What is best for my 5 year old daughter?

Elizabeth - posted on 02/24/2015 ( 2 moms have responded )

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Quick background; I am 26 and a single mom of a 5 year old beautiful little girl. Her dad and I were together 5 years before we had her, and we split up 3 years after. He was in and out of jail, and has been in jail for about 5 months every year of her life. So he is constantly in and out of her life. Although he wasn't this way in the begining, he became a drug addict and his life is a mess. Current visitation is my daughter stays at his moms house every other weekend (where its her nana, papa, two uncles and her aunt) so she is surrounded by his family who is heavily involved in her life. (which is awesome to me, the more love for her the marrier). He can see her when she's at his moms house if he chooses (when he's not in jail he sometimes shows up, sometimes doesnt). But it's consistent in her going there which helps her not be as disappointed if he doesnt. Back to the matter at hand, he has been in jail for the last few months, missed a third christmas in a row. My daughters older and understands hes a good person but makes bad choices and going to time out town which is called jail. She wants to see him when he gets out, but doesnt want him to go away again. After I told her he will be out soon, she was hysterically crying saying she wanted to see him but she's scared he will go back to time out town, and also said "mommy I just can't live like this anymore, why can't he just make good decisions?". To hear that from a five year old is heart breaking. Should I put in motion that he can not see her for a certain period of time after being released until he's stable and able to prove he wont be involved in activities that can put him back in jail just to spare her the heartache? Or should I allow him to see her (supervised of course) and just deal with it if he goes back? I hate seeing her hurt. When I suggested to her that maybe she should express these feelings to him, she said "it's okay for me to tell you when you made me sad or mad, but if i tell him...I just cant do that". He's made suicidal comments in front of her before so she tries to act all happy in front of him, she does want him in her life. I just want her to be happy and have stability. I can deal with being there for her, but I don't know if there's something I can or should do about it, or if I should just let it be how it is and love her and be there for her if he disappears again.

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Elizabeth - posted on 02/24/2015

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Thank you. I try to be factual and not show her my emotions on the subject, honestly I would keep her in a bubble if I could. I'm blessed with his family helping with the stability. Like I said, whether he shows up or not she still goes there and loves it. She says things though like if she lived with them maybe he would stay out of jail etc... I try to explain it's not because of her, its his own choice. She's 5 and doesn't need to feel like she needs to care about her dad. She gets it but doesn't change how she feels about it. I want to make the best choices as her mom, and I do want them to have a relationship, very much so. that's why I was thinking of postponing him seeing her and maybe reviewing it in 5 months or so, give him, time to clear the danger zone from going back before she gets attached again. I have spoken with a counselor, and they say to keep him away for now. Supervised he doesn't pull anything harmful around her as far as what he says. It's frustrating all around. I want her happy, healthy and safe and to not feel like any choice will do that makes me feel helpless. I never want to be one of those women who put there children in the middle or hold a child from seeing the father if he wants to be involved, but whats healthy? Even worse is he is seeing/living with a mother of another kid from her preschool so I'm sure she'll see him drop off/pick up the other child, and the other kid has made fun of my daughter about how she lives with her dad and he loves her more etc... even worse is he's not unaware of his actions. I don't mean to ramble, it's just such a hard spot. I want to tell him to take a hike, but she wants to see him. I just cant watch her hurt, especially at such a young age. Her only worries should be about having to choke down the green beans she hates at dinner!

Dove - posted on 02/24/2015

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My best advice would be to put her in some counseling. They can help her (and help you help her) to handle this very unfair emotional situation he has caused for her. Since she knows him and knows he's been making these bad choices... I do not think keeping her from seeing him when she has the chance would help anything. She should definitely be encouraged (though certainly not pushed) to tell him how she feels, but she also needs constant reassurance that HIS choices are totally on him and have nothing to do w/ her. Some people just do not listen and make good choices w/ their lives, but all she can do is be herself and make good choices for HER life.

Anyway... a counselor is a great extra support person who can help you go about this the best way for YOUR child. ♥

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