My daughter loves her father more than me. - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 08-23-2007, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My DD will be 2 in October. She lives with me and my DH and her two brothers, but she spends one night with her bio dad each week. Bio dad doesn't have any other kids, and his entire house and backyard are full of toys and stuff for her. From what I've seen, he also lets her do whatever she wants when she's with him. She even acts like a totally different child when he's around, running around like a crazy child and acting very wild and hyper.

Ever since about a month ago, she has been crying when he brings her home or when I go to get her. She clings to him, tries to follow him out the door when he leaves our house, etc. For about an hour or two after he leaves or after I pick her up, she will start crying out of nowhere and say, "My daddy!" I've tried not to let it bother me, but it does. It makes me feel like a failure and like our relationship is suffering (even though it's not). I'm glad she loves her daddy and has fun with him, but I wish she was excited to come home and see me.

Really don't know what I'm trying to accomplish with this post. I guess I just needed to vent. She'll be coming home in about an hour and a half, and I know I'm going to be sad for the rest of the day after she cries for her daddy.
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#2 of 19 Old 08-23-2007, 07:38 PM
 
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*HUGS*
I'm a sm, and trust me, even though DSD used to cry when she was little at drop off time, and even though she asks to spend an extra night here and there, and even though her mom has said that "her attachment with her father is just not healthy", I can bet you two things:

1. Your daughter loves you dearly, and if she saw you only once a week, she'd behave very similarly with you as she does with her dad.

2. Many other moms feel the same way.

I really think that kids behave differently with "the other parent", and appear to love them more, simply because they miss them more; lets face it, it is not easy for 2 y.o. to understand why she sees her dad so rarely.
and as her concept of time is still developing, every time she must be too anxious that she won't be able to see her daddy for too long, and she can't even conceptualize how long is "five days". Also, there is something to be said for a the age when little girls want to marry their daddy, and little boys want to marry their moms.

I'm sure that's all there is too it *hugs*. You are not alone, I'm sure if DSD's bm would visit this board, she'd sign her name under your story.

At the same time, I'll tell you that during teenage years, I can tell that DSD is leaning towards her mom a little bit more, and is looking for a meaningful relationship with a woman. DP and I understand this, and we try not to take it personally to listen to her saying "my mom and I..." a thousand times a day heh

Moms can't be replaced, neither can be dads. And that's that. Don't take it personally, things will work out, I'm sure of it.

New endeavor coming soon...
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
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#3 of 19 Old 08-23-2007, 10:09 PM
 
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I caught this in browsing and don't really belong in this forum but I wanted to give you a and the idea that maybe she cries after you leave her with him or would if he didn't break into the clown routine probably. He's doing some pretty heavy duty distracting after all.

He has all week to get exciting stuff together for her to do to so don't be so hard on yourself. It is similar with grandparents. Kids often like them better as it's all fun and games, but they don't love them more. Especially at 2, she doesn't really know what love is! She'll understand when she has her own kids likely. I really appreciate my mother a LOT more now.
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#4 of 19 Old 08-24-2007, 12:03 AM
 
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Hugs

I think she is probably just releasing the hurt/worry/stress/grief of only being able to see him once a week. Is there any way to increase the amount of visits? I totally agree with Oriole that your dd is too young to conceptualize time & the future. Every time he leaves, she must stress/worry that it will be the last time. It has absolutely nothing to do with your relationship with her at all.

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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#5 of 19 Old 08-24-2007, 12:09 AM
 
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For what it's worth: my dh and I (who live together) see a similar dynamic, and yah ,it can hurt.

The parent who spends less time with the child is the favorite one, in our house. During the school year, when DH is away all day, daddy is number one. This summer, when he's home and I tend to leave the house more, I am the favored one.

Just tonight, Lulu said, after spending the afternoon with her dad: " Mama, I wuv you wery much. i don't wike daddy." In two weeks, when he goes back to school and she's with just me, it'll flip again. dh was hurt by that remark, btw.

so big hugs... hope this helps a little

Kids. I got two of 'em.
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#6 of 19 Old 08-24-2007, 01:16 AM
 
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I am just agreeing with what the others are saying, she must really miss him. DSS use to cry like the world was ending when we took him home. Scream, fight say he hates his mom, He does not hate his mom, loves her a lot but misses seeing us. I know two is young but we always reitterate with DSS that he loves his mom, we love him, his mom loves him and we promised his mom he would come home at whatever the time was. I think Sometimes DSS only loves his mom, sometimes only me, sometimes only DH, Sometimes nobody and nobody loves him. 3.5. Anyway if it is possible to let her dad have more visitation I think she is certainly asking for it it may help her not feel so sad about not seeing him. btw DH and DSS mom only lived together for three days while he was alive. So he has been dealing with this his whole life.

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#7 of 19 Old 08-24-2007, 07:36 AM
 
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My boys did this too, at that age. I think it's an expression of their anger that life is this way, and they can't have all of the people that they love with them all the time.
And OF COURSE you get the tears, not daddy. You're the one who's always there for her and who she trusts enough to be honest with. The relationship you have with her sounds like it's deep and healthy

Helen mum to five and mistress of mess and mayhem, making merry and mischief til the sun goes down.
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#8 of 19 Old 08-24-2007, 10:42 AM
 
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My dsd is like this, too (we are on a 50/50 schedule). Our house has WAY more structure and routine than BM's house, and it can be very confusing to have completely different expectations at the two houses. Right now, BM's house seems like much more fun than our house, because her daddy makes her do terrible things like floss and eat healthy food. DF thinks that she probably won't like him nearly as much as she likes her mom when she is growing up, but once she is an adult and has her own kids, she'll understand.

Also, ITA with what flapjack said.

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#9 of 19 Old 08-24-2007, 07:15 PM
 
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this is so hard. I am still married but my kids don't see their dd all that often. when they do it is all about fun and entertainment. he is totally relaxed (because he isn't totaly burned out by parenting) and has all the patience in the world. it really chaps my hide that I am the who wipes the noses and wipes the butts ad he gets to swoop in and be the fun guy. I try not to let it bother me any more though (but am not always sucessful ) atfer all I get all the sweet moments, all the good night kisses, etc. It will all balance out.

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#10 of 19 Old 08-25-2007, 01:49 PM
 
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Two-years olds don't "love" someone because they have toys, exciting visits and stuff. They are connected to and love the people in their lives that care for them, that keep them safe, that protect them and nurture them.

You know what is important to your child and it's not toys, fun and clowning around. You know the value of being the parent, doing the parenting every day, being the person your daughter trusts and relies on to keep her safe, secure and loved.

Would you really trade in what you have with your child every day for what her biological father gets with her? Why begrudge him that little bit when you are the one that will have a relationship with her as she grows?

Anyway, seeing as she's not even 2 yet. The reason she is crying and carrying on is probably that she is tired and overstimulated from her visit.

The transfer from one parent to the other is more stress than her little baby mind and emotions can deal with. You are the person she can feel safe and relax with, so she let's go of all that stimulation and stress when she knows she is safe with you.

So mama, give yourself a shake and stop feeling sorry for yourself! Just remind youself that you really do get the best part of her life.
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#11 of 19 Old 08-29-2007, 11:16 PM
 
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Anyway, seeing as she's not even 2 yet. The reason she is crying and carrying on is probably that she is tired and overstimulated from her visit.

The transfer from one parent to the other is more stress than her little baby mind and emotions can deal with. You are the person she can feel safe and relax with, so she let's go of all that stimulation and stress when she knows she is safe with you.
I've been where you are. When dd used to return from visits with her dad, the whole day was awful! It's getting better because she is older but she still struggles some with the transition. It's hard on them when they are so little.

Kim, proud CPS mom to Marnie and my 4 legged kids, Jess, Zander, Oliver, Stumpy and Eddie.
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#12 of 19 Old 09-03-2007, 04:51 PM
 
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just lurking here but at around 2 yo my dd1 did the same thing when ever dh would leave for work and her 1 1/2 yo sister is not so verbal yet but is favoring dh when ever he's around lately too. dd1 went through a period of telling me that she loves dh more. Since shes weaned she occationally tells us she loves me more. We tell her thats okay (well I do). so that she doesnt feel guilty about it. what she may be telling you is that she loves you both *differently.* but i know that ache in the pit of the stomach, it can hurt to hear those words.
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#13 of 19 Old 09-15-2007, 03:12 PM
 
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Oh, hon. This is totally typical behavior for a shared-custody child of ANY age. My stepsons are awful to be around after a visit with their mother, and my sister and I were the same way to our mother, after we'd visited with our dad. I wholeheartedly agree with the other posters who have suggested that part of her strong attraction to "daddy time" is that she doesn't get so much of it. Here's another perspective. When we were teenagers, my mother actually broke down crying once, and asked why we showed so much affection to my never-there deadbeat father, and nothing but boredom or contempt for her, who was a constant and loving presence. My sister said, "because we KNOW that YOU love us".

Yeah. I think that no matter the age of the child, or whether the child is emotionally mature enough to understand it, part of the dynamic is that they are insecure about the bond with the noncustodial parent. It's easy to take the steady influence in your life for granted. (And it SUCKS for the "steady influence"...believe me, now that I'm living it from the parents' perspective I can really feel that!) But the person that isn't there everyday? Who you don't get to see? Who doesn't know your favorite bedtime story and tries to make up for it by playing Disneyland Parent? You have to work a lot harder to reassure yourself that there's something there.

I wish I could say it will all settle out, but chances are that this will always be there, to some degree. Just remind yourself that it's NOT you...it's her, trying to make sense of her broken family. You can't fix it, you can only try to comfort her when her disappointment comes crashing down around her, and try not to take it too personally when she lashes out at you and is really just feeling hurt about her dad. ((hug))
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#14 of 19 Old 09-17-2007, 11:19 AM
 
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It sounds like a case of "disneyland dad syndrome", what kid wouldn't want to hang out at a place with cool toys and no rules? When I was younger I rarely saw my own father but when I did there were treats and toys and fun galore, so of course I loved it. I even told my mom once or twice that I'd rather live with him. It was easy to glorify him because he didn't punish me and I could run around like a banshee and still get cookies and candy after. As I grew up I realized all that my mother did for me and I love her dearly for it. It isn't easy to be the sole disciplinarian while the other parent is showering the child with gifts. That only works for so long, kids grow up and realize what is going on.

's to you.

Zen doula-mama to my spirited DS1 (2/03), my CHD (TAPVR) warrior DS2 (6/07) & a gentle baby girl (8/09)
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#15 of 19 Old 09-19-2007, 04:55 PM
 
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Part of it may be also that she KNOWS you love her. You take care of her all the time. She is firmly attached to you. As a child of divorce, it is MUCH harder to feel that same attachment to the parent you DON'T see all the time. And I imagine it would be particularly hard to articulate that at 2. It was hard to for me to articulate at 8, and 12, and 16.

It HURTS to be away from one of your parents who in reality when you are young are the center of your universe. You know the parent you live with is always there, but the one who has a trajectory orbit... you wonder about.

It's lonely being the only XX in a house of XYs.
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#16 of 19 Old 09-23-2007, 07:36 PM
 
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when my step-son was 2 years old he did the same exact thing , at that time we only had 2 overnights a week with him and whenever we brought him back to his moms he would cry and hold onto us and not want to go in !!
It's something kids do this !!!

It's funny how someone suggested the Disney dad syndrome ,, because for us it was the opposite .. His mom had the Disney house/Disney mom and we were the structured house..

There will be this situation when a child sees a parent less then the other or even if the child is extremely tired they with through a fit ..

Kids are smart and if they know it affects you and they can get something out of you ,, they will do it more !!!
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#17 of 19 Old 09-24-2007, 02:43 AM
 
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when my step-son was 2 years old he did the same exact thing , at that time we only had 2 overnights a week with him and whenever we brought him back to his moms he would cry and hold onto us and not want to go in !!
It's something kids do this !!!

It's funny how someone suggested the Disney dad syndrome ,, because for us it was the opposite .. His mom had the Disney house/Disney mom and we were the structured house..

There will be this situation when a child sees a parent less then the other or even if the child is extremely tired they with through a fit ..

Kids are smart and if they know it affects you and they can get something out of you ,, they will do it more !!!
Yup yup!
My daughter did this when she was 4 whenever she would have to go back to her dads house. He's the custodial parent, AND the disneyland dad. My home is the more down to earth one.

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#18 of 19 Old 09-27-2007, 11:28 PM
 
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I know it can hurt. Its great that you can hear her and then get healing for yourself so you can support her in her transitions.
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#19 of 19 Old 09-28-2007, 08:38 PM
 
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My dss are 8 and 10, and while they don't cry about coming back here with their dad (the custodial parent), they talk so much about their time with their mom - mommy's house is better, mommy takes us here, mommy takes us there, mommy doesn't make us do chores, ect. I think it's unfortunately, just the way it goes with kids from split homes. I can only imagine how hard it is on them. You and your daughter will always have a special relationship, one that no amount of toys or candy can buy. Some days you may see it, and some days you won't.

But she loves you. You've got to remember that. And when she's crying, she's just missing her daddy, which is ok. She may cry when she goes to his house missing you!
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