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Is this strange behaviour about absent parent in toddler and 5 year old?

(13 Posts)
Fakebook Thu 05-Sep-13 10:02:35

My DH has been away a lot this summer for work. It will be 6 weeks in total by the time he comes back next week.

In this time my dd hasn't shown any sadness or even once mentioned she misses her dad. She talks to him on Skype probably once every 3-4 days, even though I speak to him everyday, she won't talk to him on the phone when I offer. She's really excited about him coming back but never mentions him during the day when she had school holidays.

DS is nearly 20m and also hasn't really shown any kind of behaviour that his dad's absence has affected him. He is eating and sleeping well. I give him the phone almost everyday for him to babble to Dh and he does this probably for about 2 mins everyday.

Is this normal? DH is quite a hands on dad when he's at home but he works quite long hours and when he comes home they both go crazy and won't get off his lap for hours. They force him outside and play on the trampoline or cuddle up with blankets and watch TV with him until bedtime. I know they love him so much.

I'm just sad they're not missing him as much as I thought they would. Is there any reason why they'd be like this? Is it normal?

YoniBottsBumgina Thu 05-Sep-13 10:05:10

My 4yo has been like this about my DP - I think they just accept it is normal and the skype thing is what they get.

The only thing is that DS does tend to sometimes if I tell him off cry for him rather than me (because obviously I'm soooooo mean and unreasonable, and Daddy would sort me out wink) and he evangelises about his dad to everyone that we meet even though he barely mentions him at home to me.

Fakebook Thu 05-Sep-13 10:20:10

Yes that's the thing that makes me sad, dd doesn't even mention her dad when I tell her off!

DS's first word was "Daddy" and I've noticed he's saying it less and less now.

SourSweets Thu 05-Sep-13 11:32:10

Not sure if this helps but when my siblings and I were small (4 of us, from birth up until adulthood) our dad worked for 6 weeks at a time abroad. We would never talk about him when he wasn't home or say that we missed him because we just accepted that sometimes he wasn't home and that's how it was. It didn't affect our relationship with him at all and as adults we are all very close.

Andro Thu 05-Sep-13 12:16:59

I taught myself to stop thinking about my father when he was away, not thinking about him hurt less than the alternative.

MiaowTheCat Thu 05-Sep-13 13:39:56

DH grew up with his dad working away for months at a time - he says it's just something that you regard as part of how things are - dad'll be there for X Y Z month and then off for a bit and then back again. Doesn't seem to have affected their relationship - they're still like (sarcastic) peas in a bloody pod the pair of them.

cory Fri 06-Sep-13 08:13:32

Andro, that rings a bell: I remember my nephew saying that he didn't like speaking to his dad on the phone (because then I get all sad).

Fakebook Fri 06-Sep-13 13:10:54

SourSweets and Meow, that's good to know. I do worry it will affect their relationship in the long term but they both slot back into normality with him quickly when he comes back, so I should be seeing that as a positive I suppose.

Andro, that sounds quite sad. I did talk to dd this morning as one of her school friends was crying because her dad had also gone away. Dd was quite casual and said she didn't miss Daddy now and was only a little bit sad the day he left. I can't really tell if she is sad deep down or genuinely isn't too phased by it. Hopefully it's the latter!

Andro Fri 06-Sep-13 14:22:06

Fakebook - it's a coping mechanism, nothing more. I'm incredibly close to my father, I always have been and still am - our relationship is absolutely solid. When the alternative is tearing yourself apart with pain and feeling abandoned, living in the moment (so not thinking about/dwelling on the absence) and having lots of things to tell my father about when he was back is the better option.

Part of my issue was that I was far closer to my father than my mother, he was always my 'go to' parent when I needed help/comfort/a hug/etc.

Andro Fri 06-Sep-13 14:24:15

^please excuse the appalling grammar in that post.

mummyxtwo Fri 06-Sep-13 14:32:43

I think they aren't displaying signs of missing him because the person who they depend upon for security and feeling safe is at home with them - you! It doesn't mean they don't love their dad loads, but if you are the one who is always there for them, then being around you makes them feel content and secure. So they can cope with dad not being there, but will still be happy to see him when he gets home. They are also probably used to the concept of him going away and coming back again, so they don't feel unsettled when he isn't there. My dc's are very much the same with my dh, who works long hours and sometimes doesn't see them for days. Ds1, 4.9yo, does now say that he misses his dad, largely because they play football together in the garden before bed, when he is home in time! What you are describing sounds quite normal to me, though.

SJaneS Fri 06-Sep-13 16:45:31

Completely normal - children just accept the status quo. My father came and went when I was little (unfortunately not for work reasons) and I didn't question it or get upset, it was as simple as it just being the way it was. I was always very pleased to see him though!

northernlurker Fri 06-Sep-13 16:49:07

My dh doesn't work away fro as long as yours but yes I would say from experience that's normal for kids. They operate with whats in front of them and they trust that dad will be back eventually and they have you all the time so it's fine. Would be different if you were away too.

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