4 year old, Shared custody, Heartache
March 5, 2014 10:05 AM Subscribe
Our daughter frequently wants to go back to her moms house when we have her. How can we help/cope? Background and details inside.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (63 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Background - Our lovely, sensitive, highly intelligent, drama queen 4 year old little girl currently goes back and forth between Mom and Dads house. I am Step-Mom, and have been since she was about 1 1/2. Daughter is the center of my universe - I know that I love her the same amount as I would my eventual bio-kid. She has a Step Dad as well, he has three young kids part time. The two households have good communication, Mom and I are very good friends, and even though Dad and Step Dad and NOT friends, nor will they ever be, they are civil and polite to each other. We have Daughter every other weekend, and Monday afternoon into Tuesday morning. They have her for a little bit more time than we do, but weekends we don't have her she stays with grandparents because both Mom and Step Dad work.
Our current living situation is not ideal - we have had to live in a room at a friends house since January of 2012, and won't be able to afford our own place until 2015. The house rules are pretty strict because the owner has severe OCD, we can't have anything of ours outside our room, and can't really keep food in the house. He also keeps the house insanely cold, for most of this brutal NE winter he's had the heat totally off - the only room that is warm is ours, so we tend to stay in there. We have plenty of toys/books/crafts/TV/computer in the room. Unfortunately our budget doesn't really allow for us to take Daughter out to do things when we have her, so we engage and entertain the best we can with what we have. There is nowhere else for us to live at present, there are no other family or friends that have room for us.
Lately, there have been a lot of statements from Daughter along the lines of "I want to go back to Moms house", and difficulty getting her to leave her Mom's without her getting upset when we pick her up. Realistically, we understand that she's 4, and it's not easy for her to understand the complexity of why she has to go back and forth. All 4 parental figures have had talks along the lines of "Mommy and Daddy used to fight a lot when they lived together, so it's better for everyone if they live apart", and "We both love you very very much, and so we have to share you so we can all spend time with you". Emotionally, we can't help but feel hurt when she says these things over and over. When we ask her why she wants to go back to Moms, the response is usually "because I miss her so much", and we've been using Facetime with Mom when this happens to help with the feeling of missing her.
I suppose my questions are as follows -
- What can we do to help with the whole wanting to go back to Moms all the time, and having Daughter be happier to be at Dads? We realize that all kids go through mom/dad phases.
- What coping tools can Dad and I use to help us not hurt so much when she seems to prefer Moms house so much more? Dad is especially sensitive to this, I have a bit more emotional understanding because I grew up in a split household.