sep-13 13:26:51

Oh yes we did that with my DS when my DH was working away a lot. DS was really struggling and a foster carer friend suggested that my DH give DS something to look after while he was away. It really did make a difference.

Such a simple thing!

YouAreMyRain Fri 20-Sep-13 03:53:05

Have you tried transitional objects? A personal item of yours (watch, jewellery, photo, keyring) that your dc looks after for you in your absence. This provides comfort and reassurance that you will return,

Italiangreyhound Fri 20-Sep-13 03:39:08

Thanks so much jammy

JammieMummy Thu 19-Sep-13 10:49:10

familiesthat share to be honest it is a bit of both but adopted children seem to be far more in tune with other people's emotions (often more so than their own) than a lot of children and part of them testing attachments is to push you away to see if you come back, what better way to push someone away and still get the thing you want I.e. story/push on the swing etc than to say you want someone else to do it! Without outing myself my family have a lot of experience of adoption including one member who has a masters in attachment theory so unfortunately we often hear a lot of the science behind the behaviour.

italiangrey they aren't books on attachment but books to ease separation annxiety in little ones. But the main titles are

Mama always comes home - while I hate the word mama it does allow the child to regress, it is also beautifully illustrated so you can talk for a long time about the pictures.

I Love You All Day Long - American book which is more about a child going to nursery but it is still DD's favourite when she is feeling wobbly

The Runaway Bunny - a book from the 70's I think confused but is about a little bunny who is going to runaway and do all these things and his mummy gently tells him that she will follow him and always be there (bunny "I'm going to be a rock on the side of a mountain" mummy "I will be a mountain climber and come to find you" etc) again stunning pictures.

oh my baby little one - also about going to nursery and there is a heart hidden on every page, so we say that love is always with DD even if sometimes it is hard to find.

Owl Babies - I know someone else mentioned it but it is truly very good. DD really connects with this book and used to tell me that she was Percy and would say Percy's line ("I want my Mummy") now though she tells me she is no longer Percy as Mummy always comes home (she is combining the two books there!)

I hope some of these help smile

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 19-Sep-13 06:33:36

Jamie - our DD is a master (or would be if we let her!) of "not you, I want X to do it"... I'd always put it down to her personality, rather than linked to being an adopted child, so very interested in your comments about your DD

Italiangreyhound Wed 18-Sep-13 16:42:24

JammieMummy no wonder your DD think you like Peppa Pig, all those movie nights!

I would love to know your attachment books, list please, JammieMummy?

JammieMummy Wed 18-Sep-13 13:07:52

I would like to add that I am not advocating walking away from her and that I said nothing about how to cope "in the moment". So here are something's that were helpful attachement wise for us

1. Turn an 'i want Mummy hug' in to a family hug with all three of you.
2. We used to have "fun time" every evening with the three of us, so after her bath she would come into our bedroom and we (all 3 of us) would play attachment games for 20 mins or so (peek-a-boo, rubbing lotion in, a bit of rough and tumble etc).
3. Make sure DH has special things for her that she will be so interested in she wont even notice if you aren't there. Our DD has a veggie patch in the garden where her and Daddy go outside to work, dig and grow (also helps with the eating of veg at dinner time!) but friends of ours the DH takes their daughter to ballet, which she loves and it is a toddler class so he joins in! (the descriptions of his butterfly impersonations with colour scarves keeps us giggling over wine).
4. Don't dismiss TV our DD loves movie night with popcorn, a Disney DVD and a big blanket. She snuggles down between the two of us and gets the "special job" of holding the popcorn.
5. Special jobs with Daddy - it could be as simple as making a cup of tea for you. But they key thing is they are doing something just the two of them for you, because if she is making a cup of tea for you then clearly you aren't going anywhere as she is going to give you the tea! Start with a 3 min job like tea and build up to pictures, then shopping trips for a gift (beware of child chosen gifts though - apparently I love peppa pig!)

Our DD was 20 months when she joined us and we did all of the above from day one (although movie night was 2 episodes of the aforementioned Peppa Pig with a tiny ones attention span).

JammieMummy Wed 18-Sep-13 12:47:37

I would echo above this is totally normal, my adopted DD used to switch between the two of us as to who she wanted more and it did hurt the other one, even if you knew next week it would be your turn again. This is partly very normal child behaviour and partly attachment, you are her primary carer and you LEFT HER (her perception of what happened)with DH.

Put yourself in her shoes, my FC left me with Mummy and Daddy, I was getting along nicely with them and then one day they just left me! now I am getting along nicely with M & D and M leaves me!!! Ok so she came back THIS TIME but what will I do if she doesn't come back just like FC??? Que panicky child who worries internally that every time she is left with DH you are never going to return. A child's solution to this is to make sure she is always by your side especially when DH is around.

There are some excellent separation annxiety books that I read to DD to help with this, I can dig out titles if you like. But as hard as it sounds you need to go away so your DD can learn that you do come back and the best person to leave her with is DH as she has an attachment to him too.

As an aside just keep your eyes open for if she is playing you and DH, I am not saying that she is but adopted children are especially good at divide and conqure and if they know they are getting an emotional reaction they can play on it more. I would suggest 11 weeks is too early but I don't know the age of your child. It is normally in the form of "I don't was M to do X I want D to do it" we have a rule in our house that she cannot dictate this to us, unless there is good reason. Therefore if M was going to do the bedtime story then M does it or she doesn't get one (her choice) or she would have us running round after her like slaves, something I am sure she would love. smile

Devora Wed 18-Sep-13 10:04:03

I put in PM but will repeat here in case it's useful to anyone else: I found it helpful to do a bit of work with 'Mummy goes sometimes but I ALWAYS come back' by reading books like Owl Babies. Particularly good when I returned to work.

Italiangreyhound Wed 18-Sep-13 09:40:11

allthingswillpass I have had another thought and maybe the others who know about this and are reading will come on and fill in if I have missed a point!

Sometimes children do not attach equally to both parents at the same time. Sometimes the attachment comes first to one and then through that to the other. In that it does not mean attaching to you will mean she will fail to attach to DH but quite the opposite, in fact if she fails to attach to you it will make it much harder to attach to DH.

When you say 'I don't support LO behaviour' it sounds like you think this behaviour may be planned or calculated in some way, like a child who plays one parent off against another to get a better present or to get the answer they want if they need to get permission to do something. You may not mean this at all so of course apologies if I have got it wrong.

I think her behaviour is very normal for a child who has been placed with a family and who has had less than three months there to get used to the adults.

I think, allthingswillpass, that you are a teacher with a lot of experience of working with kids, which is great, and does mean you know what it is like in classroom settings. In the classroom I would imagine it is all very equal, teachers do not show favourites and children would not probably be encouraged to always want to be with a favourite teacher etc.

Also in a standard family we might try and say we all love each other equally, no favourites and parents try and love all their children as much as each other however they came to be in the family. This is indeed something to be desired.

However, for your little one she is in a new situation and finding her feet. in my opinion she must be allowed to express how she feels so she will not learn to stifle how she feels in order to please adults or others. Although we all have to do a degree of people pleasing when we are older (to get on in life) as children I believe they do need to learn to understand how they feel, achnowledge how they feel and be able to say how they feel about things really. It is important to have those feelings acknowledged. The love will come; I am sure, if he is patient and lets her learn to love him in her own time.

This article is fascinating and talks about adoption through the eyes of the child. I found it a total eye opener.

All best wishes, I am sure you are doing a great job and you will all get there sometime!

roadwalker Wed 18-Sep-13 08:15:55

Although this is normal in the general population it has to be seen in the context of adoption and treated accordingly
My DD rejected my husband and BS for a long time.
I never rejected her or turned down any request for comfort or cuddles. I kept her very close to me - treated her like a newborn
DH did a lot of fun and bonding things with her, swimming was good, he did a lot of treats too. so, if she need new shoes he took her
She now accepts him totally and they have a good relationship
Also, dont confuse bonding and attachment. Most adopted children will have an insecure attachment because of the disruption of the first attachment figure
What you are aiming for is a good bond. And remember, a newborn baby will typically attach to BM first- especially if being breastfed
Dont expect too much and try to have fun
good luck

allthingswillpass Wed 18-Sep-13 08:09:11

Thank you.
You are all fab and I really appreciate you taking the time xxx

FruitSaladIsNotPudding Wed 18-Sep-13 07:59:04

Another idea - put another post in the parenting topic asking for people's experience of their dc favouring one parent or the other. You'll probably get loads of replies. Then get your dh to read the thread. I imagine it would make him feel a lot better to see just how normal this is.

Italiangreyhound Tue 17-Sep-13 23:22:17

allthingswillpass hi, my dear, thinking of you and I hope this will get easier.

I am not yet an adoptive mummy, as still waiting; we do have a birth child (now 8).

Please can I give some advice which may be of use?

Firstly, please do not walk away from your dd when she needs you.

Although you love your DH and want to support him too, you must make DD a priority, and so must he. You are team parents, in it together and he is a very integal part of that parenting team. So he needs to keep positive and ready.

When my dd was about 3 she got very attached to my DH and actually told me she wanted me to go and live elsewhere! sad. Although every fibber of my being was telling me to grab her and beg her to love me, I said things like "I live here with you and daddy, I am not moving out." We did all the normal family stuff and over time DD became perfectly normal with me again.

It is probably massively more complicated with an adopted child so I would say to follow all this wise advice from Devora, Kew, Lilka and co (sorry if I missed off massively helpful advice from anyone). Whoever said to read up a bit on the internet I second that, and encourage your DH to read up too, to see how normal this all is. To find the best ways to do stuff as a family.

How old is your DD?

If you child is anywhere around age 3 or upwards I think this game could be useful - The Family Links' game

Speak to your social worker or support if you like to make sure it is OK. It is a board game and as you move round the board you tell each other things etc and also it basically gives ideas for things like 'kind touch' which could be a hug or a high five etc. You can play it as a family. If your DD sees you giving your dh a high five etc she may feel more like doing that herself. But you can't force it so you may need to make sure your DH would be OK with the game if he did not get a hug or high five.

I am not an expert so please ignore this if it sounds no good!

Can I also suggest that you and your DH need to spend some quality time together when your little one is sleeping so he can get some extra love and care from you to help him through this time. It puts a bit of a burden on you but maybe you can make the love and care nice things you will like, like a take away and a movie, a nice meal together at home or an early night once your DD is in bed!

All the best.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 17-Sep-13 23:03:26

One other thought: I found it helpful to actually vocalise to DD that "mummy goes away but I will always come back". It reassured her to hear that, though it might depend on your DD's age whether that's a helpful tactic (my DD was 16 months)

MissStrawberry Tue 17-Sep-13 21:46:35

Maybe you going out for the day has unsettled her and she needs to attach herself to you to make you stay.

Kewcumber Tue 17-Sep-13 21:34:25

Which is kinda what Devora says but much MUCH MUUUUCH longer!

Kewcumber Tue 17-Sep-13 21:31:01

This is hard to deal with particularly as at week 11 you and your DH are not securely attached to her at present (nor she to you). Post adoption depression is incredibly common - more common its thought than PND. Its very easy to feel very deflated when the hard work of parenting a traumatised child kicks in when all the fuss dies down.

For what its worth, my thoughts:

You and DH need to be a team, talk talk talk. About how you feel, about how hard it is, about what you're enjoying, about what is differnt to what you were expecting etc. Stress to him the need for you both to be a unit to get through these early days. That doesn't mean you anxiously parenting him as well as her! And adult team who support each other - don;t be his mother - you are both parents now.

Discuss attachment and bonding with both of you and go through some of the strategies you were probably taught on your prep course. Set aside at least 15 minutes (that's my random figure plucked out of the air!) where each of you individually plays attachment type games.

Talk about the natural process of bonding which is one person at a time and how the primary carer can help attachment to the secondary carer by showing trust in that person - perhaps your DH can show that he cares for both of you as a unit to reassure your DD he isn't trying to separate her from you.

And lastly - I often lecture explain to people that we impute adult emotions to the way children behave pointlessly. Your DD isn't thinking in the way an adult would when they behave like this ie that she's rejecting him. Its a much more primitive, visceral reaction to the fear that the person she is in the early stages of bonding with is going to be taken away from her.

Unless you are going to say your DD is 15 in which case I'd like to change my advice!

Devora Tue 17-Sep-13 21:17:51

Both my children (one adopted, one bio) did this and it is surprisingly tough to cope with. BUT your dh needs to understand that this is not about who is most loved, or preferred. Your LO is desperately vulnerable at this point and trying to establish attachment to you both. It sounds as though she was feeling secure about having you with her (and so focusing energies on bonding with her dad) until you went away, which panicked her and now she has velcro'd herself to you because she has lost trust that you won't leave.

Please please please don't walk away from her in order to placate your husband. It will only make her less secure. But I do understand that your dh feels vulnerable, too. Please assure him from us that this is totally normal and NOTHING to do with her lack of love for him. Once her security levels have got topped up again, it should ease.

Middlesexmummy Tue 17-Sep-13 20:11:58

Hi all willing , I'm sorry if you feel I or we are not bring supportive . Believe me it is a problem for me but I have to deal with my situation with my husband with humour otherwise it would grind me down . I find myself sometimes trying to justify dd s behaviour to him and making him feel better . It's hard

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 17-Sep-13 20:01:18

I agree with Angels and Charlie. LO is that you are going to go - not sure how old they are, but separation anxiety is common in children aged 2-3 and children who have been through a lot of changes in their lives may experience this particularly strongly.

DH needs to understand that preferring one or other of you (or a grandparent etc) is normal, and he isn't being rejected per se.

CharlieAlphaKiloEcho Tue 17-Sep-13 19:54:33

I think the timing of this switch is key really. LO was strongly attached to DH until you went out for the day and since then has been very attached to you over DH.

Maybe it's because you were out for the day?

Maybe you need to reassure your DH that LO seems quite confident in his presence being a constant but you being gone has thrown their confidence a bit so they are being more clingy?

AngelsWithSilverWings Tue 17-Sep-13 19:47:49

I think it's a bit harsh to tell the OPs DH to grow up actually.

If a new adoptive mum posted on here saying that her DC preferred her DH and that she was feeling upset about it she would get lots of support.

I had the situation where my DS seemed to prefer my DH to me. There had not been any men in DS's foster home so having a new Daddy was a huge deal. I naturally found that hard to cope with. Our SW told my DH that when he comes in from work he had to make a big deal of greeting me and hugging me first so that DS got the message that I was important too.

It's understandable that your LO is more attached to you if you are the primary carer. I would suggest leaving LO alone with your DH for short periods and gradually work up to longer periods. Make sure LO knows that you are coming home soon.

Happiestinwellybobs Tue 17-Sep-13 19:40:19

Completely normal for children to do this. They go through phases of favouring one parent over another and then back again - and in the case of DD, only wanting the dog and neither of us!

I think a good book or Internet research should help him understand the stages they go through.

allthingswillpass Tue 17-Sep-13 19:26:20

I don't post very often and to me this was a problem.
Thank you to all those who have been supportive with their advice.

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