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4 year old cries during visitation transfers
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4 year old cries during visitation transfers

I've got a four year old step-daughter who I pick up for visitation every other weekend and every thursday night for five hours.  At transfer of the child, she'll sometime kick her mother, cry that she doesn't want to go, try to run away, and repeatedly says, "Is this a short visit or a long visit".  I live in Canada where same-sex couples share custody of children.  My ex-spouse and I planned our daughter, had her together, then we split approximately one year later in a very bad way.  Our seperation was ugly and I'm afraid that our daughter has taken the brunt of most of it.  My step-daughter also sometimes runs to me with delight at pick up.  And, I've since birthed a boy that she considers her younger brother.  I beleive that my daughter's behaviour is taught to her.  My ex-spouse tried very hard in court to make it so that I could not ever see our daughter again.  If this behaviour is being taught, how can I offset it?  What should I do?

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First of all I want to give you a little history so that you'll know where I stand, I have 2 step children from my husbands previous marriage and 4 children of my own.  I have been through it with the kids!!  I think that it's a little odd that she is crying when you pick her up but not completly.  Does she have a good relationship with you?  How is her relationship with her mother?  Does the child feel like going with you is disloyal to the mother?  I would sit you daughter down and try just talking to her honestly she may not want to tell you what is going on.  I know that I used to do that when I was younger when I was planning to go to grandma's house for a week until I was 4 not a problem after that I wouldn't stay there to save my life I'd cry and cry and wouldn't stay.  The reason was simple when I look back but I couldn't verbalize it.  My little brother was born while I was at my grandmother's house she wouldn't bring me to the hospital to see him and my father had to come and get me and take me there but he couldn't until the next day (my parents were divorced and my lil brother has a different dad) so to me my grandmother had betrayed me.  This happened when I was 4 that's why no more visits.  Maybe in a way your leaving or having another baby has betrayed her.  Know this tho keep loving your daughter she will grow up she will look back and she will get it.  That is when she is going to need you the most.  My step-children have been told by their mother and her parents that their father is useless no good abusive all kinds of things and you know we had to take it.  It was hard.  But the things that I could do I did.  She would tell the kids that he didn't pay child support I saved the receipts and the next time my step-daughter asked me why he did'nt pay his support I showed them to her.  Her response "maybe you should show these to my mom"  I mean it's amazing.  Now I watch these children becoming adults.  My step-son is 20 and step-daughter is going to be 16  I have been around them 11 years.  It's still hard with the 16 year old but she gets it.  She knows what her mother did and we don't discuss it unless she brings it up.  But know that if you love her and are there for her and support her she will be okay.  She will put it all together.  But try to talk to her without putting her mother down, ask her what's going on maybe she just doesn't like to be away from her mother or maybe she feels disloyal or maybe she feels displaced with the new baby it's hard to say but she won't be 16 crying when you pick her up!!!  Good luck with her
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Here's something I'd never heard of until recently. Where I live in the US (Maryland) there are two places locally (one church, one community center) which offer a program for custody transfers. One is offered free, the other is I think $5 per transfer. Basically the 'drop off' parent stays in one room and the child is taken by a staff member to another room to meet up with the 'pick up' parent. That way the two parents can't argue etc... in front of the child, and the child doesn't have to feel guilty for wanting to be with one parent more because the parents never see the child's reaction to the other one. That's the best I can explain it, I don't know the details. Anyway, you might consider asking around if there are any local programs like that for you to utilize for a while until she matures out of this stage, or if there aren't, maybe you can ask a friend or someone you trust to act as a transfer person for a while, if your ex would agree to that kind of arrangement.
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