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Thread: Recently separated, Please help me help my kids!!

  1. #1

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    Unhappy Recently separated, Please help me help my kids!!

    Hi there, I'm hoping someone can give me some advice or way to save some sanity. Things are just going crazy and I feel like I'm losing grip!!

    I left my husband 2 and a bit weeks ago and aside from the first few days where we had 1 child each he decided we could have the kids stay together and do 50/50 care of our kids (boy with severe language delay aged 4 and girl aged 2) 4 nights on 3 nights off then alternate so the other gets 4 nights.

    He stayed in the house so I had to leave, and I'm staying with my parents. I know it hasn't been very long yet but they're not adjusting very well to the changes at all. My 4 year old who is normally so happy and loving has turned into an angry little boy and my daughter will have outbursts of inconsolable crying. I can't think straight and ways to help them cope better and adjust easier are just not coming to me. I've tried keeping things as 'normal' routine wise as possible, lots of cuddles kisses and i love you's, i've answered every question my eldest can express honestly, I don't speak badly about his daddy in front of him and encourage him to be excited to see daddy etc. I think they miss 'their house' but we keep their blankets the same at swap overs, they have their teddies and some of their fav. toys are here too.

    Is there anything else I can do to help my babies? They're grumpy, I'm doing my best but I'm breaking down too.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Recently separated, Please help me help my kids!!

    littlebear, firstly, huge hugs. Sounds like you are all going through a huge transition.
    Listen to your instincts and trust them. Perhaps in the short term they are better spending most nights at the place they call home? Your split sounds amicable, are you able to spend time with the kids in their familiar surroundings until you get settled into a new place? I think the kids should stay together as much as possible. Who is normally the primary carer they are used to? If it's you but in "his" house, would your ex consider letting you stay there for the sake of the kids? I'll try to think of some other stuff...

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Recently separated, Please help me help my kids!!

    It might be too that everyone just needs to be patient. A change like this will take a while to adjust to. And their behaviour changes might seem exaggerated to you because of the guilt you are feeling, so you automatically link any bad behaviour to the separation, but perhaps the acting out is not always because of the adjustment. I know because I've been there, blamed myself for any time they were upset when it was more often over other things age appropriate like growth spurt, general tiredness, too much sugar, etc, all those other things that effects kids behaviour. Sounds like you are trying your best and that's all that matters.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Recently separated, Please help me help my kids!!

    Thanks Jessica. I'm definitely the primary carer (ex had a disability that is suddenly all better) which is why I'd prefer they can stay with me (at least) half the time. It will probably be a few months (i'm estimating) before I can get a place of my own and was thinking that it may be better for them to get used to going between two places rather than just me coming to them? Although our split is amicable I don't think we could get along for the amount of time that I want to spend with my babies! I'm really not sure if my ex would let me have the house for the sake of the kids because then he'd be in my position - having them transition and get used to a new place with him which defeats the purpose. It's hard because although staying in one place would be much easier for the kids, neither me or my ex want to have less than 50/50 care.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Recently separated, Please help me help my kids!!

    It's hard for me to say this because I am a HUGE advocate for equal shared parenting and particularly that Dads are just as important as Mums, BUT...
    at your children ages, personally I'm not sure if 50/50 is appropriate. And I can assure you the courts would never agree to 50/50 for a 2yr old. Unless there are extreme circumstances.
    I'm assuming they are both at home during the day. Who normally looks after them during the day? You should try to stick to what they are used to and make gradual changes over time.
    I left the marital home too so I understand your situation.
    But in an ideal world for your kids they should stay in the family home with their primary carer and spend substantial and significant time with the non primary carer, eg. 4 nights per fortnight.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Recently separated, Please help me help my kids!!

    It's interesting your last sentence and I hear this all the time with separated couples. It's not about what the parents want, it's what's best for the kids. Easier said than done. Your ex isn't putting the kids first by saying he wants the kids 50/50 if they aren't used to him being primary carer.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: Recently separated, Please help me help my kids!!

    I'm totally happy for my ex to have 50/50 access, if the shoe was on the other foot I wouldn't want to see my child any less either. I've always been the primary carer, but I had to leave the house as he refused. So to not 'rock the boat' the options are that the children stay with him (the non primary carer) for most of the time in the family home and see me (the primary carer) 4 nights out of a fortnight but that would probably be just as unsettling for them too. Or the arrangement we have, which obviously I'm going to prefer because I get to see them more. The eldest goes to kindy 2.5 days a week but other than that both are home full time.

    Sadly a lot of separated parents do put their own wants and needs before the children, but I can understand why. It's gutwrenching to have to go days without seeing them! I really don't feel like changing the arrangement is going to be the answer. I think I'm afraid of it going back to not being amicable, as to begin with he got quite nasty and has only just calmed down.

  8. #8

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    Default Re: Recently separated, Please help me help my kids!!

    From separation experience. As a parent and as a child.
    The first 6 months will be the hardest. Your children's behaviours WILL change. Their life and everything they have know has been flipped upside down, don't feel guilty, it's for the best and they will adjust over time and behaviours will improve.
    The important thing is routine routine routine! While I am an advocate for spending as much time with each parent, believe me it won't work and when they are both at school it's not viable. Set the access/custody arrangements for the future now for less disturbance later on.

    My son sees his father every second weekend, set in stone (with flexibility if we have events etc). Then if either of us have something on (such as a suit fitting for their wedding next week) we are flexible with that. But the change in our son with this routine compared to the previous arrangement is phenomenal. 70+% of court arrangements end up being primary carer has custody, secondary carer gets every second weekend. I advocate for that arrangement. It works, I have experienced it as the child myself (that's what my parents court ordered arrangement was) and I witness it working every day with my son. Thankfully myself, my husband, my sins father and his wife all get along (after a lot of hard work!) very well and we see what it does for our child. I only wish everyone could be so lucky.

    Good luck!

  9. #9

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    Default Recently separated, Please help me help my kids!!

    I agree with (most of!) Mummy_AllyK, it really is much better for the kids.
    I do personally think kids should spend more time with their fathers though because Dad's are integral to a child's development. I believe that every second weekend isn't enough time and it doesn't give the child the experience of both parents being involved in school etc. There is the occasion where some Dads don't want that extra time so there is no point pushing it.
    The 70% stat I can't imagine to be true, especially for non extreme circumstances (no accusations of assault, violence, etc.) if both parents are good parents the court looks to 'substantial and significant time' with the non custodial parent.
    The way that your two replies have some agreements and some disagreements just goes to show how sensitive and unique each situation of child arrangement after separation is!
    Which leads me to say...
    If you feel that 50/50 will work for your kids (it definitely can work when parents get along from the start!) well go with that and try to make their place they stay with you as comfortable as possible. Getting a place just for you and the kids is a priority. Accept their behavioural changes and continue to love and nurture and raise them with your ex. Continue to communicate with your ex about how the kids are when they are with him, etc.

  10. #10

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    Default Re: Recently separated, Please help me help my kids!!

    The arrangement with my step daughter is one week we have her and the next week she is with her mum (change over on Sunday afternoons).

    She is 6yrs old and in year 1 at primary school and this arrangement works perfectly for us.. So she is spending a good amount of time with mum and dad.

    We don't have any court orders in place that's just how we organized it. We didn't want her to feel like she was always being passed back and forth so we made it a full week.. Although if there is anything on at school or on weekends then all parents attend no matter whose week it is..

    I definitely think 50/50 can work but it has to be well planned and you have to think about what arrangement will be best for your babies!



    I think the big thing in a break up is communication.. When my DH and his ex split up they made an agreement to make sure it's amicable no matter what and to always do what's best for their daughter.. And so far they have both done that.. (Which has made it really easy for me and the ex's partner to be part of the family)

    I would get them settled into their routine and try and not pass the kids back and forth all the time, it's really disruptive and confusing for them.. How can they get settled in and comfortable if they don't know where they will be sleeping that night?

    My DSD was 3 and a half when her parents split and she understood- she asked my DH "is it because you and mummy fight lots" so I suppose the fact that she understood why they couldn't live together was a huge help and she had very few behavior problems. My DH was and still is very honest with her about everything and I think your doing the right thing by being honest with your son..

    Things will get easier as time passes. Do what you think is best for your kids no matter what and try and be happy

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