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Didn't see this one coming - Page 2

post #21 of 27
Thread Starter 
Those both sound like good ideas, aricha.

In our case, though, DSD happens to hate talking on the phone lately, to anyone. She'll talk if we hand her the phone, but it's usually a hi/bye thing. Even when she misses her mom, she'll say she doesn't want to call. Maybe when she's older we'll do something like that.

Also, we asked their mom to video with the kids while they were here, but she didn't want to. I hope she agrees to it (she hasn't tried it yet) this summer.
post #22 of 27
We had a similar situation with my step-daughter at the beginning of the summer... we tried all our best tricks (which I will share in a second) but it was still mostly hi/bye... But later in the summer when the novelty wore off and we'd settled out of vacation mode and into a routine, she was more likely to talk.

Okay, here are some phone tricks that have worked at times in the past:
Set up a time ahead of time ("after dinner it will be time to call mom!")

Just before the phone call, remind her of/help her remember things she did that day

Throughout the day if something exciting happens, say something like "wow, I know mommy would love to hear about that! Let's call her later to tell her!" Then later on say "It's time to call mom. Remember you wanted to tell her about..."

Let her know if she doesn't have anything to say, she can ask mom about her day. She could also ask mom to read her a favorite story or sing her a special song.

Try letting her spend time with mom on the phone while she is doing something else, like coloring or playing with her toys or something.

Designate a "special spot" to call from that day... a special cozy chair, [violet] and dad's bed, inside a sheet-and-dining-room-table tent, etc.

Let/Help her pick out a little souvenier or present for mom and call to tell her about the present she got for her.

Stay close by. We don't make a practice of monitoring her calls or listening in, but if it has been a few days since she's had a meaningful conversation, we try to stay close by so we can remind her of some things she wanted to tell mom about or that she can ask mom to tell her about her day.

And, if all else fails, try having her dictate a postcard or draw a picture to send in the mail. Take over the "what I did over my summer vacation" task and send an email or letter yourself (or have your husband do it, though I know that is less applicable in your situation!) My husband likes to send one with lots of photos so she can get a visual, too.

I think sometimes kids don't like talking on the phone because having to recite everything they did that day feels like a chore. In my step-daughter's words, she doesn't like telling my husband what she did at school that day because "I just spent all day talking about it at school and I don't feel like talking about it again." When we gave her the okay to get creative and do things besides recite her day's events, we've had much longer and more meaningful phone calls, and they better serve the purpose of keeping a connection between us.
post #23 of 27
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the ideas!

Today we called the kids. DSS just told us about some new toys he got (pretty soon he will have every kind of toy, I feel certain..) and DSD just refused. Her latest is "I don't want to talk!" DSS asked her -- "Do you want to talk to [Violet]?" "I don't want to talk!" "Do you want to talk to Daddy?" "I don't want to talk!" So her mom tried. "Honey, they called just to talk to you. Atl least say hi." [silence]. Then she told her she was being rude. Then DSD said "Hi," pretty cheerfully, and then "Bye."

She does the same thing when her mom calls at our house, so we're not singled out for this. Your ideas sound good, and we can definitely use them when she's here. We do some of that -- suggesting calls and topics, and we do email pictures. Not sure how to suggest them to her mom, as I know she doesn't want our advice, you know? It's a delicate system..
post #24 of 27
I would suspect that your SD is just reacting to "We'll miss you when you're at your Dad's" comments from her mom. I wouldn't say that she's being manipulative, but that she is trying to please everyone.

Unfortunately I think kids often feel guilty about the time that they spend at the other parent's house.
post #25 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggie View Post
I would suspect that your SD is just reacting to "We'll miss you when you're at your Dad's" comments from her mom. I wouldn't say that she's being manipulative, but that she is trying to please everyone.

Unfortunately I think kids often feel guilty about the time that they spend at the other parent's house.
When I put it together in my head, it started to make sense. Mom was saying "I'll miss you so much!" so she chimed in that she would too. Mom gave a great response to this (cuddles, kisses, sympathy?), so she took it up a notch. Said she'd cry. Mom gave a fantastic response -- so good, in fact, that she told the same story to Grandma and another family friend. I bet it grew each time. At least one version had her crying for Mom AND Grandma! I mean, who wouldn't react to such a story? So she learned that it got a good response, and used it again. I truly don't think she feels guilty being with us (at least not yet), but I can see her responding to the feedback and stroking her mom's ego and pushing guilty-divorced-parent buttons without quite understanding that's what she's doing.
post #26 of 27
DSD's mom really pushes the "I miss you SO MUCH" line a lot. On her most recent visit (9 days of spring break) her mom called as soon as she got here to tell her that her little brother was crying because she wasn't at home.

I feel like this is a great big guilt trip, and DSD really takes it to heart. She talked for 3 days about how bad she felt for her little brother and told everyone she talked to that he cried when she didn't come back from the airport.

I don't think that we can ask DH's ex not to do it, though, because of course she just wants DSD to know that she loves her and misses her. We don't use that language at all though; we just talk about how much we're looking forward to seeing her again.
post #27 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laggie View Post
DSD's mom really pushes the "I miss you SO MUCH" line a lot. On her most recent visit (9 days of spring break) her mom called as soon as she got here to tell her that her little brother was crying because she wasn't at home.

I feel like this is a great big guilt trip, and DSD really takes it to heart. She talked for 3 days about how bad she felt for her little brother and told everyone she talked to that he cried when she didn't come back from the airport.

I don't think that we can ask DH's ex not to do it, though, because of course she just wants DSD to know that she loves her and misses her. We don't use that language at all though; we just talk about how much we're looking forward to seeing her again.
I totally agree with this. We have learned (by screwing up in spite of good intentions) that when we tell DSS we miss him, he cries. Of course he cries -- we're reminding him how we are apart and making it a sad thing! So, we stopped. It's much better now. We tell him how happy we are to hear from him, or how much we're looking forward to seeing him instead.

DSD's mom makes this mistake too, and I know she's not trying to upset them. She says how she misses her, and the cat misses her, and Grandma misses her, etc. And DSD gets a little upset, just like DSS did when we tried it. Part of me wants to tell her this happens and point it out, but it's so tricky because I don't want her to think I'm criticizing her as a parent. Hopefully she'll figure it out soon on her own. The thing is, we have a lot more practice being the "away" ones who call and who miss, etc. So it might take her longer to notice the negative effect. Maybe if I framed it that way to her -- that we've noticed (since we're the "away" ones) that this happens.. ?? It's still risky. Have you tried to say anything about it?
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