Counseling for an almost 5-year old?

Ashlee - posted on 08/17/2010 ( 2 moms have responded )

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So the BM is pushing really hard to put my SD - who is not quite 5 - into counseling for "depression and anxiety" related to the split household situation. She claims SD is upset about leaving her mother's house and seems not to want to spend time with her dad (my husband).

Our only experiences with any sort of distress at all are when SD is first coming to our house after a long visit at her mother's (lasts about 3 minutes), when she's being disciplined, when she's exhausted beyond the point of coping, and when she's on the phone with her mother. The rest of the time she spontaneously tells us she likes our house, she loves us, and exhibits no worrisome symptoms at all! We have a great time together and she and her dad are CLEARLY firmly attached.

But BM has been out to separate SD from her dad from the beginning, claiming he's a bad influence (hmm - if being college educated, from an intact family with no history of domestic violence or drugs, and in a stable married relationship can be a 'bad influence'). BM herself has a host of self-confessed emotional family issues, and we feel she is projecting her own anti-daddy issues onto her kid, trying to drive a wedge.

Our biggest worry is about what SD will tell the counselor, and whether it will be at all an accurate reflection of how she really feels. She's a pleaser and is very good at telling people what they want to hear - which means that if either BM or the counselor has an anti-dad bias, she'll play it up even if it's not what she really feels. Then we're in serious psychological trouble for SD later!!

What do you think? Should we agree to put SD into counseling to see if there are any issues, and risk letting BM prime her to tell the counselor that she doesn't like her Dad? Or do we object, let her start kindergarten this week, and let the teachers decide if they see any issues?

Please help. So worried about putting SD into a tough spot where she's torn between how she really feels and what she feels she ought to do.

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2 Comments

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Jessica - posted on 10/25/2012

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My step-daughters have been speaking to counselors since ages 4 and 2. We have had nothing but positive results. If there is nothing wrong with the relationship between your husband and his daughter then you have nothing to worry about, if there is a problem then a counselor will help improve their relationship. The counselor will ask questions and listen, they don't get anti-anything. The counselors we have seen just talked with them and suggested steps to promote the relationship between them and both parents.



Counselors are not stupid people, they can see a lie a mile away. In my husbands situation, it helped him prove the abuse in the bio moms home and got the kids out of there. Bio mom lied and the counselor knew.

Gina - posted on 08/18/2010

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I would honestly say that it's a little young and too soon to try having her speak with a counselor without first trying to speak with her yourselves. How can you expect a child who is just turning 5 to speak to a complete stranger in confidence if she can't speak with her own parents about it at home? I would suggest that your husband alone first sits her down and has a heart to heart talk. Really reassure her that she is still loved just as much and that if she is ever upset to talk to him about it or even you. It's hard being the step mom of a young child. I came into my stepsons life last year when he turned 5 and it's been a crazy battle making sure he tells us when he is upset about the split. My situation is a little more complicated if you are interested you can ask. But basically if she seems at all upset she should be confronted by parents first before a counselor. She should be comfortable enough with her parents to tell them if she is upset or not. Otherwise if you allow the disconnection to continue then there could be a possible disconnection for a longer time than you would want maybe even as far as teen years. I would hold off on the counsling....that shouldn't be brought in unles absolutely needed.

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