My child is different after a visit to Daddy's

Carrie - posted on 04/12/2010 ( 38 moms have responded )

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Every time CC goes to visit her Dad, she comes home a different kid. Very clengy to me, cries lot, she is very agressive. She will not listen to me, she hits me, she is just a different kid. Or she comes back and is very protective of me. I know I can not change what happens at her Dad's house, but does anyone have any suggestions? This usally lasts for a couple of days, then she is right back to her happy little self, just for those few days it wears on me so bad

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Debbie - posted on 12/18/2012

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im going through the same thing with my almost 3 yr old for the past 6mths my son has being having a overnight stay at his dads on the weekend he also goes 2 afternoons a weeks for a few hours and when he comes home he is very aggressive to his older brother, sister and myself he will scream,kick,bite,hit just cause he cant get his own way
i dont know what to do anymore ive tried talking to my ex about it but he blames it all on us as he dont have any problem with his son.

Sarah - posted on 08/23/2012

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I have kind of the same situation that you are having. The father of my child has her more often because he screwed me over in court. When my daughter comes over to my house she is constantly crying and she wants her dad. She throws these outrageous tantrums and she freaks out and cries like she is badly hurt. I can tell she is being extremely babied at her fathers as well as his moms (grandma). For the most part I feel like I am not her mom and I am not part of her life. I don't let her get away with a lot of things but I can tell that they let her do everything she wants. I feel that she hates being at my house because she is so babied at her fathers.. I don't know what to do anymore, I am stressed out all of the time and I have really bad anxiety over this. It might be because her father is getting married this weekend, but she has been acting like this for a while now.. This wears on me all of the time .

Marie - posted on 01/08/2013

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I can completely sympathise.My daughters 3 and a half and almost everyday is a struggle with her tantrums and behaviour especially when she's been with her dad.i left her dad when she was 6mths old so for her she's known no different.her fathers been in her life but not always consistently.hes hasn't had a legit job he fiddles to dodge tax hasn't properly or consistently provided for his daughter.recently came out of prison served 2 months inside and not so much of a penny or a phonecall for her from him.then he comes out and spoils her rotten at every oppourtunitie that she's with him.he doesn't discipline her he basically let's her have her way.where as I discipline her as any loving parent would. I've always been there for her.i know its silly but i sometimes feel like hes filling her head with bad stuff about me.hes done nothing but make my life hell.ive always tryed but weve never been on good terms.i tryed going the legal route but then he started ignoring my letters.so we've gotten into this pattern where he sees her when it's convinent for him.he has her over night once a week and will see her the odd week day on the off chance.and she'll come back and within minutes of him leaving will start crying for him, and then the tantrums start.I want her to have a relationship with her dad I'd never deny her that, i wont even talk badly about him in front of her.sometimes I feel like she'd rather be with him than me of course there's a niggle of jelousy.ive put all my time into loving and bringing her up on my own.whilst he's been in her life part time and inconsistent with everything, hes been away in prison and has been nothing but abusive to me yet he's the apple of her eye.Its just so hard sometimes it really is! Im hoping these bad tantrums are just faze and hoping as she grows older it will get a bit easier.

Amanda - posted on 07/20/2010

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I dont want to scare you but there might be something going on at dads... aggression is a learned emotion, and children rebel when something is bothering them. Maybe try taking her to a child therapist... they have ways of getting things out of kids that you wouldnt know to look for.

Susan - posted on 04/22/2010

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im going through the same right now,have been for the past 15mths and i know how ur feeling, its heartbreaking when you see the way they are emotionally, mentally affected by this! ive tryed to stop contact through court but nothing was done!! feel like im banging my head against the wall.it takes me 3 days after contact to get my little boy back to normal/ so much hard work and very stressful, these men know exactley what there doing, they are using the children like weapons to hurt you!! so cruel!! the advice i would give you is concentrate on your child, take her outdoors as much as u can, so she is not got whats going on with her daddy in her mind indoors, she needs that escape when shes not with him. give her love and reasure her. i know its very hard but stay strong for your child!! otherwise she will sense ur unhappy and it will rub off on your child. im back at court next week its never ending for me. just wish i could get on with my life. good luck, im here f u need to chat .

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Mark - posted on 02/14/2013

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I found that my son was behaving differently after visits with me.
After a lot of patience and and communication with his mother and advice from professionals we ascertained it is down to little mans method of coping with our separation.
He would be upset and jealous of his mothers new relationship and was very confused as to why he was no longer mums full attention.
He found it hard to understand why there was a new male figure in mums life and why he was staying more and more at grandmas.
We have managed to work with little man by having time together as a group as well as quality time together. It was all about communication and the duality of separate parents and almost like having a separate life. We have managed to establish a common parenting style to avoid confusion and have opened a new channel of communication between each parent. This helped mother and I to ditch all of the emotional baggage of a separation and focus on what is in little mans best interests.

It's not been easy, but to see the stability return to our son is well worth the effort.

After all that's what we - as parents have to do to give our little ones the best chance in life.

Alisha - posted on 02/04/2013

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My daughter acts different too when she comes home after being with her dad every other weekend. She is 7 and I have notice it since she was 2. Sometimes she ddoesn't have it but usually something will be off. It's an adjustment period and I still am not sure how to make it better! Just do light things when they come back, something fun and spend quality time with them and reassure your child you love them.

Shell - posted on 01/21/2013

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I don't know how old she is but my SS has gotten better as he's gotten older. When he would have to leave (even at 1 yr old) to go to his BM he would cry and scream it was heartbreaking... but when we picked him up he was so happy to see us! In our home we have structure, love, discipline and FUN. Years later he is now 6 and we've learned a lot... she basically ignores him and just plays her video games and "let's him watch", she actually argues with him as if she is 6 herself. She has little to NO control over him so when he comes here, it was always a period of adjustment back to stability and being respectful. It was SOOO hard when he was 3 and 4 but it's slowly getting better as he is knows that we just have different rules and ways of doing things. I'm suggesting that you should definitely talk to her.... but also know that as time goes by and you communicate more hopefully things will get better!! (and nothing HORRIBLE is going on over there!) good luck!

Kristi - posted on 01/20/2013

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Usually attorneys understand that you have to slowly increase visitation. Depends on how old the child is. Do you have an attorney?

Shana - posted on 01/20/2013

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my daughter is 5 and her dad lives out of state. He only sees her maybe twice a year and for a complete of maybe 5 days. I've talked to the court and they said she does not have to do overnight visits because you sort of a stranger to her. Now he files in court that he wants her to visit over the summer for 52 days there's no way she can handle that. I went to court last time and he didn't show up. When she goes with him he does nothing with her but to raid her around to his family. Please someone help me what do I do? She is completely different when she comes back from him. Very clingy, emotional and has a temper. he just does not realize if he forces her to stay the night she will not want to see him at all. my concern she is allergy and asthma any butter in virement better dangerous for her. Please someone help

Marie - posted on 01/14/2013

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I've had issues with my ex's mother in the past we never really got on because theyre so alike.and because even tho he cheated and abused me verbally throughout our relationship she still took his side.its taken over 3 years to get to this point now and me and her where just about civil to eachother.but I'm constantly battling with my daughters father wether its by text or in person.its a horrible thing to through for anyone.i can only hope for the sake of all our little ones things get better.

Kristi - posted on 01/14/2013

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I am in a similar situation with my 2 1/2 yo daughter. It would be nice to hear from mothers who survived this and found a that their child was ok in the end. In my situation it's his mother, the paternal grandmother, that is the reason he took me to court to get his "rights". However it's unfortunate that the old bat is as nasty as he is. She is late 60's and not good health. anyone had the grandmother issue? Are the children of these situations the ones now shooting up schools?

Carrie-Anne - posted on 12/28/2012

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I have a 16 month old, Im going through the same. My daughter comes back from an over night visit at her dads and has night terrors for 3 nights after and cries, whinges, slaps me and bites. I have a court order in place cause my ex wasn't seeing our daughter cause he was violent towards me. I have no idea what to do but I don't think going straight to over night visits after my ex hadn't seen her for 8 months was the best option the for the court to put in place.

Jan - posted on 12/04/2012

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My kids act out when they get home after there dads too. There dad left when my 3 year old was 10 months old, my 3 year old crys when i tell him to clean his mess. He tells me that his dad hates me. my 9 year old for a long time did not wanna come to my house because what his dad said about me. I have had the same boyfriend for 2 years now when there dad found out he has been filling my kids head with things, like im a bad mom and stuff there dad is from mexico i dont know if that has anything to do with it. But a month after there dad left me he said i should not get anyone else cause knowone will want me or my kids they will only wanna use me. my oldest one is 9 sometimes now he does not wanna go to his dads he likes it with me and likes my boyfriend, and baby brother. But my boys treat me like a slave and dont listen and fight i dont know how to deal with it im stressed ou talways and i try not to take it out on them i just dont know what to do.

Jean - posted on 04/24/2012

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How old is your child? A behavior specialist or psychologist may be able to help get to the issues at hand. I deal with this with my 4 year old and it breaks my heart. He even has aggressive attacks at school on the following Monday after a Saturday with dad. Do you have a legal agreement with the father and is there a guardian involved? I did not know about GAL when I was in court, but next time I go I will be asking for one.

Megan - posted on 04/16/2012

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So glad you posted this and others responded so I know I'm not the only one having a difficult time with my daughter adjusting to this new phase in our lives. She is going though the terrible twos so can be a hot, hell mess at random moments even on her best day. But the first few days after a visitation weekend she really has her Sybil moments. She goes from wanting to be held to throwing things and crying fits if I can't give her my undivided attention immediately. I try really hard to be patient with her, but it's exhausting and I get frustrated which she only feeds on. It always takes a couple days, but I try to get her settled back into our usual routine as quickly as possible. This is a very confusing transition for them and in my case even more confusing since the ex has a new girlfriend around. She often comes with him when he picks her up and my daughter used to have a severe reaction, screaming, crying when she had to get in car with her. So she's gradually getting adjusted to all the changes, but him keeping that part of his life separate could have made things easier for her.

Erikah - posted on 07/22/2010

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i'm going through that too.. my daughter is 4 and after her last visit with her dad she was all out of sorts it took alot of love and time to get it out of her that my ex-husbands whatever yelled and screamed at her while daddy wasnt home and she was in time out for a very very long time... i did find that she was loud while the new baby(19 months old) was sleeping... thats ok to ask her to be quiet but not scream at my daughter... needless to say my ex hasnt called to see his daughter since-1 month ago even though he has visitation... all i can do is love her and let him know whats going on...it is an adjustment and just be there for her!

Amber - posted on 07/22/2010

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i am in the same boat. my 2 yr old daughter does the same. she is mad at me when she comes home. its only once a month but when she goes to daycare the following Monday she is so bad. she doesnt listen she does the exact same as your baby. Now she does this when i get on to her she cries for him and it breaks my heart. cause im takein care of her 99.9999 % of the time. It could be a million diff things. angry at us so they are retaliating against us or they just dont know how to discipline them the correct way so they run wild and when they come home to momma they know that they wont get their way all the time. and many more. she will grow out of it hopefully.

Kori - posted on 07/22/2010

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I go through the SAME thing but my son only sees his dad like twice a year (his dad only sees him when it is convenient for him) My son gets very emotional, angry, and aggressive and he lashes out and me and doesn't listen which at the age of 8 has now carried on to school and behavioral problems there for sometimes weeks on end. Now when he does see his dad I have to sit him down and have a talk with him about his behavior when he comes home before he even sees him and let him know that things are going to be the same when he gets home and let him know what is expected of him and that he not allowed to come home and treat me badly. I DO however encourage him to talk to me about what may be bothering him and what is different at his dads house versus our house and try to have that open communication with him.

Susan - posted on 06/05/2010

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hi, ive been through the same thing with my little boy for the past 16 mths, hes four this month. i really know how your feeling and its not nice at all! it wears you down so much as it did me, only recently ive seen a change. i know its hard but stay stron for your little girl, show her lots of love and affection, try and do thigs as much as you can with her, like parks so she can have a good run around, best if you can do this when she comes back from daddys house, just spend as much quality time as u can. i do sympathise very much with you. i usually have soething at hand whrn my little boy comes back, takes alot of pressure off him, like a toy or we would make something together. good luck x

Brittney - posted on 06/03/2010

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Wow! I have this same problem exactly!
My daughter actually just came home with the worst attitude and behaviour I have seen in a long time. After hours of reasoning with her I finally sat her on the couch and asked her what happened at her dads. She never really says much but I always remind her that she can tell me anything... if it is about her dads house or even at home. After explaining that she knows how life works at home and that the hitting and screaming isnt going to fly and she needed to smartin up and listen... Im am happy to say that she has been a very good little girl, and the next time she goes with her dad I will explain it before she leaves.

I think the key is just to encourage openess and constantly remind them that they can tell you anything, and that they wont be in trouble for it.

Kimberly - posted on 06/02/2010

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I would try to find out what is happening to make her act that way. Even if I can't control what happens at her dad's house, I can help her learn how to handle whatever it is that is happening.

Michelle - posted on 06/01/2010

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I am going to hazard a guess that your little one is not that old this is normal transition it has nothing to do with daddy or mommy...you are her primary care giver and she loves you but she loves dad too and she is coping with going back and forth between your house and dads the best way she knows how this is how I dealt with it with my little guy....I just explain to him when he is being disrespectful that that behavior may be ok at dads but will not be tolerated here he is 9 now and I still need to remind him every now and then to check his attitude at the door.

Jessica - posted on 05/26/2010

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my daughter does the same thing! her father and i have a joint custody which is hard enought for her and i. there are also more children at her dads and there al different ages, so my daughter tends t oact older or have a smart mouth when she comes home. so i explain to here that she is home now and tell her what i expect from her. This gets tricky cause her father and I dont get along so there is no form of communication. which helps alot n these situations. we do all of our exchanging from our daycare provider, so if i get there before him she dont want to go and she cries and says she wants to come home. it breaks my heart but if he gets there first. it has alot to do with how comfortable they are. i suggest you just keep being strong and explain that you will always be there for her and that daddy misses her too and thats why she goes over there!

JuLeah - posted on 05/26/2010

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Well, I don't know how old she is or how often she goes, but there could be a lot happening. She might act the same way at his house causing him to have the same concerns you do.
Transitions are hard on kids and that is just a fact
She might be picking up on your discomfort with the situation and attempting to adjust herself to that.
So, things might be bad at Dad's.
Depending on her age, what langauge skills she has, it might be hard for you to know.
Use care with how you 'question' her after a visit. She will pick up on the most subtle of cues and attempt to give you what she thinks you want to hear.
I have know people who feared abuse, talked with their kid, who 'disclosed' abuse never understanding that they themselves had planted that seed. No abuse really happened, but in the process of encouraging the kid to talk about it, causing her to think it really happened, she was traumatized to the same level as if it really had happened.
I might look into a good coulselor - not just someone who has hung up a shingle, ya know. Someone who works with these issues and can help her gain some skill around the transitions and maybe even get her, through play, to 'talk' about what is happening.

Amanda - posted on 05/26/2010

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It is hard for children to express themselves & tell you what they what. So listen to her behavior. She is trying to tell you something & express herself

Amanda - posted on 05/26/2010

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It confuses children from going from one home to another. Their are differnent rules & that confuses th child. Are you on good terms with the father. Cause if you are than you can talk to the father. children need that consistancy. Be loving & show your child that you are there for her & is never going away. Reasur her that mom loves her no matter what. good luck

AURORA - posted on 05/20/2010

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my son is like that too when he comes back hell run to me and hug me but now he will tell me he doesnt want to go with his dad. he starts to cry and he throws himself on the floor or if im gettin him ready hell say amos [spanish for lets go] and ill tell him no papi is gonna pick u up and hell start cryin tellin me to take his shoes off its hard pay close attention to wat ur child tells u.

Cherie - posted on 04/24/2010

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I'm getting tears just reading these. My daughter is 17 now and yes, we went through all of this. The change of houses caused her stress as well as her Dad's "do whatever you want" attitiude. When we went through our custody hearing, he didn't want her at all. When he found out he'd have to pay more, he wanted her 4 days a month. Now, yes, it was easier for me, but I have to say, it ripped her little heart out not seeing her Daddy. If you have a Dad that wants to spend time with his child, please honour that and make it a happy situation, not a pain. Because no matter what you choose, divorce is a pain.

Stephanie - posted on 04/24/2010

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I am experiencing the same issue as Carrie above. I am glad to see that I am not alone. What type of custody arrangement do you have Carrie? For us, our daughter is 3, and she spends 4 nights with me then 3 nights with my husband. We are in the process of divorce and final custody has not been decided yet. I have always contended that I felt it would be better if it were 5-2 split because our daughter would have more consistency(especially once she starts school). This is such a difficult process as all you moms know. We have spoken to the judge during pre-trial and he told us we should try to work it out because trial will be very expensive as well as damaging for future relationships. I want to work something out with my ex, but I am still clinging to the idea of more consistency for my daughter's good. Does anyone out there have any creative ideas for shared custody that seems to be working for you?

Kylie - posted on 04/23/2010

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i also have to say the lady thats is going through court and obviously has issues herself with the dad. sweetie unless dad is a danger to that child no matter what emotion you feel towards him he is your childs father and children deserve to have a mum and dad and by you showing your emotions like that you are actually a major contributor in your childs behavioural and insecure state and that is a shame. you as a mother have a responsibility to the gift you were given. rise above the hatred you feel towards your childs father or you will have some of the responsibilty on your shoulders of emtionally scarring your child for life. this isnt something that will be fixed by the courts or keeping the father away as you are actually doing more harm then good because the damage that is done to a child now they may be invisable but those scars are the deepest and the damage done will never heal it gets taken through their life and its possible may then in turn passed to their own children. for you and your childs sake you have to take a step back and look at things before you make decisions in hate an anger once they have been made you cant take them back.

Kylie - posted on 04/23/2010

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my sons dad and i even though we cant stand to live together love our son very much he is a six year old with ADHA and had alot of emotional issues with seperation from me and things that he could do in ones house and not the other. communication is so important people it is very difficult with all the other issues but remember this is for your children and i have always bitten my tongue and never said a bad word about dad or anything negative. i have always encouraged jordan to call his dad we drop into his work and we have a week on week basis friday to friday but to help his dad out i take him to things during his work time and we are both working to make our precious son a happy stable individual. what i did to ease the behavioural issues was build up the dads time and discuss things with jordan encourage talking and excitement let them know that you love them and miss them pick a night when they come back either they pick what meal you have or something special they love to do so that the whole walking in the door change over thing is covered over by them thinking of something else so they are anticipating that event instead. it is dificult but these little things make so much difference even if your ex isnt exactly well you know you just have to go the extra mile rise above that emotion and think of the bigger picture which is a happy stable child and after a while it does get easier and you will feel so much better. now my partner and jordans dads partner both have horrid ex's and on seeing how we both handle issues and how we as a family are very close they both are going the extra mile for their familys to improve the happiness of thier children and lets face it when your kids are happy settled and they are secure in who and where they are in their world thats all that matters and yes it is that simple. now my son knows where he is who is picking him up where he is sleeping when i was in hospital for an extended period of time him and his dad came with ballons and flowers that he and jordan had picked from the garden. if i have no plans for xmas and his dads got family etc over or going away then of course he can go i would rather him be with family same as school holidays and parties everything its give and take and you might find you might be giving alot more at first but with anything the more you put in the better the outcome. and if those tears come through the door dont use your energy to suffocate it but say hey guess what you get to choose dinner or would you like to play your favourite game calm and loving they feed off your emotions too so if you bounce back with calm and ease they will forget about it very quickly until its gone forever . talk about standard rules not everything but the standard behaviour ones be on the same page and have the same punishment and you still have to stand by each other even if you dont agree the same if you were in the house. just make a time available for a family meeting involve grandparents too if available if you ever need more information please do not hesitate to ask goodluck.

Dawn - posted on 04/23/2010

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ok.. so i am on the other end of the picture.. i have twin daughters, and split from their dad when they were fourteen months old... my children too, went through this adjusting phase... every other weekend. Their dad and i were loving parents... and i knew him well enough to know that he wouldnt ever hurt his kids... they just didnt do so well with transitioning.. its normal. in most cases, its just the childs way of figuring out if the rules changed while they were gone... of testing, to see if you are the same mommy they left... and love them the same amount at their return. Please... rule out anything that could be wrong at t he dads house... to give you peace of mind, and to protect your child... but i think that the lady that said you should love them through it... had it right on. be patient. be loving... be consistant. and always be supportive of your child.. a good relationship between a loving dad, and his child... is the best gift you can give your child. all children deserve to have great memories of both of their parents.... it will help them grow strong and well adjusted... but it does take work when you are working from two seperate homes... dont give up. keep the communication lines open... and trust your instincts.
just remember when you get your child home, and the acting out starts up... This too shall pass... and in the end, its definately worth it.

Good luck, and God Bless...

oh, by the way... my girls are eighteen now, and still go to their dads, every other weekend... their choice. im glad i pushed through.

Meghan - posted on 04/19/2010

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I am going through this exact same thing right now. My son is 18 months and usually such a happy nice little boy-even after an 8 hour visit he comes back exactly how you are describing...and he doesn't change him, sends him home really dirty-even though he has a change of clothes, he isn't fed properly-instead of buying milk he gives him creamo's, he's doesn't poop when he is with him and is constipated for at least 2 days after. He also started having hight terrors. Obviously I wouldn't deny visits but since there is no court order yet I denied any overnite access. So now, he hasn't seen him in almost a month and informed me the other day that he wont be seeing him until he get's treated like a father and not a visitor and he get's proper visitation...totally boggles my mind! I write EVERYTHING down! Save text msg's/e-mails/voicemails. If possible have someone else witness he behavior and make notes for you. Dpepending on your daughter's age and where you live you may be able to keep over nites out of the picture until at least 3. It's very confusing for young children and she is acting out becuse she doesn't feel safe and she is probably having a hard time readjusting. I don't know that there is anything you can really do besides being patient. I end up crying most times because my boy is totally out of control after-but it isn't their fault. Be supportive and give her emotion words and talk her feellings out with her. I hope this helps and keep your chin up!

Carrie - posted on 04/16/2010

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clearly she is not feeling safe at daddy's...two very distinct parenting styles can affect a child different ways, my son told me he didn't want to go to daddy's anymore, so he don't. I refuse to make my childs daddy be a daddy. I won't make him go somewhere he is that uncomfortable. he acted the same way when he would come back home from daddy's. Now, he doesn't go to daddy's, i don't have a hysterical child on my hands to deal with.

Katrina - posted on 04/15/2010

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been there....when my son would go to see his father...when I finally got tired of his behavior and grounded him from getting to do anything fun, he informed me that "well at least when I am at my dad's I can do what I want since he is always in his room with green stuff that smells and flour on his nose" when I heard that I stripped visitation and his father is not allowed to see him unless it is supervised thru DHS. So there is something that is happening and yo need to get your child to tell you about the stay at daddy's before you can get this fixed.

April - posted on 04/13/2010

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Wow, I went through that for a LONG time. All I can suggest is that you LOVE her through it. My daughter used to go from Fl to Ga every other weekend. It was just too much and every weekend she went she would come home to be this child I didn't even know for about 2-3 days then be back to normal till next time. How old is she? Skyla my daughter, adjusted, it is so much. Mommy has different rules, she misses daddy, she has probably heard different things, she is just trying in her little mind to make sense of all the non-sense. It is a lot for a little one to grasp, just talk to her about it. Make sure she knows she can talk out the emotion, you have to stay non emotional and let her know you have your listening ears on and just love her through it.

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