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Have any of your DSC said they didn't want to visit anymore? Help! - Page 2

post #21 of 50
Oh gosh, this really sounds just like a regression issue over a new baby sibling. When I was pregnant with Josie we had issues with both DSD and DSS, though their mom isn't in the picture. We had the peeing the pants (and even pooping, sometimes, which at five years old is just mind boggling to deal with), baby voices, tantrums and all sorts.

I honestly think it has less to do with you and your household than her feeling of being "replaced" as the baby. As an older sister (which is a very daunting task), she isn't the little one any more - she won't get as much attention, or as much leeway when it comes to acting out. That's all normal. I think her behavior is as well, TBH. It's frustrating for a child to be in that position, and at 4.5 year old, she doesn't yet have the vocabulary or the understanding of he own emotions to voice what she's feeling properly. Therefore, the only way she can get it out (like a newborn really, screaming it's head off!) is to act out.

Acting out in any way brings attention. That's the goal here - attention. Saying she wants to be somewhere else (where she is probably the baby still, and therefore gets all the attention) is a combination of her feeling frustrated, wanting to run to where she's still the little one, and attention seeking behavior because it brings a rise out of you. And it's going to - that's normal too.

Keep in mind though, that she's still so very little. This isn't a teenager or an adult voicing the opinion of someone more grown, it's a little child who is angry that things have changed. Please, don't try to take it too personally, because actually, in my experience, this is a really normal stage of adjusting to a new child and probably has everything to do with the addition of an adorable little one, and nothing to dow ith your personality, treatment of her or the household you run.

Thing to do is to continue planning nice trips and fun outings with her. Her jealousy of her little sister will pass, in time, especially when little sis gets to play with her. You sounds like you're doing everything right - just keep going. It's such a hard phase to deal with as an adult, the jealousy and acting out, but just keep going, perservering and talking to her biomom. I'm sure things will even out

*BUG hugs to you, mama* - you're doing alright XXXX
post #22 of 50
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone!

Though now... I am not sure how much it has to do with a new baby.

Talking to her Mom last night, turns out DSD told her she hated her didn't want to be there either. She is apparantly acting out at both houses right now...
post #23 of 50
Oh, *big hugs*

Now, there is no baby over here, as you know, but DSD did tell her dad she won't come over if I move in when she was about 9-10(?) year old; she also declared that she will not come over when she was 13, and stuck to it for over a month. I was a nervous wreck during those tough times, but(!) her dad has always had this faith into things working out, and they did. Both were very stressful, but both occasions were just a temporary stages that DSD went through, and worked through.

* DSD threatened it before I moved in, but she never actually requested NOT to be picked up after I moved in (not that we didn't have all kinds of difficulties when she was over here, but when it came to it, she always made a decision to come, and the threats remained empty). She was free to refuse.

* When she was 13, she spent about 1-2 months without coming over. We respected her choice, but kept communication open. He still called her just about every day, they talked, joked, he told her he loves her and misses her, but never guilted her into coming over or concentrated on the topic. She "got over" whatever was hindering her coming over, and eventually asked to be picked up again, and we went back to regular schedule.

In your case, I WOULD pick her up on a regular schedule, just because I think 4 is really young to make such a huge decision not to see your parent. I think while she is asking for it, it would actually hurt her to know that Daddy is spending time with the new baby, but not picking her up (even if she was the one to ask to be left alone, kwim?) I would accept this as a difficult stage that will require a lot of your patience, and will be very demanding of your and your husband's emotions. But I am confident, it WILL work out, and that more damage would be done by not picking her up.

This too shall pass *hugs*
post #24 of 50
I have a four-year-old. I don't send him places that he doesn't want to go. Granted, he will sometimes change his mind fourteen billion times and it can be hard to figure out what he really wants - but in this case, it sounds like your dsd is being fairly clear about not wanting to do her EOW right now.

Since you guys are blessed to be working with a co-parent who supports continued visitation and don't have to worry about losing your rights, why not have your dh take her out for some solo time on "his" weekends, and keep asking her if she wants to come back home to stay with your guys, and let her choose whether to do that or go home to Mom? I feel like she's perhaps being ignored because the EOW deal has been working well for both the parents. That's not the main criterion for whether or not it's a good idea right now.
post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
I have a four-year-old. I don't send him places that he doesn't want to go. Granted, he will sometimes change his mind fourteen billion times and it can be hard to figure out what he really wants - but in this case, it sounds like your dsd is being fairly clear about not wanting to do her EOW right now.

Since you guys are blessed to be working with a co-parent who supports continued visitation and don't have to worry about losing your rights, why not have your dh take her out for some solo time on "his" weekends, and keep asking her if she wants to come back home to stay with your guys, and let her choose whether to do that or go home to Mom? I feel like she's perhaps being ignored because the EOW deal has been working well for both the parents. That's not the main criterion for whether or not it's a good idea right now.
I agree that paying attention to what a child is expressing about their needs/wants is important. However, everything I've ever read says that it's dangerous and places a lot of pressure (and later, potentially guilt if a relationship is lost) on children in families with divorced parents to ask them to "choose" which parent to spend time with.

In addition, we are also talking about a young child acting out after the birth of a sibling. For the consequence to be no longer spending time with her dad could be very damaging to their ongoing relationship, her own sense of belonging, and her relationship with her new sibling.

Finally, at that age, the more frequent the contact with the non-resident parent the better. If she stops going to her father's house, even if it is only intended to be temporary, it may be much harder to start again later.

I believe wholeheartedly in listening to what children are telling us. However, it's important to try to understand what is motivating them and address that, more so than to literally carry out wishes, when they may not understand the consequences of doing so. If she's hurting because daddy has a new baby, not seeing him won't make it better.
post #26 of 50
Thread Starter 
Smithie, you may have missed the added update upbove where she doesn't feel like being with her Mom right now either. For some reason she is angry at the world and doesn't want to be at either home... so following your advice of just following wishes do we put the 4 year old on the street? lol

I honestly don't think we can jump at every request of a 4 year old when many times they are illogical.

I know DH has called her every night this week and she has talked to him fine like nothing happened. I think it's just typical kid behavior at this point paralell to when I was a kid and would tell my Mom I was running away from home for some reason when I was mad or upset about something. Only in this case DSD has actual other parents houses to "runaway" to. When she is agitated with Mom she wants to be here, when agitated with Dad she wants to be there.

As some have said... this is likely a phase of the age and this too shall pass... :
post #27 of 50
I think it will pass, too. I'm just not sure (although I know it's the conventional blended family wisdom) that forcing overnights is ever a good idea. Visits, yes, at this age I can see where that must be done if the parental relationship is not to be risked. But a toddler adjusting to a new baby might have a pretty high need for her mom, ykwim? My son certainly did when his sister was born. It's just that in my situation, I was both his mom and her mom, and we all lived in the same house.

I think you are wanting to gloss over the situation of her 1) mourning the fact that her parents broke up and 2) mourning the fact that her dad now has a new family with another woman. That's not "normal kid stuff" - well, maybe it is in America today, but I don't think any of us are thrilled to death with the divorce rate or think that divorce is easy on children! The loss of her parents as a couple living in her home together is a real and legitimate loss for your dsd - as she seems to be trying to express to you.

I get that you want your dsd to feel at home in your home. I respect that, and I think it's likely to happen if her parents continue to communicate so well and be committed to a two-home model. But ultimately, it's not up to you whether she feels comfortable living in your house EOW and wants to have a typical sibling relationship with the children you have with her father. That kind of thing is going to be up to her, and I don't see how forcing it at four will enhance the situation at 14. Coming to your house overnight should not be a precondition of seeing her father. NOTHING should be a precondition of seeing her father.
post #28 of 50
Thread Starter 
I do understand that, Smithie. And there is a lot of logic in what you wrote.


However, it has been well over two years since her parents split up and well over two years of her doing EOW... I'm just not sure if stopping them just because she has a new sister is a good idea... I think what others said about that perhaps would really hurt her and make her think Daddy replaced her... totally not what we want to do.
post #29 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Thanks everyone!

Though now... I am not sure how much it has to do with a new baby.

Talking to her Mom last night, turns out DSD told her she hated her didn't want to be there either. She is apparantly acting out at both houses right now...


Honestly...that is good. That creates a situation where you/dh and her mom can work together to get to the bottom of this.

Contrary to what others have said, I would NOT force her to go to your house if she requests not to. I would work out a plan to see if there was an alternative. Can you and your household head over to her mom's house and all hang out together?

It sounds like she is feeling very confused and a bit displaced. I do not know if it is the baby persay but I think she is having difficulty finding where she "fits" in all of this.

I think taking her feelings seriously will help her feel more confident in this process, even if that means missing a couple overnights.

You need to be very creative.

: for you
post #30 of 50
I feel like my previous post was too discouraging. It's not just "likely" that the bonds you've built with your dsd over half her life are going to result in a loving two-home situation and good relationships between her and the children you have. It's really, really, really likely. You've been doing everything right. As PPs have noted, this transition to having a sibling is tough in all kinds of families.

post #31 of 50
Oh, how upsetting. I'm sorry you're all going through this. But:

1. Four can be HORRIBLE. Seriously.
2. It's very likely she'll have forgotten all of this within a few years.
3. Kids don't have to remember their parents being together to want them back together.
4. Often with a new sib there's a honeymoon period followed by the "take him back to the hospital" backlash.

If she continues to be really distraught, I'd ease up on the visits and have your dh visit with her elsewhere at special places for a couple of times, to show that she's important, followed by a firm "this is your sister, we are a family" message.

A few visits to a play therapist can help, too. A good therapist really can work magic.

Also keep in mind that the questions about whether you're Kallie's mommy may be a way of asking whether her daddy is still her daddy. At four, my dd insisted that her father could not remarry, because he'd have a baby with the lady, and then he'd be that baby's daddy and not hers.
post #32 of 50
We have never considered parenting time as something that is negotiable. There are some things in children's lives that they don't make decisions about... children come with adults for a reason, because there are some decisions adults need to make to keep children safe and healthy. Children live in the moment, and are not thinking about the big picture or the long term. Parenting time and custody schedules are big picture things, long term investments... grown-up decisions.

If my step-daughter had said she wanted me to give her newborn little brother to another family, I wouldn't have considered that request... If she told my husband that she hated me and wanted me to move out, he wouldn't have divorced me to comply with her wishes. We would have worked hard to figure out why she was saying what she was saying, what she was telling us with her behavior, what she was trying to let us know she needed. I see this as the same situation.

One thing that helped us when we had transition troubles (crying and clinging at pick-up or being upset mid-parenting time and talking about going to the other house) was to change the pick-up routine to something new that could be regular and predictible. We had morning pick-ups, so when we picked up we went to breakfast at the bagel place then dropped me off at work and the kids went home with Papa for some playtime. When mom picked up she went to the coffee shop for a scone then to do some fun errands before heading home.

It also sounds like she is working through a lot of stuff in her head. When she says something or asks a question, don't feel like you need to react or to answer... sometimes it works better to reflect back what they said and to engage in conversation about it. For example, if she is asking about you being Kallie's mom, you might say "It can be really confusing that I am your sister's mom, but not your mom." Then talk about moms, about what you DO in the family that is like a mom or not like a mom. Ask her what it is like to have a mom and a step-mom. She might just need to talk about it, and sometimes supplying answers or reacting with our own feelings can shut down a child who is just needing to work through something.

Play therapy can be amazing, too, if you feel like you need more help than you (parents) are able to give.
post #33 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Well, he asked/explained that if she didm't want to come here anymore that would mean she would not see any of us anymore and she said okay she doesn't want to see us.
That's exactly what I'm talking about; she said "I don't want to come to your HOUSE" and he said "well then you won't see me"

Sorry but I don't think that's right. Basically your husband is saying that if she doesn't like the rest of the family she can opt out of spending time with her dad. What's wrong with picking her up and taking her somewhere just the two of them? I don't understand why you are both insisting that she associate her father-daughter time as a package deal. Of course you don't want to give in to every little request but if she's basically saying she wants daddy all to herself, I don't think she's expecting too much for that to occasionally happen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Also just found out... when DH called her Mom on Friday when she said this she told her Mom that Daddy said she can't come anymore.

So why did she lie to her Mom then?
From her point of view, she didn't lie; she made a statement about going to his HOUSE and he basically told her "house = daddy" which she knows isn't true. Dad was the one who decided she wouldn't come becuase he didn't want to negotiate the arrangement of how their visit would go. She didn't lie - Dad decided for her by being non-flexible and choosing to stay home rather than see her outside the house.


Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
She has been spending one-on-one time with DH in afternoons when I go up to our bedroom to nurse and nap with DD, this is typically three hours.
She's still in YOUR house and just because you walk out of the room doesn't mean she feels its secure daddy-only time.
post #34 of 50
here's a similar situation; my best friend of many years has come to realize that she does not like my husband. In fact, she can't stand him. I respect her feelings, she has her reasons. She also respects my feelings, she knows I have good reasons for being with my hhusband. However, I don't expect her to come to visit me when he is here. If she runs across him, she will be civil and there will be times when they will have to deal with one another and being adults they can handle that. But neither would I stop seeing her (Because she won't cometo my house) nor would I divorce my husband (because she doesn't like him)

Its common courtesy to be willing to adjust visting someone based on both people's preferences. If she cannot enjoy her visits with daddy because of the living situation (sibling, step parents etc) then she can still see daddy occasionally. Its sad if she's willing to forego the whole weekend because of her feelings (4yr olds have very strong feelings and you can't talk themout of it) but she'll adjust... I think it's expecting too much to want HER to do all the changes at only four years old. Dad should make some accomodations too. That's what you do with children soemtimes.That's what you do with anyone you love.
post #35 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by smibbo View Post
That's exactly what I'm talking about; she said "I don't want to come to your HOUSE" and he said "well then you won't see me"

Sorry but I don't think that's right. Basically your husband is saying that if she doesn't like the rest of the family she can opt out of spending time with her dad. What's wrong with picking her up and taking her somewhere just the two of them? I don't understand why you are both insisting that she associate her father-daughter time as a package deal. Of course you don't want to give in to every little request but if she's basically saying she wants daddy all to herself, I don't think she's expecting too much for that to occasionally happen.


From her point of view, she didn't lie; she made a statement about going to his HOUSE and he basically told her "house = daddy" which she knows isn't true. Dad was the one who decided she wouldn't come becuase he didn't want to negotiate the arrangement of how their visit would go. She didn't lie - Dad decided for her by being non-flexible and choosing to stay home rather than see her outside the house.



She's still in YOUR house and just because you walk out of the room doesn't mean she feels its secure daddy-only time.

Sorry for the long quote-
While I you may have a point about how dsd is percieving this, I kind of feel like you are reading too much into those comments. First off, I seriously doubt that the OP's dh intended to tell his daughter that she could only see him at his house. Perhaps he wasn't thinking out of the box at the moment, but it sounds like he was just trying to explain to her what it meant to cancel the visitation, not to say, well this is your only option to see me. Could a four-year-old have taken it that way? Possibly, but it is also possible she, at that moment, didn't care about seeing her dad. Because 4-year-old's don't have a clear view of the future, and as she's going back to her mom's she might have only been thinking that she wants her mom. This doesn't mean she was thinking that she never wanted to see her dad again or that she was thinking her dad was rejecting her.
As for the lying, she is confused, hurt, 4-year-old making a big adjustment. Wires get crossed, things get misinterpreted.
Anyway, so I grant you that you might be right about how the dsd is interpreting these events, but I also think it is a little harsh to act like the dad was purposefully rejecting his daughter. I'm sure he was hurt in that moment too and might not have been thinking as clearly as possible.
I agree that she needs some private daddy time, but I also think it is very important to spend time with the rest of the family too. Maybe just a little at atime, but this is her stepmom and sister. HER SISTER!!!!!! So yes, lots of daddy time, but maybe not at the expense of all the time with her family. That is not really fair to anyone, not to mention that if the OP"s dh is gone all weekend with his dd, he misses out on the weekend with his wife and other daughter.
post #36 of 50
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenemami View Post
Sorry for the long quote-
While I you may have a point about how dsd is percieving this, I kind of feel like you are reading too much into those comments. First off, I seriously doubt that the OP's dh intended to tell his daughter that she could only see him at his house. Perhaps he wasn't thinking out of the box at the moment, but it sounds like he was just trying to explain to her what it meant to cancel the visitation, not to say, well this is your only option to see me. Could a four-year-old have taken it that way? Possibly, but it is also possible she, at that moment, didn't care about seeing her dad. Because 4-year-old's don't have a clear view of the future, and as she's going back to her mom's she might have only been thinking that she wants her mom. This doesn't mean she was thinking that she never wanted to see her dad again or that she was thinking her dad was rejecting her.
As for the lying, she is confused, hurt, 4-year-old making a big adjustment. Wires get crossed, things get misinterpreted.
Anyway, so I grant you that you might be right about how the dsd is interpreting these events, but I also think it is a little harsh to act like the dad was purposefully rejecting his daughter. I'm sure he was hurt in that moment too and might not have been thinking as clearly as possible.
I agree that she needs some private daddy time, but I also think it is very important to spend time with the rest of the family too. Maybe just a little at atime, but this is her stepmom and sister. HER SISTER!!!!!! So yes, lots of daddy time, but maybe not at the expense of all the time with her family. That is not really fair to anyone, not to mention that if the OP"s dh is gone all weekend with his dd, he misses out on the weekend with his wife and other daughter.
Bolding ming... Thanks greenemami.

Seriously, she gets one-on-one Daddy time... I have even suggested to my DH that he take her out or do a special craft with her or something during DD's and I's nap time.

But I simply cannot agree nor buy into that DSD can negotiate the rest of her family. Sorry, she did not choose to have a StepMom, but no child gets to choose their parents. And it is not her step-sister... it is her sister... she should not get to just never see her sister because it's too hard or whatever right now.

Think of an intact family and 4 year old receives new sibling and for some reason are now mad at their Mom because she had another baby... And said 4 year old decides to tell Daddy that they should run away together because she doesn't want to see Mommy or baby anymore... I really really doubt Daddy would say "okay you don't have to see Mommy or your baby sibling anymore we will run away together."

Just because this is a blended family, why should the rules change? This is still her family. Period. I have been in her life for a year and a half now and me and her new sister are not going anywhere. I understand it's hard to adjust to new things... but I am no longer new in her world... her sister is, but people of intact and blended families get new siblings all the time and they don't get to tell the rest of their family to go elsewhere because they are having a hard time adapting. They have to stay and live with their new sibling and work it out. I think the same should go here.
post #37 of 50
Hey JSMA, congrats on the new babe.

Hugs to you for dealing with this. I still think it's a miracle (and totally unexpected) that we haven't gone through anything like this with DSD. She was 6.5 when DD was born though so that's a bit older...

Anyway one idea I thought of is that DSD loves to draw and she always draws pictures of me, her dad, her, and the baby.... Maybe you could do some art therapy with your DSD to help her get her feelings out, and help you get to the bottom of what she's feeling?

Also does your DH ever visit her during the week? My DP often goes over in the evening and hangs out with her for an hour or two, maybe gets food or plays outside if it's nice.... This helps keep the specialness of their relationship and shows her that she still has his undivided attention sometimes. Right now, I think that upholding that relationship is more important than her bonding with you or the new baby. It will be several months before she can really interact with her sister, anyway...

I agree that this is her family too, hate it or love it, but I think that her visits will go more smoothly if she has more of her dad's attention and you make yourself scarce. Another thing that has worked for us is me having sometime with DSD and DD withOUT DH. That way no one is vying for his attention and we can just be girls together.

Good luck, stay strong mama!!! You are doing a great job.

PS what ever happened with the baby shower?
post #38 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post
Just because this is a blended family, why should the rules change? This is still her family. Period. I have been in her life for a year and a half now and me and her new sister are not going anywhere. I understand it's hard to adjust to new things... but I am no longer new in her world... her sister is, but people of intact and blended families get new siblings all the time and they don't get to tell the rest of their family to go elsewhere because they are having a hard time adapting. They have to stay and live with their new sibling and work it out. I think the same should go here.
This, exactly.
I wonder how people would react if someone posted:
"I just had a baby with my new DH. My DD, 4, from my previous relationship, isn't taking it so well. She told me she wants to go live with Daddy. I suspect it's because he's single and when they visit EOW, he's all Disneyland--he's well meaning and not dangerous or anything, but they go to the zoo and the mall and the dog park a lot more than we can, KWIM?, and when DD is here, I'm distracted by the baby and can't pay her the attention she was used to, and it shows. This is heartbreaking."

I suspect nobody would say, "maybe your DD should go live with her Daddy right now because he can give her the attention she needs...and maybe you can visit on weekends and a couple dinners a week, but make sure you leave your baby and DH at home because you don't want her to feel your love is conditional upon their presence."

No, the answer would be, "oh, mama, that's so tough...my kids are both with my DH but my DS1 had a hard time when DS2 was born, and here's what we did to make the adjustment easier...."

Sure, there are differences in adding a sibling in a blended versus a nuclear family, but that doesn't mean you upend all your routines (especially ones that are court-ordered) just because it's the NCP's child who's having trouble adjusting.
post #39 of 50
I agree exactly with what Protolawyer said.
post #40 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSMa View Post


Think of an intact family and 4 year old receives new sibling and for some reason are now mad at their Mom because she had another baby... And said 4 year old decides to tell Daddy that they should run away together because she doesn't want to see Mommy or baby anymore... I really really doubt Daddy would say "okay you don't have to see Mommy or your baby sibling anymore we will run away together."
I think it's unfair to continually compare your family situation to an intact family. I grew up in a blended family, and I can tell you that although the addition of any new sibling is stressful, a new baby in your non-primary household comes with a great number of additional worries and stresses. Of course in an intact family a child wouldn't be given the option of not living with her mother and new sibling, but this situation is different and there are a number of options available besides just insisting that she conform to your expectations. Is it possible that in this very stressful she needs the comfort of her primary caregiver? Of cours she needs to continue to have visits with you and dad and her new sister, but they should be modified to be as un-stressful as positive for dsd. Maybe te visits could be shorter but more frequent. You all could drive out to spend one day every weekend with her rather than 2 days every other weekend. Dad could make extra short visits during the week. I would concentrate on having a greater quantity of short positive visits with her until she feels secure enough to return to the former schedule.
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