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Children whiny, upset, critical with me- perfect with ex.......normal?

(18 Posts)
coparenter Mon 06-Apr-15 21:35:38

I know they say that children save their worst for the parent they feel closest too but it's so frustrating being the one that gets the grief. Ex thinks it must be my "environment" that's causes this and says he never has any issues with them.

I'm aware that they must suffer from transition issues when coming back to me after being with their Dad. They are often worse during the first half hour. I also find if I've had them a few days in a row they are much better than if I haven't seen them for a couple of days.

I am primary carer during school term but it's more split over holidays and I'm wondering if them seeing more of their Dad is a good idea when they seem so unhappy once he drops them back with me.

Is it because they are angry at missing me or angry at the separation- or have they been overstimulated at their Dad's. I wish I knew if this was normal.

It is so difficult to look forward to seeing them and then have a horrible afternoon with them . I end up crying (not good I know) and we all end up crying. I text my ex to say they seem exhausted and upset and he says " you are always saying they are tired it's bollocks" and saying they've had a wonderful time with him.

What is the answer. I think I need more time with them in the holidays but I think ex will disagree.

Be interested to hear if my experience is common- do mothers really get the brunt of the anger after divorce?

OP’s posts: |
LaurieFairyCake Mon 06-Apr-15 21:40:40

Totally normal. What you don't do is mention it to the ex.

And you distract them with something when they come in - no chatting to them about their weekend. Instead it's 'oh my god look at this latest cartoon' - after an hour they will be better if you ignore and distract

MisForMumNotMaid Mon 06-Apr-15 21:48:03

Sounds very normal to me.

When mine come in i plonk them infront of the TV, get them drinks usually warm milk, feed them (biscuits/ fruit/ crisps/ yogurt type of top up stuff). After 30 mins or so they start to be back with me. Not angry zombies.

They talk when they're ready. They compartmentalise quite well and if allowed a low key transition back home (minus questions) they tend to find their places quickly.

If/ when I probe, they drag up each petty squable and point of tension and relive it.

coparenter Mon 06-Apr-15 21:49:22

I know... I shouldn't tell him because all he does is make me feel worse.

I just feel so guilty that they are not having a fun time with me. I do try to distract but it's a bit deeper rooted with my eldest who has attachment issues so when she's in the wrong sort of mood she can find things to complain about for hours.

But good to know this is common

OP’s posts: |
SoupDragon Mon 06-Apr-15 21:52:11

I tell myself it is because they are relaxed and comfortable with me and "scared" of their father smile

BlackeyedSusan Mon 06-Apr-15 22:25:48

I can only talk about ds after school rather than with ex.

he is whiny horrible and grumpy. like his mother

he then gets fed as soon as he is through the door and washed his hands. he is then left to decompress by playing, if he can manage that without hitting his sister, if not he is bathed and often falls asleep or destresses on the computer.

schools traditionally blame the parent for the bad behaviour at home, though like you when I have had him a few days he is ok provided his blood sugar is kept up.

tickling used to help.

cuddling on the sofa (deep pressure) worked too.

some children need time to re-adjust to the change from one location to another. used to see it coming into school too. children were often upset coming in but fine after a few minutes.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 07-Apr-15 08:32:10

It's well known they only ever express their true feelings where they feel safe.
My DD would and will never tell ExH her feelings about his GF (OW) and her DD as she is terrified EX will choose them over her. For a couple of years she screamed at me and even hit me on occasions as an expression of her upset, she was 8/9, but still couldn't really explain how she felt. Now she us older she can explain.

HeadDoctor Tue 07-Apr-15 10:58:08

Just because your ex says they are perfect with him doesn't mean it is true.

PandorasToyBox Thu 09-Apr-15 00:36:35

It could also be that they due to feeling that they must be on best behaviour with their father (rational behind this is that kids often have a fear that the ex will walk away from them if they are misbehaving)? So when they come home to you they have to de-stress and relax their 'guard'?

I would make things very simple, a nice tea, make a cake for them, run a nice bubbly bath, put on a film and cuddle up (shows them that you are thinking of them and acknowledging their emotions).

It is hard, so try to make it as calm and loving as poss whilst taking care to go easy on yourself too. Having a simple routine will help immensely as it will create a space for them to feel safe and contained.

coparenter Thu 09-Apr-15 17:04:04

Thanks all for your kind responses

OP’s posts: |
madamtremain Sat 11-Apr-15 16:11:09

My ex used to smugly claim dd was perfect for him. "Oh she knows not to argue with daddy" he'd say... Pahahaha now she's got her own mind he has no idea how to handle her and is coming to me for advice. Luckily through learning how to cope with what you describe (took a long time and lots of tears!) I am in a position to tell him.
And I bet they aren't as angelic as their dads make out anyway!

AKP79 Mon 13-Apr-15 12:04:17

Coparenter, I could of written your post myself. I am experiencing exactly the same and am struggling with it. Such a good post and so reassuring to hear we are not alone and it is normal. DS (3 years) has just come back from a week at his dads where apparently he was an absolute angel and slept 12 hours every night. I have been hit all weekend, I have had a lot of defiance, running away in public, weeing in public etc etc. And on top of that DS has woken 4-5 times a night and got up at 5.30am. I'm happy to take it all and deal with it, but it doesn't mean it's not upsetting or worrying. It's tough missing him as much as I have and then having to get into 'time out' etc as soon as he's back with me. It makes me very sad... so I totally sympathise with you. xx

Christophewouldgetit Mon 13-Apr-15 19:06:40

Just to add to the complete empathy on this thread...

Totally normal - my two were a nightmare when coming back from exh's for ages and if I dared mention it, well - must be me, I'm the cause of DDs excruciating anxiety, she wet the bed at mine because she is so unhappy, DS has never had a tantrum etc etc...

I now no longer say a word and just let my DC know I love them. They know they have unconditional love from me & I will always put them first.. I tell myself that is more important than good behaviour!

I don't think more time in the holidays is the answer as then time with their dad will be more unsettling - just stick with the agreed cate pattern and ride it out, it will be worth it!

You are doing it all right - honestly!

moomooland01 Wed 15-Apr-15 20:42:58

Mine too hmm my 10 yr old gets so upset on his return, he trashed his bedroom, punched the TV in, totally out of control. He developed separation anxiety an now refuses to go. Even though when he does go, dad says he enjoys it.

chickenfuckingpox Fri 17-Apr-15 17:59:15

my eldest son does this when he comes home he goes effectively mental and smashes and hurts everyone arguing with us all and yelling he never wants to go again because he misses me (then he punches me) i let him express himself to a degree violence i wont tolerate and either he removes himself or we all walk away from him! (it is actually quite effective because it removes his audience)

nanny (whos house he sees his dad in) says to everyone he is soooo well behaved he is sooo wonderful for his nanny then his dad points out he has actually been a little swine to nanny and even made her cry he is good for his dad but not as good as what nanny makes out he is (and his brother nearly smashed there window the other day so he is just as bad!)

dont believe the hype keep to a fixed routine when they get home and stick to it unless there are tears and genuine upset that way they know what to expect and settle faster

OneEyedWilly Fri 17-Apr-15 18:19:37

We seem to have the same thing with DSD. To hear her mum talk about her, it sounds like she turns into a right little demon when she's there. Rude, ignorant, shouts in people's faces, break things, picks on her sister, says nasty things to her mum and stepdad, it goes on and on. We never have any of this extreme behaviour, just a bit of general child naughtiness which is dealt with quickly and stops as soon as she's pulled up on it. Apparently they asked her why she's good here and not there and she told them it's because she's 'afraid' of her Dad (DP) but when we asked her she said it's because they hit her and she doesn't think they should be allowed to (she loved the kids punishing grown ups thing in Matilda, was very obsessed with that book for a while). She also tells us terrible things about her mum and stepdad then goes to them and makes up a load of nasty stuff about us, making it really hard to believe anything she says.

I have no advice to be honest, and am curious to see what other people do in this situation. For us it's gotten to quite a bad point where her mum doesn't like having her around and will ask us to keep her as long as possible so the 3 of them can recover. I don't think that's helping at all as DSD is left feeling so unwanted but on the other hand they really do need a break from it.

The distraction thing others have suggested sounds like a useful technique. Maybe they just need to wind down a bit and transition quietly without thinking to hard about it?

OneEyedWilly Fri 17-Apr-15 18:25:27

Also is it possible for you to use their school to transition rather than him bringing them to yours or you picking them up from his? He drops them there in the morning and you pick them up at the end of the school day? Might be easier if they have a few hours in between going from one parent to the other.

Justusemyname Fri 17-Apr-15 18:42:25

I think it's normal. Apparently I was vile when coming back from my mother's to my home. It was got round by my staying over and going straight to school then home in the afternoon.

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