We've been separated for almost two years - I'm afraid my 5 year old is still acting out because of it - FamilyEducation
We've been separated for almost two years - I'm afraid my 5 year old is still acting out because of it
01/07/2010 at 12:56 PM

My ex husband and I separated almost two years ago (we're still going through a custody dispute). My five year old son still says things like "Remember when you and my dad used to live together?" or "I just want you and my dad to live together". It breaks my heart every time he says something like that. He now only sees his dad on the weekends (until the custody is decided) and cries at least once a week about wanting to see daddy. I tell him I know he does but that he has to stay with mommy because he has to go to school during the week (we live in different school districts, an hour apart). My son is really aggressive at times - he tries to get other kid's attention by grabbing them or holding/hugging them (he does it in a friendly way, he's wanting to play with them) - and other times he's completely soft hearted and gets really teary-eyed when something is bothering him. He's very soft hearted and gets his feelings hurt very easily at times. I'm almost afraid to say it, but it's almost like he's bi-polar (obviously not to that extreme, but I don't know any other way to describe it). He can go from throwing a terrible tantrum one minute and laughing and joking with me the next. And he doesn't listen to me very well either. I know, a lot of five year olds are like this, I'm just having a really hard time getting a handle on it. I guess I'm just looking for advice on how to handle the whole situation, how to get him accustomed to the whole "mommy and daddy don't live together" situation, even though it's been two years. He needs constant attention from me and I think it's because he's afraid that he's not loved since his dad and I have separated. I always reassure him that me and his daddy love him very much. How do I handle this? Any advice is greatly appreciated!

It is really hard on kids at any age when their parents seperate, he may have seperation anxiety. Kids don't really understand adult issues and he is probably frustrated over the situation. Is he able to speak to his father via the telephone or video chat during the week? He more than likely takes his frustration out on you because you are closest to him and he doesn't know how to handle his feelings and frustration. There are always going to be issues since your marriage disolved and their is a child involved. The important thing is to be sure he is able to see and talk to his dad and to a kid not seeing one parent for five days in a row is difficult. All kids want their mom and dad to be together no matter what age. Just keep loving him. Are you living in the home you shared with your husband or did you move. He may be angry with you that you left or angry that his dad left and he is acting out.

Oh I never thought of that. My son actually doesn't like talking on the phone. I've tried to get him to talk to his dad on the phone during the week and he just doesn't want to. He's never been big on talking on the phone. His dad and I both live in a different house than we did when we were married. I'm sure he's still angry about all of it and just doesn't know how to express himself. Thanks for the advice!

I imagine that the two years of being in limbo has also been hard on your son. When you are separated, you are still married. That makes your son's hope seem like it is founded in some chance that the marriage will survive. If he doesn't understand the real cause of the divorce he will continue to hope. It is probably not a good idea to share with him the real cause of the divorce, his image of his parents should not be sullied. I'd advise you to resolve the custody dispute very quickly. Make a concession as long as it doesn't endanger the child. In the meanwhile, could you arrange to spend perhaps Wednesday evenings with the father? Meet at a hamburger place half-way between for dinner?

I know you are quite disturbed by the behaviour of your child.But the truth of the matter is that the childm could not be denied access to his father despite the differences, because the denied may lead to inability of the child to concentrate in school and inferior among his mate. in essence the behaviour of the child could be affected, even towards you his mother.Try to allow him access to his father, so far the father is not hostile to him.Even if your differences with the father can be resolved in the interesting of the son, its still okay. you child is precious to you and dont let access denial to his father turn him against you.Ruminate on this.