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Has anybody been through extended summer visitation with their 2 or 3 year old?

If there is anybody who has been through this, please let me know your child did okay with it. I just want to hear somebody tell me their child does this extended summer stuff and is okay. When she turns 3 he actually has the option to take her for 30 days during the summer and I only see her for one weekend during the whole month. I am sick over that!!!!!!! He doesnt ever have to go 30 days without seeing her, so why should her primary caregiver?

I'll give you some background. My child is 2 1/2 now. We split when she was 10 months old and up until we split, he had nothing to do with her. At the time of the divorce he had never fed his child, put his child to bed or even really acknowledged her a whole lot. I was her primary and pretty much only caregiver then. Once we split up, he started visitation with her every other weekend and in a way the divorce was a good thing, because it forced him to be invovled on his weekends. She screamed every time he would come get until a few months ago. She does get excited to see him sometimes now and I try to get her really excited before she goes. I talk to her about him and tell her he wants to see her and he loves her and I try to make it sound like one heck of a good time so that she'll want to go. It breaks my heart when she leaves screaming with her arms out so I try my best to make her realize everything is okay and this is a good thing. Watching your child slowly pull away in a car screaming with her arms out crying for you is the most horrendous experience.

I am far from a mean, bitter, ex wife so m concerns have nothing to do with my personal feelings towards him. I'm just throwing that out there because on a public forum there will be those who seem to think that I'm just bitter or something when I'm not at all. I'm geniunly concerned about how my child will handle any period of extended time away. She is just a toddler. I bend over backwards most of the time to help him and most of the time he throws it back in my face by doing something hateful after I've done him a favor. I email him if she completes any milestones, I include him on all of her medical appointments, although he doesnt show. I try to keep him up to date with what's gong on with her. No matter what I do, he just wont work with me and now I have to send her for an extended amount of time and be comfortable with it. I'm just not...

She is going to be with him all of next week for spring break and then he gets her for two weeks in June and two weeks in August this summer. I don't get to see her at all during his time, which worries me. Is that too long for a toddler to be away from their primary care giver? I know he's her father, but lets face it...its not the same. He started getting to know her when she was almost a year old already...and she's not even that settled with him on a regular weekend visit.

I'm nervous to have her be gone that long. Will she think I left her? Will she be sad and upset? Will this traumatize her??? Then again, I have no choice, the system doesnt always care about the child's feelings. I do want her to have a relationship with her dad and I do want him to have time with her too. I just am worried about how she's going to handle it.

Part of me is also concerned because his parenting skills arent the best. For example he told me last weekend he was going to start putting her in timeout whenever she had an accident. She is only 2! and she is doing AWESOME potty training, she is almost there! She also had surgery on her kidneys for urine reflux back in July so he needs to remember that as well. I told him that was an inappropriate form of potty training but he just stood there looking at me like he didnt care what I had to say. I was hoping he was just saying it to make me worry, but sure enough she came home VERY clingy, wont' let me get more than 2 feet away...has had a hard time going to preschool this waking up at night and even her teachers mentioned since she came back from Daddy's she has been struggling. She won't say what happend but keeps telling me she doesnt want to go back. She was fine up until she went with him last weekend...and now I have to send her for an extended amount of time? She isn't even over her last weekend yet.

I am doing everything I can. I talk to her about him, show her pictures of him, try to get her excited about him...I try to keep him in the loop. I have asked him to participate in things like her swim class but he doesnt want too. I suggested he call her but he doesnt. I am so nervous about this extended time. If we're having this much trouble with is a week going to go?

Please moms, help!

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Asked by Anonymous at 12:20 PM on Mar. 10, 2011 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (3)
  • Yep been there. Ex & I broke up when my son turned 2. I will also add he actually took off with our son more then once and still got extended visits so I understand being concerned. However my son did just fine. I know it doesnt seem fair and I used to feel the same way about letting him go 3 weeks at a time when at most ex went 10 days between visits. But it is what it is and is set up to make up for the time we get non stop with the kids during the year. I used to just call alot, and make sure everything was alright. Now my son actually lives with his dad (we go back & forth sharing now) and I get him longer durations in the summer. Next year he should be back with me (ex was supposed to sign custody back but hasnt) as long as we dont have court to force it. Then itll be me having to let him go 3-4 weeks at a time. Its best to get them used to it early on.

    Answer by gemgem at 12:24 PM on Mar. 10, 2011

  • I may be a little late, but I would definitely do a social story explaining her extended time with daddy. I would also contact your lawyer and have this modified to a one day visit per week and a phone call daily to make your daughter feel secure. Reading this made me sick to my stomach, I would be so upset under these circumstances! If he's a decent person he will see that his child needs to hear from you! I hope this time goes quickly and that your dd handles it well.

    Answer by Austinsmom35 at 1:49 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

  • Sadly...we can't change the order. I have to be able to prove he is physically abusive to change anything. When he first was seeing her, she had yeast infections every time she came back from his house. I had to get her doctor involved and when he got a gf they finally stopped because the gf started changing her thank God. Even the recurrent yeast infections weren't enough to change anything. I was told in TX this is standard and I can't give him anything less than that. I'm sick over this too. She is not ready to go tonight...he is picking her up from me at 6:00. She didn't want me to leave preschool this morning and just kept repeating I dont want to go to daddys house! I'm at work in tears because I know in a few short hours I have to go pick her up and force her to do something she isn't comfortable with. The system really stinks in cases like this, because they are more worried about being fair like she's an object.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 2:16 PM on Mar. 14, 2011

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