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Question
Posted by: Lisa | 2009/10/23

child unhappy about visiting dad



Hi CS and others

My 6 yr old has for the many months now been extremely unhappy when going for her weekends with her dad. She tends to come back feeling ok but the day she is leaving she is terribly stressed, unhappy and clingy. She cannot quite explain why and only tells me that she misses me when she is there or that she would prefer to go to her cousin’ s place or something. Yet we have an arrangement that she sees him twice a month which I am trying to honour.
Most of the time she just says ‘ why do i have to go?’  Her two older sisters, his other kids from other women, also go to visit him on the same weekends but knowing they will be there offers my child little comfort even though she is close to them. She just gets upset and almost weeps, and then when she is there keeps getting her old sister to send me please call me’ s so I can speak to her. Yet sometimes she sounds quite happy when I phone. I don' t know what to do, the father says it’ s because I am an overbearing and overprotective mother and thus the child is not comfortable visiting him. It’ s true I am very close to my child as we have lived just the two of us since she was born but our closeness should not translate as my suffocating her. She doesn' t moan when going to other people' s houses and is a very extroverted and popular child at school.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Divorcing parents can forget that a arrangement agreeable to both of them may just not make sense to the child, who might prefer to settle with one or other parent. Its not entirely clear from your message, but sounds as though the arrangement created no bother for her at first, for some time, but NOW bothers her - and one wonders why this has changed.
IF you were excessively overbearing and controlling, one would expect the child to enjoy being away from that, rather than cling and ask for more of it. And as you say, she'd be bothered about going to anyone else, not only her father.
Lie Maria, I think it'd be re-assuring for her to see a good local child psychologist for a proper assessment to seek to understand this better

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Maria | 2009/10/23

If you are able to do so then I would suggest that you take your daughter to a child psychologist for an assessment. It sounds as if she does not feel secure with dad and you need to figure out why.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2009/10/23

Divorcing parents can forget that a arrangement agreeable to both of them may just not make sense to the child, who might prefer to settle with one or other parent. Its not entirely clear from your message, but sounds as though the arrangement created no bother for her at first, for some time, but NOW bothers her - and one wonders why this has changed.
IF you were excessively overbearing and controlling, one would expect the child to enjoy being away from that, rather than cling and ask for more of it. And as you say, she'd be bothered about going to anyone else, not only her father.
Lie Maria, I think it'd be re-assuring for her to see a good local child psychologist for a proper assessment to seek to understand this better

Reply to cybershrink

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