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Author Topic: Getting baby used to dad - Need help!  (Read 17950 times)

RainGirl

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Getting baby used to dad - Need help!
« on: Sep 18, 2004, 12:05:31 AM »
My daughter and ex had very little contact up until a few weeks ago.  She is now 8 months old.  She is normally a very happy, friendly, outgoing baby.  He came around and she was okay with seeing him and playing a bit, but was still unhappy if I left the room and would crawl after me or sometimes would decide she didn't want him anymore and would cry for me.  Her dad was frustrated by this and said it was hard for her to get used to him with me around.  I wasn't comfortable letting him just take her until I knew she was okay with him, so I sugguested that he visit her at her daycare.  It was a friendly and familiar environment where she couldn't be "tempted" away by me.

He said it sounded good and I took him over to meet her teachers.  He told them he was going to be by two mornings a week, during the breaks he had in his schedule.  We also agreed to let him come by the house two nights a week to visit, one night I would leave but my older boy would be here.  Eventually once she was comfortable with him, he could take her on his own.  He agreed to these conditions and offered no complaints, but since then, keeps asking if he can take her.  Yet he repeatedly passes by opportunities to visit her at school and "forgets" and makes plans over times when he was supposed to visit her at the house.  He kept bugging about taking her on his own a couple of days ago and I stuck firm, telling him she needed time to get used to him.

Yes,  I heard you guys in my head, saying I was trying to control the situation, she was his child too, etc.  I began to wonder if I was being too protective and should ease up.  I was growing discouraged with his constant asking if he could take her yet, despite not making any of the attempts to make her comfortable that he originally agreed to.  It seemed like he wanted to take her to show off to people (which I can understand) and enjoy the fun part of parenting, but wasn't willing to put the time and effort into it that would make her comfortable.

Finally, he asked if she would be at her school yesterday.  I told him she would and was impressed that he was finally going to do something good for her.  It seemed so out of character for him and I wondered if he planned on taking his girlfriend with him, and was therefore hoping to show her off and there was something in it for him!  When I went to pick her up that afternoon, her teacher said yes, THEY had come by to visit.  If I had any doubts about having overreacted or being too controlling, they quickly vanished.  My daughter wanted nothing to do with him. He tried to hold her and she screamed and was frantic until he put her down at which point, she clung to her teacher, casting worried looks at him and screaming if he came closer to her.

She was very clingy that night and woke screaming several times, but she has been getting a bit of a cold and I thought maybe she wasn't feeling as perky as normal.

I dropped her off at school today and when I went to class, asked my instructor (Infant Development) why she would be so different at home.  She explained that home and Mom are an extreme sense of security for her and she can handle more stressful situations.  Yet school is less secure (even though she does great with her teachers) therefore, the threats are taken far more seriously.

I got out of class (2 hours after dropping her off) ad was headed to work when her daycare called me and asked me to come pick her up.  I figured she was getting sick but when I arrived, they said she was really upset and hysterical anytime someone she did not know walked through the door.  Her teachers are both well educated people with Master's degrees in childhood education and were very concerned about her behavior.  They said they would have to talk to her dad about letting her come to him instead of going over and picking her up again since it had obviously affected her so much.  He needed to take his time and slow things down before she associated him with being distressed and scared.

My problem is that he keeps pushing to take her.  I feel terrible that she is so upset and now after one visit, her school, the safe place she spends her days, is a place where she is distressed everytime the door opens.  I'm assuming this is only temporary, but he doesn't seem to understand.  I don't want to come across as trying to keep her from him, but how do I make him understand he needs to take his time?  How do I help her adjust to him when he won't put the time in that she seems to need?  She seems to do okay with him (lets him hold her and all) when she is near me, but he complains that she isn't going to get used to him while I'm around.  How can I make things go easier on her?  Are there tricks that anyone knows that will help ease the transition and warm her up to him faster?  My baby is hurting.  Please help!


MYSONSDAD

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RE: Getting baby used to dad - Need help!
« Reply #1 on: Sep 18, 2004, 02:01:27 PM »
Glad you had a change of heart. This is going to take time and he will have to allow her time to adjust. He is a stranger right now. It has only been a few weeks.

She might react better if you are present when he comes to visit. Once she understands that you are okay with him being there, she will come around.

I think it's important to keep the contact going. An hour or two every few days might be a good idea. Ask the teachers if they can recommend something that would help the situation. You might even think about talking with the therapist on the best way to approach this.

As long as you both keep her best interests at the forefront, it will work out.

The important thing here, is you took a very important first step...

"Children learn what they live"

wendl

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RE: Getting baby used to dad - Need help!
« Reply #2 on: Sep 18, 2004, 02:59:40 PM »
I couldn't agree more.

Also if the baby feels your tension it will makes this harder.

Try to be as relaxed as you can be (I know its hard)

Maybe dad also has some tension, I know little ones can feel it, example I really dislike my grandmother, when I had my son he would go to anyone EXCEPT my grandma (we were all in the same room) the minure anyone else took him away from my grandma he was fine, so you may want to talk to your ex about this as well.

:)

**These are my opinions, they are not legal advice**

TGB

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RE: Getting baby used to dad - Need help!
« Reply #3 on: Sep 19, 2004, 07:44:41 AM »
You dropped her off with total strangers the first day of day care, but won't let her go with her dad.

Yes, the child may be upset at being separated from familiar situations, but you will only make it worse by showing the child that you are uncomfortable leaving her with daddy. Realize that children at this age don't have much experience, but they are as intelligent or perhaps even more intelligent than adults. Everything she knows she learned by watching you. She is an expert at reading your emotions. Many children, even this young, are also experts at manipulating their parents in order to get what they want. It's your job to be the adult and make the right decisions.

If your daughter isn't comfortable with dad, or if dad isn't comfortable with her, then it's a sign that they need to spend MORE time together, not less.

What you are doing is showing everyone, including your daughter, that dad is someone to be afraid of, who is not to be trusted as much as those girls making minimum wage to take care of her at the day care. You are making it clear that she's your baby, not his, and that he is a second class parent who is only allowed to be a parent at your whim.

I have no sympathy for parents who leave their child with total strangers day after day for hours at a time in day care but won't let the dad have a few hours alone with the child. I do have a lot of sympathy for the children of these parents. Your daughter will never have a truly meaningful relationship with her dad if you keep this up. Statistically, if the father doesn't get involved in the child's life before she is two, it's unlikely that he will ever be more than an occasional visitor.

See http://www.deltabravo.net/files/headstart.pdf

RainGirl

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RE: Getting baby used to dad - Need help!
« Reply #4 on: Sep 20, 2004, 05:51:34 AM »
>She might react better if you are present when he comes to
>visit. Once she understands that you are okay with him being
>there, she will come around.

She's done great with this so far and I have tried to point out how much better she is doing with him, how the amounts of time she will spend with him before wanting to return to me are getting longer and longer, and things like that.  I have tried telling him that these things take time and she is progressing well, but he still seems frustrated.  I keep stressing the fact that she will not get used to him if he doesn't spend the time with her and after he missed his visit on Saturday, we (my boys and I) trashed our Sunday plans so he could make the time up.

I think he held grand images of what parenting was like and this isn't it so he is frustrated.  I don't think he intends to rush things or fail to do what is good for her, but he simply seems to be blind (perhaps lack of insight or experience) to how kids are.  He wants to show her off and have people fawn over her and seems to think that would be great fun and to him, that seems to be what parenting an infant is about, simply the image he holds in his mind.  I don't think he has a true concept of the work involved or that bonds do not come with the genes.  How can I help him understand that building trust is important if he wants to get to those fun parts of parenting?

>
>I think it's important to keep the contact going. An hour or
>two every few days might be a good idea. Ask the teachers if
>they can recommend something that would help the situation.
>You might even think about talking with the therapist on the
>best way to approach this.
>

Her school actually has a child pyschologist available and I have thought about setting up a meeting with her. She is good with issues of separation anxiety and things of that nature and would probably be able to think of a few tricks that would help the adjustment go smoother.

Thank you for your encouragment by the way!


RainGirl

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RE: Getting baby used to dad - Need help!
« Reply #5 on: Sep 20, 2004, 06:11:11 AM »
As I said, she does great with him while I am there.  She will play with him for a bit and then returns to me for a while then ventures out to play again.  It's normal infant behavior, exploring their environment (including the people in it) then returning to mom for emotional "refueling", a quick security check, and they are off and playing again.  He just gets frustrated that she returns to me.  The amounts of time she spends away are increasing and I have tried to point that out, but if he is holding her when it comes time to refuel, she cries to get to me and I think he feels kind of offended by that.  It all seems normal to me and something that will take time but he does not seem to understand that.  So he rushes things.  When he rushes things, he scares her.  Right now he has a pattern of showing up for the more entertaining visits or times when he can show her off but neglecting to attend the times when it is just "boring bonding" time.  I've tried talking to him about this, but it doesn't seem to be sinking in and I wonder if it is because it is coming from me.  I've tried encouraging, explaining infant behavior, pointing out all the ways she is doing better than when she started, etc.  Yet he doesn't seem to understand.  Well, he says that he does but the actions tell a different story, almost a "yeah, I know she needs time.  Can I take her now?" He neglects to show for the next three bonding opportunities, but asks if I think it is okay for him to take her now.  I try to encourage him, and explain things, but at the same time, I don't want to lecture or chew him out or anything that will even seem slightly like an attack.  Our communication is still shaky and I don't need anything to jeopardize that, but obviously the ways I have told him are not effective because he still does not act as though he understands how important it is to put in the time with her.  How can I help him to understand without coming across in a manner that will be detrimental to communication?

RainGirl

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RE: Getting baby used to dad - Need help!
« Reply #6 on: Sep 20, 2004, 06:49:28 AM »
>You dropped her off with total strangers the first day of day
>care, but won't let her go with her dad.

Her first day at daycare was at a time when she was less sensitive to things of this nature, simply due to age.  Even so, I spent close to a month, sitting in the room with her EVERY DAY allowing her to get used to the people there and the environment so that she felt secure with everything.  To this day, she has never cried, not even once, when I left her there.  The first time I left her was for 20 minutes.  Eventually I worked the times up longer and longer, but it was a long process and one I took great pains to make certain she was comfortable with.  Sure it was a pain.  I had better things to do with my time but I spent a lot of time in that room because I felt it was best for her.  I'm not suddenly changing the rules because it is dad or to make him feel less or make life inconvenient for him.  I'm not asking him to do anything I wouldn't or haven't done.

>
>Yes, the child may be upset at being separated from familiar
>situations, but you will only make it worse by showing the
>child that you are uncomfortable leaving her with daddy.

When we discussed things, he asked for four specific times a week to visit with her.  I agreed to all four.  If he asked for additional times, I would do whatever I can to meet those as well.  Three of the four times are WITHOUT me present, but at least in environments that are comfortable for her.
   
>Many children, even
>this young, are also experts at manipulating their parents in
>order to get what they want.

I believe that we come from very different schools of thoughts on child psychology.  It's what I go to school for, what I do research on, what I am getting my degree in and from all that I have learned and all that I have seen, I cannot agree with that statement.  Perhaps one of those times we must agree to disagree.

>
>If your daughter isn't comfortable with dad, or if dad isn't
>comfortable with her, then it's a sign that they need to spend
>MORE time together, not less.
>

I'm not working towards cutting back the amount of time he is spending with her.  But he repeatedly misses his opportunities to spend time with her.  I'm searching for a way to help him understand that these times are important for her.  Saturday he missed a big time and I trashed some very important plans that my family and I had for Sunday so that he could make the time up.

>What you are doing is showing everyone, including your
>daughter, that dad is someone to be afraid of, who is not to
>be trusted as much as those girls making minimum wage to take
>care of her at the day care.

These "minimum wage girls" are all experienced individuals with master's degrees relating specifically to early childhood.  They all care for my daughter on a personal level.  State regulations for daycares here give ratios of 10:1 for infants.  My daughter's school has 6:2.  I have NEVER walked in the door and found my child (or any of the others for that matter) dirty, hungry, needing to be changed or crying.  Her teachers are always engaged with her and children in the room and it is obvious that they actively work towards the best needs of each child and are aware of developments and sensitive to their needs.
 
>You are making it clear that
>she's your baby, not his, and that he is a second class parent
>who is only allowed to be a parent at your whim.
>
>I have no sympathy for parents who leave their child with
>total strangers day after day for hours at a time in day care
>but won't let the dad have a few hours alone with the child.

Once again, I would never leave my daughter alone with strangers and I put a lot of time and effort into making certain she was comfortable and that her teachers were NOT strangers.  Right now, DAD IS!  So there is one thing we can agree on...it's not good to leave your child alone with strangers!  He's being given opportunities to move himself out of the stranger category.  These are all times that he has chosen, and at places he agreed to and yet he continues to not show.  How can I help him understand that he needs to spend MORE time with her to move himself out of the STRANGER category so he can PROGRESS with this relationship?

maxwell

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RE: Getting baby used to dad - Need help!
« Reply #7 on: Sep 20, 2004, 07:19:51 AM »
Maybe you are doing this already but let Dad (or let him assist) in changing her diaper, feeding her, rocking her to sleep and even let her sleep on his chest (for example) for a nap so she wakes up with him nearby (or he lay down next to her after she falls asleep).  Playing together, singing,  and sharing in a favorite video may help also :)

wendl

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RE: Getting baby used to dad - Need help!
« Reply #8 on: Sep 20, 2004, 08:17:18 AM »
He wont take advice from you, your right cuz it's coming from you.
Has he ever thought about taking some parenting classes that show how to calm a crying baby etc???? That may help.

Is there someone in his family that you can talk to about this and have them suggest some parenting classes. Also contact your child dr for some literature regarding infant behavior that you could give dad


**These are my opinions, they are not legal advice**

joni

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RE: Getting baby used to dad - Need help!
« Reply #9 on: Sep 20, 2004, 08:58:07 AM »
you have to take a leap of faith about this.  there is a scenario I'd like you to read about and think really hard about.  keep an open mind.  I don't think you're doing this intentionally.  It's called maternal gatekeeping.

http://marriage.about.com/cs/roles/a/maternalgate.htm

As I said to you in a prior post, I think you're a wonderfully, sensitive mother.  You have to learn to let go.  The problem now is this,  KIDS ARE NOT STUPID.  Your beautiful little baby girl has already got you wrapped around her finger.

If you keep enabling this, this anxiety of hers is going to grow beyond her father and people.  She's already insecure and insecurity breeds low self esteem.  Think about the long term effects of this.  Soon, you're going to grow very tired of being the center of her universe.  It's going to start inhibiting on the quality of your life.

I would just let her father take her.  It may take several times and she will probably scream and yell and be a bear with him until she learns she can't get her way.  He alone is going to have to ride out this storm.  Prepare him for this.  But this is the only way she's is going to get confidence in him that he can keep her safe....and he will.

As far as the day care calling you to come get her, that's normal.  She was being too disruptive to the entire day care and that's why they wanted her gone.  

 

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