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DD vastly clingy to me, rejecting DP(10 Posts)
DD is 15 months, has been with us for 7. It's all going brilliantly and we love the very bones of her.
She is sometimes extremely clingy to me, and rejecting of DP. It reached a bit of a nadir tonight when she got hysterical when DP was bathing her and pooed in the bath.
For context, I'm home with her full time and DP is out at work full time, though comes home for bath and bed.
And I know this isn't important for DD's needs, but DP is finding it devastating and very difficult to deal with. We're both women, FWIW, and she feels as though she can't properly be 'mum' with this going on.
We know it's a good sign that DD is so attached to me, and that it's still relatively early days. But I'd still welcome some thoughts on dealing with this.
Thanks so much.
We had this over the summer. DD was screaming whenever I left the room and wouldn't let DH comfort her at all.
We tried to just ride it out but I also made a point of going out and letting DH and DD have some time alone to bond at the weekends. She cannot cling to you if you are not there so will accept your dp and bond with her more. It is hard for both parents in this situation as one feels suffocated and the other rejected.
In my experience, it's completely normal.
We adopted at a similar age. I work full time with quite a lot of paperwork at home, while DW didn't work for first year. Both DDs went through the phase you describe- it's horrible. With DD2 I couldn't really do bedtime for the first 6 months, it just didn't work.
What we do is:
- Alternate bedtimes between us, with stories, every other night. We make this happen no matter what.
- I do all the care while DW is out for two nights a week. Build up to this slowly if you do it.
- I make time for at least 30 min of silly play each night, no matter how busy I am.
- We have at least a couple of hours on our own at weekend.
The attachment builds. The key is time and consistency. Its really hard to do when you are working a lot. Ours are 2 and 4 and now, and greet me excitedly at the door each evening when I get home.
We had similar - got round it by doing stuff all together (so it was me and LO or me, DH and LO) so that getting him didn't mean not having me.
It was hard because I never got a break but iirc it didn't last long (and he's fine with DH now though still prefers me if he's hurt/Ill/sad etc...)
I agree with don et al it is very common in ALL types of families. You must tell DP not to worry!
Clingy can mean all types of things, from fear to illness to anxiety and ime comes and goes at this age. In relation to the bath, I did wonder if dd had been signalling she needed to do a poo and dp missed the signals hence the hysteria. Missing signals would be very understandable if dp is working.
But if she is very anxious when separated from you at the moment, my instinct would be to do as much as possible together for a while, and then build up to quality time with each, but obviously you know your situation best.
Sorry i just realised that your dd is 15 mths and so what I said about making signals is probably wrong, doh.
We adopted 2 under 2's and had a very similar experience, it was very hard for me as the person that the kids clung to and my partner who was often rejected. However, in hind sight I think we had an unrealistic expectation of the kids. It's hard enough to feel safe and create a strong attachment with one person, let alone two. Also, I think in heterosexual birth child set ups, there would usually be much less expectation from a man to have a very close bond with a child so early on. i think that as 2 women, early on in the adoption, we had higher expectations that we would both have that'Motherly Bond' with a child but our kids were not able to accept that. It's hard to explain but I think a stereotypical 'Dad' role would be much more standoffish and Dads would have less expectations of closeness and intimacy.
What worked best for us was going with whatever the kids felt safe with - that was almost always me- and we built up that attachment with me first and then over the last few years, their relationship with my partner has grown. I would say that I am still somewhat the prefered parent- when they fall over or cry they would usually look for me first- but they also gave a good attachment with their other Mum. And over all they are very securly attachment and have very few issues.
It is very hurtful for the rejected parent and very hard work for the parent who is doing all the work but overall for us, I think the kids needed an anchor, which was me, before they could trust anyone else. Eventually we had to put our feelings aside for a while (easier said than done) and I think it paid off. Obviously that won't work for every family but it's just our experience.
My brother and his wife adopted a boy from a Thai orphanage and he bonded w my brother straight away but wouldn’t go near his wife for over 2 years. It’s fine now. They think it was because he’d had bad experience with women carers in the orphanage leaving them alone crying for long periods.
I’m sure they’ll attach eventually, just keep working on it and don’t take it personally.
Thanks very much to everyone who's lived with this for sharing such great advice. I'll come back with a more considered reply soon (when I can put DD down!) but just wanted to say thanks.
Our DS suffered horrendous Trauma age 3 months, Sounds of people shape's ect., had effect even with professional's, Yet now age 3 he is the most smiley and lovable boy you could meet, still a long way too go
a very brave young man.
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