Kids reverting to younger behavior?

Old 10-13-2011, 04:24 PM
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Kids reverting to younger behavior?

Things are good with the girls (D6 and D3) and I. D3 is asking for her Daddy a LOT and saying she misses him, wants to live with him, telling me I'm mean etc... I figure it's to be expected and validate how she feels (missing him etc...) and tell her what I know she can expect (he'll call at x time, she'll see him on x day).

But the past few days D3 has been having all sorts of toileting accidents and this hasn't happened in at least a year.

Just wondered for those who've gone through separation and divorce with an A, and with young kids, whether you saw your little ones do this reverting to a younger age kind of stuff with behavior?

I don't think it's uncommon probably but I was curious about others experiences and whether there's anything you might suggest I do/not do that I am not or that I am and shouldn't be!
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Old 10-13-2011, 04:33 PM
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I think it is normal to see regression in children, of all ages. My 12 year old became very clingy when my AH left the home. I think children have a hard time expressing their emotions so they can act out, have stomach aches, headaches and potty issues. My 8 yr old pulled all her eyelashes out one day but hasnt again. I babied them a little, lots of cuddles, family sleepovers and I have tried to not make any big changes to their routine. Consistency, constancy and being present for them. You are a good mommmy!
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Old 10-13-2011, 04:52 PM
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I have no experience to share, I just wanted to send hugs to you and your little ones!
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Old 10-13-2011, 05:39 PM
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I think all of this is normal.

I left my H when my children were in college. What I do remember from when they were growing up, was not normal.

My son at age 12 took a nap, he woke up crying. Took me 20 minutes to calm him down. Would talk to him about his feelings, told me that he saw himself at the window, and that he wanted to jump. He got a full scholarship to a great college, based on his SAT scores, not his school performance. Lost it within 2 years.

My daughter, a lot like me, just got out of an abusive relationship.

Did they regress while growing up? Yes they did, they were bedwetters till age 5 or 6.

You did the right thing, the children will soon start to blossom. Wish I could have been brave enough to do this when they were younger.

They will thank you for this
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:50 PM
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Are you sure she's not having a health problem? I'm sure stress could be causing this, but you might want to take her to the doctor just to rule out something else.
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Old 10-13-2011, 11:20 PM
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Regression is common when parents separate/ divorce, regardless of why.

Children tend to feel they cause it or are not worthy.

Have you considered family counseling for the three of you?
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Old 10-14-2011, 07:11 AM
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If memory services me right children that age that start having issues again comes down to wanting some control of their lives and since the only thing they really can control is when they go potty it might just be her way of asserting herself and having the feeling of some control. I don't think I would be overly concerned but just some reminders to her that big girls use the potty and you know she can too. May want to go back to a reward system as a way of giving her positive control of the situation.
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Old 10-14-2011, 08:23 AM
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My DD has had a really tough run at her daycare. As wonderful as it is, her group has lost *5* educators in the last year. I don't know why but her group is just unlucky in this respect. It has resulted in a lot of delays in behaviour in many of the children in the group. DD is 3 and not even close to being potty trained for no.2, and she has regular pee accidents. The new educator who's taken them on is very skilled with 3-4 year olds, and she tells me that it's very common for toddlers to cling to babyish habits whenever they feel insecure. Seeing as I'm a big believer in attachment parenting, I've tried to compensate by giving DD a lot of physical closeness/hugs (she also sleeps in my bed and has since birth), and one on one attention.

I find the regressions come and go depending on how she feels day to day. When I initially separated from XAH and there were visitations, she was 15-22 months old, and her behaviour was ERRATIC after ever visit. I think that's partially why I nursed her for so long...I wanted her to have that sense of closeness with me. With respect to potty training, I've also resolved not to force her because she's obviously holding onto that form of control at the moment. I just keep telling her "when you're ready, you'll know".

*hugs* to you mama. I know how you feel.
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Old 10-14-2011, 09:04 AM
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I think this is very normal to have behavioral issues including regression come up in response to stress. My girls were about the same age when I separated and went through similar issues. Especially early on when their mom just wasn't available, now that the parenting schedule is more balanced things are better.

It is important to note that kids respond this way to all kinds of stress including developmental milestones.... so it is not always going to be about your divorce. I remember regressions or behavioral outburst prior to "learning to read", "riding a bike", kindergarten, etc.

I think it is important to talk to your kids about the separation/divorce, they need to get two messages from this talk:
1. It is not their fault. (in fact it is nobody's fault)
2. Mommy and Daddy will always love them.

It is not easy, but it gets better.

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Old 10-14-2011, 10:10 AM
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My youngest is 3 as well. She's been fully potty trained for about a year (she's 3 1/2 actually) but only recently has been having trouble- and only at home.

For some reason, this morning I'm having a hard time not feeling like I'm causing it. She's been sleeping restlessly, crawling into bed with me when she feels like (which is fine with me) and crying a lot saying she wants Daddy. Nothing I do is right and she's seemingly very angry with me. I wish I could do something to help her and I've not yet figured out what that is. I'm giving her lots of hugs, cuddling time, assuring her I love her etc... but she just is sad. The first month or so that AH was gone things were good and the girls were so much happier and lately they both seem to be having a harder time and I feel awful for them bc of it.
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:24 AM
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My children (5 an 3) tend to be a mirror for me. When I am doing a good job of working my recovery, I handle my emotions better, and am better able to parent them and they tend to be happier/calmer. When my recovery slips, or I'm under pressure, I weeble-wobble with my emotions... and they pick up on that and can be quite emotionally volatile.

Since we talked to the kids last week - the kids have been "acting out". Not really misbehaving - but expressing their emotions the best way they know how. Which at their ages means temper tantrums (lots of anger due to fear!), saying things like "I hate you." "I don't want to live with you!" "I want a different mommy." etc. It hurts - if I take it personally. If I put their words into perspective, I can detach and help them deal with the pain they are feeling.

So, what is working for me is remembering that this too shall pass and then focusing back on my recovery (put my oxygen mask on first, right?!?!). My recovery has really made a huge difference on my attitude, how I interact with them, and my STBXAH.

I know it's hard - I will keep you in my prayers. Hang in there!
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Old 10-14-2011, 10:51 AM
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Thanks Shannon,
What you're hearing at home and what I'm hearing seem to be very similar. I am not so much bothered by what they're saying as much as I am bothered by the fact that I can't just make it not hurt for them.. you know?

I've felt pretty good/strong myself lately and maybe that's why I've been caught off guard by D3... I think that I used to always chalk up the girls being stressed to being my fault (like you said, feeding off of the vibes we give off). So perhaps I naively thought that if I had it more together that would eliminate some of their stress.

One area I need to work lots more on is not catastrophizing things. Right now things are rocky one minute and fine the next with the girls and I need to learn to roll with the punches better....

Thanks for your thoughts/words. And I'm keeping you and your kids in mine as well.

Any news on the house? Did the couple that was really interested take any action to move fwd?
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Old 10-14-2011, 03:45 PM
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It is just so hard for them. They have no power at all, no control, and truly just have to sit there and take whatever mom and dad do or don't do to them and each other.

I've been on both sides of this (as the child and the parent), and it's heartbreaking. I'm so sorry you and your beautiful children are suffering through this.

I don't have any answers, but I started my girl in Alateen when she was ten. I made her go to six meetings before she could choose herself and she chose to keep going for another year. Now, at sixteen, she doesn't go but she knows about it, she knows the language, and she knows where to find it She also, on her own accord, goes to counseling for issues of anger and self-destructiveness.

All of the above has, in my opinion, helped her considerably.

Good luck!

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