So me and my son's father split up a year ago. We finalized the custody.
I have a wonderful 3 year old boy named Logan, and a boyfriend named Nick who is so wonderful with him. We will be together for a year in September.
Logan has always been such a sweet boy. Nice and caring. When I tell him not to do something, he obeys, and runs off to play with something else. He has seriously been the BEST behaved 3 year old ever!
However, he is having a hard time adjusting. Whenever my ex brings him to me, I can tell he does not get disciplined there. He comes back and is screaming. Is sucking his fingers (has NEVER done that before) and EVERY time i tell him not to do something he screams "no. no. no."
I hate it. I love my son so much. But this isn't him. I hate to say it but he is acting like a brat. And he is not. He knows better than to act like this. And I just don't know how to handle this at all! I'm so frustrated. This isnt' my sweet baby boy.
And my ex and I do NOT get along at all. Any advice on the best way to discipline him and handle these mood swings???
I totally understand. My ex does this to my daughter as well. She comes home (she's 7) and treats me just awful and is so disrespectful. When she is with him she acts like an angel. I have come to decide that their time is precious and he wants to make her happy so that she has a good memory of her time there. I have also come to the conclusion (through her) that she worries about 'making Daddy mad' and tattletales on her brother so my ex is always yelling at him and she gets away with murder since she is scared of him and will continue to tell the lie so that her brother gets in trouble and not her. Also, your son is really young, and thus the sucking his fingers as he has regressed due to missing his Mommy, and also hasn't had the discipline as your ex probably wants things to go smoothly so he looks like a good guy and your son will keep wanting to come visit him. I just let my daughter know that "I don't know where my sweet little girl is, can you help me find her? She would never treat her Mommy the way your treating me'. She grins and then runs to me and hugs me like she hasn't seen me in a year instead of just two days. Kids can't always let us know how they feel, but they want to please everyone and they really do miss their Mommy's and cope with it the best they know how. They also want to please Daddy, and they hold a lot of emotions in when the visit him, and it's almost like she is mad at me that I let her go, but she is the first to say she misses him as well. It's tough all the way around in divorce. I truly believe your son will come around, he will just need to adjust himself in going back and forth. Good luck!
This. My kids tend to act nutty the night theycome back to me. They are better as they get older. If your ex doesnt discipline be prepared for your kid, as he gets older to complain about your rules. Stand firm though and it will get better.
I think all kids go through this to some extent or the other. Just think about it for a moment- as adults we know the way we act in church is not the way we act at a party, or a store, etc. We are sophisticated enough to make the adjustment from one atmosphere to another quite seamlessly. A child cannot. So if there are different rules, or even a different type of atmosphere (more relaxed vs. more structured) the kids have a period of adjustment they go through. As time goes on and he gets older it will get better. In the meantime remind him of what the rules are in your home and remind him of what you expect from him.
(disclaimer) I can't call myself an expert in child development, but I have been around a few children as I work at a daycare/preschool.
In my personal (and non-professional) oppinion the finger sucking might be a sign of uneasiness and insecurity. Not that he would have any reason to feel insecure with you, but he may very well be insecure with the adjustment from his fathers place to your place. And your son may not be disciplined over at his fathers but even so, he may be acting out due to him feeling unstable (again, not because of you or anything you've done, but because of the situation itself)..... as far as suggestions for a 3yr old....
When you have him, be consistant as possible, continue to discipline as youve been doing and you will deffinately have to talk to his father because it is more difficult for a child so young to be able to thrive and learn when there are such drastic changes happening.
How often is he with his father, how often is your son transitioning from one place to the next?
My son when he goes with his dad cries for me and doesn't want to go but once out of sight he does ok I think but when I get him back he is clingy again so I love my mama's boy and I have always said before and after when we hug that I love him and that I missed him then he says where u be at(he is 3) and I tell him I been waiting on u and he loves to hear that and he says he waits for me too. you need to find a way to bond with ur child like that and that way he will be looking forward to coming back to u and won't be a brat and mine he isn't he mostly is quiet and reserved when he comes back so I try to liven it up so hes back to happy kid.
Someone mentioned a mediation session but don't do that unless ur willing to fork over money so it can be done. If u have a lawyer ask him/her about it first and the lawyer can set a session without the court and if the guy comes to it then good and if not then u might have to go thru the court system.
Toddlers go thru stages and they grow out of them. Maybe give him a toy or blanket ur child can take with them so they have a smell of home always with them and they can cling to that until they get home. My boy has a blanket he sleeps with and takes in the car when he was a baby and up until he was 2 and a half and now he takes it as needed.
Your child will be fine just reaffirm u will be there always and will be waiting for him and will pick him up at the time. Let the time be known so the child can know it so the child can look forward to that time.
Its hard on my son but he is getting better only took 3 almost 4 years now but he is doing better just something he will never get use to but has to happen.
I wouldnt put all the blame on the ex. Its the adjustment and the lack of time he is spending with his dad. if he is spending a whooping 2 days with him, he is probably acting out because he wants to stay and spend more time with his dad.
As couples divorce they fight about the kids and the time they want or should be allowed to have the kid/s. A couple of days out of 7 isnt enough when a child already has been use to having a parent around everyday and go to 2-3 days a week. He probably misses his time with his dad, he goes back to you and knows it will be a few more days before he see his dad again. (which to a 3 yr old days could feel like yrs) It doesnt mean that either parent is doing a bad job. Its the way a 3 yr old talks, they act out their frustrations. Like a dog bites to warn to stay away, since they cant talk.
You will just have to reassure him everytime he goes back to you, that rules are rules no matter what. Common mistake people make when they divorce is to spoil a child and give in to keep them quiet or happy and those troubles get worse later on. He's 3 he still needs structure. no guilt, no blame
Your son is all wound up from having to be at dads house. When he comes home he is testing your love for him. You have one confused little boy on your hands. I had to give my kids a day to wind down. It wasnt easy, however it does work. Your son needs guidance and rules set up so he knows what you expect of him when he does something wrong no matter when that is. Meaning not just from coming home from exDH's house. That way he doesn't feel he is being punished relating to his visits with dad. He is only 3 years old and you already have a boyfriend in his life. WOW, its no wonder your little guy is acting up. and soooo angry. afraid and just lost. Have strength it will soon pass as long as you don't over react and talk badly of his father around him.