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So this weekend is the donors' weekend. They both got picked up somewhat on time and a few hours later (about 2 hours ago) Alex calls saying that he is uncomfortable over at his mom's. He started this when he left for the 2 weeks, he was calling daily. Well she is there this time and I don't know if it is because he is bored or something is truely wrong. He says he doesn't know when you ask what makes him uncomfortable. Anyway, SH tried to get him to stay and he still wanted to come home so now he is back home. I think it may be in part that she 1)rarely calls him and 2) she is rarely there when he is over. But who knows.
Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this with the child or step child?
WOW!! I am glad that his bio let him come back to your house rather than making him stay through the weekend. My DSD calls me almost daily to tell me that she misses me and never wants to leave when she is hear but haven't had one of them tell me that they were uncomfy at bio's house! GL I hope it all works out.
We go through this w/ my DH's bio-son & this is my personal advice.
First off, don't talk to the child daily, don't call them & if they want to call you, make sure it's in the morning, not before bed, that's a big "no-no". No matter how much they cry to talk to you or what ever (unless they are truly sick, which is a different issue).
Secondly, before the child goes to the house, make sure you don't make it a big deal, like don't say "it's going to be fun, you're going to do this, and they need to see you too, and it's only fair, they miss you" etc. You want to make it like it's literally no big deal. No prepping involved.
Never, ever mention that you will miss them. Don't even suggest that you will miss them. If you say that, the child will automatically feel badly that they are leaving YOU & think that it's a loyalty thing & want to stay home.
A lot of people (like my DH's ex wife) will say "oh your dad misses you, you're going to be safe there, you are going to have fun" then she'll say "I love you, I miss you already"....and then she calls a ton of times it makes things HORRIBLE for him.
As far as sending stuffed animals, personally I don't think its something you should do, some people say "bring a pillow or a luvy for comfort" but unless this is a 2 year old, there is no need for that stuff. The child needs to learn to have special stuff at the other parents house, even their own luvy from their other parents house & feel comfy there, if you send personal stuff w/ the child to make them comfortable, you are sending the message that they are NOT going to be comfortable w/ out the items & that sends the message that you are not comfortable w/ the situation either. KWIM?
That is my personal take on the issue. I deal w/ this w/ both my bio son from my first situation (which is a great transition, I never let him take toys or anything to his dad's house, he has his stuff there & we don't discuss missing each other or anything. I DO tell him "love you, see you Sunday" and that's it). I try not to call too, unless it's a long weekend that he's gone or I have a reason to call. If you call, it sends the message that you don't trust the other parent, hence the child not trusting the situation either.
Now in my DSS' case, he takes his pillow, stuffed animals you name it comes to our house, she gives him a cell phone, calls him, the whole opposite of what I do w/ my bio-son & my ex, and the child is a wreck & crying the whole way here, demanding to talk to her (mother), sneaking calls, it's horrible to the point that we don't even try to have the child stay at our house anymore. It's a waste of energy & honestly, the entire household is upset at the end of the day so we end up taking the child home.
Again, this is from personal experience & I've seen what does work & what does NOT work. You will find what works best for you in your situation but that would be my best advice experiencing it first hand on both ends of the spectrum.
I thought it would be easier to repond this way. You give great advice but this time I am still stuck because it is kind of different circumstances I guess
<div class=\'quotemain\'></span>Secondly, before the child goes to the house, make sure you don't make it a big deal, like don't say "it's going to be fun, you're going to do this, and they need to see you too, and it's only fair, they miss you" etc. You want to make it like it's literally no big deal. No prepping involved.[/b][/quote]
He actually doesn't want to go there at all. Jason kind of made him. His mom said she wanted to see him but doesn't want to make him. She lets him do practically whatever he wants.
<div class=\'quotetop\'>QUOTE</div><div class=\'quotemain\'>Never, ever mention that you will miss them. Don't even suggest that you will miss them. If you say that, the child will automatically feel badly that they are leaving YOU & think that it's a loyalty thing & want to stay home.
A lot of people (like my DH's ex wife) will say "oh your dad misses you, you're going to be safe there, you are going to have fun" then she'll say "I love you, I miss you already"....and then she calls a ton of times it makes things HORRIBLE for him.[/b][/quote]
I do this with both boys all the time. Telling them I will miss them and give them a big hug and kiss. Mainly because what if something happens while they are gone? I want their last memory an I love you one.
<div class=\'quotetop\'>QUOTE</div><div class=\'quotemain\'>As far as sending stuffed animals, personally I don't think its something you should do, some people say "bring a pillow or a luvy for comfort" but unless this is a 2 year old, there is no need for that stuff. The child needs to learn to have special stuff at the other parents house, even their own luvy from their other parents house & feel comfy there, if you send personal stuff w/ the child to make them comfortable, you are sending the message that they are NOT going to be comfortable w/ out the items & that sends the message that you are not comfortable w/ the situation either. KWIM?[/b][/quote]
He takes toys sometimes because he doesn't have anything to play with over there except his baby brothers toys (he is almost 2). And the stuffed animals aren't allowed anymore because they always come back reeking of cigarette smoke. Teddy (his bear) used to belong to his mom and she gave it to him when he was a baby. He loves that thing. We gave him the option to keep it at her house but he wants it here.
My DH is the same way & so is his ex-wife, hence the issue STILL going on after all these years. I guess I can only say is try another route. I know you want to say "I'll miss you" b/c you want to make sure you tell them all those things before they go in the case that "something might" happen. Again, def tell them that you love them, nothing wrong w/ that, I tell my son that too, but I don't get into it, I let him think he's going & he'll be back before he knows it. If I made it a production, he'd be nervous.
As far as the phone call thing, I am "sure" you have vmail, if you don't, you live in NB, Canada w/ my grandparents (LMBO)...allow the child to leave a vmail, you can tell if it's an urgent call vs. a call out of being needy, KWIM? I dunno... I've BTDT, both ends. I see what does work & what doesn't work.
My DSS is the same, he wants nothing to do w/ coming here at our house & it's well known before we even "try" to get him to come over. But that's the thing, he's a child, he doesn't have a right/say in where he goes, or what he does (unless of course there's something bad or illegal happening there). He has to go & visit his other family, period. Sure, he would love to "control" the situation, & from the sounds of it, that happening. His calls, his begging not to go, making him, it's all screaming "attention" & "manipulation".
A child doesn't have the words to articulate that they aren't happy w/ people or how they didn't "choose" any of these situations. But they sure know how to act out or be needy. KWIM? It's all a matter of taking a step-back & evaluating what's REALLY going on. Is it REALLY urgent to talk to the child all the time when they are gone? Not if it upsets them, and until THEY feel safe inside & THEY also feel that you are comfy in the situation (and it's obvious that you are sad when he's gone too), that's the projection that you get in return. It's a cycle that will repeat over & over until you let down some rules.
My DSS is almost 11, he cries, screams, pitches fits, makes up stories about myself & my children to his mother, it's awful. In the end, out entire house is a mess, we're all crying & I can't wait to get the child out of my house. The mother is upset b/c she's wondering what on earth is that bad that her son can't spend time w/ his dad over the house. Meanwhile, every Mon. & Tues. night, my DH has his DS at his mother's house (my MIL), and all is well, no fighting, no crying, etc. You want to know why that is? It's because the child has his father all to himself, no competition, nothing. At our house, it's different, we're a FAMILY, we do things differently. We have RULES & we make him do chores & when he sees his step-brother & half-brothers & his step-mother, it's a reminder to him how things are never going to be the way they were.
Now I am not saying my situation is exactly like yours, but it's pretty darn close from the examples.
My DS & my ex, we don't have a perfect situation, no one is or does, however... my son loves his bio-dad & step-mother, there are no probs in that area & he has no problem going from our house to their house & back. Do I call them every now & then to say "hi"? Sure I do. But my son isn't begging to come home either. The only time he wants to come home & is crying is "if" he is ill, which is only normal, I am his mother, he wants his mama when he's sick, that's "usually" the case. Other than that, I don't get many calls from him begging to come home & he likes seeing his other family who also loves him.
I don't know what other advice I can give you, just examples on how I've seen things work & not work & how certain behaviors are screaming for certain manipulations in these matters. I hope that something I offered helped & that you can take a step back & re-evaluate what is happening & move forward w/ a different set of eyes. It's hard, I know it is. You hate to see your child sad, but again, life doesn't revolve around the child, the world doesn't revolve around 1 person, we all have to learn that we have to do things we don't want to do in life to get to where we all want to be. He has to learn that until he's 18 he has to be a trooper & spend time w/ his family who also wants to see him. I dunno... I do hope that I've helped.
This is a very difficult situation. Your kids are a little younger than my daughter is although she was 10 when my ex and I divorced so she's spent many weekends with her father over the years. HOWEVER, I know him and I know his temper and how incredibly ugly he can be to his children so I have always let it be known that if it got bad, I was just a phone call away and would drive however long I had to to pick them up. (He used to live in Jacksonville which is over 100 miles from me but now lives across town) I never had to do so when he lived in JAX but since he moved nearby, I have picked up my daughter on many ocassions because he was being abusive. Now at 16 almost 17, she will go out of her way not to visit him because she frankly doesn't like him much. Who can blame her? He has verbally abused her since the divorce as a way of getting back at me for leaving his sorry a**. He has called her vulgar names and told her she's ugly and fat and never going to amount to anything. (Now of course, you understand why I don't force her to go see him) In fact, she is beautiful and although she has proportionately larger hips she is not fat. As far as her not amounting to anything, she's bright and has dreams of becoming a pediatric endocrinologyst! I think that's something! Personally, I think if an otherwise "normal" child--i.e. not exceptionally immature or needy--starts acting like they don't want to visit a parent that they have gotten along with up until now, you are right to wonder if there is a rreason. I am a firm believer in instincts and trusting what you HONESTLY think...not just an excuse to keep the child away from a parent but if you HONESTY fear something is not right it is your DUTY to your child to at least invesitgate a little further. Yes there are kids who simply don't want to be away from mommy. Yes there are kids who will try anything to get mommy and daddy together again but there are also kids who are being abused who've been told NOT to tell anyone and who are afraid! I speak from personal experience as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I stay very tuned into my childrens non verbal messages at all times--no I am not paranoid nor do I think that every divorced father is abusing their children. I just know that it is a terrible thing for a child to endure physical, sexual or verbal abuse and to feel that no one is on their side. Maybe I baby my kids too much or let them call too many shots. I do what I think is right for THEM. I must have done something right though because my oldest is a Special Forces Marine, my middle one is in college studying pre med and my daughter wants to be a doctor also. I'm very proud of all three of them and I feel that knowing I was on their side through their entire lives has helped give them the self esteem and feeling of security that they needed to go out and follow their dreams.
Is Alex's mother remarried or dating? It could be that he doesn't feel comfortable around the new guy if she is. Or if she is bringing different guys around he may feel very uncomfortable with that. Does she have a temper? My ex has a horrible temper that gets worse when he is unhappy with his life--pretty much all the time now. Are there other children in the home? He may be reacting not so much to his mom but to her stepchildren or other biological kids tht he doesn't really know. There are so many reasons why this could be happening--and of course, it could be that he just prefers being with you to being with his mom..in which case he does need to learn to separate from you. I think you need to talk to your DH about it and perhaps he needs to talk to her and see if there are any other problems that might be causing this behavior--especially if it is new. I wouldn't just ignore it because there could be something more to it than just immaturity and manipulation. Also, she may be saying things about you to him that make him feel disloyal to listen to and thus, causing him to feel uncomfortable around her. If she is jealous about you raising her son instead of her, she may be saying some really ugly things! Either way, I do think you need to get to the bottom of it all.
Good luck! Let us know how things turn out.
Is Alex's mother remarried or dating? She was dating a guy (the father of her youngest son [he is a month younger than Sam]) then he went to jail for a bit and they split up a few months after he got out. She moved back in with her mom and that is where Alex stays when he is there. She works most of the time he is there so he is with his aunt (she is 16 or 17) and his grandma/grandpa most of the time along with his little brother and sometimes she even goes out even though he is there. Now there is this new guy that is suppose to just be a friend of hers that she goes to play cards with every week with a few other people also.
Does she have a temper? She doesn't seem to have a temper but she smokes pot a lot and is high quite often when she would talk to him on the phone. Which is hardly ever now. So she is always like "Whatever" when she is confronted about things. Or she just gets super silent.
There other children in the home? She has a younger child who will be 2 at the end of September.
Like I said, this all pretty much came out of nowhere since he was there for 2 weeks back in July. I mean before he would decide he would rather go to grandpa's house (Jason's stepdad) instead and she wouldn't tell him not to. DH would make him go occassionally but he never called to ask to come home before until July.