Daddy wont love me anymore...since he doesnt love Mommy - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 05-13-2010, 02:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Helpppp!

Biomom, DP, and myself have been trying work this one out, and dont know what to do. We are going to ask DSD's counsellor,(well, biomom is), but thought you all lovely parents might have encountered this before.

I reallly would love some advice on this one.

DSD is almost 4, but far too comprehending for her age... she is a smart cookie on all emotional levels and its a hard one to manage.

Daddy and Mommy broke up, and in I walked. Which probably didnt help the situation, but whats done is done.

She is now realising mommy and daddy dont live together, and is wanting it to happen. She thinks if daddy doesnt love mommy, then he wont love her one day too.

We are currently saying that M&D love each other, but in a different way, but it doesnt seem to be working. We are all friends and hang out together occasionally (now).

Advice please? ANY AND ALL ideas are so welcome. Thanks!!!!!
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#2 of 12 Old 05-13-2010, 12:40 PM
 
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Oh, poor little girl.

That's about the age DSD was when DH and I got married, and we had always had her call me by a special nickname. Well, as soon as we got married her mother (?) told her I was now her stepmother, so she came to me all sad and asked me if I was going to start being mean like other stepmoms. I just held her and kissed her and told her I'd be exactly the same and would love her just like before. She got it. Sometimes it's as simple as addressing it head-on.

Another idea besides saying it out loud to her would be finding a good divorce book for kids. We have a few that we like and the kids loved them when they needed them. Mama and Papa Bear's Divorce, I think is the title of one we liked. There's one about Dinosaurs divorcing, but I don't think we bought it. And one book we have I think is called It's not you fault, Coco Bear, or something like that. It's been a few years. One of them has this lovely analogy that husbands and wives are like puzzle pieces, and sometimes they don't fit, and pushing them together won't make them fit, but kids always fit their parents. Or something like that. There are tons of books for kids on this, so hopefully you find one that works. Four is a good age for those types of books, I think. Good luck!

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#3 of 12 Old 05-13-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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I don't have any good suggestions, since I'm not there yet (DD is 2) but I am totally expecting something like this at some point.

I think the book suggestions are great - I'm going to tuck them away for myself. My DD likes the book "Two Homes", which is just very straightforward about Daddy's house and Mommy's house. Do you have any friends with kids who are in blended families? Sometimes pointing out how your family life looks the same as some people and different than some people can help. Just throwing some things out there.

Good luck, mama! Poor kiddo.
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#4 of 12 Old 05-13-2010, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, will definately try and get some of those books.


Im worried abut how best to handle this one, so thanks alot

er, no, We have one friend who has a blended family situation, but he always has accepted it without question, to the best of my knowledge. Maybe though, we could talk to DSD about his situation and how happy he is. Thats good idea too.

Any other advice please just post!
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#5 of 12 Old 05-14-2010, 03:37 PM
 
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Personally, I think it is very confusing for a kid to witness something and understand it correctly... but the adults in their life feel uncomfortable acknowledging it, so the adults give simplistic platitudes to try to make the kid "feel better". What this inadvertently tells the kid is: You can't trust your own impressions and instincts! What seems obvious to you - what you're seeing with your own eyes - is false and some other thing which seems false to you is actually true.

If a little kid must deal with something as difficult as her family breaking up, at least her parents should force themselves to deal with the difficulty, discomfort and awkwardness of discussing it with her for real and not blowing off her concerns.

Her Dad does not love her Mom anymore. At least not in any way that matters, from her perspective. She's 4. When parents love each other, they stay married and raise their kids together. Breaking up the family means they've stopped loving each other, at least the way she wants them to love each other. You know that's true. Her parents know it. She knows it. If you try to convince her otherwise, what are you really saying? Someday she may get married, but even if she and her husband "still love each other", they might spontaneously break up at any time? You insist that her Daddy loves her and always will... but allegedly he still loves her Mommy and he broke up with her and found somebody new. So, could he someday stop wanting to see his daughter and find a different one, even while he "never stops loving her"? The way you're defining love to a 4-year-old makes it sound meaningless. Sure, Daddy loves everybody, but evidently that doesn't insulate anyone against being left by him!

Here's the truth: Daddies and Mommies choose each other. They don't enter the world related to or committed to each other. Now, ideally once they choose each other, they'll always stay together. But just as best friends sometimes drift apart and make new best friends, sometimes Daddies and Mommies stop getting along - and stop loving each other the way they did before - and they break up and make new families. This is sad and hard to get used to, but it does happen sometimes. But parents and kids are different. Even before a kid is born both of their parents love them, are related to them and committed to them - for life. A parent doesn't "date" a bunch of kids and pick one they like the best, such that they might later change their mind. Nothing can ever happen to make you stop being related to your parents - not getting angry, or your parents breaking up, or spending EOW away from each other. Nothing. The little girl hasn't stopped loving or wanting her Daddy, just because he divorced her Mommy. Her Daddy will never stop loving and wanting her, either. Bottom line: His connection to his daughter is stronger than his connection to her mother. That's not how it ought to be. It's better when parents commit to each other just as deeply as they do to their kids. But she needs to know there's a difference between what passes as "love" for her Mommy and what really is love, toward her.

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#6 of 12 Old 05-14-2010, 04:12 PM
 
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Wow, great post and really well said. I think you're right, Jeannine, that by trying to cushion the blow of the breakup by telling the dd that "daddy still loves mommy, but in a different way now" or whatever, the parents might actually be confusing her MORE rather than reassuring her. Great point.

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#7 of 12 Old 05-14-2010, 06:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have to admit, I never actually thought of it that way - ever! has this worked for you?
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#8 of 12 Old 05-14-2010, 11:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zarie View Post
I have to admit, I never actually thought of it that way - ever! has this worked for you?
I'm sorry I sounded so harsh before. I know there's a lot of conventional wisdom out there - and a lot of books by "experts" - that advise telling children in divorce things like "I'll always love your Mommy because she gave me you, but she and I just can't live together anymore". (...Well, if you "love" each other, why not?) Clearly, I emphatically think that approach is nonsense.

I have not had to deal with precisely the same situation/conversation you have to deal with, but:

1- In the early years of my split with my ex, he was... less than stellar about showing up for visitation. Our young twins were (are) mildly Autistic, so unexpected variances from routine upset them. We did have some conversations in which I acknowledged their feelings and frustrations with something akin to, "No, it's not very loving behavior, for your Dad to not show up. Even adults make mistakes and handle things wrong sometimes. Let's enjoy being together today and hope that your time with Daddy works out better next week." Certainly, some people would tell you I should've stuck to something like, "You're the most important thing in the world to Daddy! Don't you ever doubt it! Something must have just come up. I'm sure he has a good reason." But what I actually said was true - and it validated thoughts the kids had already expressed on their own. As my ex grew up and has become impeccably reliable and involved, they have adjusted well and never gone through a period of resentment. I think being able to vent to me honestly and not have me tell them their instincts were wrong made that easier.

2- On a larger scale, I have an almost-11-year-old step-son whom I've known since he was 4 and who's lived with us since age 8, due to all the extreme crap his Mom did - from the time he was a baby - to try to exclude his Dad (my husband) from his life. Several times over the years, he has initiated conversations with me about his confusion, frustration or outright anger over things he's been put in the middle of. I know it's important that I not directly criticize his mother, but I have certainly validated his feelings and his very astute (though painful) observations. I've said things such as, "Yes, I think it's terrible when one parent moves their child across the country from his other parent. It's awful for a kid to have to miss one parent or the other, all the time." Some would say I ought to keep up his mother's party line and say, "There's nothing wrong with parents living so far apart. It's a big adventure, to get to fly across the country for visits. And you can always stay in touch over the phone!" or "You are always your Mom's first priority. She just did what she thought was best for you." But those things aren't true - and he said it first. I really think he has adjusted so well to living away from his mother - and accepting me - because I don't lie to him, to try to make things sound pretty when they're not. I could go on and on with examples about him, but you get the picture.

Good luck. I know the position you're in isn't easy.

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:  partners.gif  orfencing.gif... twin sons:lurk.giflurk.gif(HS juniors) ... step-son: guitar.gif (a freshman) ... our little man: kid.gif  (a kindergartener) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  ourdog2.gif. 
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#9 of 12 Old 05-15-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Zarie View Post
I have to admit, I never actually thought of it that way - ever! has this worked for you?
I agree that redefining love would be confusing here. DH and I are big on role modeling a very strong and exclusive marriage, (I mean, their biological parents couldn't do this, so someone needs to), and there is no room in that for me or him to casually speak of "loving" our exes. We don't pretend that much. We both do pretend to like their mom, so we don't risk making them uncomfortable, but that's as far as we'll go.

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#10 of 12 Old 05-15-2010, 10:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by violet_ View Post
I agree that redefining love would be confusing here. DH and I are big on role modeling a very strong and exclusive marriage, (I mean, their biological parents couldn't do this, so someone needs to), and there is no room in that for me or him to casually speak of "loving" our exes. We don't pretend that much. We both do pretend to like their mom, so we don't risk making them uncomfortable, but that's as far as we'll go.
Thanks Jeannine and Violet! I really appreciate your advice!

I guess the problem lies here in that we are now all friends and actually do share love for each other - in a different way! I completely understand and very much agree with you Jeannine in that children dont understand that as much as we would like them to so I think youre right in not necessarily avoiding that altogether, but removing it as the focus of what we are explaining.

sometimes I wonder if perhaps its something just best left for the childs understanding in their own time? That placing too much attention on it makes the child even MORE aware of the situation and the reaction it gets? Ugh, I dont know lol!!!!!! So confused as to how to help this one because fortunately the honest truth is that both mum and dad have never let the kids down. Ever. With the exception perhaps of the break up itself, but personally I think its healthier for the kids now even though theyre confused=/

Does that make sense at all? Sorry if im sounding unresponsive and argumentative, its not the case at all, im just ... confused as to how best to help DSD.
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#11 of 12 Old 05-16-2010, 09:43 PM
 
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Zarie, it's easy for kids of any age to see when there is a rapport between adults. She doesn't need that explained to her. She is insecure about her family breaking up and worried that her Dad could break up with her, too. I'd say that is a pretty important thing to address and set her straight on, not wait for her to realize on her own that it's a silly fear. Who knows how old she'll be, when she figures that out? Besides, it's not a natural, developmental thing for a kid to puzzle through. If she were anxious about something all kids eventually wonder about - say, whether there's an afterlife for her dead cat - then sure, feed her a simple response, change the subject and let her puzzle out her own truth in her own, private quiet moments. But not with this. She needs help to understand.

One woman in a house full of men:  my soul mate:  partners.gif  orfencing.gif... twin sons:lurk.giflurk.gif(HS juniors) ... step-son: guitar.gif (a freshman) ... our little man: kid.gif  (a kindergartener) ... and there is another female in the house, after all:  ourdog2.gif. 
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#12 of 12 Old 06-01-2010, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah youre right! Thanks Jeannine!
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