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Is my toddler going to be affected by split?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My partner is moving out next week, everything is definite. Reality is setting in and I'm trying to deal as best as I can. My DS is almost 20 months and of course I am concerned about him. At this young age will it affect him? He'll still see his daddy a lot as unfortunately he'll still be watching him while I work. Well, I guess that is good for my son but bad for me. I don't want to see him that much!!!

Anyway, DS will no longer see him at night or on weekends so I'm wondering what to expect if anything. In several months he'll probably be going to daycare and then Daddy time will be cut more. Anything to do or maybe he'll just be kind of clingy? I think he already senses that something is going on.
post #2 of 14
I left when my DD was 14 months or so. There was a period of about a month where she wouldn't let me out of her sight. I think it was harder on her because we left, and not the other way around. STBX categorically refused to leave our apartment, so I relocated to my parents' house. That, combined with not seeing her father much at all, really stressed her out. She clung to me a lot, nursed a lot more, had some crying fits...but it eventually passed after about a month.
post #3 of 14
Be prepared for anything. No one can say for sure how your child will handle things. The better you are able to handle things, the easier it will be for all of you, so it's good if you have a lot of support. Having people to talk to, making sure you're dealing with things you need to deal with, feeling your emotions and working through things will all help make it a smoother transition.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks mamas. I'm glad that we are staying put so at least our environment isn't changing. DS has a very good relationship with his Daddy but I do have to say that we are much closer. I spend a lot more time with him. It's weird but in the past week since all the crap started, DS has been pulling back from his Dad. Like he doesn't want to go to him and instead sticks to my side and he's never done that. He's always freely gone between both of us.

So I guess we'll see.
post #5 of 14
the key in his life are you too. you shouldnt have to worry if he gets both of you. probably more of daddy if he is going to be watching him.

as much as what MCAL said is true - you just dont knwo how a child will react, if the child gets both parents and you are not changing familiar environment by moving out - then it shouldnt be much of an issue.

we did the exact same thing when dd was 18 months old. she was ok.

HOWEVER it came later at 2 when seh realised some kids have both parents living in the house. and she wanted both mommy and daddy. today at almost 7 1/2 she understands. but doenst mean she accepts.

so be prepared. things might be fine now but later might change.

so if you can one day work towards you guys going out for maybe dinner once in a while that would be really good for your ds.

my dd really misses never seing her daddy and mommy together doing SOMETHING!!!!

also remember mama - remember some fo the behavioru is v. age appropriate. so him pulling away could be just the age thing. choosing one paernt over the other is v typical.

i remember i had my friends keep me in check of reminding me it was not my fault that other similar age children were doing teh same thing.
post #6 of 14
I agree with being prepared. My dd was 2 when she last saw the ex, yet she remembers some things and exchanges quite vividly. Just because the communication level isn't completely developed doesn't mean this stuff simple goes away. They are able to fully express it later, so thread gently, mama.
post #7 of 14
If you have time to do some reading there are some good past threads on this board about child behaviors after the mommy/daddy time is reduced.

All children react differently, but I think the main thing is for you to be able to be 100% present when the daddy time is reduced. Allow your child to feel their emotions, help them to learn ways to deal with those feelings and validate them.

Also, be prepared for delayed emotional strife. Mine was cool at first and started showing the signs of anxiety several months after.
I think it may have taken him time to emotionally mature enough in order to understand that what he was feeling made him angry....then he had to be taught how to deal with it.
Even now my kiddo will go weeks being fine and then just breakdown one night before bedtime. He'll just whisper softly that he misses his daddy. I tell him I understand cause even I miss my daddy sometimes.

Just be there, be real, be honest and compassionate. That's about the best thing I can offer.
post #8 of 14
Like others have said, it's hard to tell. Each child is different.

My youngest is generally happy go lucky and doesn't seem to show a lot of upset feelings about being away from his father, but we also haven't seen him in nearly a year and a half.

He was pretty calm most of the time (actually calmed down more) at the beginning, but over the past two months since we got to final date and his dad realized I really wasn't changing my mind and started harassing me, my son has picked up the tension. He's also picking up his older brother's overwhelming emotions. So it's turned into regressing with wanting to use a diaper instead of using the toilet when he's potty trained.

Love and extra doses of patience help a lot. So does a sense of humor.
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks ladies for your wise words. I will search through the old posts as well to gain some more perspective. I just hate this. I grew up without a father and so did STBX and now this. I just don't want him becoming a Disney Dad.
What really stinks is that my DS is non verbal and just started speech therapy. Hoping that this doesn't affect things too much. He was starting to make progress. He's still such a baby to me and this makes me so sad for him, sigh.
post #10 of 14
Originally Posted by Latte Mama View Post
I just hate this. I grew up without a father and so did STBX and now this.
gentle reminder mama. your son is NOT growing up without a dad. he is just growing up with one in a different house.

did your stbx put him to bed? was he involved in any of the bedtime routines. yes he slept in the same house but how involved was he? mine actually became more involved AFTER the split. not before.

i think your son is actually getting a payoff. he is going to see his dad even more. during waking hours. i think that is going to be key, forging a whole another relationship. and that will probably make them bond more and ex wont be the Disney dad.

however i think there IS something to being a disney dad. at least in our case. ex is somewhat of a Disney dad to dd and i quite welcome that. she gets some fun in her life and gets 'things' that i cant afford. i am quite happy doing the emotional nurturing and him doing the buying and spoiling. dd sees the two aspects of love from both of us and gets a good balance.

as time passes i notice my single parent friends growing. i find that the kids who have major problems are the ones for whom things changed drastically. like one parent suddenly became totally absent. what has happened - because we have been single the longest my dd has become the poster child for single families ever since she was 5. my friends would bring their children for a playdate and my dd while playing would also share what it is like to have parents in different homes - esp. the positives.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
meemee, there are many issues that concern me about the future of my son's and STBX's relationship. STBX makes a LOT less money than I do at the moment because he also goes to school, so he only works 25 hrs. a week. He will have to get a 2nd job to be able to support himself. So that's 2 jobs and school. Plus, he'll watch DS at least 3 days a week through the summer. So they will spend some time together then.

BUT. One bone of contention for me has been that he does not take DS out during the day. Last summer, he sat in the freakin' house with DS ALL day long. Oh once in while on the weekend they would go to the park but rarely. I was the one taking him to the park everyday after work. About a month ago (before I knew we were splitting up), I asked him when the weather is nice, to please get DS outside, he is full of energy and needs fresh air and sunshine. He said ok. Want to take a guess how many days that has happened? Twice.

Yes, DS naps during the day but sheesh, get up, eat a quick breakfast and head out the door for an hour or so. Then get DS home and let him settle down for naptime. NOT HARD. So I just feel like they will have the same routine going, then boom, every once in blue moon he'll take DS out. Whoopdee doo. He is not a bad Dad at all, just not home a lot after 3 in the afternoon due to work so I do most of the childcare. He's really only with DS 3 awake hrs. per day. I get up at 7 a.m. with DS, do breakfast, teeth, dressing, etc. I leave at 9 and STBX takes over. DS naps about 12-3, then I'm home. I do snacks, dinner, playtime, baths, stories, etc, etc.

I wrote a book but you get the gist.
post #12 of 14
ah dont worry. dd has the same complaint against her dad.

we have broken up duties. i do all the outside fun social stuff. he does the stay at home, compute,r toys stuff. dd looooooooooooves movies. he has only taken her a couple of times. but they do watch at home.
post #13 of 14
One advantage of separating when your son is so little is that living separately will very shortly feel pretty normal for him. I think it's much harder when the child is older.

I agree with some PPs about how, no matter how your son reacts now, it will change. No matter how close he is to you vs. your ex right now, his feelings about his relationship with his dad will evolve and change. My daughter, who was 2.5 years old when her dad & I split up, has spent a lot more time with me than with her dad, which mostly has been the result of challenges he was dealing with. She wouldn't say that she wants to spend more time with him than with me. However, when the time together with him is too attenuated, that clearly also takes its toll on her. My point is that he will, over time, need his dad, need time with his dad, need time that is not just "babysitting time" with his dad. I hope his dad will want that & that you will want that -- it sounds like you do.

Why is it clear that your ex will not be with your son on evenings & weekends? Not only would some of that time probably be good for their relationship, but you are likely to find that you need some childcare relief other than just your time at work.

I think the most important points are that there is no reason your son cannot emerge from this change completely emotionally healthy; and that it is a process that unfolds over years, not over a few days. He will undoubtedly develop strong feelings about the situation no matter how it is managed, and the key is making your relationship with him one in which it is safe to have all of those feelings, & where they can be validated and accepted.

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by lucysmom View Post
Why is it clear that your ex will not be with your son on evenings & weekends? Not only would some of that time probably be good for their relationship, but you are likely to find that you need some childcare relief other than just your time at work.

He works on weekends and some semesters also takes classes as well. He will now have to get a 2nd job so I don't see much free time for him being available on weekends. He works evenings during the week 4-10 so that is out as well.
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