Is this just a side effect of Disney dad syndrome? How would I know if this is driven by the other side of the equation? It's a pretty recent development in my son, so I'm a bit concerned. What do I do/say that's age appropriate to explain why he can't go to daddy's all the time and reinforce that I love him and will always be there?
My 8year old feels the same way, she says he hates that he doesn't live here anymore, and is angry with him about it, but she doesn't ever show him that and just takes any time she can get with him. She wishes it were more, and that hurt a little to hear that too. It isn't choosing though, it is taking what they can get. Especially for a little boy, he wants to have a Dad.
It's normal. It's healthy. It hurts like a bitch.
Last year, she only wanted daddy. She was very fussy with me. Since the beginning of the summer she has only wanted to play with me and has been keeping daddy at a distance. It goes on for months.
I'm sharing because it seems to me that this can be driven just by the nature of toddlerhood, and that he is not going to permanently prefer one parent over the other.
You are being amazingly loving and supportive. I strongly believe that he knows that. You are building a place of love and security and trust in his heart. He is going to act out a lot, especially now (ohhhh the terrible threes!) but he will know that you love him and will always be there for him. I think you're doing a perfect job by encouraging him to have a good relationship with his father. The compassion will register, and when the wind changes you will be the go-to again.
I bought two copies of it, one for myself, and one for ex, to help our DS deal with what was happening.
It really helps him. Maybe you could try reading it to your son as it might help explain things so that he knows he will always live with mummy and daddy, but separately?
I wish I could offer more advice. With regards to my son nothing has really changed as ex was always too busy with his job during the week so my DS only really spent proper time with him at weekends.
Though I'm prepared for my son to miss his daddy at some point.
Sending you hugs, you're a fantastic parent and sadly it's always the stable parent who has to deal with these issues.
Either way I felt like I was hurting the other parent because I was excited to get to both of them.
A lot of my choices where made with their feelings at the forefront and while I know that this was not their intention, I think there was an emotional rift that was made because I didn't want to make either of them feel bad.
This is a double edged sword because if he was always wanting to stay home, never wanting to go with his dad, and was acting out, then you would be worrying about what was going on at the house to make your son act this way.
It's hard to take yourself out of the equation, but the visitation is not for you - its for your child. So that your son gets meaningful time with both parents so that he can have a relationship with you both.
It's hard to hear him want to be at his dad's. But I try to spin it as if we both get to do our own special things...so when Teslet comes back, he shares what he did on his weekend and then I share what I did on mine. I always tell him that I'm glad that he had a good time but I did miss him and I'm happy that we are back together as a family-team.
I don't know if any of that helps, but those are the things that have worked for me.
Anyway, for the past year I have gone with the state guidelines on visitation and it working because it holds their Dad responsible for seeing them on his weekends, and he does see them at that time.
My youngest (now 13) really wants to be at his Dad's more,but he is so irritable after he comes home because of all the BS they are telling him about me.......
I sometimes think they want to be with their Dad so much is because they are with him NOT at our house, and it can kind of be like it always was when they would go and do things with him. Also, they have told me they feel "safe" with him -- as they did when he lived here -- it's a Dad thing. So, my counselor has me working on ways they can feel secure here -- at our house--- but I just think the huge "dad safety thing" is a Dad thing.
I LOVE Tesla's calendar idea!
[This message edited by homewrecked2011 at 5:30 PM, November 5th (Tuesday)]
FaceTime or Skype might help.
[This message edited by nomistakeaboutit at 6:29 PM, November 5th (Tuesday)]
Could the time interval between Dad visits be too long? I know that little ones don't really understand time, so a five day week can seem like a life time.
If you think that could be the case, maybe dinner in the middle of the week or rearranging the schedule so that he can feel emotionally in contact with both parents.
Also, it could be that he feels secure in his relationship with you and therefore not worried about it. But maybe feeling more distant from his father so feeling an urge to reconnect.
My kids, even when we weren't separated, had a parent that they preferred and it changed every few months. It could be a very natural "ping pong" like Jrazz mentioned.
I think the best thing you can do is let your child feel safe to express whatever they are feeling. Don't react or badger to send a signal that any feeling is wrong. Be a safe place for them to turn to with processing the situation, and make the most of the time you have together.
Tesla, I love the calendar idea. DS is constantly trying to figure out how many more "sleeps" until he gets to see his dad.
Our schedule is EOW, Thursday night (overnight) and every other Tuesday until bed time following my weekend, so at most there's only a 4 night delay between DS and his dad seeing each other.
Looking into the book as well.
I think that in the case of my DD, she has several things going on.
1.) Feels her own sense of loss and rejection by her father at his abandonment and wants to please him in any way she can.
2.) She was genuinely very worried about him when she learned he was gone and is anxious to see him so that she can know for sure that he is ok.
3.) He is very glittery looking to her right now and it is still in the new stages and independent from "rules mom", as you suggested. I think that a little bit, too.
4.) Excitement at simply having a sleep over out of the house your child is used to. DD mentioned to me last year that this excited her greatly that he was gone, simply because she got an extra sleep over out of her house with "rules mom" as they call me.
Though she is excited to go, she also told a counselor that she does not trust him, when we were all in a session. So maybe your child has feelings like that for you that he cannot yet express, but I think it's not hard for us as BS to feel worried about how our kids feel towards us in the face of As.
A person is a person, no matter how small. -Dr. Suess
Rest assured, he probably talks about you like that when he is at his dad's.
This is so normal. At some point your little one is going to try to play you against each other and may even try to get you to compete with each other. Yes they try to manipulate BOTH of you and it's normal. Whether you EX falls for it or not you stick to your guns.
[This message edited by 7yrsflushed at 1:43 PM, November 6th (Wednesday)]