Posted by: NSR | 2009-02-01

Suggestion re child

Hi Doc

My daughter was 7 months (2005) when her dad and I split and I had met somebody else. It was a bad relationship from the start and the pregnancy was not planned with the biological father. I married my boyfriend just over a year later and he accepts and loves her as his own. We also have a 18 month old together. My daughter has been seeing her biological father approx every two weeks (he stays 1.5 hours away) and the odd holiday. She adored him. She is now turning four in a few months time. Suddenly she does not want to see him anymore and says she only wants one daddy. If I ask her which daddy she says my husband' s name. She says her (biological) daddy and his girlfriend ' irritates'  her and makes her sad and she doesn' t want to visit them again. They are due to visit again soon and I don' t know what to do.

She was there for 2 weeks over Dec/Jan and they say she was VERY difficult. I also know that her biological dad' s g/friend struggles with the discipline as biological dad doesn' t want to discipline her so g/friend is stuck with that job. I don' t know what else may have happened. She has even had a few nights of wetting her bed again. She has always been a very emotional child. Loud noises frighten her, so does bugs and odd other things. She is a sensitive little girl but it has gotten worse. She goes quiet, grumpy and tell me she doesn' t want to talk to me. She really just seems depressed.

Do you think I need to take her to see somebody? And do I go to a child psychologist or psychiatrist or what kind of doctor? What other insight can you offer?

Thanks so much!

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Our expert says:
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It quite often happens that a biodad, out of guilt or whatever reason, hesitates to discipline a child during visits. It could help if you discussed with them what are the routines, disciplinary rules and consequences in your house, so as to maintain cionsistency during her visits there ( kids respond rather badly to inconsistency ). The resumptin of bed-wetting confirms that something, though, has definitely upset her. Why not suggest that the visits stop for a month or two, to let her settle down, and meanwhile you could calmly chat with her about what happens during her visits, what are the good bits and the bad bits, of a visit. And maybe when resuming visits, is it possible to arange for him to visit her, at your place, for the first time or two, so she can feel more re-assured ?
Seeing a child shrink could be helpful, as they have ways of assessing her that might more easilt discover what's going on.

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Our users say:
Posted by: NSR | 2009-02-02

We have never gone to court and had proper documents drawn up. Her biodad has always been welcome to see her whenever he wanted to. They choose only every two weeks for the day because they live so far away. yes I know he will not believe me if I told him what she' s been saying so I think we' ll definitely go see somebody that can maybe suss out the situation better.
Thanks doc!

Reply to NSR
Posted by: What a shame | 2009-02-02

Shame, its always the kids that suffer and suffer they do. I assume that the biological father has legal visitiation rights and all that and probably won' t believe that his circumstances are having an adverse effect on the child which I supose is a natural reaction. I think the thing to do is to visit child welfare and see if you can alter the terms of visits whereby he can only visit the child in your presence for a limited time. I am not sure if there is any provision for this, but the bottom line is that the well being of the child is absolutely paramount and the needs ande wants of the biological father is secondary. Good luck

Reply to What a shame

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