Do I need outside help?(10 Posts)
I am divorced from my dd (3yrs 6mts) father and am now living with my partner and most of the time we have a very happy life, dd is lively, funny and challenging and I would not want her any way.
That is until she has had any time with her dad. When she has two I let her stay with her Dad for a fortnight and when she was returned she clung to me and sobbed for about an hour. For a few months she was very unsettled and prone to tantrums. I managed to calm things down so she was only being like this the evening and morning after seeing her father.
Over the Christmas 2004/5 her Dad started being irregular in his access and all the tantrums, wetting herself and clinginess started again and I was even called into her preschool as they were concerened.
My dp and I hve worked really hard with her I have attended parenting classes and we have been using reward systems, time out and lots of love and praise and we really turned a corner with her. But then she went to spend a weekend with her dad and she has come back worse than ever. Yesterday she had five tantrums, each lasting around half an hour and ending with her wetting herslef and sobbing uncontrollably. She shouts at me all the time, smacks me throws things at me and is constantly whining or crying.
What would you do? Would you seek outside help? A health visitor - do they still work with kids this age? A doctor? Or would you just say she is upset at not living with her dad and we ahve to ride the storm?
How is she at her dad's - happy of having tantrums etc? It sounds as if she is really unhappy about going there and feels very insecure about it. Do the visits have to be overnight? She's still quite young to be apart from you and a two week separation would be very unsettling for any child, let alone a pre-schooler. How well do you get on with your ex? can you talk to him about it, suggest he keeps to a routine she is familiar with, gives her lots of reassurance, tells her exactly what they are going to do and when?
As to whther you can get outside help - yes the health visitor should be with you until she starts school.GP might also suggest something. Where did you do the parenting classes- can they help?
As far as I know she is fine when at her dads and I try to ensure that he keeps to a failiar routine by giving him her reward book to fill in while I she is with him and when she stopped overnight I packed lots of her familar toys and books. But I don't know whether he wold admit if she wasn't fine.
I have asked her if she likes going to Daddy's and she says that she does although he takes her to stop with family and she was a bit confused as to where she was. Maybe she doesn't like sharing her Dad with his family and their children. However although he has been very irresponsible in the past he does show her lots of affection. He does have a new girlfriend whom she has met and seems to like, as far as I know she wasn't there this weekend.
My ex and I get on where she is concerned and I have spoken to him but he seems clueless to be honest as he has been on other occassions when she has been unhappy.
Her Dad wants her again this weekend to take her to a show on sunday and then haae his usual access on Monday, I am very unsure about letting her go but I know he will be very angry if I don't let her.
I think children whose parents are separated do often feel very emotional when making the transition between the two. I remember my lovely stepdaughter crying so hard about going back to her mum's that she had a huge nosebleed and had to be dragged into the house - horrible, but she loves her mum and had a wonderful weekend with us, but still found it hard to make the transition (she was about seven at the time btw). Dh was so upset he cried too after she'd gone and he even let me drive home (he has to be very upset to happily let me drive him!). It all sounds very difficult for you and I sympathise hugely, but I wouldn't rush to assume there is something wrong at her dad's because she is so unsettled.
I have spoken to her dad and we have decided that she would be better off sleeping at home this weekend but still seeing him on the sunday and monday. Hopefully this will enable her to see her dad yet keep some sense of normality and routine as she will be sleeping in her own bed.
nikkim, your dd is very lucky to have you and your ex as parents. I am always in awe of parents who do the best thing for their child and put aside their differences in the best interest of their child. Lots of good wishes to the both of you for being really really awesome parents.
3 year olds are pretty volatile. Your dd may well just be going through a phase that is completely unrelated to your split with her father, and purely a product of her age and growing.
lisalisa, why is two days a long time for father and daughter to be together?
nikkim I agree with SofiaAmes, and I do think its probably just a phase, I remember ss going through something similar when he was about 3.5-4.5, and getting upset when going back to his mums, after being here at Dad's, in fact as we have full half and half access until he went to school it was one week with us, one with mum, so even harder to translate back and forth and such. It gets easier as they get older and they can differentiate between places (then they start trying to play you off! even if you do all stick to agreed rules boundary testing eh!) I hope this makes sense?
Thanks Sofia, although I think I would be lying if I said we had completly put aside our differences. Don't really wqant to take credit where it may not be due!!
I am hoping this may just be a phase as it is so out of charactar and to be honest being her mum is jolly hard work at the moment with little reward. Both me and dp are permanently shattered and the house is a tip. I still may speak to my health visitor as even if it is a phase it still needs addressing.
Thanks Frizbe it is good to hear that other separated parents have experienced similar, (well not good but you know what I mean).
I suppose I had hoped that dd would get through our dicorce unscathed which is unrealistic. As I think I said before it is just disheartening when we have worked so hard with dd to overcome her previous problems to see her go back to square one after one weekend with her Dad.
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