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daddy separation issues

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  • daddy separation issues

    My son Patrick is 16 mos old. I am a SAHM My husband works full time and is gone most of the day - although usually makes it home for dinner somewhere between 6:30 and 7:30 and give's Patrick a bath and reads him stories before bed. Weekends he's around a bit more but still usually sleeps in and is gone a good chunk of the day. Patrick gets very upset when dh leaves the room - unless he's ready to nurse. Patrick has never had any separation issues with me, but his issues with DH seem to be getting a bit more erratic. He was so excited to hear daddy pull up today when he got home then ds just burst into tears when dh walked in the door. Then during dinner he was standing in his high chair and DH picked him up to help him turn around (he wasn't able to turn around on his own) and again burst into tears. Even while holding him he would still scream until we asked him if he wanted daddy to read him a book. Anyone else have daddy separation issues? How do help them build a more secure bond?

  • #2
    Both of my children have had separation issues with Daddy. My oldest is about 3 and seemed to go through the hardest part from about 18 months through 2 1/2. My second is about 18 months and is in the thick of it.

    That your husband has regular activities that he does with your child is good. It also helped when my husband would spend extra one-on-one time with whichever child seemed to be missing him more than usual.

    What you child is going through is completely OK.

    What also helped big time was allowing my children to sleep with him in the bed. For a long time, my husband wasn't ready for that yet and the children slept with me. But, we started having some major separation issues right before bed and so my husband said he'd try cosleeping, and this has helped so much.

    I guess, if you were me, I'd try to encourage more one-on-one time between your husband and your child and when your child is upset when daddy's away, to show him that you recognize this.


    • #3
      I have the opposite problem, my dd seems to be really angry during the week with her dad for going to work, she often tells him she does't like him, and wants ONLY mummy....I know he feels bad about it, but at the weekend she loves him so much...I have no idea how to deal with it as she is so vocal in hating him it's horrible to see, I don't know how to make it easier for either of them, assuming I CAN do anything...she takes separation very hard in general......she gets so upset when her grandparents leave and constantly ask to see them...they live in a different continent.. any advice would be great here....


      • #4
        Here are some ideas that have not worked or worked for me.

        If they get angry and say what you may consider mean things, try not to tell them they don't mean it or dismiss their feelings. (ooops I did this a few times, with good intentions, but not a good outcome) That can sometimes extend things because they feel that you are not validating their feelings and they are being misunderstood.

        Separation... Try making small trips, like Daddy goes outside for 10 minute then comes back in so that the child sees the other parent is coming back. For some children this works and for some it does not. Maybe daddy can leave something behind for the child to take care of until he gets back. This is a physical thing and children are very physical in relationships at this age, wanting to be able to touch their loved ones and loved things.

        Some children can not even handle peek a boo because they can not see the parent. Ronnie when he was tiny, now he is fine with it

        Anger... Validate their feelings. Instead of saying you don't feel that way, you love so and so, which I find myself doing... I say I am sorry you feel that way, why do you feel that way? Smaller children I will ask directly is it because they are not here, or they had to go home?
        Ronnie is upset that my Grandmother left. It is the first family he has seen other than my husband and daughter and I. We discuss this. We tell him that she didn't want to leave but she has her home and we have ours and she needs to be at her home. She also started sending him a note in the mail each week that he looks forward to. It is a connection that he can associate that she is there, something he can touch. This is not easy to do via phone or email and he can pick up the notes and read them whenever he wants.

        My inlaws also live in another country, but Ronnie doesn't know of them physically, just weekly phone calls. That ons is hard for everyone and I am hoping we can work on something similar for mail, maybe every two weeks or monthly. International postage is harder.

        Have the children write back, even if they can't write. Have them color a picture and send it back.

        Comfort them and help direct them into feeling better and over time they will understand more. They may not be happy about it, but they will understand and understanding why helps the emotional end of things.

        With angry outbursts
        , Jackie used to do that when I had to go to work. I was upset that she did it and would say to her you don't mean that, but at the moment she did. It was her way of hurting me before I could hurt her, building up that shield ,and she does get that from me because I find myself doing that with my spouse at times.

        Ask your husband if he can prepare to go to work a few minutes / 10 minute earlier and when he goes to leave it will give him time to stop at the door, when she has her moment of anger, he can get down to her level and let her know that he understands she is angry with him for having to go to work and that it is important that he works so he can take care of his family but when he comes home he will do something special with her. Let him reinforce how much he loves her, but not request she say it back, maybe he could leave notes in her lunch or other areas of the house for her to find throughout the day with reminders of how much he misses her and loves her.

        Avoid saying he hates going to work... Mark did this once and Ronnie cried harder thinking work was this bad place and he said he didn't ever want to go... Now Mark says he loves work, but not as much as he loves his family, but he loves working so he can help take care of us.

        Make a date for them for after work, a book reading, finger painting, anything that will give them just a few moments to re-connect. She will probably say no I don't want to, but that is fine, have him set up the date area anyway and wait for her. She will either come over right away or take a few days to sort out and want to participate.

        We use a calendar here for Ronnie. He knows the days of the week from watching Daddy go to work and LOVES Saturday.

        I am sure other mothers have other ideas too. I hope something we have tried will help.

        Peace & Blessings,



        • #5
          I'm glad we're not alone! Our 12 mo DS has Daddy separation issues when he goes off to work. I stay at home with him, and he's constantly saying DaDa or Daddy and starts signing Daddy in the afternoon. It's terrible when DH works late!