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Trying to get SD to open up to me while husband is away for 10 weeks

Posted by on May. 27, 2013 at 3:09 AM
  • 22 Replies
My husband left three weeks ago Monday. We have known each other for a long time and dated for two years before marrying in February this year. He has a daughter who is three years old, named Katie. This is my first time alone with her for this long of a time and we are both missing my husband. She gives me trouble, as do all kids, but sometimes I feel she doesn't want to open up to me, despite me trying to let her. I've known her since she was a baby, and watched her grow up from a distance. I know she has trust issues because of her mother, who was a abusive and neglecting person. After my husband fought for custody (and won), Katie's mother left state and has only come to see her once in the past year. Now, we have been without him for three weeks and I know Katie is missing him very badly, as am I. He could do anything to make her happy and she was always open to it. I could do anything when he was here to make her happy too. Now that he's gone, when I try to goof around (tickle her, make funny faces, play dolls) she gets shy and pushes me away, like when she first met me and didn't know about me. It's weird and really makes me sad everyday. I know she misses her daddy and I want everything to help her out while he is gone. I try to help her better understand that daddy is coming back, unlike her mother who left her, but there is only so much you can do to make a three year old understand. By the days she gets a little more distant from me. She wants to stay with her paternal grandmother and when I come to pick her up she gets sad. We also spend lots of time with my baby brother who is two. (I am about 16 years apart from him. I am 19 and my husband is 20 if there are any questions about that). She loves spending time with everyone, but when I try to play with her, she closes up. I don't want her to think that I drove daddy away. When her father and I dated that was when her mommy left, now her daddy is gone but I am still here. i don't want her to think that I am ridding of everyone she loves. I want to try to comfort her as much as I can, but she won't let me...I am just in a bind on what to do. Any advice?
by on May. 27, 2013 at 3:09 AM
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whatIknownow
by Ruby Member on May. 27, 2013 at 6:16 AM


I hope you don't actually say that to her.

it sounds like the mother and father were extremely young when SD was born, they were just children themselves.

Maybe let her spend more time with her grandma?

Quoting Orca_lover:

 I try to help her better understand that daddy is coming back, unlike her mother who left her, 


chanizen
by Platinum Member on May. 27, 2013 at 7:28 AM

The child is probably missing both of her parents.  And trying to force your way in won't do anyone any good.  If she is comfortable with her grandparents, let her spend loads of time there.  Honoring that comfort and need for it will likely do more than pressuring her.

She needs time.  And patience and comfort.  And I'm not quite sure how much opening up you expect a 3 year old to do.  They don't verbally have the language and I hope to go you aren't "helping". Her open up by asking her to talk badly about her mom or talking about abandonment.    That is inappropriate.  

I would suggest teaming up with an older woman or getting information about parenting.  It sounds like you are projecting quite a bit onto her.  Which is likely not entirely helpful. 

Mary762
by on May. 27, 2013 at 7:40 AM
2 moms liked this

She probably does think her daddy has gone away like her mommie and she's probably scared to get close to you because the 2 biggest people in her life is not there now. Give her time and don't give up. Spend as much extra time with her as you can, just you and her...Play time, park time , even do a pinic just you too and have her help you make the sandwiches...With alil time and lots of love things will get better!

Birdseed
by Platinum Member on May. 27, 2013 at 9:20 AM
4 moms liked this

She's 3.  I don't think there's much "opening up" to be expected.  She doesn't understand all of the whys, all she knows is Mom is gone and now Dad is gone.

Any way to Skype or FaceTime w/ Dad while he's gone?

Another idea might be to make a calendar showing when Dad is going to be home.  Make some crafty "gifts" for Dad--drawings, etc.

I would just roll with it.  She is sad and maybe a little uncomfortable.  Could you spend some time WITH her at Gma's house?  That might help set her more at ease.

amonkeymom
by Amy on May. 27, 2013 at 11:45 AM
3 moms liked this

I agree.  

Maybe you can make a calendar together so that she can x off a day each night before bed so that she knows that daddy will be home after X more sleeps.  That way she's reassured that he IS coming back.

Quoting Mary762:

She probably does think her daddy has gone away like her mommie and she's probably scared to get close to you because the 2 biggest people in her life is not there now. Give her time and don't give up. Spend as much extra time with her as you can, just you and her...Play time, park time , even do a pinic just you too and have her help you make the sandwiches...With alil time and lots of love things will get better!


minimoo
by Gold Member on May. 27, 2013 at 12:25 PM
Well, Birdseed...you just suggested EVERYTHING I was going to suggest lol.

OP...it would make things easier for her if dad still engages with contact. Daily phone calls would work, Skype would be better, as at 3, some kids are mire visual. My brother is a doctor (just finishing his residency) so he is away a lot (working, travelling across the country for seminars/interviews etc). He calls his kids and Skypes w his wife/kids daily when he is gone. They never dealt with the emotions of being abandoned but it helps.

The calendar is also a fantastic tool- it will help her visualize that daddy's not gone forever, just temporarily. Spending time w her at grandma's will help.


Quoting Birdseed:

She's 3.  I don't think there's much "opening up" to be expected.  She doesn't understand all of the whys, all she knows is Mom is gone and now Dad is gone.

Any way to Skype or FaceTime w/ Dad while he's gone?

Another idea might be to make a calendar showing when Dad is going to be home.  Make some crafty "gifts" for Dad--drawings, etc.

I would just roll with it.  She is sad and maybe a little uncomfortable.  Could you spend some time WITH her at Gma's house?  That might help set her more at ease.


petie1104
by on May. 27, 2013 at 12:34 PM
1 mom liked this
Ok these are deployment tips but they may help.

Skype is invaluable.

Have dad read some stories on tape that she can listen to at night.

Mark a calendar and prep for a big homecoming party

Take a jar, put only the number of candies (m&ms are great for this) as the number of days daddy will be gone. Every night she gets to eat one. Then she has a physical representation of when daddy will be back.

Keep a regular schedule and a positive attitude, children play off of how the adults act. If they see you crying then they think something is wrong. Be happy and free and they will see nothing is wrong.

Don't talk about negatives. No, "do you miss daddy? Awwww I'm sorry". It's a "hey why don't we go out to the park today". Remember, time flies when your busy.

Have fun times that can be carried over when daddy comes home. A "girls" activity for just the two of you.

Most Importantly, don't disregard their feelings. Sometimes a movie and popcorn while cuddling is better than a trip out. If she doesn't want to talk, don't make her.
jcampbell288
by on May. 27, 2013 at 2:12 PM

SD went thru a form of this she kept saying "my house is gone" and would scream if we tried to take her away form NiNi and Papa's house... change sucks for them.

What I did was took her shopping! and we had a "girls day out" I didnt make a big deal out if it, but she had so much fun she forgot to be shy and we had a great time... maybe try that?

peaceflower04
by Member on May. 27, 2013 at 2:35 PM
1 mom liked this

I personally would take things very slow. Maybe it's too much for her to be alone with you at this point in time. Relationships take time to form. She is a baby...well to me 3 years-old is a baby. If she is more comfortable at grandma's house then allow grandma to take her for a little bit. Perhaps you and grandma can also spend time with her together. She is only 3 and at her age can't understand why mommy is away. She is probably very stressed and confused because she doesn't understand. She doesn't think you drove daddy away either. She is missing both parents that is a given. You should never push anything on her...by asking her questions etc. I would find fun activities that she enjoys and just play with her and have a good time. Good luck.

mamaBerg85
by Silver Member on May. 27, 2013 at 5:51 PM
1 mom liked this
I love it. Find pictures of him and her. Hang them around the house make special frames to put them in. Where is her dad? Maybe find a physical map of the US put smile where u all are and a star where he is. She might be a little young to understand geographic locations but at least you can try to explain it better. This way you can teach her daddy is in ----- state and will be back soon. Make something like a paper chain start with every few days tearing a piece off then every other day then Move it to everyday. Go with her to get grandma spend that time with her this way she will get used to you in a common comfortable area. I think ull be fine as long as you remember she is 3.


Quoting Birdseed:

She's 3.  I don't think there's much "opening up" to be expected.  She doesn't understand all of the whys, all she knows is Mom is gone and now Dad is gone.

Any way to Skype or FaceTime w/ Dad while he's gone?

Another idea might be to make a calendar showing when Dad is going to be home.  Make some crafty "gifts" for Dad--drawings, etc.

I would just roll with it.  She is sad and maybe a little uncomfortable.  Could you spend some time WITH her at Gma's house?  That might help set her more at ease.


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