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5yo wants to live with her father. Update - Perspective needed! - Page 2

post #21 of 25
i let my two older dd's go live with their father when they were 6 and 8. they really wanted to and he wanted them too. it allowed me to finish school and for them to remain in the same school and neighbourhood that i was having to leave.
they came to visit every summer for extended periods and i drove down to see them every two weeks for the weekend and on all long weekends. and any other times that they were out of school. it stayed that way for nearly 7 years. it wasnt always perfect and we didnt always agree or get along, things werent always smooth, but in the end my girls felt empowered to decide which parent they wanted to live with, they wanted to be with their sbrothers and their smom also. i dont think that they liked my second dh very much and that might have had something to do with it. but in the end of things, it was fine.
i dont think that children inheirantly belong with their mother, not even as nurslings. fathers are completely equal to be wonderful nurturing parents as much as any mother out there. there have been many reports on line that i have seen where fathers have even been known to produce and nurse their children. dont know how true that is, buti wouldnt be so quick to discredit it either.
i think that mothers sort of feel as though there is a little bit of a different bond because we carry them and they come from within us, we grow them, we suffer to birth them, they are ours... lol that is how it feels anyhow, or has felt for me in the past. but the older i have become and the more children i have birthed, and mothered as a step, the more i have seen that fathers, if truly given the chance, are completely equal in their love and caring for children, infant to fully grown.
children know what they want, especially by the time they are five. if she has been asking for a year, then she is sure of what she wants. i would give it a go, see how it turns out, like another poster said, she can always come back. it doesnt seem a situation of "grass being greener at dad's" but a real desire for being where she wants to be.

it would give you so much more time to fully concentrate on your schooling, to get where you want to be, whether that involves moving closer to where her father lives or staying where you are now or moving anywhere in between.

i can see her dad being disappointed and feeling let down, he almost had his hearts desire there for a minute and now it is being taken from him. i dont mean that to sound snarky, but i imagine he feels sooooo let down. it happened with my dd's to me a few times when they were with their dad and i felt that way every time.
if you have truly changed your mind and want to keep her with you, i hope you have really separated the reasons why, whether it is your need to have her with you, which isnt a terrible thing, or your truly feeling she is too young to make a decision of that nature, or what have you... then try to explain it to him openly and honestly. tell him you are sorry to have gotten his hopes up, but you were just thinking out loud so to speak, not actually talking about it happening right here and now. and give him some time to get over how he feels. he will probably grieve a little bit, the same way he did when you first split and he had to face not living with her daily. that is a hard pill to swallow.
if you have made enough peace to get along so well in the past six months or so, you will get to that place again. be gentle with the whole situation and all the people involved, you included.. i imagine or at least it sounds from your posts that you feel badly about hurting his feelings and have opened this whole can of worms without thinking it through. i dont think you have done that, just opened up a dialogue that will come up many times until she is old enough to leave home for good, : and part of thinking this sort of situation through does involve finding out what the other party feels, and that is all you were doing. if he chose to see more to it than that then you arent really responsible for his responses and what he says or does. hopefully he will get over it and 'forgive' you quickly.
if you arent really sure, then keep the dialogue going until you both agree on something that works for your family situation. for you, for your daughter and for her father too.

the things that we never expect/consider when we divorce always catch me unawares,

hth~ viv
post #22 of 25
i come from a place that a 5 year old is NOT too young to make up her mind.

i liked your original plan.

if after two months of summer - or even a month - if she still wants to stay with her dad, i would let her stay with her dad. if i was in your shoes - which i will be next year - i would let her stay with her dad. mainly because my extra social dd would much prefer the 'family and sibling' dynamics than being just her and me. amongst all the other things.

give her a chance to understand what she is asking for. the only way you can do it is by allowing her to do what she wants.

s: i know how hard that is. i coparent too. but i want my dd to feel that SHE matters. that mommy will do anything to take her needs into consideration.

if she changes her mind, hopefully her dad will be open to letting her return home.
post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Vivvysue, meemee, thanks for your input. I'm open to letting her choose where she wants to live as she gets older. My daughter is slow to adapt to change and we've only been here for a year. If she were to move back to her father's, that would mean another major upheaval, and I don't think the amount of rapid change would be good for her. As she ages, of course--it will be her decision.
post #24 of 25
SoulCakes, can I just add that while I believe it perfectly reasonable, even necessary, to take her input and desires and especially the reasons behind them into account increasingly as she gets older, I don't believe that it should be her decision until her late teens.

When I was 17 my mother let me decide if I would continue to live with her or live with my dad (well, stepdad, but that's too long a story for her). Even then, and even though I had good reasons and ultimately think I made the right decision, the fact that it was my decision did a number on our relationship for quite some time.

Your daughter is too young to make that decision now. When she's older, there may come a time when she has the maturity to strongly influence *your* (and her father's) decision, BUT I really believe--very, very strongly--that it needs to by her parents' decision until at least her late teens.
post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 
Ione, that's a really good point. A child shouldn't have to bear the burden of choosing where to live, even if that's a choice made with excitement. I still hear stories from my mother about how I was such a difficult child, and she couldn't care for me properly because I insisted on drinking nothing but grape juice and wouldn't go to bed at a reasonable time, etc... point being, I hear these stories and think, "What, you're still blaming this on me? I was a toddler! OF COURSE I didn't want to eat healthy foods, go to sleep on time, or whatever."

This is why children have parents. They can't handle that sort of responsibility. If I were to send my daughter to her dad's, she's not going to remember (most likely) that she made the decision (or, like my own mother, I'd tell her later that it was "her decision" and she'll wonder why I let a five-year-old decide such things). She doesn't know what's best for her. Again, I'll definitely let her have a say in where to live as she grows older, but now is not that time.

My ex, by the way, got over his disappointment by the next day. I think he was more upset because he thought he had the right to be... difficult to explain. We have a strange dynamic.
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