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To calm distressed DD during contact

(23 Posts)
FrogInABog Sat 04-May-13 19:30:52

DD is 5 months, and has seen her dad very occasionally until the past month. He has now decided he wants to see her every week, with the aim to be "having her out for summer".

Contact is supervised as I don't feel he cares enough to look after her properly, there has been nothing overly worrying since very early on, but there is just a lack of interaction or empathy. He seems to view her as a toy for his entertainment rather than a small person with real emotions.

She is generally quite a calm baby, and will be handed about fine for a while usually, but during contact she gets upset after about 10 minutes and will not be calmed. I leave her until she goes from crying to "sobbing" - so she is properly distressed rather than just bored, but then take her. He is saying she needs to learn she can't just "get her own way" and that she isn't really upset because she usually stops as soon as I hold her, then begins again when he comes towards her.

AIBU to calm her during "his time" or should I just leave her to it as it's only 1-2 hours crying a week?
Also if you would agree with settling her, what point should I do it, should I wait until she is sobbing, calm her straight away, or wait a while after she is properly upset?

MimmeeBack Sat 04-May-13 19:33:42

Are you in the room with them or in another room?

freddiemisagreatshag Sat 04-May-13 19:34:15

Is the supervision court ordered?

Finola1step Sat 04-May-13 19:35:17

I really feel for you. It sounds like your little one is just not ready to be on her own with her dad in this situation. Ideally, she needs to be with you, playing with you and with him playing alongside and then joining in. Then you can slowly withdraw. Your dd needs to know that you're there. Is there anyway he would go for something like this?

BeanoNoir Sat 04-May-13 19:37:05

Oh, that must be horrid for you. I appreciate that the fact it is your dd's dad might make it different but if my dd was crying I don't think I'd be able to hold back from comforting her. Don't like the attitude of 'giving her what she wants' from him either. She's 5 months old she should get what she wants if that's reassurance from her mother. I don't really know what to suggest. Do you think there are tips you could give him on how to handle/treat her that might make her less distressed? Sorry you're having to experience this.

CharlieUniformNovemberTango Sat 04-May-13 19:38:03

at 5 months this really isn't about her learning to get her own way!

It's simply a baby needing it's primary care giver for reassurance.

The problem with leaving her to get distressed before stepping in is that it will take longer to calm her. Maybe an early reassurance at the first sign of worry and a quick distraction would work better?

MimmeeBack Sat 04-May-13 19:38:34

Yes his attitude is not nice btw. Comments like that would leave me v uncomfortable too.

slatternlymother Sat 04-May-13 19:38:47

YANBU, it's not about 'getting her own way' at 5 months FFS hmm

BeanoNoir Sat 04-May-13 19:38:59

Sorry I meant the 'get her own way' attitude. I don't understand this in relation to such a small baby. Imo she needs to get her own way.

MoominsYonisAreScary Sat 04-May-13 19:43:19

She doesn't know him so I'm not surprised she cries. Comfort her straight away, tell him leaving her to cry isn't good especially if she starts to associate him being there with not being comforted by the person she wants when she gets upset

FrogInABog Sat 04-May-13 19:49:23

mimmee, I'm in the same room, but will sit the other side of the room and read/go on phone to leave them to it, I wouldn't feel comfortable/trust him with her to go out of the room with how contact goes at the moment
freddie, there is no court involvement/order.

It's reassuring that I'm not doing the wrong thing by comforting her. I have tried telling/showing him how to calm her, but he doesn't seem to care, he generally just says "Oh whats your problem this time?" or something along those lines, and just dangles a toy in front of her etc as if she's not even crying.
What sort of age should I leave her to cry/start leaving her upset for longer?

FrogInABog Sat 04-May-13 19:51:35

moo That's a good way to explain it to him, I will say that to him next time, thanks.

Finola1step Sat 04-May-13 19:56:25

Agree with moo.

LandysOffRoad Sat 04-May-13 20:23:31

Try sending him out with her in the pushchair next time she won't calm down, she'll be ok after a bit.
That way she'll associate him with being relaxed rather than just you.

3littlefrogs Sat 04-May-13 20:26:25

He doesn't know much about babies does he? sad

She is 5 months. She needs you until she knows him well enough to feel comfortable with him. Can you talk to your HV about this? I think he needs parenting classes.

redexpat Sat 04-May-13 20:29:16

Here's what I learned in the last module of my social work course. A baby's cry is a cry for help or attention. When people react, it helps build the baby's trust in hte primary care giver and other adults. If he actively interacts with her and listens to her cues then she will start to feel more secure wit hhim. But from what you've said it doesnt sound like he will follow her lead.

LandysOffRoad Sat 04-May-13 20:29:49

Parenting classes straight away is a bit extreme... He hasn't had the time with her to learn himself yet.

wonderingsoul Sat 04-May-13 20:33:13

can i ask what the relationship is liek between you two? are you able to talk calmy with out it getting heated ?

this in only what i would do. when she crys comfort her straight away, a hug then hand her back to him, or whilst he is holding her try and comfort her, it could be that shes used to you interacting with her, she sees you in the room but is being left with a near enoughh a stranger. so of course she would want you.

i think the key to this could be both of you playing with her etc, then with draw for say 5 minutes, then return untill she comfortable being around him.

3littlefrogs Sat 04-May-13 20:38:20

I think he needs a bit of help to learn fast. Plus, he doesn't appear to see the need to learn for himself.

ImperialBlether Sat 04-May-13 23:01:53

I'd knock the idea on the head straightaway that he's taking her away in the summer. He doesn't seem to have a clue and doesn't seem prepared to learn, either.

What was he like as a partner?

Cloverer Sat 04-May-13 23:04:38

Is he only seeing her for an hour or two a week? He's basically a stranger to her - he needs to build up to maybe 3 of these supervised visits a week so she becomes comfortable with him.

FirstVix Sat 04-May-13 23:43:02

Actually, I think wondering may have a point. At her 1st Christmas (DD was a bit older at 7mo) DD was absolutely happy with other family members except when she could see me - then she'd cry->sob->be very unhappy unless and until I picked her up.

Some of these were people that she'd only seen maybe once or twice at that age. She'd be happy with them, laughing, engaged - until she saw me!

I spent a lot of that christmas in the kitchen out of sight!

Is there any way you could see but not be seen? (If that makes sense)

IneedAsockamnesty Sat 04-May-13 23:48:51

Parenting classes are not over the top. They are a bloody good idea for anyone who has no clue how to parent or needs guidance.

Its not a punishment its a skill learning thing.

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