My 3.5yo daughter spends 2 separate nights at her father’s place (separate because he can’t do 2 together). This has been going on for about 18 months (these are also court ordered). We have a routine that she will call the other parent at bed time to say goodnight. About 50% of the time when she calls me she’s either just been crying or is crying saying she wants me. I quickly change the conversation to what she has plans for the next day. Sometimes this doesn’t work and she can get quite upset. I try and comfort her and tell her this is her special time with daddy. When she’s back with me it doesn’t take long until she tells me she missed me and she doesn’t like staying at daddy’s, I try and remind her about the fun she had at daddy’s. Last night though, she started crying and said she missed me (this is the first time she’s broken down about it afterwards). I asked her when, as it had been 3 nights since she had stayed at her dad’s. She told me it was when she stayed at daddy’s and that when she spoke to daddy about seeing mummy he said she had to wait until the next day and wouldn’t let her call me.
He is a very controlling person, and that’s the reason we had to go to court. He wanted 50/50 week on week off when she was 3 months old. When I refused I got a letter in the mail from his solicitor. We’ve tried mediation and that was a mess with him laughing at anything I suggested (and I mean really laughing). I am concerned that these over nights are having an affect on our daughter but whenever I have told him about her behaviour when it is time to go to his (tantrums, crying, screaming, etc) he says she does the same with him when it is time to come back, though when she’s back she runs straight to me for cuddles where when I drop her to her dad’s she’s very clingy and crying.
She’s absolutely fine when I drop her off to childcare/preschool. I have no issues at all. Just some clinginess but definitely not as bad.
I just don’t know what I can do. I feel really bad when she is on the phone to me crying and even more when she tells me later on that she misses me. I have tried talking to him and telling him that he can bring her back if she is upset, or even call me in the middle of the night if she is wanting me. I’ve also told him that I want her to know that she has the option to come back to mine so she doesn’t feel she is being forced into something she doesn’t want to do. He is not interested in any of my suggestions. I am worried this will lead to anxiety issues or her reacting later on for being ‘forced’ into doing something she didn’t want to do.
I am just wanting to know what my options are. I can’t talk to her dad as he immediately dismisses it. The court orders where the final ones so I would have to contact my solicitor and reopen it. And if I was to seek professional help he doesn’t believe what they have to say (as he does his own research to prove his way). We have tried 3 different psychologists who all said the same thing about a previous issue but he still fought that his views/research was the right way. Sorry this is so long!! I am just feeling lost.
Posted anonymously, 8th July 2014