New parents/mother and child of domestic violence. Greatly need input - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 04-07-2013, 07:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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To start my girlfriend and I are new parents. To clarify (if it matters considering it's a mothering forum) I am a male. My girlfriend was in a abusive relationship. The father of her child was physically, verbally, mentally, and emotionally abusive towards her and their child. So one can only imagine the horrors these two have seen. But without divulging too much information I will get to my question. The father would leave with the son and would tell him not to tell mommy what they were doing. Oh I'm sorry, the child is 3 and half years old now. He was probably 2 when his father would say that. But since then she (and I) have difficulty getting him to talk about certain things. If he does something wrong and we ask he will look around and try to avoid the topic, he will repeat the last words of the question, basically anything to avoid the question of "why?". He is a very intelligent child. He speaks clearly, uses big words, and is very perceptive to his surroundings.

 

So, is this typical behavior or is it something to worry about because of what he has witnessed? My girlfriend is reaching her wits end and I really want to help out. If there are any additional questions to help the process please ask. I will answer as best as I can.

 

I apologize in advance for how poorly I put together everything, it's been awhile since I've visited any kind of forum. And I also apologize if it's the wrong forum.

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#2 of 6 Old 04-07-2013, 07:19 AM
 
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I'm so sorry for what your girlfriend and her little one have gone through, and hope that they will be able to find healing now that they are in a safe environment.

I'm no child development expert, just a mama of a 3 year old, but I feel like answering questions regarding motivation or intent ("WHY did you do XYZ?") can be a bit complex or confusing for even the brightest 3 year old. Hopefully someone with more experience or expertise can chime in here and correct me if I'm wrong, but the reaction you described sounds a lot like my little one's response when pressed to explain why she did something.

This is unrelated, but is the little guy seeing a counselor or therapist? I've heard good things about play-therapy for that age group. I wish you all the best.

Married 12/08 to Chilean DH and mama to DD 2/2/10. We're a bilingual home and we familybed1.gif and toddler.gif

 

Expecting #2 in late June!

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#3 of 6 Old 04-09-2013, 11:46 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kitteh View Post

I'm so sorry for what your girlfriend and her little one have gone through, and hope that they will be able to find healing now that they are in a safe environment.

I'm no child development expert, just a mama of a 3 year old, but I feel like answering questions regarding motivation or intent ("WHY did you do XYZ?") can be a bit complex or confusing for even the brightest 3 year old. Hopefully someone with more experience or expertise can chime in here and correct me if I'm wrong, but the reaction you described sounds a lot like my little one's response when pressed to explain why she did something.
 


tyeahthat.gif

 

My 5 year old still sometimes has trouble answering why did you do that...   at 3...none of them really got it, even though they certainly asked enough why questions of their own...

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#4 of 6 Old 04-10-2013, 05:37 AM
 
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I agree with the PPs. My almost-3yo is bright, very verbal and has a good vocabulary and she can't describe her motivation for doing most things. At best she might say "Why? Because I want to." or "Why? Because its fun." But nothing more reflective than that.

It is certainly tempting, when they've done something wrong to ask "why did you do that?" But whenever I've done it it adds nothing but more frustration to the situation. I've found it infinitely more helpful to just explain why I don't want her to do X or to try and describe her motivation for her "Do you feel frustrated because you can't get the doll's dress on?" This is only on my best parenting days of course winky.gif Most of the time I feel like I am mentally on my knees, pulling my hair out and wailing "why? Why would you do that?"

Mother of two spectacular girls, born mid-2010 and late 2012  mdcblog5.gif

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#5 of 6 Old 04-10-2013, 05:49 AM
 
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I'll add, purely from a developmental POV that not only is what the previous posters said above normal, but "lying" in order to tell you what they *wish* was true in a sticky situation ("if I wish it was true hard enough, maybe it WILL be true!), or what they *wish* they would have done if they did something wrong, or telling you what they think you want to hear to avoid getting in trouble.  This is also 100% developmentally normal.  I'm not saying that there isn't an extra, awful layer for this child that certainly needs to be taken into consideration, but just as a head's up that it is in fact ALSO a normal developmental stage he's heading to,  where if you ask him why, he might be avoidant also because he's embarrassed and doesn't want to "relive" something he's done if he shouldn't have...then again, who does like to relive embarrassing moments?  

 

I hope your girlfriend and her son get the help and healing they need to process all they've been through.  Good luck!


Heather, WAHM to DS (01/04)DD (06/06). Wed to DH(09/97)
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#6 of 6 Old 04-11-2013, 09:28 AM
 
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One of my kids just could not get the concept of "why". If I asked "What made you <do whatever>" then she'd answer!! She used to come to me and say, "Why I do dat, mama?" and then I'd have to go searching to see just what it was she did!

 

Good for you for working to help this kid. My situation was a little similar and my dh and I have been married for almost 15 years now and he adopted my then-baby. Now there are 4!


drowning in hormones with 4 daughters and an understanding, loving hubby. also some dogs. my life is crazy and we are always learning.

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