In this second of four Reddit post weeks we have a Mom who concerned that her child seems focused on Dad and wonders if she's falling short.
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All right, welcome everybody. This is week two of four of our return to Reddit. This week we are talking about a mom who has a three-year-old and every time the three-year-old is over at our house, three-year-old just talks about how much she loves daddy and misses daddy. And it's kind of her mom's feelings. She feels like she's falling short. So let me read some of this before I do. Hey, linda.Speaker 2:
I just realized I was talking and talking and I hadn't even said hi. Sorry about that, I don't want to interrupt. You're too kind, all right. So in this one the mom is saying that her ex and she divorced when their daughter was a year old and she's now three. They co -parent but because of distance in school the dad gets her slightly more of the time than mom. When mom does have her, the child reminds her constantly, her word constantly that she loves her daddy, and once her daddy, and can't wait to see daddy. Mom knows that she's not doing it to be mean and her feelings are valid, but it's just so hard to handle, mom says. She says I tell her I know she loves her daddy and her daddy loves her, but mommy loves her too and mommy loves getting to spend time with her. But everything is just quote daddy this and daddy that. And it has been like that for the last four to six weeks. It seems Mom doesn't know what to do or how to cope, but it's really wearing on her mentally. She feels like a terrible parent. She does everything she can with her, but she feels like she's just always falling short. Linda, this is a lady that needs your comforting words, I can tell.Speaker 2:
Well, she sounds like a great mom. She really does, and it sounds like she just would like some of that goodness and like to come her direction once in a while and ironically it may just be. If she could be over at dad's house, First thing I would tell her is that she may just be talking about mom the same way when she's at dad's house, because you've got to always you know what I'm about to say go back to the developmental stage of this child and think about what she's thinking and what her mind is doing at this stage. And they have a very short attention span and I think we heard that it's almost week on, week off. It's just a little bit more at dad's house.Speaker 1:
Yeah, it seems like that.Speaker 2:
So it's a long time for a little one to go that long without seeing the other parent. So I would just practically guarantee that she's talking a lot about mom when she's at dad's house. We also don't know if there's any kind of you know, like FaceTime happening or anything like that while the child is with the other parent. But I mean usually more frequent time. I know it causes more, you know, having to meet in exchange of the child kinds of time, but typically their later age, like elementary, in fifth or sixth grade, usually before they start doing this, this kind of transfer with the week on, week off, and so it's it's kind of hard to expect that to happen with a three-year-old and them to not do something like this. So the main thing I hope she takes away from what we're saying is that it's Pretty normal, I would say, for that to be happening. The other thing is, a lot of times I hear that one parent, whoever tends to be more of the maybe Disciplinarian or Tends to have to say no war or have to do more with you know, getting Getting the drudgery thing is done, like taking a bath and getting ready for school and you know that kind of thing, homework if they, if they're old enough to have that, that frequently when those tests are being done in the evening they will bring up the other parent. Oh, I wish I was there. Oh, I really miss that person, you know, and it's because you're you're not very much fun right now and that other person probably would be, no matter what you know. So that that's just how a child sees things. Sometimes they can be a little manipulative with that as well and and say that to try to make you pull away from some of that drudgery and do some more fun things. So she might one, you know, perhaps helpful thing I could give her to do a constructive thing is to Look at. Does she maybe do more of that? Does she think the dad does? I mean, for example, frequently I hear a mother say that the tile comes back from father's house Without lots of those kinds of things done. Believe it or not, and so Believe it.Speaker 1:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know things like brushing hair consistently, or you know just those nights and routines the guys don't think about so much because we don't have that, especially me.Speaker 2:
Like Bob is at least at least to her specifications or expectations. Perhaps all those things have not done sufficiently For the child and so she's kind of rehabbing the child the whole time. She's got her back and and in which case of course mom is not going to look as as much fun and and as interesting as Daddy if daddy does a lot of playing with her.Speaker 1:
Yeah, and you know, guys do tend to do more play, even guys who are really good about things like coming out the hair and putting bows in and doing all the hygiene stuff. Dad's also, I think, typically just tend to be a little bit more fun, yeah, with their kids. We tend to be a little more boundary, pushing Like a little more things that mom would never think because, oh, you're not gonna run around the house like that or you're gonna do whatever, leave things a mess for a little bit. Whatever it is, I think dad's gonna be a little bit more fun just generally, and it may just be, you know, a period it's only been four to six weeks that mom points out that this has been going on. It could be that dad started some new activity at his house that the kid really loves and, who knows, in two weeks the kid may be sick of it and may not be saying that anymore. So there's all sorts of different reasons, some of which could be transitory, for her to be saying that. In terms of the schedule, I am seeing a lot more of the week on, week off schedule with younger kids. Really, yeah, are you seeing that at all?Speaker 2:
I really haven't, but I don't know. Why do you think that would be happening?Speaker 1:
I think, because it's getting a lot more complicated to do the transfers. Kids are in a lot more activities. They have older siblings and the younger kids get wrapped up in a schedule that works better with the older siblings that's true Sometimes, but even with younger I mean I'm seeing parents who are coming to me with an agreement already for a week on week off when it's a one year old and I have to say hold on, guys, let's rethink what we wanna do here. I mean, even older kids like even sometimes preteens will not do real well with a week on week off schedule and they'll wind up having issues where they want to go back to the other parents' house or they're asking it just messes up the schedule and then it winds up getting into the situation where the child has given too much power, right? So sometimes if you set a schedule that is not developmentally appropriate for the child, you're gonna wind up putting on the child developmentally inappropriate power through requests to go back to the other parent or to do other things, and so it's kind of like squeezing a balloon it's gonna go somewhere and it does better, I think, just to have a schedule that's a little less convenient for the parents in terms of transportation, but more developmentally appropriate to actually avoid bigger problems down the road. And one of those problems that can come up is a parent is a child saying I wish I could stay with you, and then you get new litigation when really the kid was maybe better off with a 2255 in a week on make off schedule.Speaker 2:
Right, and a lot of times when a child says that, especially if they're younger, not a teen yet, they mean this has been such a great day and I've enjoyed everything we've done and not can I have more time with here on a regular basis, you know Right, and parents interpret it differently and go for more time. The other thing it could be because, you know, at different developmental stages also, especially like three to six in there. You know, it's that thing where a little boy wants to marry somebody, just like his mommy. That little girl, thick daddy is just the best man on the face of the earth, and so that could be a lot of it too. She's maybe just a daddy's girl and maybe which she said that was a clue that it's been happening a lot over the last four or six weeks. We don't know when this child turned three, but you know that could be a developmental milestone. That has happened, that she just has latched on to daddy big time recently. The other thing I thought was interesting is that they were she was just a year old when they separated or divorced, and so she doesn't really remember them together and so her whole life they've been back and forth like this. So maybe part of that is her just really feeling that she is more at home at dad's house than mom's house. Sometimes there's just a goodness of fit with the child's personality and one of the parents or with the child's personality and the environment in one house, and sometimes, if one parent gets into a new relationship or the other one does not, the child has a preference for the house where it's all about the child. Imagine that, yeah, where it's just one adult and one child, and wow, they kind of like that. And at the other house they're not helping to make all the decisions, like what we're going to eat tonight or what we're going to watch on television or whatever you know, and so they would just have a subtle preference for that.Speaker 1:
Yeah, and I think one last thing I noticed structurally about this post is that she starts off with commenting that dad has a little bit more time than she does, and then she ends up by saying she feels like she's always falling short. I think mom may be a little overly sensitive to this and you know women face much more pressure than men do about being primary custodian or at least having 50-50. And I've noticed that women feel the need, or put in a position to have to sometimes explain themselves to their friends or family if they don't have primary custody or they don't have at least 50-50. So maybe some of that is hitting herself esteem in the background. That's a very good point and it may have been the case that she was sort of it was kind of like, below the surface, subliminal for her until the child hit this new phase of saying daddy this and daddy that and then it just struck that sore spot for her and so she's a little bit overreacting, but understandably if she feels, if she has this sort of source spot, certainly understandable that she is reacting this way. But I mean, I think another way to look at this is that if the kid has been saying this for four to six weeks, that means for the last two years the child hasn't been saying Daddy this and Daddy that and she wasn't necessarily worried that the child didn't love her daddy during that time. So hopefully she can get some perspective and realize that this doesn't mean that she doesn't love her.Speaker 2:
And, of course, as a therapist coming into it, I would. I would want to know what changed about four to six weeks ago. Right yeah, maybe dad got a new puppy at his house. It could be that simple.Speaker 1:
Exactly Okay. Well, hope this mom can take it a little bit easier on herself. The whole tenor of it, her word choice, everything indicates that she's a nice person, probably a good mom, who's just being a little bit hard on herself, and hopefully she can sort of get that perspective and realize that it is just okay.Speaker 2:
Definitely, I think she does need to give herself some grace on this one as well.Speaker 1:
There you go, all right. Well, that does it for this week. Next week, we'll be back with our third Reddit week, and in this one we're going to be talking about a situation where an 11 year old is starting to get into the situation where he's wanting to do things with his friends during dad's parenting time, and that doesn't have a lot of it. So how do you deal with the issue of a preteen starting to have more social activity when it's cutting into limited parenting time for one parent? That'll be next week, all right, everybody. Hope you have a fantastic week and we'll see you next time.Speaker 2: