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Need someone to help me put things in perspective please. Sorry a bit long, bear with me please

(36 Posts)
yetama Sat 25-Jun-11 20:36:39

A bit of brackground: XP and I separated almost two months ago and DD (22 months old) and I moved out of the family house, he has kept the house we bought together. She seems very happy in the new house and loves going with her dad. She has dinner twice a week with him and comes back home at bed time and sleeps over at his one night each weekend.

My problem starts when DD retuns after sleeping at his. Today she came back home and she was very happy playing with the new train set that I bought her and the Mrs Potato Head. Everything was fine up until 5 minutes into dinner when she decided that she didn't wanted to eat anymore and wanted to watch Shrek. Food is not a problem as DD eats very well and my phylosophy is if she doesn't want to eat I do not force her, she will eat more next time. I explained her that I was eating and that I would not put Shrek untill I had finished my dinner. She then started to smash my plate while looking at me. I gave her a warning and she carried on soing it so I sat her on the first step in the stairs (very close to where I was eating) and I carried eating as if nothing was happening while she was screaming like crazy. After a minute I went and explained her why I had sat her on the step and asked a hug and a kiss as an apology (she can't say sorry yet) which she refused. I sat her again and waited another minute and had the same outcome. It lasted 20 minutes and then she decided that wanted to follow me around the house while screaming mummy. I was ignoring her as I was still waiting for an apology. This behaviour didn't stop until I put her in bed which means we were like this for 46 minutes. She crying and me trying to ask her to calm down to be able to talk with her which didn't work.

What I can't understand is how it is possible that this type of behaviour only happens with me and not when she is with her dad. Is she testing me? or is he lieing to me? He always says that with him she behaves fantastically well and never has tantrums. Is this possible? If this is the case, should she be better with him than living with me?

To be perfectly honest I was amazed how pacient I was during this big tantrum. Probably because I have had a good rest the previous night. I just don't understand what I am doing wrong. Am I just being a horrible mum and my DD should live with him? I really wouldn't like this but I am starting to question my capabilities to do the right thing. I think that I am a good mum and try my best to do what is right even if it means that I have to cope with a tantrum. Why is she like this with me? Is she getting it back because of the separation? Help please.

Sorry if it does not make to much sense I am lost and I don't know what to do.

niceguy2 Sat 25-Jun-11 20:49:45

Ok, first of all you've not been split very long and DD spends only a little bit of time with your ex.

So chances are that he's not being as strict about things because:

a) He doesn't get to spend much time with her, so why make a big deal over stuff

b) He doesn't have to. He can spoil her and leave the mundane part of parenting to you.

Do you know what your ex would have done in the same situation?

A mate of mine only sees his kids every other weekend and I totally understand when he says that he wants to spoil them a bit and not shout at them all the time.

At her age, I really wouldn't sweat it.

yetama Sat 25-Jun-11 20:56:44

The problem is that always happens every time she comes from his house and it is very unfair that I am the only left to deal with these situations.

Raletions with XP are not very good and it is impossible to communicate with him. So I cannot even ask him what is happening. He said before we moved out that he would never spoil DD as it wouldn't be good for her. I guess he is not keeping his word like with plenty of other things.

I just had a really bad time and I really believe it is very unfair angry

cestlavielife Sat 25-Jun-11 23:31:47

20 minutes is a loooong time for a 22 month old. she had probably fogoteen why she had been put on step. which i presume was for smashing plate? i presuem you said "no smashing plate" go to step?

but later on - this had probably been forgoteen - sounds a bit much to expect an apology for something she had probably forgotten about? needs to be immediate. or maybe it isnt clear - you wanted apology for smashing plate? or for screaming? or?

look dont beat yourself up - you did right thing in acting on her smashing plat e but maybeit then wasnt clear what the punishment/apology was for in ehr eyees. maybe she was just having a scream about the not having your attention and expressing it how she can. just reassure and hug her .

it is early days and she setling into routine and transitions from his place to yours.

also you dont know for sure what goes on with dad do you?

he says she fine - maybe she does something eg smashes plate and then they both get over it? who knows. but a toddler tantrum is just that.

i cant say am big fan of naughty step technique myself and i think it can get overused or becomes confusing for child if they very young a to why they there - if teh original event happened long time ago (and 20 minutes is long time for toddler) unless the original dont smash plate became dont scream or ???

anyway i am confused if she cannot say "sorry" how did she ask for shrek? does she talk at all? can she speak?

yetama Sat 25-Jun-11 23:55:42

Hi cestlavielife. She can say words which have meaning. She doesn't speak sentences as yet but uses her own sign languages added towords which help us to communicate. Such as she says Shrek if she wants to watch it or "mir" if she wants to go to sleep, or she leaks her hand when she wants an ice cream things like this. I do not ask fir sory as she cannot say it but I do tell her that the apology is to give me a hug and a kiss which she knows what it is.

I did explain her why I had sat her in the step which I do not call naughty step because I do not like it myself. It use it more for separating her from what is causing the problem, never say she is naughty because is not her as a person what is wrong is her action or behaviour what is not acceptable. I always make it very clear. AS well as I don't believe in saying "good girl" for something that she has done because she is a good girl. I always say "well done".

She knew very well that she didn't wanted to give me a hug and a kiss as an apology because every time I asked her she shaked her head saying no. So I know she did understand what I was asking her. She is learning 3 languages at the same time so I guess it will take her a bit longer to speak properly. At least we can understand each oher and communicate which is the important thing.

I guess that I will always the one putting the boundaries and limits and he will be the one saying always yes to eveything and spoilling her. So I need to get used to the idea even though I believe it is very unfair

Happydogsaddog Sun 26-Jun-11 00:21:41

Whenever my LOs come home from nannys/nans or granmas I have same prob dd1 33mo, dd2 21months. They just want to assert that they are home. Never think you're nt up to it. He wouldn't tell you if she misbehaved anyway however I find mine are angels when away as the do have undivided attention. Just stick by your guns, toddlers need the reassurance of boundaries

yetama Sun 26-Jun-11 11:05:12

Thanks happydogsaddog. My XP managed to lower my self-esteem a lot and even though I am trying to repear it sometimes I doubt mainly when he is saying that she is so good with him and that she never has tantrums with him and that bed time is very smooth while I am having a tough time at the moment putting her in bed.

I guess I will just have to keep making things very clear to DD that the rules in this house need to be respected and followed by both of us. Hopefully she will get there sometime soon

Maelstrom Sun 26-Jun-11 11:08:12

She may just be tired. She is very young and what for you looks as a night away for her is like a long haul trip.

Keep the rules, but ensure that she gets a quiet time to recover from the previous day's activities first thing when she arrives (if possible).

Teaandcakeplease Sun 26-Jun-11 11:18:07

I suspect she maybe tired on return. I also agree with a lot of what has been said already. I suspect he's much more relaxed on things, trying to be nice daddy when he has her etc.

Are you anxious on her return and she's picking up on it at all?

I only do a time out for a minute per age. At that age I do not push saying sorry yet. But after the 2 minutes were up, I hug them and chat briefly about why they were given a time out. I remember once with my DD I was insistent on her saying sorry at about the same age when she was only just talking and I kept doing something similar to you and she got more and more upset and it back fired completely really. It's so tricky though, there's always something to feel guilty about as a mum. I'm a lone parent and it can be so tricky at times.

yetama Sun 26-Jun-11 11:18:37

maelstrom: she always comes back very tired. She doesn't have her afternoon nap. XP said yesterday that she slept a bit in the morning before her lunch but no the full amount she always sleeps.He doesn't know her routine and this may be one of the problems as well s I think he tries to o too many things with DD

It is just very tiring to be fighting every time she comes back. It can take us up to two days to go back to normal and then once she is back to normal she is going for dinner at his house. Een thoug when she goes only for dinner she always comes back fine, it is just when she sleeps over that things go completely out of control

Teaandcakeplease Sun 26-Jun-11 11:20:54

X post.

Do you think she stays up later there, so he can have more time with her?

Teaandcakeplease Sun 26-Jun-11 11:22:11

I'm finding this book very helpful at the moment. Although there are hundreds on the subject. I'm still working my way through it, but it's very helpful.

aliceliddell Sun 26-Jun-11 11:26:28

You sound like you're doing a great job; I wish I'd been more like you! Could it remind her that her parens have split up, so she's angry?

Maelstrom Sun 26-Jun-11 11:27:27

She will get used to things with time, or better said you will get used to having to fix the routines back every time that she comes back. But keeping overnight contact is worth the extra effort.

One thing that I have noticed is that children follow the rules of each house, so the fact that she doesn't keep the routine at her dad's, doesn't necessarily mean that the rules and routines will not be followed at yours. This apply to everything, from rules at nursery, school or at visiting grandparents. So although difficult. try to think of it as "the rules in this house are" rather than trying to fix the ones at her dad's because to be honest, they will never be the same and it will cause a lot of bad feelings between your ex and you that you may want to avoid in order to coparent more effectively. (Now, if he is doing something really out of order as allowing her to watch movies until the early hours, or something that upset hers, obviously you have to talk to him).

yetama Sun 26-Jun-11 11:28:39

Teaandcakeplease. Am not anxious when she is back all the opposite I am so happy to see her. Even though it has been only one night I have missed her a lot smile.

He did say that he didn't bath her on saturday (he has never bath her since we are lving in different houses) because they were watching a film and ended very late so you may be right when you say that he may be putting her in bed late. Taht may also b the reason that she does not put a fight when she goes to bed. In my house she goes to bed at 8pm and sometimes it is a real struggle but I don't think she should be up later than 8pm.

It is funny because when we used to live together he was very strick in what DD needed to have a routine even though he wasn't the one following the routine. Now it seems that he has changed completely and it is not following any routine.

Do you feel somtime that you are not up to the job? I didn't get that much help fro him when we used to live together. He never went in the night or put her to sleep. I know that I am a good mum but when DD comes back in the way she did yesterday I feel like if may be she sould be living with him not with me sad

Teaandcakeplease Sun 26-Jun-11 11:31:32

"Do you feel sometimes that you are not up to the job? "

All the time. But we're doing the best we can, loving them, caring for them everyday and being there for them. You sound like you're doing a great job as Alice said.

yetama Sun 26-Jun-11 11:39:09

I guess I am just feeling a bit low at the moment. she is going next week on holiday with him for 10 days and it will be the first time I am away from her for so long. Also I don't want to imagine if she comes back in such mood when she goes for one night, what will happen when she comes back from 10 days? It will be a nightmare shock

Teaandcakeplease Sun 26-Jun-11 11:44:09

I couldn't imagine my ExH taking my DCs away for that long. My mind would be working overtime before they went.

I actually did a course of counselling in the early days after separation as I found it all so hard and ended up going on ADs in the end.

yetama Sun 26-Jun-11 11:44:37

Alice probable she feels really ungry. He ives in the house we used to live all together so maybe this is one of the problems but I don't have a clue how to help her. Any ideas?

yetama Sun 26-Jun-11 11:47:16

I on't DD is ready to go for so long but XP can only think on what he want and never stops and think what may be better for everybody else. I don't think he s considering DD best interest when deciding to on holiday. He is already planning another holidy for august forn another 10 days.

Vibrant Sun 26-Jun-11 11:49:53

I think it's pretty par for the course that they can be initially unsettled when they swap homes. My dsd used to really play up the first night she came to us, and then would settle - and the longer we had her the more she settled. There would be a noticeable difference when it came to going home time.

Funnily enough her mum used to complain of exactly the same thing and it was always because of things that we did/said/didn't do/let her get away with.

It wasn't, I think she was just excited to be going from one home to another and about seeing the other parent again. I do wonder though whether sub-consciously she picked up on the tension, her mum found it really difficult to keep her emotions in check and there were often arguments.

I agree with Maelstrom too, try not to get too caught up in what is or might be going on at her Dad's. I think that's what dsd's mum did and she was very often wide of the mark, but would take something that dsd said in innocence and make a huge deal of it, instead of actuall asking us for the facts.

I think all you can do - and this is what I do - is have my rules, my boundaries, my routine and once dd is back with me that is what we stick to.

Dragon15 Sun 26-Jun-11 11:54:03

Yetama you just sound a very good MUM yes in capital letters your situation with yur ex husband is not any different from my own they are uncooperative and selfish they dont put their child best interest at first their laziness and lack of energy - emotional and physical - required to looking after young children is at the best disgraceful! DO NOT doubt your abilities as a mother I at times felt the same purely out of sheer frustration and indignation due to lack of communication with my estranged partner. Children intend to push the boundaries your little one sounds is trying to make a sense of order in this new situation and she reacts emotionally being her communication tool. On your part be consistent with your house rules children need routine be firm and give plenty of reassurance...try avoinding ''the naughty step'' it is not deterrent to their behaviour at this stage she is too young alternatively talk to your child level to her keep eye contact give explanation to why it is not right keep it simple

Teaandcakeplease Sun 26-Jun-11 11:58:06

Cripes another 10 days as well? At 22 months. Does he have other older children from a previous relationship as well or a new partners children going too?

My ExH and I have now reached a place where we manage to co parent fairly successfully and if I'm not comfortable with something we try to reach a middle ground and vice versa. I'm not sure how I'd be with two 10 day holidays so close to each other. So I really admire you.

I think that book I linked to may have some very good ideas in it to help the transition each time. Releasing them to enjoy their time with the other parent and not cross examining them on their return is tricky. Or the parent if the child is too young to ask. So hard.

aliceliddell Sun 26-Jun-11 12:00:02

There is a charity called Young Minds that gives counselling/advice by phone, I'll see if I can find a link for you. We used them for a different problem, they were very helpful.

aliceliddell Sun 26-Jun-11 12:04:52

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