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Advice please - my DS won't stay with his dad.

(13 Posts)
TinyDancer69 Tue 10-Nov-15 23:05:28

I've posted a couple of times over the last year about my now ex-DP. The MN support I got was invaluable.

We split in May and we have a 3yo DS who is with me most of the time. DS sees his dad every other weekend and overnight one night per week. On the whole this has worked out ok although exhausting for me as I do all drop offs and pick ups. Reason being ex-DP has a 9 yo from a previous relationship and there is a court order governing access to his DS. This involves him doing all drop offs/pick ups. If I didn't drop off my DS it would be practically difficult for DS to see him. I have been very accommodating because I want my darling DS to have a good relationship with his dad. It is also the only time off I get. I work nearly full time and no support nearby so really need the down time.

The issue now is that when I dropped DS off tonight he was breaking his heart and almost hysterical when I went to leave. This obviously upsets ex-DP who just said to me to take him home if he doesn't want to stay. This is him all over - he makes it all about him and makes out as if it's my DS's choice whether he stays. He's only 3!

I left with my DS as the situation was becoming very stressful and his DS was there so I didn't want to get into any kind of argument.

He did text later with an apology saying it just hurts him. He also said he fully appreciated all I do to let him see DS.

Why is my child so upset? Should I insist he stays? Or stop the overnights? He is very close to me - we are a little team and I adore him. Could it mean my DS just does not feel secure with his DF?

Potatoface2 Tue 10-Nov-15 23:19:34

how about your ex seeing your son when his other son isnt there

AndNowItsSeven Tue 10-Nov-15 23:23:26

It sounds like your ex is putting your ds first not himself to be fair. Three is very young to stay overnight way from his primary carer.

TinyDancer69 Tue 10-Nov-15 23:25:22

Thanks Potatoface2. He is adamant he wants his sons to be as close as possible and see each other at the same time. On the whole I agree. However I do know his DS is his ultimate priority. Just a feeling. And I wonder if my DS feels that?

Ex-DP is selfish and I would be surprised if he agreed to see DS separately. But I may well suggest it. At some point I have to step back and leave him to manage relationship with my DS...

TinyDancer69 Tue 10-Nov-15 23:30:02

Thanks for your thoughts AndNow but I disagree. DS has been regularly overnight since June - it is just recently he has become upset. Surely ex-DP should be comforting DS - not walking away and taking it so personally. However I take your point - maybe time to step back and slow things down.

AndNowItsSeven Tue 10-Nov-15 23:33:43

I am sorry I missed the part where your ds had been staying over night for so long.

Morganly Tue 10-Nov-15 23:43:40

It's not unusual for 3 year olds to be very clingy with their primary carers. It's no one's fault. He would probably be the same if his parents were still living together but of course in that situation, his dad would be more familiar to him and would still be present even if he was clinging to you.

I do think that you need to persist a little bit, as hard as it is to do. It's a phase and if he is to develop a proper bond with his dad, he needs the regular contact. It's like when they first go to school or nursery or whatever. They cry as if their heart is breaking when you leave but settle down once you've gone and you don't have any choice about whether they go to school or not so you just have to walk away and leave them, heart wrenching though it is (and trust me, I've been there).

His dad needs to be totally on board with this and ready to step up. Distraction helps with the parting. He needs to whip him away from you to some fun activity, lure of chocolate or whatever works for your son, without protracted leave taking.

It's hard, and you are a good mum and a good person doing what you do to facilitate this relationship between them.

I do wonder about the drop offs and pick ups. Can he not do any at all?

TinyDancer69 Tue 10-Nov-15 23:51:26

Morganly - thank you for your wise words. I agree -my hunch is to persist but stop the lingering handover. We are going to discuss him doing more drop offs. I think that's part of the problem - DS literally only sees his DF at his house - so he's not present in any other area of his life.

I guess my worry is my DS is genuinely not happy there...although no reason to think that. My life would be so much less stressful not having to do this but I want my DS to have a close bond with his dad, regardless of our history...

Morganly Tue 10-Nov-15 23:53:00

Just had another thought. The other son could potentially be utilised as a distraction strategy. Small children are often in thrall to older children so if the older boy would be willing to take him off to do something fun, this might help the leave taking.

TinyDancer69 Tue 10-Nov-15 23:56:17

He adores his brother so that could work Morganly. I'm afraid of making a rod for my own back if I don't insist on DS staying with his DF. I'm not being selfish but I get very little down time. My mum has dementia and I have to see her often so when my DS is with his dad it gives me breathing space!

kickassangel Wed 11-Nov-15 00:05:58

Just before DD turned 3 she went through an intense few months when I couldn't even leave the room without full on screaming fit. She still went to nursery fine, but wouldn't go to sleep without me, and screamed if I went to the toilet etc. I remember once trying to pee as fast as possible, as I could hear her screaming the pub down, even though DH (her Dad, and we've all lived together for the entirety of her life) was sitting right next to her. I was 3 rooms away, with at least 3 sets of doors and I could still hear 'Muuuuuum-eeeeeeee' being screamed hysterically.

At his age, it could be that, or it could be something else. I think talking to your Ex and having a Plan A and Plan B agreed and ready to go, before you attempt the next hand over, is the way forward.

amarmai Wed 11-Nov-15 01:08:53

Listen to what your ds is telling you thru his behaviour as he cannot express it in words he is acting it out. Keep taking him for visits and hopefully it will work out . But do not leave him when he is so upset and does not want to stay. He comes first.

TinyDancer69 Wed 11-Nov-15 08:26:59

Thank you Amarmai. My DS comes first absolutely. Last night he was genuinely breaking his heart and it would have felt wrong to leave him. As soon as we got in the car he felt much calmer and happier.

Kickassangel - I really hope it is a phase and will get better. I think I'll continue dropping him off but if he becomes hysterical I'll take him with me. It's so hard for everyone but my baby's welfare comes first sad

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