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At the End of My Rope Here...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My dd is 5, and the light of my life. Unfortunatly, her step father and I just got a divorce, and until I get the money together, I'm still stuck in the house with him. We've tried to be as civil as possible and give each other every other weekend off away from each other but its still difficult. There are so many issues ATM...

* I have a new boyfriend, the best guy ever, for about 5 months or so. I've not had him come around yet to meet my dd for obvious reasons, given the living situtation. I see him every other week or so, go off on a Fri and come back Sun evening, but I always feel guilty not being with her

* I WOTH, 30 hrs a week. I put her on the bus for Kindergarten, and don't see her til my shift is over at 10

* Because of this, getting her to sleep is hellacious. Every night there's tantrums/neediness/saying terrible things "i hate myself, I'm so ugly and such a brat", "you don't love me anymore", and screaming bloody murder if I leave the room and don't "snuggle" for at least an hour. To counteract this, I always re-assure her, and yes, at times I give in to ridiculous demands. However, I also try hard to do activites/watch a movie/ etc. with her before getting her to school in the AM. Unfortunately, she's getting way under the 10 or so hours she needs a night and we're working up a sleep debt.

*Stepfather is also having a hard time realizing he is not her real dad, and is always second guessing me on rules and raising her. For one, the spanking. I feel that sort of discipline is only to be used in emergencies and when a child is younger to "get the point across". I don't think it is appropriate in a school age child with whom communication is easier. However, I make an approach on this subject and it leads to fights where he threatens to kick me out.


Is any of this normal and fixable? I love my dd so much and I'm so scared I've ruined her life with the whole divorce thing, I don't want her traumatized for life.

post #2 of 6

well i don't think you've ruined her life. but seeing your parents relationship end is not easy for little ones. it sounds like she would really benefit from some play therapy. comments like "i hate myself and i'm so ugly" seem beyond developmentally appropriate... where did she hear these things? also, it seems like she is probably really tired if you don't get home to start bedtime until 10. who has her until your shift ends? if it is the stepdad what are you planning to do when you no longer live together? if she is at home with a sitter than i think the sitter needs to put her to bed at 7/8 pm. she is exhuasted and it's a vicious cycle when it comes to kids and lack of sleep.

as for your new boyfriend, if you are really committed to bring normalcy and contentment to your daughters life than i would recommend that he not "come around" for at least a year. 

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Well, she had heard the "ugly" comment from a little girl she got into a fight with on the bus. I reassured her about it and talked to the father of the girl. They have thier own problems, as they are divorced as well, and the mother does not see the child. I thought it was disturbing as well, as she is just barely 5, but once they start going to school, well, that's a can of worms as well, and you can't control what they hear and such from other kids.


Once I'm able to get out and be stable financially, I plan on changing my shift to a 9-5, thankfully I have a job that works with me on availability. It really is a vicious cycle, and though I'm not convinced I've gotten advice about melatonin and whatnot from other girls at work. A lot of the women swear by it, but the jury is definately out on that.  I've made the no tv or computer rule, try to tell her stories and sing, sometimes is works, sometimes it doesn't.


Sometimes it is him, sometimes a sitter. It really depends on who I can get to watch her at the time as I need all the money I can earn.


The biggest mistake I made with her step dad was introducing the two of them too quickly. I already told bf that it would be at least a year until he met her so she would have time to adjust and we both agree that it is the best thing for her if he and I are to go at it for the long haul. She was curious about him, and has talked to him on the phone and I've let her see pics, but that is the extent I think is healthy. Unfortunately, her stepdad informed her about his presence waay to early IMO, and kind of screwed up my master plan of explaining it to her when I felt she was ready, which I believe has exacerbated that situation.


I know I sound ignorant here, but what exactly is play therapy and what does it consist of? Anything I can do to let her get all this negative emotion out of her and make her life easier is all I want to do.

post #4 of 6

I think you are wise to not introduce the boyfriend anytime soon.  However I do wonder if you're able to cut the long weekend with him (I realize it's just every other weekend) down a bit.  (Or maybe that's the visitation time your child is away with her father? - if so, then never mind, as you wouldn't see her if you were home anyhow.  When you're with your boyfriend, is your daughter with her stepfather?  I don't know, it just seems like she really needs more of your time right now and while I totally get that you're trying to make the job situation work more favorably, meanwhile if it's possible to spend a little more of that weekend time with her, I bet it would help. 

post #5 of 6

It sounds incredibly stressful. 


Play therapists are therapists for kids that use play instead of traditional talk therapy. 5 year olds aren't able to/won't express everything they are feeling with words. They act it out in their play. It was very useful for my boys.


Will her step-father be a part of her life once you are living separately? If he's not going to have visitation then personally, I wouldn't leave your daughter for a weekend away from the house.  


Is her father in the picture? Does she see him? It's gotta be hard to be losing the 2nd male in her life and know that another one is "in the wings".  Kids really do feel this sense of "they broke up, they don't love each other anymore, maybe mom won't love me anymore". 


The other issue with the stepfather is if he has her best interest at heart. A mature adult who is looking out for a child wouldn't tell the child that her mother was dating someone.  He could be saying other things to her that are adding to her stress. He wouldn't be spanking her.


The sleep is a huge issue! My 7 year old goes to bed before 8. My 13 year old goes to be around 9 or 9:30. They need that sleep, The babysitter or step-dad need to try and get her to sleep if they aren't. Melatonin does help us. 


Her stress will probably be there until things simmer down. They totally pick up on all of our stress. So if you are stressed and your ex is stressed, she will be stressed. 


It concerns me that you have another man already. What about time to focus on just you and your daughter? Any man can be the "best guy ever" when you see each other every other week and it has only been 5 months. 5 months in which you have been under significant stress. Just not a good time to make relationship plans imo. 

post #6 of 6
Originally Posted by Oh the Irony View Post


It concerns me that you have another man already. What about time to focus on just you and your daughter? Any man can be the "best guy ever" when you see each other every other week and it has only been 5 months. 5 months in which you have been under significant stress. Just not a good time to make relationship plans imo. 

I agree!


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