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My daughter cries for daddy(ex husband) every time i tell her "no."

 
 
Reply Mon 14 Nov, 2011 07:31 pm
My daughter is 3.5 years old and i have been divorced from my ex husband for two years now. every time i try to discipline her she starts crying for her dad. she only sees him every other weekend. i dont get it. I wonder if she is going to get older and not want to be with me anymore and it hurts me. i am very reasonable and loving when i discipline her. most of the time my discipline is just a "no" and an explanation of why. sometimes if she fails to cooperate i put her in time out. i dont understand. she also has been throwing giant fits when, dropping on the floor or running after him screaming when he drops her off after his weekend with her. i am a young mother and i am not very experienced with all of this. so please be easy on me. i just want to know what is going on with my daughter. we have a nice family life and we are very family oriented. i just dont understand.
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Type: Question • Score: 5 • Views: 15,146 • Replies: 22

 
PUNKEY
 
  3  
Reply Mon 14 Nov, 2011 09:12 pm
Stop responding to her when she cries for something or someone when you discipline her. (It could be for her father, or a toy, or a sibling, or whatever)

Stay consistent and calm. "That's too bad you are crying, but the room must be clean up." or "I know you feel bad, but we can't do that today."

Her behavior is normal for a girl that age. State the NO and the do or give her something she CAN have. Distract. Distract.

YOU are the who must be strong.

Walk into another room when she starts these manipulation tactics.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  4  
Reply Mon 14 Nov, 2011 10:07 pm
My best advice is to continue to be a good mother and trust your instincts.

You have to be patient with your daughter and not take her behavior personally. In the best of circumstances divorce is not easy for kids. What she is doing is not that uncommon. She has no way to know that she is hurting you. I promise you that she isn't really going to stop loving you.

There is really nothing to do in response to the tantrums that isn't basic good parenting. Be calm and secure. Set limits to her behavior with predictable consequences (i.e. time outs) and stick with them. And try to understand what she needs. It might be there are little changes you could make to make the transitions easier (maybe a little down time or play time?). At 3.5 you are almost at the point where you could ask her what she wants to do (depending on her communication skills). Giving her choices on how to make transitions easier might help her feel more in control in a positive way.

And of course, don't let the tantrums interfere with the good times. At 3.5 tantrums usually end quickly with no grudges. Let them end quickly.

It is important in divorce to not put the kids in the middle of any struggle between adults. I hope you are on good enough terms with your ex to talk about this. If not, it is a good idea to find support from adult friends. A 3.5 year old isn't going to be able to give you much support or reassurance. Make sure you find other ways to take care of yourself.

With your daughter just continue to be understanding, consistent, patient and above all loving. And, trust that things will work out for both of you. Remember that she is dealing with things to in her own way and she needs you to be accepting and understanding of her.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  5  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 12:14 am
@leelee11,
Hello leelee11,

don't worry, your little girl is playing you and she thinks that she'll get away
with things when asking for her daddy. It's also possible that her dad will let
her do whatever she wants to and won't discipline her. He probably compensates for seeing her only every other weekend and just wants to have
a good time with her.

The next time she misbehaves, just lower yourself to her height, make sure she looks at you (they try to avoid that at any cost) and tell her in simple terms "I don't want you to do this .......! Ask her if she understands and make sure she says "yes". Then walk away. If she acts up just ignore her. She'll change once she realizes that she's being ignored if she misbehaves. When she comes around, hug her and show her that good behavior is rewarded with attention and hugs.
0 Replies
 
leelee11
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 10:56 am
@leelee11,
hey guys! thanks for the input! my ex and I are still very good friends and we are never hostile toward one another. we even do double dates with our new spouses. lol kinda weird, but we like to all get along for our little girl. plus, I really like his new girl friend. I was always embarrssed to ask him about it because i didnt want him to think she didnt want to be with me, but apparently she does the same thing with him when she doesnt get her way. granted, he is a little more passive with her becasue he does hardly get to see her. I think what I am going to do is let him have more time with her so she will beback and forth more often. there doesnt seem to be any reason to not let him. sometimes it is easy to get stingy with the kids when you have a divorce. I mean, she grew inside of my body and she came out of me. i feel so attached to her. it has been a very challenging feat even letting her go every other weekend. i was also thinking that since me and my current husband has had a new baby she might feel a little left out and when she goes to her dad's house she might love ALL of the 100% attention. i feel bad sometimes. it is hard to split attention and make sure every one is happy.
CalamityJane
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 11:16 am
@leelee11,
Oh I think you're doing an excellent job in the relationship department.
Not many divorced couples are that civil and even have double dates with their new spouses - so you're doing well. I guess, now that you mentioned
the new baby, it probably is as you said: she gets 100 % of the attention at
daddy's house and at home with you, she has a little sibling to compete with
all the love and attention. Just give it some time, once the baby is a bit
bigger, they'll play together and everything will be fine. Good luck to you!
leelee11
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 02:16 pm
@CalamityJane,
thank you so much, tht means a lot! little girls are bossy anyways! lol she even sometimes tells me her little brother is "her" baby....lol! but we are going to work together on the "ignoring her tries to manipulate us" come to find out she is doing it to both of us and we give in because we dont want her to dislike being with us. i didnt realize that 3 year old could be so clever. we just never said anything to one another becasue we were embarrassed. you guys inspired me to discuss the issue with him! thanks so much! parenting can sometimes be so trying! but totally worth every second. now instead of me being hurt by her i can just kind of laugh. wow....that little booger.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 02:20 pm
@leelee11,
That's great that you all get along so well!

leelee11 wrote:
I think what I am going to do is let him have more time with her so she will beback and forth more often.


Is there any chance of making the time she spends with him longer but not more frequent?

My parents divorced when I was much older but the weekly back-and-forthing was extremely disruptive for me and I had a really hard time with it. We moved when my daughter was 3.5 and that was a HUGE deal. I can really imagine how hard it would be for your daughter to deal with that kind of disruption on an ongoing basis. I'm not sure if increasing the frequency of the disruption would help anything.

And since you're on such good terms, you could still visit even when one of you has custody.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 02:21 pm
Most likely she only has good times with her dad, and he spoils her, so you look like mean mommy by comparison. If so you should ask him to help you out by not making every other week-end a mini vacation for this kid.
leelee11
 
  2  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 02:31 pm
@sozobe,
well we are actually living about 40 mins away from one another right now. my husband and I are closing on a house soon that is only a couple of blocks down the road from my ex and his girl friend. do you think her coming and going back and forth as she pleases will be disruptful??
leelee11
 
  2  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 02:33 pm
@hawkeye10,
i am working on that right now! lol one of the reasons we got a divorce was becasue he was so passive and i felt like he never had any input whatsoever. i could still control him if i wanted to. i would never do that, but when we were together i felt like i was always making all of the major choices and he was agreeing whether he wanted to or not. it was frustrating as hell. it still is! i can never tell if he is agreeing to something he really isnt okay with. then when i ask him "are you sure? are you sure?" he just gets aggravated...ahhhhhhh!
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  0  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 02:37 pm
@leelee11,
leelee11 wrote:

well we are actually living about 40 mins away from one another right now. my husband and I are closing on a house soon that is only a couple of blocks down the road from my ex and his girl friend. do you think her coming and going back and forth as she pleases will be disruptful??
In a couple of years you will not be able to prevent it, as she will get on her bike and go where she wants. Be ready for her to play you off against the EX big time. What ever possessed you to make your child rearing situation so unnecessarily difficult??
leelee11
 
  2  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 02:41 pm
@hawkeye10,
i have a lot of pressure i guess to make her a part of his life. i have a lot of guilt for taking his daughter. I just want to have her happy and know both of her parents. they way i see it, the better we get along and the closer we are to one another we can work together instead of against each other on the matter. especially if we live so close and she sees us both as much then we can work together. if she goes and comes to one parent or the other is fine with me as long as she is getting the love, attention, and proper upbringing she needs. if he is not reprimanding her as needed, or setting any rules, then that will serve as a problem.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 02:49 pm
@leelee11,
Yep...this situation has all the makings of presenting a day in the future where a girl pops into his door and says "mom is being so mean to me, dad" and where he replies to her "what ever you want sweetie" just as he continually does to you. There will be lots of days like this......AKA, your basic nightmare as a parent.
leelee11
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 02:58 pm
@hawkeye10,
then i have no idea what to do. its very frustrating....i feel like i am always trying to be the nice guy and make everyone happy. my ex is so passive its hard becasue i am rtying not to hurt his feelings...hmm...maybe thats his way of controlling me....
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 03:07 pm
@leelee11,
The good news is that you have caught the problem early, before it got bad....the bad news is that solutions look to be very difficult to come by. Maybe someone will have a good idea....I do not.
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 04:34 pm
@leelee11,
Don't worry leelee11, once you live closer and your daughter spends more time with her dad, he'll set ground rules too as it's difficult to put up with spoiled kids. It's actually quite stressful and my guess is that either him or his girlfriend/wife will take over the role of disciplining her. Just play it by ear and don't worry about it now. You'll address it once you cross that bridge.
0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 04:52 pm
@leelee11,
leelee, your daughter loves you no matter what. If you are sharp with her, she will still love you. If she perceives you to be the meanie, she will still love you. She is at an age where they say what they're feeling, which is GOOD. My 3.5 yr old granddaughter used to say, 'I don't yike you, grandma", and then look at me for my reaction. I would just say, "Oh well, you'll get over it", and sure enough, she did.

It doesn't really matter what happens at her dad's house. 1) you can't control that, and 2) she'll behave one way there and another way at home. Imagine if she was just living with him and you weren't around. Do you think her playschool and teachers would put up with the nonsense she's giving you? Not a chance.

Your daughter is challenging you. My granddaughter does that all the time to my daughter. My daughter is a social worker, but she's not a child psychologist. You just have to ignore her, stand firm, time outs, whatever... but don't think her psyche is being all that affected by what's going on. She will, however, as Hawk said, learn to play you, and all you have control over is your house.

You should google the Montessori website on challenging children - they have 17 wonderful ways to stop it.
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 05:11 pm
@Mame,
Quote:
She will, however, as Hawk said, learn to play you, and all you have control over is your house.
She was always going to eventually have the ability to throw a wrench into this program of controlling her behavior in mom's house by her high tailing it over to dad's when she does not like the term's at mom's house, but now she is going to be able to do this years before would normally have been the case........which sounds like a problem to me.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  3  
Reply Tue 15 Nov, 2011 05:22 pm
@leelee11,
leelee11 wrote:
I was always embarrssed to ask him about it because i didnt want him to think she didnt want to be with me, but apparently she does the same thing with him when she doesnt get her way.


part of this is a normal developmental process

(worth reading about normal childhood development stages - it can be encouraging to see that your kid is normal even when annoying)
0 Replies
 
 

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