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We're happy, but DS having trouble adjusting to split

(9 Posts)
MrsMooo Tue 13-Sep-11 11:50:49

DS is 25 months, exDH and I seperated amicably and by mostly mutal agreement at the begining of July (he made the final decision but we were both heading there...)

We have a regular routine of access and a VERY stable home life for DS, see's Dad every day except Sunday and we get on relatively well so no arguing in front of DS etc

He seemed to adjust really well when exP first left the family home, but over the last few weeks is getting increasingly upset when he's dropped off, asking constantly for Daddy/where Daddy is.

I had really thought that as time went on he would get more used to it, but he seems to be getting worse.

Does anyone have any advice about how we can make DS feel more secure, or if this is just a phase and if so how long till it passes?

Whislt I know it's because he's the NRP, and I am the bad cop who does making him brush his teeth/tidy up/etc etc and also because I am the one DS feels is secure/always there for him, I am starting to feel a bit rejected when it seems he only wants to be with DexP

rubin Tue 13-Sep-11 13:35:37

Hi MrsMooo,

What are the arrangements re your DS seeing your Exp? IE Does he go out with him everyday? Or is your Ex calling round to your home every day? It sounds from your post that your DS is going out with his dad.

Whilst its great that your DS is seeing so much of you ExP, I wonder, at such a young age of 25 mths, is it a bit too much for your son? Perhaps he needs to spend more time at the primary carers place (IE Your home) with regular but short visits to his dad, which of course can increase as he gets older.

I'm not sure of your set up so these are just initial thoughts.

MrsMooo Tue 13-Sep-11 17:12:42

Thanks for your reply rubin. ExP picks him up from nursery then brings him home and spend some time with him at my home. I don't have an option to stop this really I was would need a CM to pick DS up from nursery and keep him for that hour anyway - Occasionally he takes him to the park if he picks him up early from nursery, but this is the exception rather than the norm

ExP takes him to the MIL's local park every Friday afternoon then does some activity with him Saturday morning before dropping him off

To be fair I do take him out Sat afternoon/Sunday to the park/beach/with friends so it's quite an equal spilt activity wise, it's more that I am the one that has to do the boundry setting because I have DS more/in the evenings and overnight

We/I don't want less contact partially as it would make my life more difficult with work, and because DS is used to having his Dad there everyday and being very hands on/involved

Also I'm not really sure how I can dictate to ExP what he does in his time with DS, i.e. take him out less. I thought 1-2 nights overnight was quite standard for that age

Sidalee7 Tue 13-Sep-11 18:13:27

I am in a really similar position, recently separated with two young dcs, one younger, one older than your ds.
The elder dc asks for Daddy A LOT - he has always been a daddys boy and I do find it upsetting (split not my decision). He can call XH which helps, but I guess at 25 months your ds may be too young to do this.
I think being really honest with them helps, when ds asks why daddy is not here I say that his daddy loves him very much but he does not want to live with mummy anymore. I went to counselling and they said the scariest thing for a child is not being told the truth.
Good luck, its such a minefield, Im constantly worried I'm f-ing up their views of marriage and relationships, ect.

rubin Tue 13-Sep-11 18:13:57

Hi MrsMooo, I'm not sure really what you should do.

I would still say that 25 mths is still extremely young for overnights away from their main home. I was very particular about ensuring that overnights did not happen until my DC were 2 years old. Now they have overnights with their dad every second weekend & in general they are coping really well. Before that their father took them out at agreed periods during the day.

I would advise seeking further advice.

Unfortunately the excuse that contact is acceptable due to what fits in with your work should not be in the equation. Its got to be about what works for your child & that might mean yourself & your ex making some fairly radical decisions.

kipperandtiger Tue 13-Sep-11 21:48:00

If your ExP picks him up from nursery he may well end up thinking your ExP is his main carer, esp when he sees him Sat am too. Can you arrange to leave work earlier on 2 or 3 days a week and will the nursery do late pick ups? I know of some nurseries that will have children up to 7pm, and most will have them till 6pm. I don't know how far from work your nursery is. It is also possible that your DS cries for you a bit when he leaves your home; many DPs and ExPs will not say so - not that they try to hide it, I think many men think it isn't significant and blank it out.

cestlavielife Wed 14-Sep-11 13:03:08

just reassure "daddyhad to go to his house but you will see him tomorrow, now lets go play with xxx/eat/have a abth"

MrsMooo Wed 14-Sep-11 13:33:48

Rubin, he is already 2, so if you started overnights when your child was 2, how is 2 plus one month too young? The time away from home overnight is in most cases 1 night per week with the option for me to make it two nights, which we've not been doing because I haven't felt it's right whilst we're still in the adjustment phase

It is not "an excuse" it is the reality of my life. Your advice is incredibly unhelpful and TBH seems quite judgemental. I am not in a finacial postion to do what suits DS regardless, I can not afford to reduce my working hours and my employers are already being VERY flexible by letting me work my full time hours over 4.5 days from November so I will have Sat pm to Tue am with DS.

Do you suggest that I give up work, lose my home and sit with DS in the dole queue?? Or shall I get a CM or nanny to pick him up, which would financially cripple me and take time with his other parent away

The situation with ExP picking up DS and having him for an hour is the same as it was before we split and we have and are trying to maintain as much normality and routine as possible - maybe we do need to reconsider this but I'm reticent to reduce or restrict ExP's access to our son.

Whilst our marriage didn't work out he has always been a very involved very good father and I do worry that going from spending all of his time with both of us to seeing his dad very little would make things worse and increase his seperation anxiety with ExP - I know that he doesn't cry when he leave me (and I'm glad he doesn't!) as I can hear him shouting goodbye/see you later/etc and chattering all the way to ExP's car, so I am hoping it is just that he has more fear of seperation from ExP as he does recognise me as the primary carer

Perhaps I should have given more details about our routine pre-split, (he left marital home at the start of July) as what we do now is pretty much the same with ExP now leaving before we start dinner, and bringing him home from his Mum's Sat am rather than Friday evening. Though DS was already spending 1 night a month at MIL's so ExP and I could have some time to ourselves

Sidealee - he's a Daddy's boy too, so a lot of it will be that, I think maybe we have been trying to sheild him from what's happening and should be explaining things more to him, so thank you very much. It is a minefield indeed!

rubin Wed 14-Sep-11 17:45:01


Firstly I apologise, I stupidly miscalculated (not thinking straight - must be mummy forgetfulness!) that off course 25 mths is 2 yrs & 1 mth. So yes thats when I started overnights so yes of course its a good time for overnights. My mistake - I was thinking it was under 2 years old.

Secondly I think you're a bit harsh in your response. I was simply trying to help you ask yourself questions & analysis the situation. In no way was I suggesting that you reduce contact with your ex, but that perhaps you need to look at how its structured. And as a working mother myself I would never suggest you hinder your work situation. You didn't give full information about your circumstances so can't expect people to be able to advise fully or read you mind.
I'm sorry if I upset you - not intended - but perhaps understanding yourself forums like these can allow for misinterpretation if not all facts have been highlighted.

I wish you all the best with working it all out.

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