Family becoming divided - how to mend?(8 Posts)
We have two DDs, oldest is 3.2y and youngest 3 months. DD1 spent equal amounts of time with DH and I until her sister was born (we both worked a nine day fortnight, divided time at a weekend so we all spent time together but also each got to do our activities).
Since Dd2 arrived whenever DH is about DD1 is with him. DH refers to her as daddy's girl and DD1 gets very cross if he tries to settle baby dd2. So baby passed back to me and the cycle continues. In addition DD1 will not let DH and I have a conversation, she can be merrily playing or watching ipad etc but if DH and I attempt even to discuss what is for dinner let alone important things then DD1 shrieks, screams, starts shouting and attention seeking.
I don't want this to become the way we are as a family, I want either child to be able to come to either of us, I really really don't want favourites. DD2 is a contented little creature and DD1 was a hard hard baby and is exhausting as a 3yo. I'm worried that if I don't turn this around soon then by the time DD2 is understanding more then my relationship with DD1 will be irreparably damaged. I had a CS with DD2 and so I suddenly couldn't pick DD1 up or put her to bed - I try to do bedtime now but DD2 needs feeding to sleep so again I get baby and DH sorts DD1 out.
I'm really struggling to see how best to turn this around. I am estranged from my mother and sister, mainly because of this exact same issue as we were growing up which got worse and worse after my father died. So I'm upset that history is repeating itself, I have depression anyway but this seriously isn't helping.
Any words of advice? Am I right to worry or will it all come out in the wash when the girls are a bit bigger? I treat them completely fairly, in fact DD1 is given huge amounts of my time when her sister is sleeping or on the playmat. Dd1 happy with this as long as daddy isn't home
Just ignore, ignore, ignore all the tantruming. She doesn't get to 'choose' which adult will do what, and with whom! Praise and treat when calm - but don't give in. Don't let her dictate who settles the LO! Put your foot down, in a calm manner, and she'll soon realise that screaming won't work!
Have you spoken to DH about this? If he calls DD1 a Daddy's girl it sounds like he is making things worse rather than helping?
However just to reassure you I think this is quite a common situation initially if the new baby is breastfed and it does usually sort itself out later on.
DD2 is very very young and needs you so much at this age and it is a shock for DD1 to have to share either of you. This will get better, most of all, because you recognise it and are determined to change it.
FWIW, I find bach flower remedies can help hugely with both your and her feelings.
I watched an old episode of House of Tiny Tearaways that featured a family with a similar issue. One of the most important things was the dad (the DD1's favourite parent) being stern and saying "You be nice to Mummy, don't scream at her" and then cuddling the mum. Present a united front, basically. Your DH may be perpetuating it slightly because he enjoys being favoured, but that needs to change.
I think you need to try and forget your one personal experience and to not let your worries show. In most families children are close to both parents as older children/adults. But in toddlerhood they can play favourites, maybe they like having control. Just don't worry about it and treat her as you always have done, with lots of affection and unconditional love and I'm sure it will pass.
OP, I think your experiences from your own childhood are causing you to become overly worried about your family now. The very fact that you are so determined that you won't have favourites in your family is pretty much a guarantee that history won't repeat itself. I think Vijac's advice is very sound.
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