Post # 1
I love my stepson! I mean I love him so much that I can’t even fathom how I would feel if I was his birth mom! It is overwhelming how much I love him!
The problem is that he is 3 1/2 and right at that age where he seems to want his mom all the time. I understand this on an intellectual level but its really hurtful for me and for his dad. I know he doesn’t mean it that way but every time he gets bored, or in trouble, or doesn’t like something then he asks for his mommy. If he gets hurt he calls for his mommy.
I understand it but it still sucks when I’m taking care of him, feeding him, holding him, and kissing his boo boos.
I have yet to find any response that I feel is appropriate. We usually just explain that its his time with us and mommys turn is later but sometimes he gets on a roll and won’t stop asking.
I usually deal with it pretty well but my current pregnancy hormones I find my patience running out on this issue.
Anyone have any words of advice on how to deal with this?
Post # 3
Have you tried something more concrete than mommy’s turn is “later”? Later can be a difficult concept for a 3 1/2 year old – him asking again a minute later is “later.” Maybe you can try something more specific like showing him a calendar and saying “this is today, you’ll see mommy on this day” or “you’ll see mommy after we have dinner” so he has something easier to grasp. Setting up a visual schedule of the day, including “see mommy” could work too.
Also, when you are with him, try to let him help you plan special activities that get him engaged or take him on special outings. I’m sure you do lots of fun activities together, but having him help choose the activities could get him even more excited about his time with you. Good luck and be patient. It sounds like you are a very loving family.
Post # 4
Hubby and I went through this with step daughter. It was really really hard.
She is 6 now and never asks for her mom. A lot of the time she gets really sad that we have to take her back to her mom’s actually… so give it time. It will get better.
When stepdaughter got sad for mom I would usually just try to change the subject and get her interested in something. I would start by joking with her to get her to laugh and then I would introduce a new activity. We would color together or watch a movie.. whatever she felt like and pretty soon it would go away.
If she wanted her mom because she was in trouble she got ignored. I knew she was doing it because she was in trouble and didn’t want to reward that with postive behavior.
She also did it a lot at bedtime. At our house she has (and still does) to sleep in her own bed. But at her mom’s house she slept (and still does ) with her mom. So she would get sad when she had to go to bed by herself. We felt she was too old to be sleeping with us though so we started a reward system called “The Big Girl Box”. Anytime she slept in her bed all night without crying or whining she would get to picka prize out of the big girl box in the morning. I would stock the box with 99 cent items and such. It worked well and we only needed it for about 6 moz before she was totally broken of the habit.
Good luck and remember it wont be like this forever. Just divert his attention for now and remind him of how much you love him. Also, I would suggest that you don’t let him call his mom on the phone while he is really upset and or crying. That may sound mean but if he is emotional it will only worsen things. Let him calm down first and then let him call his mom if he wants to still.
Post # 5
My daughter does this all the time. “I miss my dad!” or “I want my dad!”
I think it’s part coping and part acting out. We just tell her that of course she misses her dad and he misses her too, but he would want her to be good/ go to bed/ feel better and she can tell him all about how she felt when she sees him. And then we tell her that we/ step dad loves her so much and is really happy to know her and love her.
The hardest part is to not get distracted by the “mommy/daddy” stuff and focus on the matter at hand. It can be very frustrating, especially if she’s trying to use it as a “get out of jail free” card.
Post # 6
Ok this may sound terrible, but remember I was really young:
My father passed away when I was four. I hardly remember him at all, and I truly had no idea what it all meant at the time. I did learn, though, that it was a sore spot in my family really quickly. I also discovered that any time I wanted attention, if I simply said “I want my daddy,” I would pretty much get whatever I wanted. I didn’t have any clue why they would suddenly be at my beck and call if I said this, but it always worked. I feel really bad that I used to to this to my poor mother, but hey, I was a kid and was looking for the quickest route to getting what I wanted (and also the quickest way to get out of trouble)!
Not that this is at all what is happening, but it very well could be. Your stepson may see you react a certain way when he says he wants his mommy, and it may just be a reaction he likes. He knows that if he says “I want mommy,” maybe you hug him more, or give him a treat, or he gets out of trouble. I don’t have any children, and certainly not any stepchildren, but I would make sure when he says this, I am not reacting to it at all.
Just my initial thought.
Post # 7
My six year old will do this sometimes (her dad and I are divorced). I’ve learned to separte the times where she truly misses him and wants to talk to him and the times she is being manipulative because she has gotten in trouble. If I feel its genuine (70% of the time) she is free to call him. If I know she is just acting up and using him as an excuse, I will say “fine- lets call your dad and you can tell him why you are in trouble” That quiets her down. Good luck!
Post # 8
3 1/2 is the age where kids tend to cling to mommy. I have seen this to be true even when the child’s parents are together. Daddy is important but mommy is the end all, be all. It usually starts to change once the child is in school…maybe b/c of increased interaction with other kids?
My suggestion would be to set a couple of times during the day when your stepson can call his mom. No matter where my daughter is (she is 12 now) she calls me and tells me good night. It gives her comfort and a sense of stability. It also allowed her to focus on the fun things she could do with her dad and stepmom b/c she knew she would be talking to me at the end of the day. Even when she wasn’t that great of a talker 8 to 9 months old…her dad and I adopted this method…and it works.
Post # 9
Thanks for everyones comments. Its good to know that we aren’t the only ones who have been through this. I am soo looking forward to him growing out of that phase.
On the plus side, it makes me feel good that he is really excited about our pregnancy and I know he talks about that a lot at home. It makes me feel good bc at least I know he thinks about us and mentions us at his moms home too.
I try to change the subject and get him interested in something else but the worst is when he does it while I’m driving. The other day he got himself really worked up and was crying about it but I just couldn’t do enough while I was driving to get his mind off it.
Post # 10
My nephew does this to my sister. His parents are divorced. Whenever he doesn’t want to do something, his reaction is to tell my sister (or whomever is with him or trying to get him to do what he doesn’t want to) “My poppy says that [fill in the blank] is bad for me! If I [blank] I will [go to hell/die/get sick/etc.]!” He especially likes to pull this when my sister is trying to introduce him to new foods (he Hates trying anything new!). My sister has learned to say, “That’s nice. You’re with me, not your poppy. Now go ahead and just [try this/do this/go here/etc.]” Its a pain in the behind, but he’s started to say it less since he knows it won’t get him anywhere anymore. (although when he first started to say stuff like this, my sister freaked out that her son was saying his dad said he’d go to hell if he ate strange foods!)
Post # 11
Time is a hard concept for kids that age. If he won’t stop asking when he can see his mom, try putting a fake cardboard clock up there next to the real clock, and put the fake clock hands at the time when he will see his mom. Then you can show him the clocks and say when the clocks match, it will be time for mommy. They will run and check it often, but it really helps take the pressure off you. Plus it helps them learn to tell time faster.
Also, you’re doing an awesome job 🙂