XH Wants to Change the Parenting Schedule to Help DD's Clinginess - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 09-13-2011, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I had this in SP but I'm not getting much feedback there so I thought I would cross post here.

 

DD is 3 and XH and I both have 50/50 custody. Originally dd had been trading off between us everyday so she saw us both everyday. We felt the switching of beds, routine, etc. was better for her than not seeing the other parent frequently.

 

A few months ago we started changing the schedule to EOW when before we were splitting the weekend. Initially she was fine but the last few weeks DD has been very clingy with the parent she is leaving on the weekend exchanges (all the others are done between school). This is when DD spends 2-3 days in a row with the same parent. DD had mentioned missing seeing her parents at the same time.

 

XH wants to alter the schedule so that DD is with one parent M/T/F/S/Sun the other W/TH. Then we would switch.At a minimum I would propose back M/T/S/S and W/TH/F so that it's more even. He thinks the consistency will help DD. Me I'm not so sure.

 

I was hoping to get feedback from the mamas here on two things:

1. Ideas on what may be sparking her clinginess and changes we can make to help her. Should it be through the schedule? Start calls with the other parent? Etc.

 

2. Feedback on an alternating schedule. Up until now I knew certain days of the week I could block off for a hobby, class, work, etc. I have concerns about being to keep this straight and being able to commit to things without looking at a calendar.

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#2 of 9 Old 09-18-2011, 04:02 PM
 
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My dd started going back and forth when she was 3.... and she was clingy, but only to me.  at that time she went two non-consecutive nights and they were set.  At 6 she started going 2 consecutive nights.  She is now 10 and still struggles with going there.  I really wish that her dad and I could've worked together more or been more creative to help her through it.  Had we helped her then I do not think she would be dealing with some of the grief and rigidity that she is today.

 

Given my own experience I strongly encourage you to figure out what the cause is and be creative to a solution that works for her.  In my case, her dad was never willing to change is based on what "she said" or " her behavior" because he thought that would be giving her too much power (which he also thought she would then manipulate). I always thought there was a way to hear what she is saying (and what her behavior is telling us) without having her be in charge.

 

I do think that is works best to have a clear set schedule.  It helps adults with planning and really helps kids with predictability.

 

The things we were advised to do to help with separation issues were: make photo albums to go back and forth, have a clothing item to snuggle/sleep with, ensure she is getting enough sleep, make a visual schedule that is age appropriate, have some things in her routine stay the same (like a cd at bedtime), and support her positive feelings about the other parent/home.

 

I may be biased given the child I have and the ex I've been dealing with, but I think that a lot of kids (especially only kids) do well with having one stable home.  I think kids that have sibling have it much easier going back and forth because they have each other to share in the experience with.  I also do not think that I would've been comfortable with week on/week off at 3.  I do think the relationship with the other parent should be supported, but there are a lot if ways to do that without we/wo schedules.

 

If you have to divide the time 50/50 maybe you could each do half the week; it's clearer and easier to follow without such long stretches.

 

 


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#3 of 9 Old 09-19-2011, 08:28 AM
 
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I don't know if there is a way around clinginess. Dss has always lived with dh, but when he went with mom, he'd cry. When he came back to dad, he'd cry. It's just sad to miss one parent every day! I do think kids are pretty flexible. A lot of people say that kids need one stable home with visitation at the other (I believed that at one point), but kids are different, and many do fine with having two houses. I do think it gets more complicated when mom or dad have more kids, though, and those kids stay at that house.

 

I didn't see anywhere that you mentioned week on/week off-- did I miss that? It sounds like you have more of an everyother day schedule, but you have been having her stay with one parent for the whole weekend, alternating that?

 

I don't have any great suggestions. I know a lot of people chunk the week like Sun-Wed Wed-Sat, or something because a lot of people find the back and forth difficult. Since you seem to get along well, maybe you could work that out. Less transition could be easier on her (though she'd miss the other parent). Maybe you could do a dinner or park date when she is with the other parent for 2 or more days. Or, maybe just work on helping her through her clinginess.

 

I think it is awesome that you two have worked so hard to make sure she won't miss a parent, but I just don't know if it is possible. Maybe your job is to help her deal with the feelings knowing that she will see the othe parent soon.

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#4 of 9 Old 09-19-2011, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the suggestions so far. I'll have to talk with XH about some of them.

 

I think chunking the week will be too hard for her at this age. Maybe we'll have to try two days at a house instead of ever other day (except weekends). I notice on the weekends after two days is when she seems to really miss the other parent.

 

I guess I was looking for some insight into stability in the schedule versus parenting time. I think she's more attached to me but both of has have been very involved in her life.

 

Also what some schedules have felt good or bad for the parents involved and why.

 

 

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#5 of 9 Old 09-20-2011, 03:55 PM
 
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We did two days at each house, then alternate weekends with a visit on the parent's off weekend. So she was with us every Monday Tuesday, with mom every Wed Thurs, then alternated Fri Sat Sun between mom and dad. That gives her 5 consecutive days with a parent sometimes, so in the middle of that 5 days the other parent would have a 4-ish hour visit. So on Mom's weekends she was with mom Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun, but we would take her out for a few hours those Friday mornings. When it was our weekend she would be with us Fri Sat Sun Mon Tues and mom would take her out (usually to the park and dinner or something) for a few hours Sunday afternoon. (I hope that made some kind of sense... it looks logical on a calendar :)

 

It made the schedule pretty predictable for the adults (we could sign her up for a gymnastics/art/swim class on Monday or Tuesday or on Friday morning because she was always with us). We did have to count weekends when planning something, but I just wrote it on the calendar for the whole year. 

 

It also made it easy to schedule a short trip or something for 5 days because it only required the other parent agreeing to give up their mid-weekend visit. That was pretty nice to not have to rearrange the whole schedule to go on a trip. 

 

We did have to do some rearranging around holidays, but it was usually pretty easy to figure out. We allowed longer uninterrupted stretches for some holidays, which alternated each year, and we always found a way to split her birthday and alternate some other specific holidays, but in a lot of cases (like Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, etc) we let things fall where they fell in the schedule and it always seemed to work out okay.

 

One thing we did to help her with the back and forth was to establish some really predictable transition routines. For example, the night before she went to mom's, I laid out the clothes she arrived from mom's in, which was a cue to her that the switch was happening the next morning. (It seemed to help to have something that didn't involve a discussion about it... telling her she would see mom the next day often led to her getting upset or getting clingy) Both parents let her know on the phone the night before what she would be doing during the visit or the first day of their parenting time so that she had something to look forward to (like we'd remind her she would have gymnastics, or mom would tell her that they were going to be baking muffins). And finally we each had a routine on pick-up mornings that we tried to keep consistent, like we always picked her up, ate breakfast at the bagel place, dropped me at work, then they went home to play.

 

One other little thing that seemed to help was that my husband and his ex agreed to let her walk from one parent to the other rather than holding her and "handing her off" to the other. The "hand off" seemed to make her cling to the parent she was leaving more, but letting her walk allowed her to run and hug the receiving parent, come back to the other parent, then make her move when she felt ready. The adults just chatted with her or shared something interesting about her time with them or whatever. It seems like a little thing, but it actually made a BIG difference to allow her to physically make the switch on her own.  

 

We had a notebook and a bag of things that went back and forth (it was just the notebook, a stuffed animal or doll, a photo book with all her family in it, and occasionally something that needed to go to the other house) so she had some comfort items that were connected to both houses (the photo book was and still is big for her), and the parents didn't need to spend pick-up/drop-off communicating when she last had a bath, what she ate, or other info, they could just concentrate on helping her make a smooth transition.

 

Hope that was helpful, even if you have a different schedule in mind... we spent a lot of time tinkering trying to make it work for her the best way possible.


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#6 of 9 Old 09-20-2011, 05:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aricha View Post

 

One other little thing that seemed to help was that my husband and his ex agreed to let her walk from one parent to the other rather than holding her and "handing her off" to the other. The "hand off" seemed to make her cling to the parent she was leaving more, but letting her walk allowed her to run and hug the receiving parent, come back to the other parent, then make her move when she felt ready. The adults just chatted with her or shared something interesting about her time with them or whatever. It seems like a little thing, but it actually made a BIG difference to allow her to physically make the switch on her own.  


 

We do not do a 50/50 parenting schedule at all, and never will, but this really does help!  I hold ds's hand while we wait for his dad to get out of his car (he picks ds up for his parenting time at my apartment, so its by a busy-ish street - hand holding is necessary), and then once ds's dad is out of his car and on the side walk, I tell him to go for it.  Then, just b/c its now our routine, when ds's dad brings him back, they pull up in the car, and I open ds's door and take him out of his car seat for a big hug, and then he always gives his dad a goodbye hug and kiss.

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#7 of 9 Old 09-20-2011, 11:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by aricha View Post

We did two days at each house, then alternate weekends with a visit on the parent's off weekend. So she was with us every Monday Tuesday, with mom every Wed Thurs, then alternated Fri Sat Sun between mom and dad. That gives her 5 consecutive days with a parent sometimes, so in the middle of that 5 days the other parent would have a 4-ish hour visit. So on Mom's weekends she was with mom Wed Thurs Fri Sat Sun, but we would take her out for a few hours those Friday mornings. When it was our weekend she would be with us Fri Sat Sun Mon Tues and mom would take her out (usually to the park and dinner or something) for a few hours Sunday afternoon. (I hope that made some kind of sense... it looks logical on a calendar :)

 

It made the schedule pretty predictable for the adults (we could sign her up for a gymnastics/art/swim class on Monday or Tuesday or on Friday morning because she was always with us). We did have to count weekends when planning something, but I just wrote it on the calendar for the whole year. 

 

It also made it easy to schedule a short trip or something for 5 days because it only required the other parent agreeing to give up their mid-weekend visit. That was pretty nice to not have to rearrange the whole schedule to go on a trip. 

 


this is pretty much the schedule DP and his XW have. the alternating weekend is great and its pretty easy to plan around. this sched seems to work fine for DSD (she is very tough and adaptable though). she seems to be more clingy with her mom, just from observing them together, but she can be here for 5 days without complaining about not seeing her. as far as i know, this has been the schedule for quite some time and DSD is almost 4 now.

 

im thinking back now and remember her being very whiny about wanting her mom when she was more like 3 years old, but she also was routinely sleep deprived at that time, having given up naps and was whiny about anything and everything. 


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#8 of 9 Old 09-21-2011, 09:39 AM
 
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DSD is on Sun/Mon/Tues with her mom, Wed/Thurs/Fri with us, and alternating Saturdays. She has had this schedule since they divorced, when she was 3.5 The only thing we don't like about it is that DSD's mom gets one guaranteed full day with her per week and two every other... we only get one every other week. If DH had it to do over again, he would have pushed for Wednesdays to alternate probably, but at the time, DH and his ex were both servers  and DSD was not yet in school, so they each had a ton of time with her. DSD is happy with this schedule and it doesn't cause us any problems, so DH has decided not to try to rearrange things at this point.

 

While she loves both parents very much (and now me as well!), she has not ever expressed much need for the parent she is not with. She did tell me once that she misses her mom when she is with us, and misses us when she is with her mom. I pretty much just said I know that it sucks, because I grew up in two houses, too. She was pretty happy that I understood, but has never brought it up again. She never asks to call the other parent, and so pretty much goes no-contact for 3-4 days a week, and has since she was 3.5.


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#9 of 9 Old 09-30-2011, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone for the ideas. XH and I are starting the new schedule next week.

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