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4yo traumatised by dad suddenly leaving. Attachment issues.(9 Posts)
In January my 4 year daughters dad* saw her off to school as normal, but when she came home he'd moved out. She's seen him once since (only because she was worried he was dead) but won't be seeing him again. She's obviously finding it really hard to deal with.
She's always been fine with separation. I would put her to bed, shut the door, and not hear a peep until morning. She would get dressed and go into school perfectly happy. She was fine doing things alone...
Now she's sleeping in my bed, clinging to me after her story, begging me not to leave. She cries whenever school is mentioned, she sobs all the way there, crying hysterically to stay with me - to the point her teacher needs to pull her off me in the morning. She continues to cry throughout the day and children are starting to call her a "cry baby".
She cries leaving me to go into her dance class and comes out multiple times to see me and is on my knee, wrapped around me, whenever she can. She obsessively tells me she loves me, hundreds of times a day. She's super clingy, she wants to be with me all the time...
She's like an entirely different person.
Full personality transplant.
She's totally traumatised.
I think she just doesn't want to leave my side incase I disappear too.
Has anyone been through similar? I don't know what to do.
(*He's not her biological father but he raised her as his own and lived with us for all her living memory. Although she knows he's not her real dad, she obviously doesn't really understand that and so all her "dad love" is with him. She thinks of all his family members as hers e.g. his sister as her "aunty" etc. And hasn't even realised yet that she won't be seeing them again either)
My ds last saw his dad on his 3rd birthday. He went through this and I continually reassured him that I love him very much and I will never leave him....I might have to go to work, and he has to go to school, but I will always be there when he comes home. I explain our plans, who is picking him up from school, what time I will be home and make sure I stick to it.
It does take time, but just be consistent.
How much have you discussed with her regarding why he left? It could be you need to do a bit of family therapy or play therapy to find out what she's thinking and what she wants to know. Also to reassure her you won't do the same thing to her. It's there a reason he won't see her anymore? She'll be feeling abandoned by him
Sorry should have said my dc see their dad very rarely and went through tearful episodes. We went to therapy when I didn't know what to do and it got us talking about it in a safe environment. They felt abandoned basically and we had to work through why he did it. It was like grief therapy.
To start with try to reassure her, go through every scenario, prepare her every day. "You will go to school. I will go to xyz. I will do xyz. At X time I will leave xyz and I will come to collect you. I will be there at X time in X place". Try a map - showing her where you will be, where school will be, show her you are not far away?
If she wants to come out of dance for comfort then let her, be patient and loving and reassuring every time she clings to you, even when it is suffocating. I would 100% indulge her need for physical closeness and comfort at the moment.
I would contact her school, explain what is going on and ask for play therapy/some form of professional support.
Children of this age generally adjust to changes like this within a relatively short period of time. I think the level of distress you are describing is extreme if it is occurring on a daily basis and after this length of time - I think it would be worthwhile requesting professional support for her.
Poor little thing.
It's not extreme, really. The removal, especially sudden removal, of a primary caregiver is one of the most traumatising things a child can go through. She must be terrified in case you suddenly go as well and children are so egocentric so she probably blames herself on some level.
Maybe ask the school or go for some help,
I haveseen this to help fosterkids with attachment issues, you could have a read and see if you think it might help your dd, flowers for you
I messaged him saying he had to see her because she was so heartbroken and worried. He replied that he would love to see her so took her out (2 weeks after he moved) and left her saying "I'll see you soon" But then a month passed and not a word.
She talks about him all the time and always asks to see him so I messaged him again saying she wanted to see him and he again said he would love to, couldn't that week as he was very busy, but would sort something out soon. I told her I spoke to him and that he wanted to see her very soon... But hat was about 2 months ago and not a word since.
I feel like now it might almost be best if he didn't because he's being so unreliable with it all and I'm worried it might keep setting her back if he keeps turning back up for a few hours then disappearing for months.
I have no words. Who does that to child?
I think the only thing you can do is shower her with love and be ultra reliable. Poor wee soul.
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