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how to prepare very sensitive needy child for us to go away for 3 days!

(20 Posts)
SophieofShepherdsBush Mon 18-Apr-16 08:00:33

Dh and I going to a wedding abroad. We'll be away 3 nights. The 3 DC's are going to be split sad as no one can cope with all 3. They will be together during the day at the childminders, and going to sleep with different rellies. Dc1,6yrs, will be fine. Dc3, 2 yrs, will also be fine, but I fear dc2 ,4yrs, may never forgive us!sad
He is quite clingy, and going through a very angry stage anyway. He hates being left, even for an afternoon. He hates it if I go out and leave him with dh. He thinks I am his! He gets very jealous of his siblings. He is my cross, needy, emotional, intelligent middle child. He worries, eg death, pets dying.... Sigh. He reminds me of me.
So would it be better to prepare him thoroughly well in advance of the trip, so we can talk it through? Even though this will give him time to worry and fret? and rant and rave and hit and bite me or should we just go with little warning so he doesn't have time to think about it? Tbh I'm worrying so much about him I don't even think I'm going to enjoy the trip myself! He's the early riser, the night waker, the bed wetter, he needs his mum! sad
Worse things happen at sea. He will be with a very nice aunt, uncle and cousins. I am going to give them each a new night light(of course he is afraid of the dark) .
How can I handle this so that he doesn't still resent me when he's 30?!

kiki22 Mon 18-Apr-16 10:15:30

I wouldn't tell him until the day or maybe the day before if he's going to worry. I think tbh he will just need to deal with it you still have other things in life to do so he just needs to deal with it. He will be well cared for so while he may be pissed off it won't do him any harm it but it will do you good to get some couple time to let your hair down.

I might do him good to be away from you maybe he might feel better if he knows you will always come back

pitterpatterrain Mon 18-Apr-16 10:19:28

I would go with the shorter notice albeit our DD is younger (2.5) so we tend to tell her our trips the day before it happens (my and DH work travel)

Would it help to draw him a visual schedule of where everyone including his siblings will be and when everyone gets home?

BertrandRussell Mon 18-Apr-16 10:21:51

Might he be better staying with his older sibling if that's at all possible?

winchester1 Mon 18-Apr-16 10:23:25

Id make it exciting that isn't he lucky to be staying with x and y. How much fun they will much x and y are looking forward to him being there.

pinkcan Mon 18-Apr-16 10:32:26

Is he staying without either of his siblings? Would it be possible for him to stay with the sibling he clings to the most?

My ds sounds a bit like your ds and he gets quite disturbed when his only sibling is elsewhere. Eg she went to a friend's house and he kept asking me, where is sister, when is sister coming home. Despite being well old enough to understand, he repeatedly asked me how long til she's home all afternoon and was very happy when she got back. Then they proceeded to go back to normal sibling behaviour and argue grin.

MackerelOfFact Mon 18-Apr-16 10:44:32

Could you pack him off with new pyjamas, a new book/cuddly toy/game, a little midnight feast pack - stuff to make it into a bit of an adventure and distract him from being anxious?

I remember being like this. I kept my lovely Great Aunt up all night once because I thought my parents were almost certainly going to get shot dead at the village hall Quiz Night they were attending. hmm

SophieofShepherdsBush Mon 18-Apr-16 19:27:30

Thank you. So we think it's better if we spring it on him and not give home too much time to dwell on it?
pink and Bertrand he can't really stay with a sibling. DC1 has ADHD, possible ASD and can't really be left free range with other kids as he can be violent. So he's off to his Gran's, he is perfect one to one with an adult so she'll be able to manage him. If dc1 & 2 are together they are a nightmare combo and I wouldn't expect my mil to be able to deal with them together. The baby two year old is going to her favorite aunty, msinlt becausr she fits in si well in that family thay i know shell be fine. but they have 3 year old twins and another little girl, so I can't expect them to take on my middle child too. Which is a shame for him as I know he's more at home with either his Granny or that family. My other sil is lovely, but he just doesn't know her as well and her house will be strange for him. sad I wish I'd thought it through properly, cause we've already asked her, and it might upset or offend her if I said I didn't want to leave him there after all. I can't swap his placement with the eldest, as the eldest will almost definitely hurt one of her kids!

ApologiesToInsectLife Mon 18-Apr-16 19:39:13

I would say that you need to tell him far in advance. It would be unfair to spring it on him. I have a very sensitive child so I speak from experience. It will be harder work in some respects as he will give you grief about it for longer but I think if it's just sprung on him he will remember the fact you didn't tell him until it was about to happen as much as the fact you will be away for 3 days. I really think it's unfair not to. He needs the chance/time to prepare for it.

SophieofShepherdsBush Mon 18-Apr-16 19:45:55

Oh lordy. Yes apologies that was my instinct too, but dh and in-laws say otherwise. Poor baby
I really wish I wasn't going.
I know it's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but I'm a worrier anyway.
Poor dh is so looking forward to our first overnight trip away from kids in 6 years, and I can't blame him, but I can't get excited about it. And I feel like I'm pissing on his chips if I voice my worries about middle child. Aibu to worry? Is he bu to just want a few nights away?!
First world problem, I really know that there are some very distressing threads on here at the moment, and this doesn't compare.

NeatandTidyTidyandNeat Mon 18-Apr-16 19:45:56

Can you do loads of prep yourself, of things that will help when you tell him, and that your SIL can use with him for continuity of reassurance? So, a one-page "map" of the trip to show what's happening, a little booklet for him to fill in with what he's done and show you when you get back, a special thing of yours he needs to keep safe and give back to you when you're home etc. A short film of you saying how much you love him, on SIL's phone/tablet, that he can watch whenever he needs to? Other things that can help are being obvious about leaving stuff half-done at home "oh we'll finish this puzzle together when we're back" etc. Good luck!

SophieofShepherdsBush Mon 18-Apr-16 19:47:51

Thank you * neat* I like those ideas. I think he would enjoy them.

BertieBotts Mon 18-Apr-16 19:53:17

Yes to those things. And also something which helped anxious DS when I first left him for several nights in a row was to give him some "spare kisses" to put in his pocket and under his pillow and then if he missed me, he could just put his hand in his pocket and find one. I think I read that on here at the time and I was surprised that it helped a lot. I'm sure he knew it was pretend, but it didn't seem to matter. He then used them every night for bedtime to help him get to sleep alone grin

ApologiesToInsectLife Mon 18-Apr-16 19:53:46

It's perfectly normal to fret and worry about situations like this- I have, many a time with my sensitive dd! But your dh is also right in that you need/should get away together and TRY to enjoy it! IME preparing your ds and yourself will help in that you will know you'll have done all you can to make it easier for him and you're more likely to relax than if you'd just sprung it on him and disappeared for 3 days - hideously stressful for you and ds! Your instinct is completely right. It's just different parenting a really sensitive child - they need handling a bit differently, especially when they're only 6. But he does need to know that mum and dad can go away and that he will survive and then you will come back. There's loads of good practical tips on this thread to use as well.

MumUndone Mon 18-Apr-16 19:55:40

I agree with Apologies, most of us prefer not to have horrid things sprung upon us. Being a sensitive child, I would expect he'll need time to process the idea of you being away. It will create a harder situation initially, but better in the long run. Also, I think you will be less anxious yourself if you feel you've adequately prepared your DS. Great ideas from NeatandTidy.

SophieofShepherdsBush Mon 18-Apr-16 20:00:14

Thanks guys. OK I'm going to play it my way and give him lots of time to get his head round it. And thanks for the pep talk. I was hoping to let him have a practice run but that might make him worse, even if I could get him to agree to it.

BiscuitMillionaire Mon 18-Apr-16 20:00:32

IME of clingy DD, what works is to talk about exactly what will happen when, when I'll be back, and how I'll give her a very big hug when I see her again. Plus print out a photo of him and you together and he can have it by his bed. Also, bribery! Say you'll bring him back a surprise toy.

Ratbagcatbag Mon 18-Apr-16 20:04:46

Ok so my dd is 3, she's not that clingy other than at bedtimes. I gave her a weeks notice, made it all about the fun things shed do etc. she had two nights with two separate friends. She loved it. We had some issues when we got back as we'd dropped her at the childminders and then arranged someone else to collect her. She was clingy at drop offs for a couple of weeks after as she was convinced we wouldn't pick her up again. This was about three weeks ago. She's absolutely fine now and talks about her sleepovers with fondness.

SophieofShepherdsBush Mon 18-Apr-16 20:05:49

Thanks biscuit yes bribery will definitely help.

SophieofShepherdsBush Mon 18-Apr-16 20:07:34

That's heartening to hear ratbag.

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