Has anyone had any experience of DSCs being homesick, either at NRP's house or more generally, visiting grandparents, friends overnight etc and going away on school trips?
I'd be interested to know how to helped them overcome it, how long it took and what some of the triggers were.
yes, ds gets homesick when at his dad's. Its mainly because his step mum has completely different rules to me which she spends most weekends endlessly reinforcing (and I don't mean general behaviour rules, more extreme complaining about ds every movement in 'her' house)
His homesickness is worse when its longer than a weekend, has been helped now hes old enough to have his own phone so we text each other funny messages. Hes also now 13 so cares less about his step mum.
Triggers are when they are made to feel like they are intruding, especially if there are other children resident all the time in the home, that they haven't got a bit of space to call their own and when the NRP expects them not to speak to the RP at all whilst away (difficult but the NRP needs to acknowledge their relationships with others)
Grandparents, similar as they sometimes have very different rules and expectations.
School trips, bit trickier as they are often not allowed to take phones and are flung together for 24 hours a day, watch out for any youngsters they have had bullying problems with and make sure teacher/leader aware - encourage them to join scouts etc so they get used to being away from both parents for different lengths of time. Often homesickness doesn't go away completely but just changes over time as they realise they'll be returning home in a few days and can enjoy being busy and having fun in the meantime.
DSD (5) gets a bit homesick sometimes when she stays with us one night a week. If she's tired or a bit under the weather then it can be worse than normal. She knows she can always call her mum at any time, and her mum will always be very positive about what she's been doing with us, how much fun it sounds etc. I find that distracting her usually helps. DP will dwell on it a little more sometimes ("mummy isn't at home at the moment, why do you want mummy etc), whereas I've found distracting her with a favourite activity cheers her up much faster. So when we get a tearful "I want Mummy" I find something along the lines of "You'll see Mummy tomorrow, shall we read a book while we wait for your bath to run and then we can choose what flavour bubbles to put in" usually takes her mind off it.
dss did at first, but actually that was when dp was still in the marital home so maybe that was the cause, too emotional generally.
dp moved when dss was 10 and he seemed OK after that though we did still get a bit of "I want to be with my mum" stuff [often this was focused on the dog], he liked feeling the new [rented] house was just theirs I think. It's probably been hard again, in a different way, since we moved in to our own house together, but that was 2 years ago and I think things have settled.
Everything with steps just takes time...patience and time....
DSD used to get homesick when she was 4-6. We used to just call her mum and leave her to have a chat for a bit. Her mum would talk to her about what she'd been up to with us, being positive about it and telling DSD what a boring night they were having at home then she'd tell DSD to have a bath and they'd talk again after. Once we'd got DSD bathed and ready for bed she usually felt a lot better and never needed the second phone call.
Youngest DSS has ocassionally. It's happened when he's been playing up and getting told off - I'm not quite sure if he's been playing up because he's homesick or whether it's being told off that makes him wish he was with his mum. He's very much his DM's golden child - older DSC complain about him getting away with murder as he's still his mummy's baby, so I guess maybe in our house he misses that sometimes. It's never been anything major - DH just gives him a hug, reminds him he'll see his mum on XX day, and then distracts him with something else to do.
My own DC seem very resilient at being places without me, compared to some of their friends. They've been used to going to their dad's since tiny. DS doesn't ever seem to miss me, but DD does ocassionally. She's old enough to just give me a ring and unload all her things she wants to tell me though these days, so it doesn't matter if I'm not with her in person. Generally sticking to routines works best when they're young I've found. Matters a bit less when they're older, when longer spells in each house work better.
I've worked with kids away on residentials without parents, and keeping them busy always seemed the best way of preventing homesickness, or nipping it in the bud.
Encouragement / distraction I think is the biggest thing.
My DSD used to call her Mum when she with us and excitedly start telling her what she'd been up to only for Mum to interrupt and say things like "I miss you, poor Mummy's all on her own, I love you to the moon and back, how much do you love me"?? etc etc. DSD would stop in her tracks and well up. Other than those occasions, DSD has never had a problem with homesickness at either home. When DH speaks to DSD while she's with her Mum he's always focussed on what DSD has been doing there, not what we've been doing without her and he would never start saying "I miss you" down the phone. DSD sees both of her parents very regularly though, I would imagine it's much harder if a child / children are going long periods without seeing one parent. So I guess another thing would be regular, consistent staying contact.
Yes when dsd was around 7 and only at bed time. She slept in with her mum at home so this was the teason why. Also If she spoke to mum it would make it worse as she was told how much she was missed. We got her a night light and did a lot of winding down before bed (and introduced a set time). She better now, talk about mum but doesn't miss her. She sleep in her own bed at home too now as mum got a boyfriend.
Of course as step children get old enough for school trips their experience of being away from their parents can help them. My dss was astounded when other children were crying and homesick on a school residential. He said I guess I'm used to it so it doesn't bother me now. I know I'll always see you in a few days.
slkk , yes i found the same with my DC that they were much more self assured and independent than many of their friends. I'm sure going between two homes helped them in that respect
For us, when dsd was younger, the biggest trigger was bed time when mum would call and dsd would get very upset. It became clear that there were lots of little in-jokes, grilling over how she'd spent her time with us that day and then talk of how much they missed each other.
When she was old enough for a mobile phone it got worse as mum could just text or call all the time. Dsd used to leave her phone behind by "accident" (I used to find it hidden) because even she knew that the "comforting" contact from mum made things worse, not better.
With my own dd, we have an agreement that she can call me whenever she likes whilst at her dad's but I am not to call her. She asked for that herself and I am happy to oblige. It's really helped with any home sickness as she says speaking to me reminds her that we're not together. Same for her Dad when she's here.
There is a reason that kids aren't allowed contact with parents when away on whatever the year six trip is. It makes home sickness worse if parents are calling and texting to check they're okay. It reenforces the belief that they may not be okay. Same for kids staying with NRP in my opinion.
crossroads "I love you and miss to the moon and back" makes me cringe even now - dad's mum used to do the same. Totally selfish and self indulgent.
My DD asks if it I miss her sometimes I say "of course I do, just like when you're at school, but I'll see you in a few days and hear all your news" easy breezy.
We have this problem. And it's getting getting worse. DP and I have been together 3 years and have a DD who is 1. DSD is 6. She, in the three years we have been together, has stopped overnight maybe 4 times. ExW is bitter and since her and DP split has actively encouraged DSD to not want to sleep at her Dads.
We have a dog, DSD was told that dogs bite and they are horrible, which meant she was terrified of the daft dog who loves her to bits (she's got over this now and they are best friends), we had DD and she was told by mum that babies cry all the time.
Every other weekend we are supposed to have DD overnight and every weekend we have her, ExW tells DP at pick up that she "has plans with DSD the sun morning or sat eve" that cannot be changed as its distant family, or some other rubbish. So we end up having to take her back, as the ex will have told DSD all about their plans and he doesn't want to upset her. Ex tells DSD that "mummy will be sad when you're at daddy's" and "mummy's going to miss you because she is all alone". So we obviously get tears and constant asking of when she is going home. She is at the stage that if we even mention sleeping at our house she gets upset because she will "miss mummy and mummy will miss her". And I can't count the amount of times we have got her into bed and the tears have stated and he's given in and taken her home. I'm very much of the mindset that she should stay over, tears or not every other weekend, as the tears soon end and won't hurt her, but I understand that is not everyone's view.
DP is distraught, all he wants is his girls to be together EOW. We've tried it all, sleep overs with my niece and nephew (she did stop once), we've gone to his mums caravan once, which again worked but only because he wouldn't drive 100 miles to take her home. We've done rewards for sleeping, which she didn't want, we've redecorated her room to exactly what she wants, still no difference. We are completely stuck at what to do.
After a really bad crying fit as he picked her up yday (this is our weekend, she refused to sleep again) he has decided that it's too much to keep trying to get her to sleep and he's not going to try any more. Which is sad as DD loves her big sister.
The girls get on fantastic, DSD says she misses her sister all the time. I get on great with her too, and we do have lovely days out, but due to her not wanting to be part from her mother at all we never get a whole weekend with her.
Can anyone offer any advice. Sorry to hijack!
Romeodone - that is out and out parental alienation - something that courts are supposed to take seriously - so I think if your DP can face it, court (preceded by mediation) would be your best route. It doesn't sound like your DP would have any problem making his case. He should keep a diary if he's not already. What a selfish woman.
Thanks for your reply. I think it's something we really will be thinking about. She's such a lovely girl who is obviously completely torn between wanting to see her sister and dad and not upsetting her mother.
We will be in a position to take both girls to Disneyland next year. Something DSD will probably miss out on due to her mother. It really upsets us both. Thank you for advice, I'll pass on to DP. I think he does keep a diary of everything but I will check and make sure.
Thanks for all the responses and thoughts.
We get a lot of phone calls from Mum and we keep out of it but I am not sure it helps. No idea if there is any 'Mum is all alone' talk though.
One thing that did cross my mind is that DSD has been complaining of late (to her Mum and us) that she has no choice in life. Obviously at 12 that is just a fact of life for her. I wondered whether she was coming up with reasons not to stay at certain times so she could have some influence over her life.
At what age do DSCs tend to get the choice of when they visit and stay with NRP?
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