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DD (16 months) does not want to go to her father's house - what (if anything) can I do?

(9 Posts)
HighOnDieselAndGasoline Tue 07-Jul-09 11:45:29

DD's dad and I separated at Christmas. He has been living in his new place since March. DD spends 2 days and two nights there a week (Tues eve - Wed am and Fri am - Sat pm).

Recently, she has become very vociferous about not wanting to go to her dads'. She cries when I drop her off or when he picks her up from the CMs. This morning she even started crying when we turned into his road on the way to the CMs. sad

Apparently she doesn't cry for very long, but it is awfully upsetting, and also difficult for her dad, although he deals with it very well.

She is going through a bit of a stroppy patch anyway and has started to refuse to get in the buggy, her high chair etc.

I sense that part of the problem is that he doesn't do that much with her. She has toys and books and they watch CBeebies, but he doesn't take her out much. I know he is making an effort with her, but he is not really the type to sit down on the floor and play with her for ages. I am very hesitant to suggest too much to him, as I don't want to seem bossy or interfering.

I am very keen for DD to carry on seeing lots of her dad, as I think this is such an important relationship for her. But does this sound normal? And is there anything I/we could do to make her dad's seem more fun?

The separation is very amicable by the way, and I always say to her 'oh you are going to daddy's today, you'll have a lovely time' etc.

TIA for any advice/perspectives!

x-posted to lone parents too

MadameCastafiore Tue 07-Jul-09 11:48:16

Just be honest with him about settling down and playing with her - as adults and her parents you need to speak to each other about things like this so start now - just be tactful!

And make her go - she has 2 loving parents it seems and at 16 months most kids are disagreeable about most things even if they are things they want to do and like - they disagree because they can.

RumourOfAHurricane Tue 07-Jul-09 11:50:53

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Ewe Tue 07-Jul-09 11:51:45

I think it has less to do with her not wanting to go to see her Dad and more to do with being 16months old. I doubt it's that she thinks it is less fun at his house, that is quite an adult thought process for a baby!

My DD is the same age and cries when we leave the house if we don't all leave together. Tantrums if Daddy takes her to nursery, if I take her to nursery, when we pick her up from nursery, when we leave my Mum's house, I could go on and on.

I think it is just a phase (well at least I hope so!) where they try and exert control and influence over things as they are just starting to realise that they can. If she settles down quickly then I wouldn't worry too much.

HighOnDieselAndGasoline Tue 07-Jul-09 11:52:04

Thank you MadameCastafiore. You are right that we need to talk about parenting issues. I suppose I am just nervous about undermining him, or making him feel like a crap parent. He got off to a bit of a rocky start with DD, but their relationship has really improved recently and I want to encourage that (and him).

Completely agree that she has to go - I am determined that they will have the chance to develop a strong loving relationship, not just the odd visit.

It is reassuring to know that this is a normal 16 month thing and not (just) about the separation!

HighOnDieselAndGasoline Tue 07-Jul-09 11:54:35

Thank you Ewe and Shine. She does settle down quickly. Honestly, this is very reassuring, and I am crying just reading your posts.

RumourOfAHurricane Tue 07-Jul-09 12:03:04

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HighOnDieselAndGasoline Tue 07-Jul-09 12:08:24

Thanks again Shine - consider me duly chilled out! It is great to hear from someone who has been through it all.

I am very positive with her about going to Daddy's, and in fact am very impressed with how my ex has coped with going from being quite a hands-off dad to having sole charge for some of the week. I know it does not come easily to him, and have a new appreciation of him for doing it anyway. I think he is really bonding with her too, which is why the tears etc. are a bit unfortunate. (I have told him that it is normal behaviour etc)

We chat often - on the phone and at drop offs - about how she is getting on. On the whole I've been pleasantly surprised how good our co-parenting relationship is (so far!) which is why I'm keen not to jeopardize it.

RumourOfAHurricane Tue 07-Jul-09 12:27:50

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