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Curious... is this normal?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I was curious to hear from other parents if it is normal for a child to be very wishy washy in which parent she likes that particular day?

Lately we never know if DSD is going to be happy to see us or not. Sometimes she cries for her Mommy A LOT. We only get her for a few hours during the week, and then every other weekend. She sees her Mom lots!

Or even when she is with us, and is she isn't all about wanting to go home... she is either very stand offish from either me or DP. Like last week she wanted nothing to do with her Dad. She wouldn't even let him hug her.

This week it was my turn. She threw a huge fit at daycare when I went to pick her up because she didn't want me picking her up.

I have been a big part of her life for almost 8 months. We have been in the same routine as far as me picking her up for about 4 months. She has been on the same visitation schedule for a year and a half.

Is this normal for children to go through?

I feel awful, and other parents and the teachers at the school are starting to give me strange looks since she has been acting out so much when I go pick her up. Yesterday they actually said, "I don't know... she was good all day."

We usually get along... in fact like I said sometimes she prefers me over DP... it's just odd to me that she is so wishy washy all the time?
post #2 of 9
Even at an older age DSD would switch her "favorite" parent from time to time, I wasn't there when she was 4, but I'd assume it is as "normal" as blended situation is...

In our case, her dad was usually "the favorite", then her mom, and then me (surprise, surprise.. heh). I think it is natural for the kids to prefer their biological parents over newly acquired stepparents. Four seems to be a very young age to be able to understand all the complexity of the situation. Even as old as 12-13 DSD would start pouting all over sudden, and ask "why does Oriole have to give me a ride, why can't you, dad?"

I'd say you can only do so much in these situation... I'm assuming it's not an option for her dad to pick her up? I'd have no problems rearranging for her dad to do the pick up if it's a possibility at all... Don't take it personally, kids need their parents, it's as simple as that.

These days (DSD is 15 now), I'm her favorite She's never rude to me, and she will ask for my company over her dad's.
She can be pretty mean to her dad though.. She talks to her mom about once a week on the phone, and keeps a kind, polite tone. She prefers living here all the same, so I wouldn't be able to tell whether she prefers mom or dad, kwim?

Overall, I think it is somewhat natural for the kids to try to figure out which parent they need in which situation, and it comes out as having favorites, and stepparents will usually get the shorter end of the stick, especially with younger children. Just be patient with it, she needs some reasurrance. How about a phone call to her dad whenever you pick her up? Or some fun ritual?

You are not alone. *hugs*
Hope that helps... hang in there...
post #3 of 9
I was like that as a child, and my parents are still together, so I'd say if it's not normal, it's at least very common, and not necessarily related to the blended situation.
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys.

DP works seconds so is just getting up and getting showered and starting dinner when I'm on my way home from work to pick DSD up. It really isn't feasible nore economically smart right now with gas for him to have to go out and get her when I'm already out and on my way.

So the call to him won't neccessarily work. I tried that yesterday but he was in the shower so didn't get the phone.

Plus, since she was screaming for Mommy, I know that wouldn't have helped one bit. Like I said last week she didn't want anything to do with DP.

I just hope with constant love and reassurance she grows up okay with us all. It breaks my heart to see someone hurting. And it's so sad when she doesn't even want to connect with her Dad.
post #5 of 9
I completely understand how frustrating this is.

My DSD used to cry for Mama A LOT. She only does it now if she is in trouble. I would say that it has really been over the last year that the constant Mama crying stopped. She is 5.5 and with us week on/week off.

Part of it is age, part is the situation. Intellectually I know that it must be so difficult and confusing for a child to have two houses. But in the moment it is hard to remember, especially if you are being rejected.

She has always had distinct preferences as to who does what for her. If her mom, DF and I were all in a room with her, her mom would basically have to be paralyzed from the neck down in order for it to be okay for DF to do something for her. And I might as well be invisible. Although we haven't all been together for about 6 months, so maybe things have changed. But Last summer, this is how it would have gone.

I recently had an incident with DSD where I had to unexpectedly pick her up from school. She was livid. It culminated with her throwing something at me while I was driving. And I've known her for almost 3 years.

It takes a lot longer than I originally expected to get to know a child and for a child to become comfortable with you. So although in some ways, 8 months is a long time to a child, in others, it's not.

I would say just hang in there, do what you are doing. Show her love, spend time with her, and wait.
post #6 of 9
Originally Posted by pinksprklybarefoot View Post
...8 months is a long time to a child, in others, it's not.

I would say just hang in there, do what you are doing. Show her love, spend time with her, and wait.
8 months is nothing
Heck, it took me 7(?!!) years to have a normal relationship with DSD...
Hang in there...
post #7 of 9
It's normal even for kids who don't have to switch back and forth between 2 different households. I've had my kids prefer Grandma over me, or vice versa. I've had the kids not want to go to school and leave me, or afternoons after school when they wished they were still with the teacher.

Your stepdaughter is only 3 or 4 years old? It's very normal for kids to be very "Mommy centered" at that age. Please try not to take any of her behavior as a personal rejection.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone.

You have been very re-assuring. A friend of mine assured me this happens with children not in blended families too.

I generally do keep it in perpsective and say she is just a child and doesn't mean to hurt our feelings... Yesterday was an ultra sensitive day for me for some reason.

Thank you again for the reassurance. I think all parents need it at times.
post #9 of 9
As her father puts it, my stepdaughter "dances with the one who brought her". Generally she is with one adult for the day, and that is the adult that she is most attached to. It sometimes hurts my feelings, or her dad's feelings when she cries for her mom, or refuses to be comforted but I know that she also asks for me, and talks about me a lot when she is with her mom or her dad, so that feels good. She just turned 5.
I hear you on the ultra-sensitive days...
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