I could really use some advice - Mothering Forums
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 14 Old 02-04-2013, 10:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
SamiPolizzi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 519
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I'm sure this is the right forum to post this in, but I'm going to go for it...

 

I had my son (who is almost 4) as a single mom. His bio dad met him once and then we never saw him again (which was totally fine with me.) My partner and I started dating when DS was about 16 months old and he moved in with us several months after that. As far as I can assume, my DS can't even remember a time when he wasn't around. They have always gotten along great together, but my DS has always preferred me in general. Slowly over time it's gotten to the point where he absolutely insists that I do EVERYTHING for him and he'll throw a huge fit if I don't. And by everything, I mean make his food, get him dressed, go potty with him, watch him in the bath, get him in and out of the car, etc. The only things there are some leeway on are fun things, like playing and reading books and stuff. Anything else you could possibly need to do for/with a child absolutely must be done by me or it's the end of the world. I'm 33 weeks pregnant and at this point it's not even possible for me to do everything for him. Especially when he's tired and wants to be carried. I really have no idea what I can do to change the situation and it's becoming more and more difficult all the time. At the same time DS has gotten very interested in dads all the sudden. f the subject ever came up in the past he would say something like "I don't have a dad." (Not in a sad or angry way, more like he was just stating a fact.) But he recently started experimenting with calling DP his dad. It started out really indirectly, like once he said "If you need help with that, you can ask my dad." And I asked who that was and he said "The guy in the striped shirt" (which DP was wearing at the time.) He said things like that a couple more times and then he finally just ran into the kitchen one day and said "Look at this, mom and dad!" (Which also struck me as kind of odd because he usually calls me mama.) Anyway, what I'm getting at it is that he seems to be starting to accept DP as his dad (which I am super happy about!) but at the same time, he's still  not letting DP take care of him in a lot of ways. 

So... is there anything I can do to help this situation? Or should I just be happy that things in general are improving and assume it'll all work itself out eventually? It's really hard for me to imagine taking care of DS and a newborn if things continue the way they are. DP is a great dad and he really wants to help more and make things easier for me, but there's not a lot he can do when DS refuses to let him. Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated. TIA.


Single Mama to Vincent 3/30/09
SamiPolizzi is offline  
#2 of 14 Old 02-05-2013, 12:59 AM
 
mtiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,377
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Does he understand that your partner is not actually his bio-Dad?
 

mtiger is offline  
#3 of 14 Old 02-05-2013, 01:55 AM
 
stormborn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Posts: 2,689
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
It might not have anything to do with him not being the bio Dad...he might just be 4 wink1.gif My girls were/are like that at 3-4, even though DH is their bio and the only Dad they've ever had! We work seperate shifts so he's the primary parent on duty half the time but the youngest will seriously search the whole house for me instead of asking him for help even if he's RIGHT THERE doing nothing! I assume when dh is the only choice he can help but Mama is always first choice.

You little guy is adorable!
stormborn is offline  
#4 of 14 Old 02-05-2013, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
SamiPolizzi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 519
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I assume he's aware that DP is not his bio dad, but I have no idea how to explain the difference between a biological father and the person who is actually in your life raising you. 

 

It's nice to know this kind of thing is normal. :) I've been wondering if that's the case. I know my nephew also has a strong preference for his mama even though his dad has been there taking care of him since day one. 
 


Single Mama to Vincent 3/30/09
SamiPolizzi is offline  
#5 of 14 Old 02-05-2013, 01:22 PM
 
aricha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Vermont
Posts: 1,166
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I don't think it is a bio-/non-bio issue but rather a parenting thing. I have friends who are in a similar situation-- mom "has to" do a lot of the caretaking jobs because the kids will refuse dad's help. But I've always seen that the kids are given that option, and maybe even the subtle (and self-reinforcing) message that mom knows what she's doing more than dad. I am wondering if you have unintentionally given him the message that you "should" be the one doing parenting things because you are his parent and your partner is not? Or maybe you are simply more likely to do something because you feel like you should honor his preference for his "real parent" caring for him?

In our house the kids might have a preference for one or the other of us at some given moment, but they don't always get that choice. If a child asked for me to carry him and I was 33 weeks pregnant, I would probably say, "I can't carry you because it hurts my back, but you can ask Papa." I don't ever feel like I *should* be the one to do it because we are both their biological parents and we both share equally in their care whether they like it or not. It's easy to be matter-of-fact because there is nothing else tied up in it. I think that message comes across. They believe me that the choice really and truly is "Papa can carry you or you can walk." 

 

There are plenty of times they aren't happy about something (like taking a bath) but because my husband and I share the parenting, when my 3-yr-old has a meltdown because he doesn't want Papa to give him a bath, I don't feel any need to be the one to do it to appease him. Papa is as capable of doing it as I am and I'm not always available to be the one to meet his needs. That's not to say we never honor their requests-- if there's not a compelling reason not to, I might agree to be the one to do something. But if I can't, we're pretty matter-of-fact about it. "I know you wanted Mama to give you a bath. Mama is making dinner and I'm going to do your bath tonight."

I started step-parenting my step-daughter when she was 1 and she doesn't remember it any other way. She did go through phases of preferring her dad do things for her. But the pendulum swings in the other direction, too, and she sometimes wants me instead. Especially as she gets older and wants a same-gender parent to talk to about things. 

choli likes this.

Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
aricha is offline  
#6 of 14 Old 02-05-2013, 01:55 PM
 
babymommy2's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 406
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I am not a step parent, but just wanted to say that I don't think this has anything to do with having a step dad. My kids have done the same thing and there is no step dad. I remember being pregant with my sencond when first was just 2. I just could not carry him up and down the stairs anymore and I knew he was not going to be able to do everything for him soon, anyways. I would say it is best to start making some of those changes now, so It doesnt' seem as though it is the baby causing the changes. I would tell him he was a big boy and too heavy and he could hold my hand on teh stairs but no more carrying, at first there \are some tantrums, and crying, refusing to go down or up the stairs, but if you stick to it and dont' cave he will get the new order really quick.I dont know how you are managing to carry am almost 4 year old when that pregnant! you must be tired!

babymommy2 is offline  
#7 of 14 Old 02-05-2013, 03:31 PM
 
scruffy too's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Yukon, Canada
Posts: 692
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by stormborn View Post

It might not have anything to do with him not being the bio Dad...he might just be 4 wink1.gif My girls were/are like that at 3-4, even though DH is their bio and the only Dad they've ever had! We work seperate shifts so he's the primary parent on duty half the time but the youngest will seriously search the whole house for me instead of asking him for help even if he's RIGHT THERE doing nothing! I assume when dh is the only choice he can help but Mama is always first choice.

You little guy is adorable!

I've underlined what I agree with most in the above quote.

 

I'm a step-mom and DSS (who's 7) will still ask me to do things for him (like get the heavy milk from the top shelf of the fridge) even when his dad's in the kitchen and I'm on the couch.  I think they quickly pick up on who meets their needs the majority of the time and get in the habit of utilizing that person. 

 

If your DS is hungry, and you're too tired to cook and your DP isn't, tantrum or not, he'll probably accept the food from DP eventually.


hang.gif knit.gif chicken3.gif treehugger.gif Kristin, partner to eat.gif Ron who came with DSS7 kid.gif

heartbeat.gifOur first arrived March 2013!! nocirc.gif

 

scruffy too is offline  
#8 of 14 Old 02-05-2013, 03:45 PM
 
mtiger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,377
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My point in asking whether kiddo knows your partner is not his bio-father is this... His father could come back into his life at any point. He might not, but if he does, he WILL get time with his son (although there will be a graduated schedule to allow them to become acquainted). If he does not know that this is not actually his father, that realization could be extremely upsetting to him.

 

Just something to consider.
 

mtiger is offline  
#9 of 14 Old 02-05-2013, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
SamiPolizzi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 519
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Thanks everyone!

 

For the record, I do refuse to carry him most of the time. I usually tell him he can either walk and hold my hand or he can ask DP to carry him. Sometimes he'll settle for DP carrying him, sometimes he'll walk while whining and crying the whole time, and other times he'll just refuse to walk and DP will carry him kicking and screaming. :/

 

I think a lot of the time I try to honor his demands because I'm afraid that if we force him to have help from DP that he doesn't want, then he'll want it even less in the future. I think in a lot of cases we end up making DP seem like the bad guy. For example, if I can't get him to cooperate with something like getting in his car seat, I'll tell him that if he doesn't do it it himself I'm going to have DP put him in it. Just because the reality is that I physically cannot force him into the seat, but DP can. But that could very easily be interpreted as a threat. I don't want DP doing something for him to be a threat, but it ends up seeming that way a lot of the time and I'm afraid it's making things worse. But I just don't know how else to handle that type of situation. 


Single Mama to Vincent 3/30/09
SamiPolizzi is offline  
#10 of 14 Old 02-05-2013, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
SamiPolizzi's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 519
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

My point in asking whether kiddo knows your partner is not his bio-father is this... His father could come back into his life at any point. He might not, but if he does, he WILL get time with his son (although there will be a graduated schedule to allow them to become acquainted). If he does not know that this is not actually his father, that realization could be extremely upsetting to him.

 

Just something to consider.
 

It's not like I want him to think that DP is his actual dad. I think he understands that he's his dad in some ways, but not in other ways. And I think that's the most I can expect from him at this age. When he's old enough to get it, I'll explain that DP is his dad in every way except biologically. 


Single Mama to Vincent 3/30/09
SamiPolizzi is offline  
#11 of 14 Old 02-06-2013, 10:40 AM
 
singin'intherain's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 877
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

Four seems to be the hardest age! Every difficult behavior a kid has seems to be magnified for  while at that age.

 

I really think this preference for you is just a kid thing, but for the adults in the house, it carries an extra meaning. Are the two of you on the same page around dp's role in your son's life? I'm in a step family, and believe me, I know how complicated that can be. Even when both parents are biological, it can be really hard to sort out who has how much authority! Maybe having a talk about the idea that for all practical purposes, dp is your son's dad, would help you figure out how to handle the preference thing.

 

If you haven't seen biodad in more than a year, and you don't hold out much hope for him showing up in a meaningful way, you might want to consider trying to have dp adopt your son. It can be a pain, but it would clarify things. My ex adopted my oldest dd, and it sealed up what might have been some cracks in our family, between "his and mine" and "just mine".


Mama to: Asterbanana.gif ,          Augustblueman.gif,              Emmett:nut.gif,              Ruthie: kiss.gif
 
 
Step mom to Malakiesuperhero.gif, Cameron af.gif, and Aurelia partytime.gif
singin'intherain is offline  
#12 of 14 Old 02-07-2013, 01:46 PM
 
aricha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Vermont
Posts: 1,166
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by SamiPolizzi View Post

 I think in a lot of cases we end up making DP seem like the bad guy. For example, if I can't get him to cooperate with something like getting in his car seat, I'll tell him that if he doesn't do it it himself I'm going to have DP put him in it. Just because the reality is that I physically cannot force him into the seat, but DP can. But that could very easily be interpreted as a threat. I don't want DP doing something for him to be a threat, but it ends up seeming that way a lot of the time and I'm afraid it's making things worse. But I just don't know how else to handle that type of situation. 

 

Maybe if you are just more up-front about why you can't do it. We always used to change my son on our (fairly high) bed. When I was pregnant he started crawling away from me when I put him up on the bed and I couldn't physically reach him. I told him, "I can't reach you to change your diaper. Can you come back, or should Papa help you?" For a while I had my husband just do the diaper changes so I could avoid the whole issue. I don't think my son heard it as a threat any more than he does when I say I can't reach something in the closet and I need my husband to get it.

 

That said, I would look for a different way to handle the carseat altogether because forcing him into it isn't going to be positive for anyone... My husband's technique is to use humor or a challenge, which works almost every time.  He either engages our toddler in something fun so he doesn't even notice getting in the carseat, or he does something like, "Oh, no! The rocket is about to blast off! Quick, quick, get buckled in your space pod!" and he hops right in. Maybe something like that would work for your son. Humor, challenge, and choices are the only way I get my strong-willed daughter to do anything that isn't her idea or that doesn't directly benefit her. 


Parenting four little monkeys (11, 8, 6, and 4) with the love of my life. Making it up as I go.
aricha is offline  
#13 of 14 Old 02-07-2013, 02:33 PM
 
kaimarb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: SC/NC
Posts: 11
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

That is definilely an almost 4yo BOY thing. Girls are attached in a different way but boys just have that freudian love for mom. I go through this with my son every day, as well. If your man really wants to be his dad then you should let him be that in all aspects, whether it be affection or discipline. Leave the two of them alone as much as possible and spend some time by yourself. He probably won't cry more than a few minutes. Let your man take control firmly in those stressful situations and tell your son what he is going to do. My husband has to be very clear and in control when dealing with our son. There is no counting or begging him to listen.If you regard your partner as the dad then your son will have the same respect as he grows out of this not so fun stage. The best thing that your partner can offer him in every situation is security, especially when the new baby is here. It will be hard but also a good chance for them to bond. Good luck.


eat.gifteapot2.GIFgoorganic.jpgcrochetsmilie.gifPeace.gifcaffix.gifchicken3.gif

kaimarb is offline  
#14 of 14 Old 02-07-2013, 06:30 PM
 
greenemami's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: PA
Posts: 1,751
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)

I agree with the PP's...both of my kids have often been like this  with their dad (he is their bio dad and we are together).  My 2-year-old flips out if dp tries to take him to the potty, my dd until very recently would absolutely refuse to let him read a bedtime story, etc.  I have always been home with them as a SAHM or WAHM, I homeschool them,etc.  They are just used to me and the way I do things more than dp, plus a lot of kids are just more attached to mama in the early years (not to say they don't love daddy too, I realize this is a gross generalization and not true in all situations :)

 

Point being, I wouldn't go crazy about it just yet.  I was really nervous about having another baby too because dd was SO attached to me and didn't want anyone but me nearly all the time, whether for baths, stories, meals, reading, playing etc.  But she was fine.  In the early weeks, she spent much more time with daddy than usual and it was great for both of them.  I still made sure that I was availble to do things with her as much as possible (I remember sitting up and braiding her hair less than an hour after giving birth because she just wanted me to do it and I didn't want to make her sad, lol!) Sometimes your dp will just have to do whatever he needs to for your son if you can't do it.  Yes, it sucks, and your son will probably be upset, but just try to have dp be matter of fact about it-i.e. yes, I know you want mama to xyz, but I am going to do it tonight and mama can do it next time, etc. 

 

Good luck!


Single mama namaste.gif to dd dust.gifand ds fencing.gif, loving my dsd always reading.gif .
greenemami is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off