Is this normal (or at least nothing to worry about!) Very clingy DSD(7 Posts)
So I’m still finding my feet with this step-parenting lark.
Just to set the scene:
My dh has a dd (7) from his first marriage. Exw left him for another guy (who she’s still with and has two younger kids with).
Exw was not happy with dh having contact with dd and stopped cooperating with his requests to see her about 2 years ago (when we started going out). It eventually got to court and regular daytime then overnight access was agreed. Exw put up a big fight (and accused dh of all sorts) but now seems to be on board and realise that dh’s involvement can be a help both for her and dd.
Because of the big distance between them (and dh does all travelling for drop offs and pickups) weekend visits are now 4 weekly and we have recently had the 3rd visit.
Also we have a younger dd (2), and Dsd has some developmental delays due to lack of oxygen when born (has a long official diagnosis but can’t fully remember name!). She therefore has limited speech and plays with dd as a peer, so possibly has a developmental age of about 2-3.
So here’s the thing: DSD is very sweet, seems fond of dd (who LOVES her) but is also (understandably) anxious about the new situation and very clingy with ME. Not DH! She will spend time with him but she’s all over me, calling me mummy, crawling up for hugs, always wanting to hold my hand, talk to me etc. Really upset when leaving.
I was looking online for advice but couldn’t see any examples of this.
Guess I am after some advice, has anyone experienced this? Is it normal or does it mean she’s not happy at home? (And how on earth do we tackle that when she’s got such limited speech??)
And is there any advice about helping her with anxiety on visits when our contact time is so limited?
(By necessity unfortunately although we are hoping to move closer in the new year)
It’s taken me aback because I was expecting her to not want me around not be all over me!!!
She could actually be missing her Mum but doesn’t have the ability to express this, with you being female she may be more comfortable in seeking comfort from you that her DF.
Poor little sausage - sounds like she is really unsure and missing her mum so is seeking comfort from a familiar 'mum' figure. Hopefully as time goes on she will get more comfortable with her dad too.
Agree with other posters - it sounds like she is missing her mum and seeking comfort from a female figure.
I would just keep doing what you are doing, if it's you she wants at the moment then keep being that secure attachment figure for her while she is with you and let her get used to interacting with her dad with the safety of knowing you are close by.
Does she have a favourite toy or anything else she could bring from home that might make her feel a bit more at home?
Would it be possible to phone or FaceTime with her dad during the weeks when she doesn't see him? Otherwise it's quite a long time between visits.
I think ultimately this is something that will just take time, patience and love.
Thanks for these replies, we’ll keep going and hopefully she’ll feel more relaxed as we go along.
She does FaceTime dh in between visits. She doesn’t seem to have a comfort item from home but I can get dh to check about this. On her first overnight visit she was finding it hard to settle to sleep and we suggested phoning her mum- she totally didn’t want that and when dh gave her the phone to speak to her she hung up on her!! I wasn’t expecting that and that made me a bit worried about her feelings about her mum, but I think it was probably that she was having a nice time at ours and thought phoning mum would mean the end of the visit rather than anything else??
She always seems to be dressed really nicely with her hair done nicely and her mum writes nice things about her in the book. So I presume things are alright with her and her mum.
Have to try and juggle things so I give her some 1-1 time maybe on the next visit which may be a shock to dd who’s usually with me. This step parenting thing is not as easy as it looks!!!
Yes you're right, the step-parenting definitely isn't as easy as it looks. The step parents are often taken for granted and often have the biggest hearts to take on someone else's child (and all the chaos that comes with the ex partner).
She is definitely very fond of you and she sounds like she's trying to establish her exact relationship with you. I have a step son who's nearly 6 and he has always tried to call me 'mummy' and prefers me over his Dad! (poor Dad! haha). I'm very content at being called or referred to by my first name but now his language has developed he's informed me that he has '2 mummy's'. Which melted my heart. He still calls me by my first name (because I have made sure of this as I don't think it's appropriate to his biological Mum) but sometimes he'll just let me know that I'm his '2nd Mummy' as a way to bond I suppose.
I interpret it as: we have a fantastic relationship, I act exactly as a parenting figure, everything except the title so he's decided to add the title himself. (Do you think this could be the same for you?)
It's always great to keep a diary though, especially with the extra clinginess and reluctance to leave just incase there are underlying issues at her mothers.
Sounds like you're nailing this step-parent malarkey! We're an under appreciated species haha. Wishing you the best
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