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NEW in all ways and need help - Parent child bonding


porksdad wrote: Hi all- I found this site by searching the web and am desperatley seeking help and advice either direct or places where I can go to get the help I need- none of the online `faq's seem to address our specific situation- though I cannot believe we are the only ones to go through this smile.gif

I recently married and my wife has a 2 year old child from a previous-badly failed- relationship. Due to difficulties at the time my wife's mother has acted as primary caregiver to the baby. We are now trying to bring the baby girl into our home but the baby has a very strong bonded attachment to her grandmother and my wife feels a sense of guilt at taking the baby back from her mother (who is resistant to losing her) and also feels upset and angry when the baby cries out (for an excrutiatingly long time) for her grandmother-who she calls mama- My bonding with the baby has been going along reasonably well on a fairly distant father mode- not as close as I would like but my priority has been for my wife rather than myself at this stage BUT my wife is scared of the responsibility and cannot bear to hear her child cry, she worries that she is not ready and that her mother can do a better job, her mother invariably appears to take over and little progress seems to be made. Her mother does not parent in the way I would like being to indulgent and has a habit of having the child permanently attached to her by carrying her everywhere she goes, sleeping with her etc.. forging such a strong dependence bond that I see a hard road to break this attachment. Does anyone have any advice or strategies on how we can make this bonding switch most effectively and painlessly for mother and child ( and grandmother?) thanks in advance smile.gif

Also for my wifes peace of mind- is there any damage to a child's health if she is crying for 15 minutes or so?? She is being comforted but only stops when `mama' appears- I suspect the mama always appearing is the root fo the crying and that this would reduce in time if mama did not always appear, but neither mother or mama can bear to let it go on past this point which increases my frustration with all of them- but maybe I am too hard smile.gif

MommyToAshley replied: Hello and Welcome.

Wow...that is a tough situation. I don't have any experience here, but my first thought is that your wife will need to spend some alone time with her baby. It may not be a good idea to take her grandmother out of the picture completely, but my gut tells me that your wife needs some time alone with the baby so that they can bond. And, I think it is normal for a Mom to question her judgement and second guess whether or not she is doing everything right, your wife's anxiety in this area is just delayed a few years because she hasn't been able to be the primary caregiver.

Have you thought about bringing in a family therapist? Maybe you, your wife, her mother (the grandmother), and the therapist can come up with some ideas. I think it would be important to include the grandmother so that everyone is on the same page.

I don't know that I have been of any help since I don't have any experience here. But, some of the other members may have a better suggestion. I will be thinking about you and I hope things work out for the best. Please keep us posted on how all of you are doing!

porksdad replied: thanks- all replies are welcome and gratefully received, I appreciate your thoughts and felt I should join in by adding an attachment smile.gif

MommyToAshley replied: Awwweee, she's a cutie pie!!!! wub.gif

A&A'smommy replied: im sorry for you hard situation!! im sorry i dont have any advice for you! But i think she is a DOLL!!!!

CantWait replied: What a doll for sure wub.gif I don't really have any advice to you, but was wondering what you had against attachment parenting where you sleep with your child etc....

I'm a mother of 2, and my 7 month old is a fairly high needs baby. He doesn't like to be put down, does not like to go to his dad, and has his naps with me because he wakes up when put down. This really is the best situation for us because I feel that letting him cry for hours on end wouldn't be good for his emotional health. I do believe that letting your little girl cry for 15 minutes isn't going to harm her, I've had to do this many times (a girl's gotta shower and eat sometime). My dh and I have had this conversation (or little more) many times.

I really hope you and your dw (and grandma) are able to work things out soon. Best of luck smile.gif

porksdad replied: LOL smile.gif

nothing against attachment parenting per se- especially where it is necessary as appears to be the case in your situation, my comment was simply a reflection of my frustration in trying to get grandmother to step back and let my wife in smile.gif, the indulgence I mentioned but probably did not explain is one where my step-daughter (soon to be daughter by adoption smile.gif) is treated as special within a large household and takes preference over all other children to the extent that she is already developing anti-social behaviours where it comes to sharing smile.gif

Kirstenmumof3 replied: grouphug.gif I wanted to Welcome you to the Board! My name is Kirsten and I wanted to offer you my support! In time things will get easier and this little girl that you both love so much will come to see you both as her parents. I think what you are doing is very couragous, taking on the responsibility of someone elses child is a huge undertaking! I love hearing stories like this. She is a beautiful little girl! I wish you lots and lots of success in bringing your family together! grouphug.gif

ediep replied: Hi and welcome....I don't have any experience with your situation, but I have to say that I agree with mommytoashley. Your wife and step-daughter proabably need some time alone together to start bonding again. I think that the baby is just not used to her and I know that children like things and people that they are used to.
Good Luck!!! Keep us posted!!!

coasterqueen replied: Hi there and welcome! She's absolutely beautiful wub.gif

I'm not sure what to say in your situation. I think the sooner the situation is resolved the better for everyone's sake, including the baby. The older she gets the worse the *detachment* can be and leave a traumatic effect on her.

While I strongly believe in attachment parenting and am totally against CIO, I think I need to put my beliefs aside here to give you some advice. In your situation, letting her cry may be the best way. Your step-daughter and wife need a LOT more time together and away from your wife's mother for sure! That will be the only way she will break that strong bond from her.

I really just don't know what to say. I'm sorry. I am a first-time mother, but I can't imagine my DD "getting over" that strong bond with me, in the same way your MIL has with your step-daughter. KWIM?

I agree I would get a family therapist involved and as soon as possible! grouphug.gif and I hope something works for you all soon.

porksdad replied: thanks all of you- it is nice just to have some words of encouragement smile.gif

and yes she is beautiful- like her mother smile.gif

and if I had not read the comments I would think this was a `world's most beautiful baby' competition smile.gif lovely bright smiling faces a credit to all of you as are your words smile.gif thanks smile.gif

kimberley replied: welcome to the board! wavey.gif what an adorable little girl!

i think everyone here has given you great advice, the only thing i would add is maybe for you and your wife to take a parenting course to make her feel a little more confident in her parenting skills. i wish you the best of luck and things will work out in time. wink.gif biggrin.gif

jen replied: Sorry I don't have any advice. My first instinct was to go with what Mommy2Ashley suggested about more time between daughter and mother and less time with grandma. I would make is gradual and it may be less traumatic for all involved. A family therapist would be a good investment in my opinion too. Best of Luck!! ((((HUGS))))

jcc64 replied: I have to say I disagree strongly with letting the child cry it out. (She is precious, btw) Kids always want everything to be predictable and reliable, they crave routine. This change she is facing (the switch from grandma to mom) is absolutely monumental to her, and she is feeling insecure, understandably. The last thing you want to do is "abandon" her by letting her cry it out. I also think kids are incredibly sensitive to the vibes that we adults put out. Did you ever notice how babies always cry when held by someone afraid or inexperienced? They inherently sense the nervousness, and it makes them insecure. Your little girl probably senses your wife's insecurity and guilt, and that is unsettling her. She is seeking that which has been reliable and predictable for her in the past (grandma). I agree that grandma needs to step back and let your wife find her way with the child, but do it slowly, gently, incrementally. Kids who exhibit "spoiled" behavior are anxiously seeking routine and consistency. She sounds like she's just acting out b/c the changes are frightening her. Assure both grandma and your step daughter that they will always be part of each other's lives, but mommy loves her so much she wants to take care of her, too. Expect some resistence until she acclimates, but stay the course and she'll soon learn to trust your wife's commitment to her. And for the time being, no crying it out. Best of luck to your whole family. I think it's wonderful that you want so badly to help her. She's lucky to have you in her life.

kit_kats_mom replied: She is beautiful. wub.gif
The only thing I might add is this. My DD and I have a very strong attachment. I ended up hiring a nanny because of work, but since I work at home, we were able to slowly introduce her to her new care-giver whom she came to love. She now goes to a home daycare 3 days a week and is perfectly happy there although it did take a couple of weeks of adjustment.

ITA with the routine thing and maybe approaching it like you would approach putting her in a daycare situation would be worth a shot. Let her keep most of her routine with the grandmother but allow her to spend an increasing amount of time in her mothers care over a few weeks. For example, let her have the morning routine, that she finds comforting, with the grandmother and then have grandma leave for a couple of hours and come back. That way, DD will know that Grandma will come back. Extend the times with mom slowly and let DD be the barameter. If she is clingly, and acting out, back off a little bit and extend the times more slowly. I've found that a gradual approach is the best thing with my DD. Maybe it would work for you guys.

Good luck

jcc64 replied: bump

~CrazieMama~ replied: Hey, my name is Michelle. You have a beautiful step daughter there... wub.gif


I kinda know what your going through. My son lives with his father and is spoiled alot by his grandparents on his dad's side. When I would take him for the weekends when he was 3 years old.... he would scream and cry. But let me tell you... If you give in to their crying and let them stay... you will not get that bond that you all so need. I had to take my son, screaming and all, and just leave.... he calmed down within minutes after leaving.... As long as the attached parent/grandparent is not standing there. My son is almost 9 years old now.....He adores me more than life. I am currently working on getting back with his father...but anyways... Please don't let your DW's mother get in the way. That will only make things worse.

I know from experience and also know that this will work out in you and your wife's favor if you two can stay strong for each other.

I am not sure if this was helpful or not.... I wish you lots of luck in whatever decision you make to help you out. grouphug.gif

aspenblue1 replied: She is beautiful! wub.gif

Unfortunately I do not have any advice. I agree with M2A about having more time with her away from her grandmother and I would recommend a therapits. I hope everything works out for your family.

porksdad replied: Thanks again- and michelle- encouraging for the future and as you say I am sure it will work out in time- the key thing being how to work it through to be least traumatic..

The `daycare' suggestion is good except for one snag and again views on this would be helpful- one of my issues with the granmothers parenting is that Kathleen ( my daughter) has not routine, rather the MIL simply runs her life around whatever the baby fancies- ie some nights I would find her awake and running around at 1 in the morning other nights flaked out at 10 and so on she eats when she feels hungry and no attempt has ever been made to fit her into a schedule of feedtimes, when I suggested a routine of bedtimes and feedtimes it was all agreed but not done...

I am trying to tip toe along and and make change sincrementally- but would like ideas of what kind of routines would best suit a two year old.

I should add that my name is Simon, my wife's Christine, I have been lving and working in the Philippines for 5 years as a missionary come aid worker and I met my wife here and we married in June, so there are cultural differences that I am also facing and trying to surmount smile.gif

for example if kathleen takes a fever the last thing the grandmother will allow me to do is bath her and cool her body down- despite my continued insistance that she will feel better- simply because there is a widely held belief here that if you have a fever and bathe you will die!

CantWait replied: Routine is definetly important for a 2 year old like you said. It gives them a sense of structure and security. I think the most important thing you can do is have a certain time you eat, during the day is probably hard cause of a work scedule, but dinner times, is there going to be a bath every night? If so what time? What is the bedtime routine? Will you read before bed ,have bathtime before bed etc.....Does she nap during the day? If so don't run errands during that time, it makes for a cranky situation. Good Luck, it really doesn't sound like your MIL is trying to help in this situation at all blink.gif

jcc64 replied: I think what kind of routine she has is secondary to the fact that there IS a routine that she can rely on. Bedtime should be handled the same way every night- bath followed by books, followed by cuddling, etc, so the baby has predictable cues that let her know it's time to wind down. I would let the grandma institute first if possible, and then she can depend on a familiar routine, regardless of who's house she's in. Is there hostility or resistence with grandma about the change in custody? Can you all have some sort of summit about the transition where everyone agrees on a long range plan?


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