Would divorce/marital issues cause this?!-Update #12 Help! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My head is kind of reeling at the moment... not even sure if this is all a blended issue or not... I have no idea what to think... but I have to talk somewhere, because I'm at a loss of ideas...


Yesterday my sister tells me she was going to take DD up to DSD's room to play with the kitchen set she has up there. Well she told me it reeked of poop and she saw something by the bed that could be poop, and thought maybe the cat went up there.

I go to clean it up... the pile is far larger than from a cat, I clean it up, but it still smells so bad... it was near the blanket so I lifted the blanket to see if it got on it...

There was more under the blanket, but all centralized to the edge of the bed...

My thought was no way the cat did this... the cat wouldn't have pulled the covers all up to hide it...

I look further and find DSD's pj bottoms... there isn't much poop on the inside, like there would have been had she had an accident in the night or something... plus H went up Sunday morning to get her... he definitely would have noticed that had it been there in the morning...

But with the small amount on the bottoms, and the biggest spot on her waist band... and the centralized way the mess was on the sheets and on the edge of the bed...

The only thing it looks like to both H and I is that DSD deliberately sat on the edge of her bed and went...



What is going on here?? She has basically been potty trained since 2.5. She is 5 years old now... and she hasn't had a poop accident since she was 3.

A couple months ago she also deliberately sat on her stairs to her room and peed.

We have two bathrooms in our house... so it's not like she could have been waiting to use the potty...

I do know that things like this crop up in kids with severe emotional trauma going on...

Can a divorce that is 3 years old, a new marriage that is over a year old, and a new sibling that has been around for 9 months cause that much emtional trauma?

People get divorced all the time... and people get new siblings all the time... and I have never heard of a child acting out this bad, unless something else was going on on top of all this...

Any words of wisdom, hugs, something would be greatly appreciated... I'm kind of a mess of emotions over this.

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#2 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 08:03 AM
 
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My 3 y.o. dd seems to pee herself on purpose from time to time. I think it is a trick that resides in the repertoire of many young children, and doesn't necessarily signal a nervous breakdown. Your dsd doesn't have to be nearly as stressed as YOU would have to be in order to decide to poop on the bed.

That said, it's a mess and a hassle and I'm sure a poop "accident" is about a zillion times worse than the deliberate wetting. I'm sorry you had to deal with that.
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#3 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 08:30 AM
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One of my cats does this - deliberately pees or poops somewhere other than the intended receptable - to indicate he's (literally) p.o.'d at something. (That the suitcases are out so he knows he's leaving, or that his food bowl is empty, or that a kid pulled his tail.)

My child, who's older than your DSD, has never done this. I don't think most kids - especially 5yos - do this.

So yup, your DSD's p.o'd, but at what in particular, who knows. Does sound like you've got a lot of stressors for her.
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#4 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 08:38 AM
 
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my dd is younger but our seperation and even our reconciliation caused urination accidents (never pooping) even when it felt like things were pretty stress free to us any change-a lengthy visit to dads or returning to our house would cause days of pants wetting.

I do think 5 is pretty old to do something like this on purpose and I would be pretty concerned with might be going on. Can you or your husband or her mom talk to her and make sure there isn't anything else going on in her life that could be so stressful or traumatic that it might cause her to act out in this way?

I would be an emotional wreck over this too.

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#5 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 09:05 AM
 
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My 3 y.o. dd seems to pee herself on purpose from time to time. I think it is a trick that resides in the repertoire of many young children, and doesn't necessarily signal a nervous breakdown. Your dsd doesn't have to be nearly as stressed as YOU would have to be in order to decide to poop on the bed.

That said, it's a mess and a hassle and I'm sure a poop "accident" is about a zillion times worse than the deliberate wetting. I'm sorry you had to deal with that.


Have you asked your stepdaughter about it?

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#6 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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5 is a big maturity difference than 3 though... no?


This was discovered last night around 9:30 pm, so no one has talked to DSD about this yet...

H is going to call DSD's Mom today to discuss it... I think he should call later to talk to DSD about it, because Mom doesn't always do things she says she is going to do... plus it happened at Dad's house, so I think he should try to talk to her about it.

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#7 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 10:26 AM
 
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Two, conflicting things:

1) If she were a little boy and you were posting in Childhood Years, you'd get twenty million trillion responses telling you about the bizarre places than peoples sons have eliminated. You'd also hear the word "potion" used a lot. I'm not convinced that kids actually internalize poo/wee = gross until they're a lot older.
2) You have no way of knowing what goes on at her mom's house, how her mom is doing, how her mom's mental health is and if there's stress and trouble there. You know that your life is, frankly, pretty miserable because your marriage is in trouble and there's no reason to believe that she perceives your home differently than you do. Further, I don't think it's coincidence that the accident happened in your home.

My DD is PLing at the moment, and having a really hard time with poo (she's almost 4) and I'm picturing my daughter having done the same thing and I really want to give your little girl a hug Please, quit messing around. Talk to her mom about the crap with your DH and get your DSD into therapy to help her deal.

Oh- I can't see a benefit to discussing this with her. At 5, none of mine would have the vocabulary to tell me why they did something like that, and a day later probably wouldn't even remember why it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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#8 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 11:02 AM
 
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Tell her gently that you've found the poop in the bed.

Tell her you're not mad, but it needs to get solved right away.

Tell her what needs to happen. Maybe you (or her dad) will come in at X time to take her to the potty. Or she can knock on the wall to get help if she needs to go (or call out or whatever is an easy way to get someone's attention without her having to wake up a lot or expend a lot of energy). Or you will place a potty in her room, next to the bed.

I can easily believe stress can cause her bowels to move at a time they don't usually move, and once she found it wasn't "that bad" to go in the bed, she felt ok to do it again.

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#9 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 11:08 AM
 
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If your DH does talk to her, I would do it in person - not over the phone. And definitely in a "I'm not mad, I was just wondering what happened" kind of way, like the PP suggested.

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#10 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 11:15 AM
 
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Well,hard to say if it was an accident caused by stress and then covered up or deliberate acting out. Either way, it would seem to signal that something is going on with her. I think this relates to your earlier inquiry about therapy; it sounds like it's really necessary for her. It also sounds like some mediated counseling between all the parents (including you) would be really helpful.

Just from the outside, it seems like there's been a stark change for your dsd in the last year and a half. I remember you posting during the pregnancy and before the baby was born. You guys had issues but your relationship with dh was solid and you were planning a wedding; dsd felt included in the wedding and baby preparation; there was a general aura of excitement and preparation in the house. Fast forward to today: there are issues between you and dh; you have a baby who needs your attention and time; dsd is acting out which helps cause conflict; things are generally more stressful. That's a BIG change for her. Also - didn't she just start school? It just seems like she really needs help.

Also, I'd just like to say that there were times in my daughter's life when it was really hard for her to go to her dad's and be away from me. I'm not sure why - they were tough times. We rode them out and now she goes happily; she's always loved her dad regardless. Your dsd may be having real difficulty being at her dad's house and should be encouraged to talk about it. I know how hard that is for the dad, but I do think we need to keep our kids' needs in mind in situations like this.

Btw, hugs. That sounds gross and difficult - and it sounds like you are carrying so much of the load. Make sure to get help where you need it and take care of yourself.
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#11 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I ended up calling my therapist this morning to talk about this because H and I didn't want to proceed in a wrong way...

My therapist really feels that DSD is acting out, or "screaming" for help, or saying something is bothering her in the only way she thought of how.

She agrees that DSD needs therapy ASAP. H signed the consent form this week, so hopefully DSD's Mom is setting up the appt. H has been communicating with her to get this done. She doesn't want him doing it.

My therapist also advised to not bother asking DSD why she did it, but to say we can see she is really bothered by something and that she can talk to us anytime she is upset or anything.

H is going to talk to her tonight on the phone... there isn't a way to talk to her in person, as her Mom takes her upstate on her weekends, and we don't think it's appropriate to wait till next weekend when we see her again.

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#12 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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H just called DSD's Mom about what happened... he got the expected response.

She flipped on him saying she is in dibeleif because DSD doesn't act like this anywhere but out house.

She then flipped saying how we could not have known about this Sunday, don't we get her dressed so we would have seen something like that?

H told her that DSD is 5 and knows how to get dressed, and we let her go and dress herself. We don't babysit her doing this.

So he got yelled at that we do not help her get dressed... then he got yelled at that we do not watch her play and that she should always be supervised.

H told her that DSD is 5 and capable of playing with toys by herself... that she sometimes does ask to go play in her room, and when she does we let her... it's her room and her home and she can go play with her toys if she wants to. We never saw an issue with this. We are usually elated when she volunteers to go play with her toys because often she mopes around not wanting to do anything. So we certainly aren't going to tell her no, or make her feel like we can't trust her to go play.


So DSD's Mom says it's obvious that DSD's issues are coming from our house since that is the only place she is acting up and she wants us to meet somewhere neutral from now on...

H doesn't know what to do...

My therapist doesn't neccessarily agree that it has to stem from our house... she said it's possible that she feels safe enough to act out here because we will listen to the signs and try to do something about it and maybe she doesn't feel she can be herself or express herself at her Mom's house...


So... if DSD's Mom tries to stop visitation for now... what can we do? Should we? I don't think that is the best way to go... because we have no idea what is the root cause of DSD's anxiety right now...

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#13 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 01:07 PM
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My therapist doesn't neccessarily agree that it has to stem from our house... she said it's possible that she feels safe enough to act out here because we will listen to the signs and try to do something about it and maybe she doesn't feel she can be herself or express herself at her Mom's house...
No offense, but I think that's hogwash. A child who "feels free to express herself" does so with words, not poop.
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#14 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No offense, but I think that's hogwash. A child who "feels free to express herself" does so with words, not poop.


She said children don't always have the words... especially young children, they don't know how to express themselves.

She said their typical response is "i don't know." which is true in my DSD's case... she isn't a big talker...

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#15 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 01:16 PM
 
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No offense, but I think that's hogwash. A child who "feels free to express herself" does so with words, not poop.
I very respectfully strongly disagree. A 5 yo with this much going on may very well express herself this way as a scream for help.

My very verbal 5 yo has asked for help non-verbally and we have a very open communication.

Sorry, even highly verbal ADULTS act out as a cry for help. Why would that be "hogwash" for a child?

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#16 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 01:42 PM
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I very respectfully strongly disagree. A 5 yo with this much going on may very well express herself this way as a scream for help.

My very verbal 5 yo has asked for help non-verbally and we have a very open communication.

Sorry, even highly verbal ADULTS act out as a cry for help. Why would that be "hogwash" for a child?
No, you're misreading me. Upthread I explained that yes, my cat at least acts out by pooping. It's not hogwash that frustrated cats, or kids, act out this way.

The "hogwash" part is the therapist suggesting that OP's dsd is "expressing herself" at OP's house rather than at dsd's mom's house because dsd is frustrated at mom (not dad) but dsd "feels she can be herself or express herself" only at dad's house. I think THAT's hogwash. If dsd is p.o.'d at her mom, she'd poop there. If she's p'o'd at her dad or OP, she'd poop there. And she did poop there. Hence, she is p'o'd at dad/OP/baby sister.
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#17 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No, you're misreading me. Upthread I explained that yes, my cat at least acts out by pooping. It's not hogwash that frustrated cats, or kids, act out this way.

The "hogwash" part is the therapist suggesting that OP's dsd is "expressing herself" at OP's house rather than at dsd's mom's house because dsd is frustrated at mom (not dad) but dsd "feels she can be herself or express herself" only at dad's house. I think THAT's hogwash. If dsd is p.o.'d at her mom, she'd poop there. If she's p'o'd at her dad or OP, she'd poop there. And she did poop there. Hence, she is p'o'd at dad/OP/baby sister.
Actually she said there is no real way to no for sure what DSD is upset about... that what may seem logical and apparant to us could be totally off base of what a 5 year old is actually thinking.

There could be anything under the sun bothering DSD.. maybe even peices from everywhere... both houses, school, church, dance... who knows?

Bottom line is... it is definitely a call of help, and we seem to be the only ones concerned about DSD, while her Mom is content just raging at us for it...

My heart and prayers are with DSD at the moment... for whatever is bothering her, it's killing me that I don't know what it is so I can bloody well fix it.

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#18 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 03:16 PM
 
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No, you're misreading me. Upthread I explained that yes, my cat at least acts out by pooping. It's not hogwash that frustrated cats, or kids, act out this way.
The "hogwash" part is the therapist suggesting that OP's dsd is "expressing herself" at OP's house rather than at dsd's mom's house because dsd is frustrated at mom (not dad) but dsd "feels she can be herself or express herself" only at dad's house. I think THAT's hogwash. If dsd is p.o.'d at her mom, she'd poop there. If she's p'o'd at her dad or OP, she'd poop there. And she did poop there. Hence, she is p'o'd at dad/OP/baby sister.
Ok, I did sort of misread, but...well, this....

Quote:
Actually she said there is no real way to no for sure what DSD is upset about... that what may seem logical and apparant to us could be totally off base of what a 5 year old is actually thinking.
There could be anything under the sun bothering DSD.. maybe even peices from everywhere... both houses, school, church, dance... who knows?
My son was recently acting out at home for no apparent reason, seemingly. Just blatently rule breaking.
Once we FINALLY got to the bottom of everything it was because his before/after school provider was misdirecting her anger at him.
We changed the provider and **POOF** no more issues with him whatsoever.

My heart goes out to you JSMa. It's hard to get to the bottom of what a kiddo is really feeling when they don't even know the full extent of it.

I hope your DSD and your family work this out and hoepefully everyone can get on the same page to help her out!

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#19 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 03:41 PM
 
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No, you're misreading me. Upthread I explained that yes, my cat at least acts out by pooping. It's not hogwash that frustrated cats, or kids, act out this way.

The "hogwash" part is the therapist suggesting that OP's dsd is "expressing herself" at OP's house rather than at dsd's mom's house because dsd is frustrated at mom (not dad) but dsd "feels she can be herself or express herself" only at dad's house. I think THAT's hogwash. If dsd is p.o.'d at her mom, she'd poop there. If she's p'o'd at her dad or OP, she'd poop there. And she did poop there. Hence, she is p'o'd at dad/OP/baby sister.
Oddly, I often see on the single parents board (lurking) and here people assuring moms that their kids acting out only at their house is because they feel safe enough there to express themselves about what they are upset about, even though what is upsetting them is happening at the dad's house. I think different kids will react to different situations in different ways, no? I hope the OP is able to get some help for her dsd, who is obviously struggling with something, no matter which house/school etc. it is taking place at.

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#20 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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No offense, but I think that's hogwash. A child who "feels free to express herself" does so with words, not poop.
I greatly disagree with this!
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#21 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 04:16 PM
 
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Here are the things we know:

* DSD misses her mom on the weekends she comes over (whether with or without prompt from anyone outside).

* There is a newborn in your life, and DSD is no longer the baby in the house.

* There is stress in the household due to problems between you and her dad. Kids are very perceptive. For all you know, she could be worried about you leaving, and her facing another change. (mind you, I am not saying it's a bad idea to leave. I do believe it is very important to model healthy relationships for children).

* Kids DO view bowel movement in a different way than adults do. 5 is definitely old enough to know that you shouldn't poop in your bed, but is not nearly old enough to see it from adult perspective.

* DSD clearly struggles with something and something needs to change.

Without pointing fingers to her mom and back, I truly don't think it's SOMEONE's fault. It doesn't matter whether or not mom is blaming someone. It's not what causing the problem, and it won't fix it. It doesn't matter whether she plays by herself or not, or whether she dresses herself or not.

What matters is that she is a child being stressed over the situation and there were plently of new things happening in the past few months that would stress an adult, let alone a child (divorce? new baby? new marriage? tension in you house?). In fact, I don't think it's something someone did wrong, it just sounds like A LOT for a 5 y.o. And none of it is little!

Here is what I would do if I were in your shoes:

#1. Try to find a good therapist. At the same time, I wouldn't rely on it to solve everything.

#2. I would try to make more special time for DSD. Maybe a little more one-on-one daddy time? Either an extra night during the week, even if just to go out for ice-cream after school. OR when she comes over to your house, I'd encourage her dad to go out with dsd do something special for a couple fo hours. Something to reassure her that she is loved, that despite the tension between you and her dad, and despite the baby taking up your cuddles now, she is still loved and wanted. OR maybe even leaving the baby with dad, and going out with dsd for a special treat - just you and her.

Good luck

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#22 of 24 Old 10-02-2009, 05:08 PM
 
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H just called DSD's Mom about what happened... he got the expected response.

She flipped on him saying she is in dibeleif because DSD doesn't act like this anywhere but out house.

She then flipped saying how we could not have known about this Sunday, don't we get her dressed so we would have seen something like that?

H told her that DSD is 5 and knows how to get dressed, and we let her go and dress herself. We don't babysit her doing this.

So he got yelled at that we do not help her get dressed... then he got yelled at that we do not watch her play and that she should always be supervised.

H told her that DSD is 5 and capable of playing with toys by herself... that she sometimes does ask to go play in her room, and when she does we let her... it's her room and her home and she can go play with her toys if she wants to. We never saw an issue with this. We are usually elated when she volunteers to go play with her toys because often she mopes around not wanting to do anything. So we certainly aren't going to tell her no, or make her feel like we can't trust her to go play.


So DSD's Mom says it's obvious that DSD's issues are coming from our house since that is the only place she is acting up and she wants us to meet somewhere neutral from now on...

H doesn't know what to do...

My therapist doesn't neccessarily agree that it has to stem from our house... she said it's possible that she feels safe enough to act out here because we will listen to the signs and try to do something about it and maybe she doesn't feel she can be herself or express herself at her Mom's house...


So... if DSD's Mom tries to stop visitation for now... what can we do? Should we? I don't think that is the best way to go... because we have no idea what is the root cause of DSD's anxiety right now...
Remember, YOU can't do anything. Don't try to give yourself responsibility that isn't yours right now. Change what you can.

Can you see her mum's pov? Your husband is her ex-husband for a reason, and the chances are that he emotionally abused her the way that he's emotionally abusing you. Your DSD may or may not be talking to her mum about what she's seeing at your home, and her daughter is, to quote your therapist, "screaming for help." In her shoes- and I was- I'd be beside myself with distress and grief because there is nobody to protect my baby.

It's down to your DH to handle the situation- let him decide how he's going to do it.

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#23 of 24 Old 10-03-2009, 10:13 AM
 
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Yes.

She needs counseling, ideally with all her parents involved (you, too). But you and your husband need to take her, if Mom won't. Mom is going to say this is only a problem at your house, so the problem is only with you guys. That's not true, but don't waste time trying to change Mom's opinion. It doesn't sound like she cares much what you think. Help the kid. She's stressed and feels like she doesn't have control over anything in her life. (...But she has total control over her excrement, KWIM?)

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:    or... twin sons:(HS seniors) ... step-son:  (a sophomore) ... our little man:   (a first grader) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  our
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#24 of 24 Old 10-03-2009, 10:27 AM
 
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What if it really is best for her not to have as much visitation with her dad right now? It's just a thought. Just because she is feeling very stressed out at your house, doesn't necessarily mean that you are doing anything wrong! But it might be good to give her some space. From what I can see here, it doesn't necessarily seem to me that her mom is being manipulative or anything-- I think I might have reacted the same way, you know?

And didn't her dad throw something at the wall that came within like an inch of her face before? Didn't you say that her dad plays tickle games with her in which he doesn't listen when she's had enough-- he goes beyond the comfort point? We know that he often acts temperamental and self-centered. I would say, let the girl have her voice. She wants to stay with her mom, maybe do that.

Otherwise, shorter visitation in a neutral location sounds healthy, too.

Remember, when you leave your dh, you will also have to deal with visitation between him and your bio daughter. Would you really want him to be alone with her? Remember when he YELLED at her-- an infant-- because he felt stressed-out? How awful. I wouldn't want him alone with her. Changing visitation set-up with the older child might set a good precedent when it comes time to set it up with the younger child.

♥ blogger astrologer mom to three cool kiddos, and trying to figure out this divorce thing-- Blossom and Glow ♥

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