7yr old joint custody caos - FamilyEducation
7yr old joint custody caos
01/10/2010 at 15:10 PM

Ok I have one of the best step-daughters that a girl could ask for. We have always had such a good relationship, we have fun, laugh and play. It always been good with us and still is for the most part. So here's the story. Her mother was absent from her live for about a year (probably when she was between 3 and 4), just up and left and had some personal issues. My husband got full custody after that. When she returned, she slowly over time got some of her rights back until they now share joint custody.

Up until recently things have been going pretty smoothly. The past two weeks my step-daughter(we will call her Kate for confidentiality reasons) has started crying for her mom the second she walks through the door. She will get a little upset and cry just a little at first. I usually tell her that it is fine that she misses her mom and its ok to cry sometimes. THen, she got to were she would throw crying fits everytime she would talk to her mom before bed and it would last until she fell asleep. One night she got out of bed at midnight and snuck and called her, we being shocked just took her to meet her. Last night she screamed, I could hear her through 2 closed doors, saying "I want my mommy". I dont know what has happened. Nothing has changed here and we give her more attention than the 2 yr old when she is here since she's not here all of the time. What do I do??? Missing her mommy is not the problem, that is understandable, it is the tantrums and crying fits that can not be controlled that has me at a loss!!! Any suggestions on how to handle this???

Kind of went throught the same thing with my stepdaughter. We had custody and because of good behavoir her mom got visitation back. Was the worst thing that could have happened. It is difficult for kids to have their routine and environment changed. Unfortunately the kids really have no say in the situation..she has to go with her mom because of the court order. If it continues to be a problem seek outside help. Maybe her mom is putting things in her head. Kids usually act out because of frustration and not knowing how to handle their emotions..if this is new since her mom got visitation back sounds like the child is being affected emotionally. It is hard being a kid shuffled between two homes and two different environments. Maybe you could talk to the mom and see if maybe she is experiencing this at her home. Where is her dad in all of this..does he talk to her to try and find out how she is feeling and what all the comotion is about lately.

Her dad should help her process this. Sometime when she is not upset, he should start a conversation with her. "I'd like you to talk to me about your mom, but I get all upset when you get all upset. Do you think you could talk to me without getting too sad?" Then he should listen to her. His responses need to be accepting, not "helping", not telling her how to feel, not solving the problem, just listening. Maybe he could even take notes. If she does get upset, he could offer her a drink of water. Just listen, hydrate.

Her dad has the same frustrations that I do. He is at a loss and just doesn't know how to deal with it. He has tried to talk to her and he has tried to do things to make her kind of get everything off her mind for a second. Some times I think she feels like she doesn't want to tell us everything that she is thinking or trying to deal with. He has been a GREAT father to her, being the father/mother for over a year (and really a little bit before she left). He has really done an extrodinary job, but kind of thinks that things are being put in her head and it is confusing her.

He needs to listen without trying to help her get over it. Just listen. We want fix things. She just needs to feel like she is heard, not like he can fix it. We pay counselors $100 an hour to listen. Dad can do it for free.