My 2 year old has begun visiting her father every other weekend. He was not in her life for the first year and now wants her to stay overnight with him on the weekends. When she leaves with her dad she is very quiet,withdrawn and will not say bye. When she returns home from these visits she cries, hits, screams, and just appears very frustrated. It takes several hours to days to calm her down and get her back to normal. I am very concerned about her. Her behavior has now progressed to waking up in the middle of the night crying. I really think shorter day visits would be better. I have spoke to a counselor about her behavior who said she was just experieincing stranger anxiety but doesn't that occur when she is around a year? How can I help her? What should I do?
She is really too young to be staying overnight, particularly since her father has not been part of her life since the beginning. The current plan is sufficient for now. I'd advise waiting another year or so before attempting overnight contact. Transitions between households are difficult for children who are so young. She's already displaying some behavioral unrest around the transition occasioned by the visitation plan; overnight contact now will only serve to exacerbate the problem.
What concerns me is the fact that she is waking up in the middle of the night. I would find out if something is going when she is at her dads. Her waking up in the middle of the night like that makes me wonder if she is getting abused or something and then having nightmares about it when she comes home. I could be totally wrong though.
If your daughter were having nightmares you would know it. Children of this age have dramatic reactions to nightmares: they wake up scared and need reassurance. If she is simply waking up it likely is not due to nightmares. Do you have any reason to suspect abuse? Sometimes parents jump to this conclusion or worry without any substantial reason. Do you think that her father or anyone in that household might do such a thing?
I am not the childs mother. I was jut trying to give advice. The only reason suspected absue is becuase the woman said her daughter wakes up screaming in the middle night and that she has been acting out. I don't know this woman at all I was just giving her advice.
Thank you to those who responded to my concern. I am unsure if there is abuse occuring but what I know is she comes home from the visits with her Dad crying, having outburst, and has begun to wake up in the middle of the night crying. This is behavior she did not start to exhibit until after visitation began. She also will not stay with anyone else, including her grandma who she used to love to stay with. When she leaves with her Dad she is very quiet, withdrawn, and refuses to say bye. When she returns she is very angry, throws tantrums, and will not let go of her pacifier at all. Prior to the night time visits with her Dad she was only using her pacifier at night when she slept. I am just very worried about how she is being treated when she is with her Dad. She is having over night visits and I really believe she is too young. I am also concerned becasue after the last overnight visit she came home and said, Da killed bobby which is her name for her pacifier. She followed that by saying Da hurt me. It is just very concerning becasue she is so young and her language skills are just developing. I am worried she is trying to tell me something.
What you are posting is really mirroring my own experience with sending my 2 and a half year old daughter to her dad's,; slowing changing, over a six month period, she would come back from a weekend too hot, too anxious looking, too everything, she would not let me touch her, she would act weird, like I just can't explain, you get a yuck feeling. I was so worried. I showed her a book called 'Good touch, Bad touch. She verbalized what was happening with her visits and I took action. It appears her dad's girlfriend had a son who had been abusing her in the bathroom while he was there oblivious to the kids 'playing' . The boy was 11 and mentally challenged but mean, and she was 2 , sweet and trusting - now she was a total different little girl, messed up. I stopped the visits and informed the child welfare about my concerns, and everything came to a halt.
My daughter finally had peace, but it took a LONG time to love her back to somewhat the way she used to be. To this day, she has trust issues, hates men , and is gay. Her Dad still denies anything happened.
I beg you, just don't send, and trust! Find that book or one like that, and go over the pictures, and talk to her. YOu will know when something clicks in her eyes. Get the help she needs, and that gut feeling is put there for a reason. Trust THAT, and not anyone that minimizes what is glaringly obvious.
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