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What would cause a 2 year old to be unsettled after a visitation with me?

My two year old daughter is in foster care where she has been for 15 months, and we used to have 6 hours per week visitation. Once she reached the car seat when I give her back, she shuts off emotionally, while beforehand she laughs and giggles. The foster parents reported to have problems with her after visits with me, getting her to bed, claiming she is unsettled, cranky, and she requires more attention. In your opinion what do you think could cause her to act like this? I am trying as hard as I can to get her back, and to take care of her the very best I can when she is with me, but now they got a court order for reduced visitation (down to 2 hours per week) claiming it is in the best interest of the child to have less time with me. I am going to appeal this but it will take time... Please give me your opinion.

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Puddles128

Asked by Puddles128 at 1:43 AM on Jul. 10, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (21)
  • I think it would be prudent for you to tell us why she is in foster care.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:47 AM on Jul. 10, 2009

  • Without knowing all the details of the reason for her being in foster care, I am going to just attempt to answer satisfactoriy. She is human like the rest of us. But she is also only 2 years old. The deprivation of being with you and then getting to see you for such short periods of time is probably something that is very confusing to her and she doesn't even understand why. I am certain this is stressful for her. I'm not certain on how this can even be rectified without knowing more details. But given just the little you've said, it probably isn't anything you are doing. It sounds like the whole process.
    TCliffman

    Answer by TCliffman at 1:52 AM on Jul. 10, 2009

  • Too many details missing.

    Why is she in foster care?
    How does she act WHILE with you?
    What evidence did they turn in to the court in order to have visitation reduced?


    Most of her life has been with the foster parents. What does she call her foster mom and what does she call you? How confusing is it for a 2 year old to have to call two women "mom" if that is the case?

    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:47 AM on Jul. 10, 2009

  • It sounds like she is happy with you. How does she respond when you first pick her up? Kids like consistancy and they are smart so she knows she's going back when she gets to the car seat. Do you have any transition problems when she's with you? Do you have a set bedtime and follow the same sleep schedule as the foster parents? It's possible she is just off schedule after visiting with you and needs some time to get settled in. My daughter gets a little off when she's with my dad and step mom as the let her stay up late. So it's hard to get her to bed the next night. They also spoil her, so she's more likely to try to get her way, too. THere are so many things thta could play into this that I can't make any education conclusions. I'd need more info.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:42 AM on Jul. 10, 2009

  • Here's my experience - the the same, but similar in that it relates to a 2 year old and visitations. At two, kids are really beginning to understand they have NO control over things - they're small and they have to keep doing what all the big people say, even if it means leaving when they don't want to. When my son turned two, he started having the worst tantrums when I picked him up from his dad, something that we had been doing for well over a year, but my son was changing. He would spend the entire trip home screaming and crying. He didn't always want to leave his dad, and it would take him about 2 days to fully recover from the ... TRANSITION. That's the key right there - your daughter is having a hard time with the Transition from one place to another. She doesn't like it, she doesn't control it, but she has to leave one place and go to another. And the reason the foster family is having all the trouble is because
    JPsMommy605

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 9:56 AM on Jul. 10, 2009

  • cont...that's who's shes comfortable with - she knows she can cry out and they will still love her - that's where her security is. Now, the best way I found to work with my son on transition is to make sure we started talking about the visitations before he left, when I picked him up he would still cry and scream, but I LET him - he needed to get it out. Then I would hold him and spend extra time hugging him - he needed extra physical time after being away from me for the weekend. As he grew older, he was able to recover from the transition more quickly - he's 4 now and he's pretty much recovered by Monday afternoon after his nap. He doesn't have the crying now when I pick him up either - he's older and we talk more. Your daughter will also grow out of it, but you and the foster family need to help her through the transitions and not think that anyone is doing something wrong - you're not. She's just TWO.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:59 AM on Jul. 10, 2009

  • oops...didn't mean for that last response to be anonymous...sorry!
    JPsMommy605

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 10:00 AM on Jul. 10, 2009

  • I used to be a foster mom, and from my experience, it could be a couple of things......even though she's only 2 years old, she could feel a bit of guilt when she leaves you. She probably feels the "sadness" that overcomes you and she is just responding from that. She wants to be with you, but she also wants to be with the Foster Family. She's torn between the two emotionally....
    Also, it could be that she truly misses you when you're not there. She may be sad when she knows the visits are over and she won't see you again for awhile. Since she doesn't know any other way to handle it, she withdraws from you, and lashes out at the foster family.
    Make sure to keep the visits light and happy. Have fun with her, and try to down play any sadness you may feel. That will help her feel that it's ok to go back with them for now. You keep working hard to get your life together so you can get her back. That way everyone will be happy.
    lighthousemom3

    Answer by lighthousemom3 at 10:33 AM on Jul. 10, 2009

  • TCliffman said it best....and I also hate to say this but you might to request that your daughter is removed from the foster couples home. They could be becoming to attached. JMO.......its seems to me that they are not doing there job in helping you regain custody of your child...you need more time...not less.
    Can't any of your family members take your daughter until your able?
    I, too, would also like to know how you lost custody of child at such a young age.
    SoKamele

    Answer by SoKamele at 10:53 AM on Jul. 10, 2009

  • If the foster mom is a SAHM, then your daughter may be having anxiety due to being away from her rather than due to spending time with you. If the foster mom is her primary caregiver 24/7 then being without her may cause your daughter to be upset. It might be a lot like a SAHM suddenly putting her child in daycare. It takes time for the child to adjust to that, and since she isn't spending all day everyday with you, she may not have enough time to adjust. Even though it was fine before i think it could still be separation anxiety because kids periodically go through phases when separation anxiety is worse. She may be mad at the foster mom for leaving her. This is just one possibility.
    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:57 AM on Jul. 10, 2009

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