How much "independence" is appropriate to encourage in a 3 year old? - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-20-2012, 08:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am just sick. I have a child born out of wedlock and we share custody. He has her in preschool 2 days a week and she is currently spending Tue, Thurs, and Friday overnight till Saturday afternoon with him. 

 

We only started the Tuesday overnight in November and the Thursday in February when I was extremely ill.

 

I picked her up at 9 this  morning and dropped her off at 6:30 this evening and she was extremely clingy. She wants us to be together.  We did all our visiting together for almost the first 2 years, Now, it is about 2 hours a month of shared parenting time. I feel like it should be a lot more.  My older children with my ex-husband enjoyed a lot of "family time" from the time of the divorce when they were 3 and 4 till they got a stepmother when they were 9 and 10.

 

She is very strong and independent, but at a degree which is appropriate for her age. She just turned 3 1/2.  I do not believe it is good to do what it seems the majority of people do and put their children in the care of strangers from a very early age. I personally believe that part of the reason people delay marriage and childbirth  and divorce so much lately is because they find it harder to form appropriate attachments as adults because so many of them were not encouraged to form secure attachments as children.  I really think the "cry it out philosophy" and the "public orphanages" are destructive to the fabric of our society. I am all into attachment parenting.

 

How can I win this man to my way of thinking? He is a 40 year old commitmentphobe who is a first time parent.

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Old 04-20-2012, 08:41 PM
 
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What exactly are you asking?  Your title and your post don't really have much to do with each other.
 

Your LO is probably confused as to where she is going to be - that is kind of an odd visitation schedule. 


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Old 04-20-2012, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am asking is it inappropriate for a 3 1/2 year old to want to be with her mother?

 

Is it inappropriate for a 3 1/2 year old to sleep with her mother? Is it better for a child to sleep alone than with a loved one who is willing and able to co-sleep with her.

 

Should a 3 1/2 year old be encouraged to not form close attachments to other people? 

 

Is there any benefit later in life for a child when they are encouraged to detach from their primary caregivers at an early age?

 

I am very concerned a the long-term effects of separation and neglect on children.  I don't believe we should rush children into independence and self-sufficiency.  There needs to be a balance between independence and intimacy. I really think when children's emotional needs are not met, it sets them up for intimacy issues later in life, like my child's father suffers from. It is so sad to see how tortured his own life is and how he does't see how he is setting his child up for the same intimacy/attachment difficulties. 

 

I know everybody has issues to struggle with. But I don't want my child to have issues that are my creation.

 

I would like some feedback or research on how nurturing close family relationships is a good thing. My little one's father hasn't seen his father or brothers for about 6 years and he went a year without speaking to his sister, who is the one family  member who lives in this area. Our child was unplanned and unwanted. He is glad now that I didn't abort her or give her up for adoption. I am trying to  make the best of a bad situation, but he does not want to sit and share his thoughts and his basis for them  and he does not want to listen to mine. Since we have joint custody, but I am the primary residential parent, I don't think she will be totally ruined, but I really wish we were able to get on the same page, or at least discuss things. He may well have some valid viewpoints that I have not considered. 

 

 

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Old 04-21-2012, 09:56 AM
 
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It's not inappropriate at all!  Is she having a hard time at preschool?  I think it's fairly normal for a child to be clingy with a back-and-forth visitation schedule AND preschool.  Is there a way to group your visitation together?  As in, three days with you, four with him, four with you, three with him?  The every-other day has got to be rough on everyone. 
 


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Old 04-21-2012, 01:10 PM
 
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I don't see what you have posted that the girls father has done to "totally ruin her"? Unless you mean he has decided to use one of his days to put her in a " public orphanage" - by which I guess you mean a day care? 

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Old 04-21-2012, 02:28 PM
 
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It's definitely appropriate for a 3 1/2 year old to want to be with her mom, to sleep with her parents. It's definitely inappropriate to encourage a child not to form close attachments to other people. However, if a child has a healthy attachment to her parents, it's nice, but not crucial to have a relationship with extended family. It's more important to model healthy relationships. You also don't say why your ex hasn't seen his family, but if they're dysfunctional, it might be healthier for there not to be a relationship.

 

I'm not sure how your daughter's father is encouraging her to detach from her primary care giver. He is also a caregiver. How is sending her to preschool 2 days a week "neglecting" her?

 

I think  you're also confusing attachment with physical presence. It's entirely possible to be an attached parent whose children goes to preschool. As a parent who needs to work for our family's financial and physical well being, and also for my own mental health, I'm highly offended about your comments about neglect and orphanages. Really? If those are the terms you're talking to your daughter's father in, you're not ever going to find common ground. Our kids were in part time daycare from age 2. I can guarantee you that at ages 7 and 10 (and nearly 8 and 11), that they are happy, healthy, well attached kids who choose to spend time with their family. They're emotionally healthy with strong relationships to us. They're able to talk about their emotions, acknowledge their wrong-doings. They have good relationships to our extended family. We don't see our extended family that often because they live 1500 miles away. But, they are perfectly well able to form relationships.

 

I'm afraid there is no research showing that AP is better for children in the long run. There's some evidence that having a child long hours in poor quality day care is not great, but I haven't seen any evidence that it leads to emotional dysfunction as an adult. But if your daughter is in a good quality preschool 2x a week, there's very little risk. What does seem to matter is having a loving, respectful relationship with your primary care givers. That loving, respectful relationship can take many forms.

 

It sounds to me like you're very emotionally upset over having to share custody. I would recommend counseling for you so that you can learn to communicate your needs and communicate effectively about your daughter. I'm sure your daughter's father has his flaws, but if you know that you are communicating as effectively as you can, it will be easier for you. You might also consider posting over in the Single Parenting forum, as I'm pretty sure most of the parents there have experience with shared custody when it's difficult. Just remember that most of those parents have to work and you're not going to win any friends by calling daycare "public orphanages."


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Old 04-21-2012, 05:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariesMama View Post

It's not inappropriate at all!  Is she having a hard time at preschool?  I think it's fairly normal for a child to be clingy with a back-and-forth visitation schedule AND preschool.  Is there a way to group your visitation together?  As in, three days with you, four with him, four with you, three with him?  The every-other day has got to be rough on everyone. 
 


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Your city/court system may offer some type of counseling/mediation for parents in custody situations. Though I don't think you'll get anywhere saying that having a 3.5yo in preschool two days a week is a horrible thing, you could probably argue that she has had a lot of upheaval and adding another "some days" activity in with the custody situation seems to be distressing her. Children this age sometimes do better with having the "same" everyday than every other day; so having "blocks" of custody days, and having 5 days of part-time pre-school instead of two dispersed days a week, might help.


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Old 04-22-2012, 03:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Neither of us wants to go too many days without seeing her.  I haven't been more than 2 days without seeing her, and it was probably not more than 36 hours. We live 20 miles apart. He works from his home. Her school is about 8 miles from my house. She always would prefer to stay with me rather than go to preschool. I only agreed for her to go to preschool because I am having a hard time keeping up with housework when she is here. I feel like she should not have to leave me unless I am in the hospital, or something. I think I should be able to stay with her when she visits with her father.  This is so totally different than the way I did things with my ex husband when my 2 older kids were this age.  I feel like my older children had it better. 

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Old 04-22-2012, 03:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, don't mean to offend anyone....we are all different and I think we should all be able to share our feelings. 

What is good for one family isn't necessarily what is good for another.  Mine situation isn't what I ever wanted for any of my children. I worked in child care for 14  years. Few of the kids seemed unhappy or to have emotional problems.  




Bottom line....I want as close and secure of a relationship I can have with my daughter.  I am so very glad she has a father who is so devoted to her.

 

I have been especially emotional lately and have had a lot of stress and I am kind of panicking.  I have been in therapy for about a year and a half to try to deal with this relationship. It is so incredibly stressful for me. 

 

I think my main fear is that he is "priming" her for a 30 day trip to Turkey to see his family. I told him I want her to go, but not without me.  I wouldn't want to be separated from even my teenagers for a month and I know he would not want me to keep him away from her for a month. He says he won't take her if I don't want him to, but I am not so sure.  I am pretty sure a judge would let him take her without me even if I didn't want him to.

 

My daughter always tells me "I missed you so much" after being apart from me for only 26 hours. Almost EVERY TIME. I hate leaving her for long.  I don't mind a 2 or 3 hour break and I am always glad for her to play independently and with other kids and I definitely am glad she enjoys her time with her father. I don't sit and hold her all day long. We do stuff together and I like to share in her day and in her life. I don't want her to be forced to be away from me.

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Old 04-22-2012, 04:43 PM
 
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Quote:

I think my main fear is that he is "priming" her for a 30 day trip to Turkey to see his family. I told him I want her to go, but not without me.  I wouldn't want to be separated from even my teenagers for a month and I know he would not want me to keep him away from her for a month. He says he won't take her if I don't want him to, but I am not so sure.  I am pretty sure a judge would let him take her without me even if I didn't want him to.

 

 

I would definitely post in the single parenting forum.  In my state, you cannot leave the state with the child unless both parents have agreed that it is ok.  I don't know if that is the law in your state or not, but the parents over would probably have info on how to find out.

 

edit:Ah, never mind, I see from your past posts you've already done this.


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