First of all, please understand that no matter what your girl says,
it?s not directed at you as a person. At that age, children test their
limits constantly trying to see what control they have over their new
found world. Even as a Teacher in various preschools, I find one day a
child will love me, the next day they?re crying for Mom or Dad when
they don?t like my rules at school.
Children do this same thing even when parents are not separated. Think
of the child who because Dad makes her go to bed early as a punishment
cried out for Mommy. Over time the child will adapt as they get older
to understanding each parent, separated or together, has different
rules and limits and will adapt. However, Children are smarter than
you think. They realize, even at 3 years that saying those things
hurts Mom or Dad and they can use that hurt to their advantage.
You have to stay strong and firm in your rules. Tell the child that
while she may want to go to Mom?s, she is at Dad?s house right now,
and she has to follow the rules at both homes. Reassure you love her
and Mom loves here and you?re both trying to do the best for her you
can. Her upset may continue, but truthfully, you?ve done all you can.
If you give in and stop with whatever upset her or take her back
to/call her Mom, it will only give her power/control to manipulate her
way out of situations she does not like. This isn?t saying distance
her from her Mom by any means. Tell her if she misses Mom, she can
call her in the morning. That way she has to follow the rule in your
home and gets what she wants in the AM.
Here?s a great article that has to do with your situation and coping
with children testing their limits during divorce.
?Why do some parents misunderstand their children?s reactions to the divorce?
Most parents are dealing with their own feelings of doubt, grief,
shame, fear, anger, or relief. They may project their feelings on
Remember, she?s only 3. It?s more than likely that she just does not
want to go to bed and thinks asking for another parent will get her,
her way. Does your Ex-wife bend on the rules with her a lot? She may
know Mom is easier to sweet talk than Dad and it may have nothing to
do with the divorce.
http://www.divorceinfo.com/children.htm (Advice on Children and Divorce)
As far as the jealously with the new Step-father. Remember, even
though you may be jealous it?s up to all 3 of you at this point to
focus on what is really important. Raising your child. Try and involve
yourself in the parenting with both of them. Establish if possible a
friendly relationship with him and her for the sake of the child. If
you feel like you?re a parenting team instead of a competition between
you and the ?new guy? it may easier to deal with the feelings of her
having another male role model in her life. No matter who HE is,
you?re her FATHER. By staying in her life and being a good parent, no
one can EVER replace that.
Dealing with ex getting remarried
dealing with your child's new step father
testing limits with divorce
children and divorce
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