is there any good advise for a single dad-i've been getting professional advise , but i would like some input from the real world. my 4 yr old is good till bedtime, but then it's "why did mommy leave". it's hurting my 9 yr old ,but he seems to accept it.
I would just find a new mommy. Check out my hubs on picking up chicks.
it's nice to see you reaching out~~ a 4 year old needs security, especially at bedtime. did the mommy have a bedtime routine with the child? this may be reminding your child of that time, which is o.k. I'm not sure of your bedtime routine, but make it the same each night, bath, jammies, read a short story close and cuddly. Lots of love and assurance is what your child needs most and that everything is o.k. If the question comes up, be honest in a simple way that doesn't reflect a bad image of her mommy. sometimes the child feels it may be their fault, assure her/him that you will always be there.
hope this helps, be patient and loving~~ take care~
Just amke sure you bury both in mounds of love! Do something at bedtime that is fun and breaks the cycle of questions. I used to make up stories and act them out with my son as one of my characters, it always ended with a tickle attack. It also was alittle physical so I wore him out alittle. Make sure they know tomarrow is going to be a great day so they need to rest up. Just remember you're doing your best for the best reason and don't be too critical of your own efforts. God Bless you all!
Right now, you kind of have to go with the flow. My son was 7 years old when his Dad and I split, and my son spent a full year sleeping on the hardwood floor under my bed with a little TV. There's no understanding what's going on with them. Just give them lots and lots of love, encouragement and understanding.
Give them a little distraction to change direction. better yet, make *them* read to you discuss any learning lessons in it then bid them good night.
I am sorry you have to go through this. It has to be difficult on the children. All you can do is take it day by day and be as supportive as you can to the children. Try to make sure they know it is not thier fault. Give them lots of love and let them express thier feelings to you. These things take time. Time will make things better.
Daddy - love in itself is great - no doubts. But you have to give more. You need to answer questions when they arise (in a way they can understand) and recreate structure and boundaries. As much as your children will be struggling to cope with what I assume is their mothers' total abscence from their life, their little world has been shaken, the boundries have changed.
You need to replace them, and you can.
Lots of good advice here so I'll just piggy-back: Children are resilient and they can handle basic truths. Just remember they will take their cue from you. Whatever anger or irritation you may have for your ex will show up in the tones of your voice and your children will pick up on that. So allow their questions, answer them without too much detail, make sure the are okay and then redirect them. They will follow where you lead.
I think I would aim send as positive a message as possible that was still the truth; and unless the mother plain old doesn't love and want her children (which is rare), I'd let them know she loves them and would be with them if she could.
Exactly what I'd say would depend on the kind of reason she isn't with them. There are mothers who just lose custody in a custody case for some reason like not having their own home or some other reason that has nothing to do with the kind of mother they are. Then there are mothers who have mental/emotional issues or substance abuse problems, and leave on their own. Then there are mothers who have abused their children and are deemed unfit.
If it's the first reason, I'd tell something like, "She loves you and wants so much to be with you, but the judge (or "man at court") says she can't until she has her own house for you. Or, "She loves you and wants to be with you, but she is having a hard time getting enough work to be able to make a nice home for you, so she thinks you are better off living with me." I'd explain something like, "When Mommies and Daddies have to go to court to see which of them children will live with, the judge and other people at court have to try to figure how what they think will be better for the children. The Mommies and Daddies don't get to decide."
If it's mental/emotional reasons, I'd say something like, "She loves you and wants to be with you, but sometimes people have trouble being able to be a person who can do what mothers need to do for their children. She worries that she can't do for you right now what you need, and..
Option 1: because she loves you she thinks you're better off with me right now. (If they how long "right now" is, I'd say I didn't know. We have to see what goes on.)
Option 2: The man-at-court/the lady-at-court want her to get the help she needs and thought you'd be better off with me right now.
If the reason is she has been abusive (I adopted one of my children as an infant after he'd be in that kind of situation): I'd say, "Sometimes when mothers didn't have the right kind of mother when they were little, they grow up and don't really know how to be the kind of mother their own children need to have. She loves you and wishes she could be with you, but she worries that she doesn't know how to be the right kind of mother for you."
I'd also try to answer (or head off) any worries they have that she may "sad and crying all the time" (because she loves them and wants to be with them) with something like, "Yes, she is sad, just like you are; but Mommy is a grown-up, and grown-ups know how to find ways not to always being crying even when they're said."
Just in case the issue (for your nine-year-old) comes up that he doesn't feel like "all the other kids" (who have their mothers in the house or showing up at the school), I'd make sure to send the message, "Well, yes, most of the children do have their mothers around; but there are a lot of other children, like you, who don't. They just don't happen to be in your class."
Best wishes for your children. I can imagine how they feel because when I was six my mother was hospitalized for a lung infection for seven months, and my twelve-year-old sister and I cried every night until we could be with her again. By the way, make sure (if, by any chance, your children's mother has anything like mental illness) they know she is otherwise healthy. If children hear the word "sick" they can worry that their mother will die.
There is some great advice here. It is tough when there were two parents then it's down to one. At bedtime I used to read a story or two, watch a favorite movie in bed, something that allows time with them and help them to relax and go too sleep. The one thing I always stressed was that both parents do love them and they had nothing to do with the other parent no longer being there. Sometimes kids don't say anything about this but they are thinking it. Never bad mouth the other parent in front of the children not matter how awful that spouse was to you. It may came back to bite you. And lastly sometimes you just have to listen, be patient, and answer their questions.
thanks for some great posts and i did fail to mention we are seperated due to a depression /mental issue. this was in no way an abusive relationship nor was there any problems with my wife taking care of the kids. nor was it a relationship with either of us cheating.In Kentucky we have problems with the courts getting people the help they need due to all the red tape. they pretty much let the sick person make all the decisions for themselves. it's a real battle
with a 4 year old, I would keep it as simple as possible. I would hesitate in saying anything about the court or the judge and just say something like, "sometimes an adult needs to have time to feel better and mommy wants to get better so she can be the best mommy. she loves you and your 'sibling' very much."
if your child is acting out, it's just that need for affirmation and attention. if she goes to school, make sure you schedule some time to talk with her teacher. she can be a huge resource for you and will help with your child's needs.
good luck~ stay positive and keep doing what you're doing and that's reaching out~~
A child in a breakup situation may be thinking, "Did I do something to make Mommy go?" And "Does Mommy still love me?"
The answers to those questions are "No" and "Yes". And as you find it appropriate, reinforce those thoughts.
Children like to have something to look forward to. If each night, before they go to bed, you can talk about something nice that will happen tomorrow (it can be an ice cream cone, a trip to a park, playing a game, a trip to McDonald's, etc.); this gives the child a pleasant look at the future. The activity doesn't have to involve your spending money--just providing an experience that brings pleasure or enjoyment to you all.
As the kids get older, they can assimilate more information. But right now, your hugs, warmth, and closeness do a lot to help them cope with the experience.
I was reading one of the replies where it said to find a new mommy. This is probably not the best time since there are so many issues. So don't do that or your child may resent the 'new mommy'. As many have said, show lots of love. My answer to the question of why did mommy leave would probably be to the point of that she needed to get help or she needed to better herself. Never say anything that may make the child feel like it's their fault. Reassure the little one that you both love him. The other thing to watch out for is that you don't bring her up or bring up how your upset/sad. You don't really want to bring the child into that. Keep it out of their hearing range.
I wish I could be more help but hopefully something out of this will help.
I agree with keeping it simple, but I think people need to be careful not to keep things so simple the children "fill in the blanks" when it comes to trying to understand.
The reason I think it can be best to mention something like the court or judge is that, assuming it is true there's a court order in place, it is the truth that the court made the decision. I think that can help children understand that it was not their (in this case) mother's decision. I think, "better they think a stranger imposed something" than think their mother made a choice to leave them.
Even four-year-olds can understand something simple like, "When parents have to live separately they need to go to a place called, court, where someone else decides who they will live with."
Unless a mother is so mentally ill or so emotionally "off" she never formed the normal attachment with her children, the mother/child bond is a unique and powerful one. When children must be separated from their mother they are going to wonder why they can't be with her. The option is to let them think their mother doesn't want to be with them, or else let them know someone else is responsible for their being away from her. It's also natural that they think, "If Mommy didn't want it this way, why doesn't Daddy do something to fix things?" To children, whether they say it or not, there can be thoughts that the two most important adults in their life have failed them. I think it's better if they realize it wasn't their parents' doing but was the doing of a stranger who "doesn't really know the family very well but made the best decision s/he could". It's less of betrayal to have a stranger cause that kind of hurt.
My suggestion is to make it clear to your little 4 year old that Mommy's leaving had nothing to do with him or her and that you will never leave.
for sure no new mommy anytime soon--we've still not gave up on the old one
i'm going to accept a lot of this advise (except the new mommy part) and make some gradual changes. as time goes on hopefully thing will get better and we will again have a somewhat normal life again. thanks so much
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