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I'm wallowing in guilt right now. My 11 year old daughter was crying in bed saying that I don't give her enough attention. I don't play enough with her. I just drive her to school, feed her and pretend to be her mother <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/guilty.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="guilty"><br><br>
It's true. I don't feel this big connection with her. Something shifted when I met my husband when she was 4. He brought a son into our family as well and it's been hellish as far as step-parenting goes. It's been a constant struggle of loyalty & discipline issues. There's been a lot of stress over the years and in the last 4-5 months, things finally turned a corner. I'm was just beginning to see/hear the truth, literally this weekend after very long chats with DH and we agreed to make some big changes. Then here comes my daughter mirroring it right in my face. I lost my connection with her. DH and I don't have this shared bond over her (or my dss) so she/they kinda get left hanging! To make it worse, their other parents are not involved. So it's just us! It's sad but I can't stay sad, I want to change this.<br><br>
I told DH no more internet from 8am-8pm. We're hiring a mother's helper so I can have free time to spend with the her & dss after school (I'm sure he's feeling the same way too!). I do take her out at least once a month to lunch/dinner but it's not enough! DH is going to make an effort on his part too. I'm trying to focus on all of the things I do do for her....but it's true, our kids won't look back and remember the things we bought them or the places we took them....they'll look back at "those moments together" where they felt loved and seen.<br><br>
I just needed to get this out in some way tangible so I can face this head on! Thanks for listening! Share your thoughts if you feel moved.
 

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I think showing that you hear her words and care about her feelings on this issue will do a lot. She's going to know that when she cried out to you that you responded and changed behavior out of love for her and that memory will stick forever.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
11 can be a really really tough age. it sounds like you are taking a positive first step to changing things. such a hard place for all of you to be.
 

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Good luck!!!!!!
 

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That was about the age where I would start to cry and talk to my mom. I think her body will be changing and growing for a while and she will need to have a different sort of mama for a while. Meaning, what worked when she was 4, is not going to! I think you know that too, I would really try to spend as much time possible talking one on one with her. Maybe cooking meals together, when doing pick up and drop off, let her talk and you listen etc.<br><br>
One thing I am noticing as my kids get older (esp dd1 who is 8 this week) is my parenting style has to change a bit for each of them. While her sister is only 4, she is evolving into an older child who has different needs. Where when dd2 is upset, one of us can scoop her up, give her hugs and kisses and gently talk to her. Or get her a snack for hunger or time for bed. OTH, cannot just scoop up the 8 yr and pat her head kwim?<br><br>
I have noticed there are some days where she is a bit off. So we spend a few minutes or a long while talking out what is on her mind. What starts off as whiney usually ends up her smiling. I dont know if its the talk or just the 150% attention to her concern that is helping but it seems to work. At least until the next time! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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I have noticed there are some days where she is a bit off. So we spend a few minutes or a long while talking out what is on her mind. What starts off as whiney usually ends up her smiling. I dont know if its the talk or just the 150% attention to her concern that is helping but it seems to work. At least until the next time! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"></div>
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Thank you for sharing! I have to say I've tried really hard to stay off the internet as much as possible. The 8am-8pm isn't working but I'm much more aware of how much time I spend on the internet and suddenly I have had time to play! Just random moments of spontaneous play & connection. Right now, DD and I are working on a 500 piece puzzle! I have found I more time for all my kids. I didn't realize the internet was sucking up so much of my time & energy.
 
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