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DIVORCE: delayed reaction for my toddler?

(15 Posts)
fanta Thu 03-Mar-05 13:50:41

I just discovered mumsnet and would be grateful to hear your stories and experiences to all of you who are divorced and with child! I am in the last stages of a divorce, applying for decree nisi next week. My ex was never there for us from the moment I became pregnant and I realised he was having affairs. He was never there for his son, but when I mentioned the word divorce suddenly turned into 'Father for Justice' type. After mediation, I moved out with my little one to a new flat (my ex refused to leave the family home!). We have agreed on shared parenting - 3 nights at his and 4 nights at mine. My little one seemed to have adapted really well to getting a dad and the shared nights. He goes to nursery every day, he is 3. Lately though, he started behaving badly, tantrums, pushing friends, snatching toys off them, etc.. etc.. I thought, well probably the terrible twos. Now I am getting a bit worried because he does not want to go to nursery and only 'wants to stay with me'. My instinct tells me that this is a delayed reaction from the separation but I am at a loss. The nursery is very good and supporting me well but I would love to hear your advice/comments as I do not know anyone in the same situaton as me. Thank you in advance.

Chandra Thu 03-Mar-05 13:58:43

HAs anything changed in your home, his home, the nursery? It may be related to other events rather than the divorce itself. DS went thruough a similar phas when his best friend was moved to the older children room.

Chandra Thu 03-Mar-05 13:59:18

P.S . Welcome to Mumsnet

ggglimpopo Thu 03-Mar-05 14:25:10

Message withdrawn

WideWebWitch Thu 03-Mar-05 14:43:31

Hi and welcome to mumsnet fanta. 3 yos can be hard work imo, maybe it is a reaction but I tihnk plenty of 3yos are like this when there's no separation. Is it the moving about do you think? What does your son say is his worry? Sorry your ex was such an arse. What's best for his son wasn't making you the one to move but hey ho. I think you can only keep reassuring him but being consistent with discipline, ignore the bad behaviour, praise the good. Have you read Toddler taming? I liked it and found it useful when my ds was this age.

Bugsy2 Thu 03-Mar-05 14:57:50

Hi Fanta, my son was 3 when my ex started his affair and then moved out. My son was a nightmare 3 yr old, very badly behaved, phenomenal tantrums, clingy, hated going to nursery (even though I knew he was happy when he was there) - he was vile. I do think that children are very perceptive and even if they don't understand the words, they pick up on atmospheres.
My son is now 5.5 and has settled down. My only advice would be to try and be as consistent as possible and try and maintain reasonable relations between you and your ex in front of your son.
Good luck to you & welcome to mumsnet.

HappyDaddy Thu 03-Mar-05 15:32:51

As a man, I don't want to sound contentious or stick up for other men at all. Got that out of the way, my brief point.
My, now 8 yr old, adjusted very well to my leaving and divorce. My barrister recommended that I don't try for joint custody or stays for half the week as it is easier to confuse and distress the child. Would your ex agree to every other weekend? Or every weekend? This gives your child a settled time during the week, rather than having to settle at yours for a few days and then all over again at his dad's. He will prefer to be with you because you, the house and surroundings are what he's used to. I wish more fathers thought of what's best for the child and not what they might want. Not that I'm a saint or anything.

fanta Thu 03-Mar-05 16:55:16

thank you! and happydaddy you are a saint, no doubt! There is no way my ex would think in those terms, he has always made it very clear that we share posessions but also our son. Which makes me feel a bit sick to be honest!
Will get the book - much appreciated.
The reason my son fights with his friends or so he says is because he wants all the toys and wants me to stay with him. There has not been any other significant changes in the last 6 months apart from this and what puzzles me is that he seemed to have dealt with the separation very well 6 months ago and now only, problems are showing. Maybe I am making a big deal out of them because of my inevitable guilt...But you are right wickedwaterwitch keeping consistent and positive is a must.
my warm thank yous to you all

WideWebWitch Thu 03-Mar-05 19:45:13

I do think happydaddy's right about shared parenting, looks ok on paper, crap in practice.

motherinferior Thu 03-Mar-05 19:47:21

My sister used to be a divorce lawyer and says glumly that shared parenting - the sort you've got - is a complete recipe for disaster.

Janna Thu 03-Mar-05 21:01:08

My son was 4 when exdp and I split last year. He was ok for a bit and didn't seem too bothered apart from the question asking and stuff which he seemed to accept. Towards june/july 04 his behaviour started to change. He was agressive, clingy and moody. He was also a problem in nursery too and would go hysterical every time I dropped him off every day. Eventually though he did settle down. He's in reception now and, apart from the odd day when he can b very difficult, he's fine.
Looking back in the early days I think he was confused. His dad used to drop by whenever he felt like it, stay when he felt like it and my kids especially ds didn't know whether he was coming or going. Now he sees his dad 2 03 3 times a week and stay's over with his dsis 2 sat in 3. Both of them always stay at mine in the week as tbh I think it makes him more settled.
Try not too worry too much. Just sounds like ds needs to get it all out of his system.

fanta Fri 04-Mar-05 10:25:17

Motherinferior, this is very interesting and would like to hear more. In France (where I come from) judges for example do not allow shared parenting for children under the age of 5. But allow for visiting rights and every other weekend - in most cases anyway unless the mum is declared unfit...
Janna - your experience sounds frighteningly similar to mine and I take great confort in your comments.
Since talking to people on this board, I feel a lot better and less confused, more ready to tackle things.
Children are wonderful at constantly making you re-appraise yourself and your parenting and I guess it had been plain sailing for too long!!

Janna Sun 06-Mar-05 10:21:26

Hi Fanta
Hang on in there hun. Things will get better for you and your ds.
Take care x

fanta Mon 07-Mar-05 13:45:48

thank you janna, things are better already. this weekend was excellent so there is hope!
thank you for your incredible support

micmic Mon 07-Mar-05 21:36:52

hello there.
I have 2 nieces and they act the same way. They are 2 and 3 years old. they used to go to nursery also but after awhile they dont want to go and they dont like to share their toys.They only want to stay with their parents. When they come to my house ( i also have a 3 year old ds) my nieces take toys away from my ds. My ds only takes toy away that he likes from any kids but my nieces takes any toys away. They have a great father and a good mother. Sometimes this is just part of them growing. it is up to us(parents) to discpline them so they dont carry this attitude when they get older.
Now, everytime my ds takes toys away from anyone I'll let him know that what he's doing is not right and he needs to share. Sometimes he keeps crying loud and wont stop but I dont give up until he learns. Now and then he tries to share but sometimes he gets greedy and when he does i always let him know that sharing is good. Sometimes it helps when I tell him that santa claus will give him more presents if he behaves and if he shares. if you do that make you are ready to buy extra presents when christmas comes.

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