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4 yo's transition from just-mommy-and-me lifestyle to two-parent family

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi Everyone. Wow I havent posted on this site in years.:)  Basically I'm wondering how to help my daughter accept the man I love. We have been dating seriously for about a year and a half (since she was 2) and she has always had a love-hate relationship with him. Some days (or even months at a time) she plays with him, talks to him, initiates snuggles and tells him she loves him... But other times she tells him point blank "i dont want you to be here, I want you to go home" or tells me in front of him "I dont like *name,* i wish he wasnt here," etc etc. He is extremely patient with it and tries to give her space, and be understanding about her not wanting to share my attention. He tries to involve her in meaningful activities, which usually works great... But then she will go for days or weeks where she hates him again. Last night she said "when he is here you give him ALL your love and there is no love left for ME." Which is very telling. He and I both give her tons of attention when he's here--- She just doesnt like other people being around taking my attention off of her, and unlike kids who grow up in bigger families, she doesnt usually have to deal with my attentions being split. Ive told her countless times that nothing will EVER change my love for her.


I honestly do not want to raise her thinking that I'm here to constantly entertain her and wait on her hand and foot etc-- I want her to know that while I always will love her, I have a LOT going on in my life. Its a hard balance because I (like most of you, i'm sure) tend to overextend myself with parenting. Esp as a single parent (she sees her dad 2-3 days month and he does nothing in terms of discipline/trying to help her learn how to act etc.)


So my dilemma is this... On the one hand I want to honor and cherish her feelings, but on the other hand I dont want her to call all the shots around the house...I'M the parent afterall. And in all likelihood, I am probably going to marry this man, so he's here to stay. I'm not going to cater to her whim and just send him home whenever she decides she doesnt like him. But it creates a really awful situation when shes whining and crying that she "just wants it to be mommy and no one else." And I feel guilty that Im subjecting her to something she dislikes so strongly! I dont want to sow the seeds of resentment etc. :(


Does anyone have advice, or experience with this situation? Thanks for listening!

post #2 of 6

He's been around for most of her life, she probably doesn't have clear memories of before she met him. I'd approach it the same way as if a grand parent or other family member were visiting. In my home that would be telling her she can have time to herself in her room if she's tired of company. Kids who are growing up with 2 biological parents will go through a phase where they tell their dad to "Go to work!" because they'd rather just be with their mom for a while... "Too bad, so sad." is an okay answer to that, and I think it might be an okay answer in your case, too. It might be a good idea to think about whether she has a reason for saying that.It sounds like you'd have made sure she feels included and paid attention to. Is it possible that she might like more solitary playtime than she gets when he's there? 

post #3 of 6
I agree with Mummoth. My DD is always telling DH to go to work or me that she just wants me. She wipes his kisses off sometimes and says that she only wants mine, ect. I dont think that its abnormal that she wants just you. Also, I think its likely that it will get better once he lives there, not worse. Sometimes kids seem to do better when they know what to expect. When he's over at the house, she doesnt know how long to expect him there, but when he lives there she knows he is not ever going home.
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks, guys. I didnt realize that this type of rejection is normal in families with two parents too. I wonder if there is anything else I can or should be doing in the meantime, while he and I still live separately, to improve or finesse the situation. Thanks for your input!

post #5 of 6

That kind of behavior is SO common at that age. My oldest did it all the time, and my XH and I were pretty happily married at the time. I always suggest reading up on normal developmental behavior at various ages from books like "Your Three Year Old - Friend or Enemy" By Ames & Ilg . Those kinds of books have been amazingly helpful for me in all sorts of ways, because you can see what is just your kid being a kid and what is something that might be a reaction to their situation.

post #6 of 6

I personally am going through the exact same thing at the moment, except i'm in the situation of your other half. I also recently posted asking for help and I can see now that it is a very common problem, People suggested in my thread to maybe try having some one on one time with just your daughter and your partner? and then the same with you, so its not like when you are together you only have attention for eachother and leaving her feeling resentful towards him. Also i'd just say from personal experience make sure that it doesn't get your partner down too much, it can be very hurtful when someone so blatantly rejects you, even in the case of a child to an adult. My fiance' was and is very understanding about how I feel about it which helps alot! 

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