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Taking away security blanket as punishment


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Initial post: May 10, 2008 6:46:05 AM PDT
Zoobi says:
My fiancee's daughter is 6 years old. She still has her 'Blankey', sleeps with it at night, and likes to hold it and sniff it if she's upset. Generally, she's been using it less and less recently, but she still likes sleeping with it. We figure that when she's ready to leave blankey behind and forget about it, she will.

Every other weekend she goes to stay with her father. There have already been a couple of instances where he's taken her blanket away as a punishment, which we don't think is right (i.e. take away a privellage, rather than her security blanket). And tonight, when he picked her up, he told her she wasn't allowed to bring it along for the weekend.

He wouldn't even explain why (despite the fact that just last week he said he had no problem with blankey).

Personally, I think this is an insane act of cruelty. She's nervous enough as it is before spending the weekend with him, and he saw how upset she was about it, but was just insisting (without telling us) she couldn't take her blanket (or indeed anything that her mother tried to give her to make her feel less sad).

I've been searching for articles about this, because I just don't see how this is a valid punnishment (not that we know what she's being punished for or even if she is being punished).

Just wanted to get people's views on the validity of taking a security blanket away, and if anyone has found any articles about this, I'd appreciate it...

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2008 9:58:51 AM PDT
Mother Hen says:
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In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2008 12:15:42 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2008 12:27:35 PM PDT
Zoobi says:
My main issue was concerning whether or not people think it is appropriate punishment to take a security blanket away from a kid. I am sure you are trying to help, but in your post, you have made far too many judgements based on innaccurate assumptions, and frankly I find it pretty offensive.

To clarify: When parents of children divorce, the young kids are not always "the bone that two angry dogs fight over". This certainly wasn't the case in my parents divorce, because thankfully they both had the care and intelligence to keep me and my brothers out of the dispute.

My fiance's daughter was 1 when her parents separated. I don't believe she wants her mom and dad back together any more than I wanted my mom and dad back together after their divorce. She doesn't think it's at all unusual that her parents don't live together, and hasn't even asked us why they don't. She grew up next to another single mother, so she pretty much thinks that kids live with their moms and go visit their dads. Maybe an unfortunate side effect of the divorce happy world we live in, but I just wanted to dispel the idea that I am an "interloper in her dreams for family reconcilliation". I am aware of step-parent issues (from my own experience as well as professional experience) but any issues the daughter may have with me, have nothing to do with her wanting her parents back together again.

You said: "Your fiance loads her daughter up with stuff to comfort her while she's with her father, creating a sense that going to Daddy's house is a fearful, bad thing that requires being comforted."

Actually we don't load her up with anything. She's a 6 year old girl, and her blanket makes her feel safe and secure. Overnight visitation only resumed 9 months ago. Previously there had been an 18 month break, because the father had spanked the child to the point of bruising her, so there was a PFA (protection from absue) against him and he was not allowed unsupervised or over-night visits. When overnights resumed, she was understandably nervous. Taking her blanket along made her feel less nervous.

It breaks our hearts to see her crying and being fearful of her visits. We do absolutely nothing to promote the idea that going with her father is a fearful or bad thing, nor do we sabotage the father's attempt to have a relationship with his daughter. She has to go on her visits - the court order says so - , so we always tell her that she's going to have fun. She feels fearful because of how he treats her (her first over-night visit after the break, she wet the bed (which she never does at home). She was scared and embarrassed about telling him what had happened, so he put her in a time-out for lying. Just a couple of weeks ago she was punnished for talking in class (Kindergarden). The father gave a choice of punishments that included soap in the mouth, or spanking. He still spanks her, dispite the fact that he got in such trouble for it (Something that he refuses to take responsibility for, saying the bruises came from her 'playing'.)

You say: "You're not her dad, and never will be, so support your fiance by making her your wife, and then being supportive of her parenting decisions. Don't get into the fray between her and her ex-husband by challenging his choices."

- Did I mention that he's also a pathological liar, a control freak, and my fiance had a PFA against him too? He's found it far too easy to try to bully my fiance while she was on her own. Of course I'm going to stand up to him and get involved if I need to. When we get married seems pretty irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

You said "And are you living with your fiance, too? Have you added the burden of being the unwed, inappropriate sleepover lover?"

That whole thing is hugely dis-respectful. I'm from the UK, but am now based in the US. The girl cries when I go back to England to visit my family. I've left my family and friends behind because I love my fiance and her daughter so much. I don't think there's anything inappropriate about it, but you make it sound like it's something sordid. And a 6 year old girl doesn't care whether we're wed or not. Only disturbingly dogmatic religious types tend to care about that, and you seem to intelligent to be one of those. Incidentally, the pathological liar child abusing control feak father is a 'good Christian man'.

Furthermore, you said I should be:

"not setting a horrid example for her by living in her home while unwed to her mother"

putting the un-wed nonsense aside, we have recently bought a home together that is now OUR home. It is a lovely home and we're all very happy here.

Finally, and to get back on topic - I don't think there's anything wrong with a six year old still wanting to sleep with a security blanket. My younger brother was 7 when he got rid of his - I just think kids get rid of them when they're ready, and I think it's potentially more harmful to take it away before they are ready to let it go.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2008 1:48:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2008 1:52:10 PM PDT
Mother Hen says:
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In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2008 2:23:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2008 2:39:26 PM PDT
Zoobi says:
OK, the fiance has stepped in and she is NOT happy.. Youve got major problems lady.. Things in this house are near perfect. She has 2 people (in this house) who love her dearly and put her best interests at heart EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY. You have no right to express sympathy towards my daughter for a situation that exists only in your mind. And how dare you suggest that there are no adults willing to put her best interests first. The whole thread was created because my fiance wanted opinions on whether it is acceptable to take a child's blanket away as punishment. He did this because he saw how sad it made my daugher. He did not do this as an attempt to condemn my ex. So how is this an example of not putting my daughter's interests first?

Her father was abusive to me, getting us both out of that house was the best thing I couldve done to ensure she had the best life possible. Meeting and then moving in with my fiance has been the best thing to giving her a positive male role model in her life. We both love her dearly.. What other man would be so worried and upset over a little girl not being able to take her blankey on visits? Not very men would care at all.. my fiance is so caring to my little girl, he is even searching for advice on the internet as to whether or not taking away a blankey is good/bad/neither.

The reason he has posted on the internet is because we HAVENT gotten into it with her father about the blankey. We are seeking advice, not condemnation. Its 2008 woman, wake up.

If I didnt have my fiance around to be the neutral 3rd party in my ex-husbands and I's relationship as divorced parents, my ex would probably still be abusive towards me. You already know he continues to abuse our daughter in one way or the other.

What is your problem? My ex is a horrible person.. he doesnt deserve your defense but your messed up values make you believe there is no other way and we must get back together for my daughters sake. That is really twisted and sick because taking her out of this house and away from my fiance would really mess with her mind and it would be outright cruel to make her live day to day life with her father.

My fiance is NOT interfereing with conflict between my ex and I. He, if anything, is the peacekeeper. Most of the time, there is no conflict between my ex and I. We are cordial and friendly during an exchange and that is the extent of it. When he does things like takes away my daughters security blankey for no reason, then I get upset. My fiance is here to support me through these tough times and to help my daughter through them as well.

As we said earlier, my daughter knows no other life than living with mom and visiting dad. Its better for her and its better for me as he is an abusive, cruel (and religious nut as you seem to be as well) man. He can only handle short stents at what he perceives as positive parenting. He is manipulative, controlling, and can sometimes be scary to my daughter. I put on a smile for her every visit so she can put one on too. There is nothing about him that makes her actually WANT to go on a visit.

And why do you think my fiance is "villanizing" my ex?? Would a villian write a heartfelt plea on the internet asking for help with a little girl wanting her blankey??? That is so very wrong.. You are also dead wrong when you call me his "lover" and we are "shacking up". We are both well educated professionals who have a nice home in a nice neighborhood.. we have a deep loving relationship and are very deeply connected. There is nothing evil or sinister going on here.

"I'm sure the conflicts between her and her ex-husband will be vastly improved by the inclusion of an outside, third party interfering." - Does this mean that I should not have contacted an outside third party when my ex abused our daughter and left her bruised? Does this mean that mediation can never work because they're an outside third party? Is it better for 2 people to be married and live in conflict than it is for 2 people to live lovingly together but for the moment not be married?

You have really created and messed up version of my lifes events in your sick head. You must lead a very hard life to constantly be carrying around these judgements and ramming your dogma down other peoples throats. I really do not understand why you have created such harsh judgements of my fiance and made up this horrible fantasy in your head of what must be going on here. Really, lady.. you've got everything so wrong, I am very offended at each comment you made on both your posts. My fiance didnt seek judgements when he made his posts, he was seeking help- help that you arent able or capable of giving, your mind is too clouded with religion to see anything clearly. Good luck in life and in love, I really think you need more help than my ex does.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2008 2:44:05 PM PDT
Mother Hen says:
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In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2008 2:55:25 PM PDT
Zoobi says:
And 'I suspect' that you are so warped by your religious belief, that you really are far more worried about a loving couple living together who are not-married, than you are about a church going father who has abused his own daughter. Or maybe it was an over-reaction by the authorities that he was found to have abused his daughter and their was a PFA in place to protect her?

Your views on marriage - like all religious views - are so dogmatic that you simply can not understand how anyone could possibly see anything differently. You have one view, we have another. Only the people who view the world as dogmatically as you think that we are setting a dreadful example for anyone. And calling our relationship 'destructive' purely because we are not married, is further insult.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2008 7:36:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2008 7:52:00 PM PDT
jo says:
wow. I'm so sorry that you posted about your daughter's struggle and got those horrible, misguided comments. I think you need to ignore any wingnut who harps about you and your need to be married and completely ignores the issue of the violence the two of you have faced. How terrible.

As to your ex not allowing the security blanket, maybe there is a way that you can cultivate a new object, like a worry stone. Something small that she can focus on that can help her self-soothe. It sounds like the situation is quite complex, and must be painful for you. Remember, you know your daughter better than anyone else. Talk to her about this and she might come up with some great ideas for herself.

Transitional objects do not harm the child and especially since she was the victim of abuse, she may have a particular need for this. I do think it is cruel to take away something that comforts her, particularly because she probably needs it most when she's with her father, who is also her abuser.

You can search more on transitional objects, and here a few links i found in just a quick search:
http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/68/3/379?ijkey=072bc8536d45bff582f710e8b7a69a4aafeb3071&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=950DE4DE113EF932A35755C0A96F948260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2008 9:15:11 PM PDT
Zoobi says:
Jo - Thanks for the constructive reply and the interesting links. Trying to come up with something small but soothing, particularly if it's something of her choice, is also a good idea.

After the insulting and rather odd replies (from a poster who will now be ignored), it was much appreciated to get back on topic.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2008 10:27:29 PM PDT
A. Kirsch says:
I know this thread has gotten hijacked to be a discussion of marital status and puritanical morality, so I'll start by saying I am the child of a single mother with a drunken, lying, abusive father who ended up in federal prison after my mom finally kicked him to the curb. See it turned out he had 2 families - isn't that nice? My mother and I were innocent victims, and she spent 8 years after his departure alone before she met my "stepdad." They still aren't married in the legal sense though they have been together for 18 years now, and I am now in a happy, healthy 6 year marriage. I think I turned out just fine, and I am glad that my mother found happiness in the end. The concept that a piece of paper is going to make or break a child's existance is absurd. It sounds like you and your fiancee both truly care for your child, and it is wonderful that your daughter has two loving and devoted parents in the two of you.

I'm sorry to hear that her father seems to be trying to use her as a weapon rather than becoming a third loving parent in her life. Though he may have contributed the genetic material that lead to her existance, it certainly seems like he is trying to hurt you and your fiancee by hurting her which is only exacerbating the situation. The best thing you can do is try to reduce her dependence on the object so his plan will backfire. Though he may be trying to be vindictive by hurting her, telling her negative things about her father or stooping to his level is not an effective tactic for sure. The best thing you and your finacee can do right now is to be supportive and loving with her, speak in neutral/positive ways when she wishes to discuss her biological father (don't lie, but avoid slamming him she is so young and it will just hurt and confuse her more), and if he upsets her be there for her when she gets home. Sadly there is little you can do about a lot of emotional abuses because people frequently pass this off as "parenting style." If she is being physically abused it is both your right and responsibility to report the abuse to the authorities and make sure she is protected. If the beatings continue your fiancee should appeal to the court to have the visitations limited to a few monitored hours a week, and at that point you should present any and all examples of cruel treatment. I would like to reiterate - your fiancee's daughter is lucky to have you around to stand up for her! My husband was violently abused by his father, sometimes sent to elementary school beaten so badly he could not even sit. Nobody stood up for him outside his family though his teachers, church and neighbors all saw his wounds and if his mother did she was beaten too. He still has nighmares now in his 30's. It is everyone's responsibility to make sure this does not happen to the children in our lives and when someone says differently I have to wonder what their motives are. Perhaps they have something to hide?

She would likely benefit from counseling to help her understand that the divorce is not her fault, she isn't bringing the cruel treatment on herself by something she has done, she doesn't deserve to be beaten, etc. When she is older she will be the one to decide who she has an enduring relationship with and who she never speaks to again. Hopefully by that time the father will realize that she is a human being not a weapon to be wielded against the two of you and/or the piece of her mother he can still get his hands on (did he abuse her too?).

I wish you the best of luck in this difficult situation. It is a testament of your love for your fiancee and her daughter that you are trying to make it right.

In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2008 12:57:00 AM PDT
Cheryl74 says:
Mother Hen is a lunatic! I hate people who are so brainwashed with religion that they read right past the purpose of the post & start preaching at us! She's probably just jealous because she has been stuck in a bad marriage for most of her life & really wishes that she could escape but feels that she can't because "divorce is a sin".

Anyway... Taking her blankey away is cruel. (Especially when done for no reason) If I were you, I would have asked him if we can speak in private (away from the little one) & calmly asked him why & explained to him that he shouldn't take it away.

My daughter is 12 years old & still has a blankey. Of course she doesn't carry it everywhere she goes but she sleeps with it at night (but doesn't HAVE to have it) & sometimes snuggles it while watching TV. Some people may say that this is way too old to have a blankey. I say why? What is it hurting?

I feel for you in dealing with the ex because I think that if I was in that situation, I would fight to keep my daughter away from him. What kind of system forces a child to go stay with a person that she is afraid of? It about makes me cry just thinking about it. A child should feel safe & secure and in times when they don't they should have someone to protect them. This is making her feel helpless - that she must go with this evil monster & that mom & "step-fiance" can't save her. You are in a really tough situation because if you pump her up & tell her that she will have fun (as previously stated) you are not supporting her fellings or protecting her from her fears. On the other hand, if you were to say something like "I'm sorry you have to go., I wish you didn't have to go., etc., then you might make the situation even worse. I am not being judgmental about the former. I am just pointing out how difficult both sides are.

I agree with Zoobi that not all children are traumatized by a divorce. I was 15 when my parents divorced & even though they didn't do anything to make it easy on my brother & I (bitter divorce battle, bad talking each other in front of us, etc.), it didn't bother me in the slightest and I didn't care one way or another if they got back together. I knew that the divorce wasn't my fault & I knew that my parents still loved me even if they no longer loved each other. Therefore, I don't necessarily think the child needs counceling for that like (I think) someone else mentioned. But I would highly recommend counseling to help her deal with the fear of her father if she is not already.

Good luck to you. You & your sweet daughter will be in my thoughts.

In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2008 1:55:16 PM PDT
Zoobi says:
Thanks for the further constructive replies.

Upon returning from the weekend, my fiance's daughter told us that it is her own fault she wasn't allowed to take her blanket, because she had previously lied about something (related to the blanket). It's all a load of nonsense, and a bit silly that the father has made out like it is all the girl's own fault.

Having done voluntary work with kids and teenagers, I am well aware of the effect this kind of thing can have on a child as they grow up. The most important thing is that thankfully, nearly 90% of the time she is with us, in a loving, and caring house where disciplie is only used when necessary, and is not used to try to prove a point to us and everyone else in the world (as it seems to be when the father disciplines her). He's always punishing her for lying, which is crazy since she rarely lies when she's with home, and I've never met a man who lies as much as her father does.

My fiance and I make sure we never say negative things about her father. I'm thankful that despite the fact that my mother was very hurt when my dad left us, she never bad-mouthed him to us and always wanted us to have a good relationship with our father (which me and my brothers do have). Despite my feelings towards my fiance's ex, we are also very conscious that the girl has to make her own mind up, and therefore although we have plenty to feel angry about, we absolutely don't say anything that will make the girl feel negatively towards him. Any negative feelings she has are a result of his actions, and when she is upset about things, we just say that her daddy loves her very much. We can only hope that she doesn't end up feeling that we are being horrible by forcing her to visit him, and always tell her she'll have fun, when quite often she doesn't have fun.
I think counselling for the girl is a good idea. The next hurdle is that the father needs to agree to this, and also needs to agree to the choice of counsellor. But hopefully, for the good of the child, we can come to an agreement...

In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2008 9:44:19 PM PDT
VA Mom says:
GO BACK TO COURT AND GET THE VISITATION ORDER CHANGED!!! Six years old is old enough, in my opinion, to decide whether you want to visit a parent who beats you or not. Find another lawyer if necessary, see if you can get a sympathetic social worker, psychologist or child behaviorist expert to help the judge see that the forced visitation is causing psychic harm to the child and possibly irreparably damaging a father-daughter relationship. Father should be required to take parenting/anger management classes. Visitations should continue to be supervised and no overnights until she can defend herself.

In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2008 9:44:37 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2008 10:28:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 11, 2008 10:38:19 PM PDT
Cheryl74 says:
See, I don't understand how telling her that her Daddy loves her can be a good thing in this situation. I know that you are trying to help calm her but in reality, you are teaching her that "love" means to physically, verbally & mentally abuse someone. When she gets older, she will look back & try to make sense of all this. She will trust what you & her mom told her because you are nice to her (the good parents). Therefore, she will think that since you are good & would never lie to her, the actions of her father are okay to do to someone you love. Furthermore, since she never heard you say anything bad about him, that will only reinforce that you had no problem with his actions & that it must be okay. Do you see what I'm saying? Again, I want to clarify that I'm not downing you or your fiance in any way. You have to choose one way or the other & this is a horrible no-win situation (unless his visitation rights are removed or he gets run over by a bus). I am so thankful that my children have a wonderful father. My heart goes out to all 3 of you for what you are going through.

I agree with you VA Mom. If the courts think she will get some benefit from visiting this horrid beast, then it should be supervised.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2008 12:07:40 PM PDT
LULU says:
As a mother of two boys who each have something they cherish, I am horrified at this man's behavior. However, I don't think the main issue here is the validity of taking away her blanket, but why is her father doing this to her? It is abusive behavior and I really think that her mother needs to have a talk with him. What behavior is he punishing? Can you all agree on a more appropriate punishment if indeed it is necessary? Having a child doesn't mean you know how to be a parent. I know some very nice people who do some weird things in the name of discipline. And I agree with the others - maybe this child should be allowed to make her own decision regarding whether or not she wants to see her father at all. I get an uneasy feeling about how she is being treated when she is away from you.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2008 4:55:35 PM PDT
Zoobi says:
Thanks for the further replies; Some more interesting points raised.

It's like my fiance and I so much don't want to be responsible for sabotaging this girl's relationship with her dad, that it didn't really occur to us that we might end up warping her definition of love (by telling her her daddy loves her despite the things that he does) and how she may grow to resent us because we force her to go. Hopefully she'll interpret the way we love her as being the correct way you show your love for people. Incidentally, I do think that the father loves her. He's just a bad parent, (partly because he thinks he's such a great parent, and thinks a 6 year old needs all this discipline) and because he is someone who has such a need to be in control, that he ends up doing things that are bad for his child. I also think he has some anger issues towards my fiance and is desperate to show how he's a good parent and she's a bad parent. It must make him mad that the girl loves her mommy so much but isn't so fond of him (hence why he even forbid her to take a stuffed toy on her visit, cos it was something the girl's mother had given to her as a replacement for her blankey).

However, I guess there are many parents out there who both love their kids while also doing bad things to them, and so his love alone doesn't excuse him from the things that he does.

We have tried to talk to him about the way he acts. However, he generally does not respond to e-mails (often claiming never to have received them), does not respond to letters we give to him, often does not return calls, and the other day, when he was here to pick his daugher up, he would not give us any explanation for why she wasn't allowed her blanket. He just kept on saying "because I say so" or "I'm not going to discuss it with you".

This is so incredibly frustrating; We would love to discuss up-bringing and discipline issues (particularly since the girl is always being punished for lying, when it's something she doesn't do at home, and would like to discuss the fact that he still spanks her, even though we don't agree with this). But he doesn't want to discuss it. Or at least not on our terms. Even more than I worry about the spanking, I worry about what pyscological damage he's going to be doing (and as mentioned, how she may feel about our part in forcing her visits). I've been posting because we're going through a bad period, and it helps me to vent, and it's useful to get other people's views. There are periods where her visits aren't too bad - she never seems excited to go, but she's not always scared to go. But unfortunately, we rarely go more than a couple of months without some major incident taking place.

Unfortunately, legally speaking, a child needs to be 12 yrs old before they can have their say about whether or not they want to see a parent / have over-night visits. I think this is insane.

Our last court case was a horiffic experience. It's all too easy to imagine court cases are like we see them on TV shows or in movies; where the good guys have truth and morality on their side, and so win the case. This is not the reality. The court case after the PFA expired, was to see whether regular over-night visits should resume. The judge heard how the father (after being found guilty of child abuse) had been ordered to undergo counselling and anger management classes, but had done neither. The girl had been seeing a counsellor since the abuse (some sessions were with the father too, so she could see their interaction), and the court heard how the counsellor did not think the girl was ready to resume overnight visits. This was expert advise from someone who had been seeing the child regularly over the last year. We had all sorts of documents and e-mails showing that the father was a liar who still wasn't taking responsibility for what he'd done to his daughter ("the bruses came from her playing, not my spanking...) but the judge wasn't interested.

None of it mattered - the judge just ordered that overnights resume. He did say that the father should arrange 3-4 family conselling sessions with the daughter before overnight visits resumed, but all he could manage was half of 1 session. And of course at the end of that, we had a $2,000+ legal bill to pay, just for that day in court (and the prep 'work' leading up to it.

Maybe we just got unlucky with the judge, and ultimately we will end up spending more money on lawyer fees (and a new lawyer), but there really aren't any guarantees - you'd think and hope that given the circumstances described, the legal system would offer better protection, but unfortunately this is not the case.

We have started looking again for a counsellor, and hope to find someone who can at least provide the child with a safe, unbias space in which to express her feelings about what is happening.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2008 8:51:48 PM PDT
zebra says:
oh my gosh, i'm offended by "mother hen's" comments and I don't even know you! I feel terrible for you guys regarding her comments and it's unfortunate that she didn't even answer your question...she only judged - or misjudged you and your situation. I'm no psychiatrist but of course it is not ok to take away a security object as punishment or for any other reason. that's totally ridiculous and I feel sad for your daughter who clearly needs and deserves a little reassurance after what's she's been through with her father. I also think that a loving home is the best home. And it sounds like you guys are doing a great job and posting the question in the first place shows you have your daughter's best interest in mind. Sounds like mother hen has lost all of her eggs...she's a crazy judgemental farm animal....and it's true, hens are not very smart birds.

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2008 10:11:02 AM PDT
My six year old is still quite attached to her lovey--esp. when she's sick/tired. I have taken it away as the most dire form of punishment. HOWEVER, I would never take it away when it's clear she needs it, ie. going to a strange place, feeling unwell, scared in a storm, etc. I can't imagine a parent who would take away something as harmless as a lovey when their child is obviously distressed. However, from looking at your additional posts, I think it's clear the father is not overly concerned about the child's best interests.....

In reply to an earlier post on May 13, 2008 7:12:39 PM PDT
VA Mom says:
Keep pursuing this....Find out if it would help to report your ex to social services. Maybe if Social Services checks him out and documenting just how toxic he really is the courts will change the visitation order. Try contacting a women's shelter, maybe they have some advice in dealing with the court system and getting a new judge. There is someone out there who can help you with this, we just have to find him/her. This little girl should not have to suffer like this. Your ex needs to understand his little girl is going to grow up HATING him. When she is a teenager, she will refuse to have anything to do with him. She will write him out of her life. He will have no relationship with her when she calls the shots. Have you considered calling your local representative. S/he might have some inside strings s/he can pull for you with this judge or maybe even get it assigned to a new one! Hang in there! Don't give up.

In reply to an earlier post on May 14, 2008 6:48:57 PM PDT
Zoobie,

Like you, I once posted a question on here asking if people thought that a father could raise his children as well as a mother, and like you I got blasted by someone who felt that ALL men are perverts! I was furious.
In my humble opinion whether you choose to marry or not is none of my business. What matters is do you love your child and are you willing to put her first now and always. That's what matters. And I believe that taking her blankey away is cruel and just mean. She'll let go when she's ready, separating her from her security is a bad move.
If you care to, pull up my book here on amazon and read the reviews. Unlawful Flight. And go to www.unlawfulflight.com for more.
It can be said that I was certainly not a good husband, but it can never be said that I wasn't (and remain) a good father. Bitter spouses MUST put the ugliness aside and put the children first. A good start would be allowing her to have what makes her feel happy, her blankey.
All the best, Glen

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2008 10:44:20 PM PDT
Dear Zoobi,

I really feel for you in what you, your fiancee, and especially your step-daughter are going through.

The main point that I want to address is your efforts to not let your child hear you or your fiancee say anything negative about her father. As you put it, when she gets upset about things, you tell her that her father loves her very much. I agree with Cheryl that this will likely confuse her about what love is and how she should be treated by an adult who loves her.

I can appreciate where you are coming from in not wanting your step-daughter to hear you say negative things about her father; I see that you don't want to sabotage her chance at having a loving relationship with her father.

However, I believe that hearing some negative things about her abusive father may be precisely what the child needs to hear if she is to make sense of her father's treatment of her in a psychologically healthy way. I am not saying that you should vent freely about what a liar, control freak, etc. he is in front of her; I am saying that she needs your and your fiancee's help in making sense of the things he does to her. The clear message should be: what he does to you is not your fault; you don't deserve it; you didn't cause it; he is wrong for treating you that way; adults should not hit a child under any circumstances; your father is a flawed human being who is doing the best he knows how, but he is wrong about how to treat a child he loves. Another key thing she needs to hear is that it is okay to feel whatever feelings she feels about being with him. Please do not dismiss her fearful, anxious, or angry feelings. She needs to have these feelings validated, and she needs to know that she can express them with you and her mother.

I think that if you and your fiancee are able to reframe her father's behavior toward her from "discipline given by a loving and dedicated father" to something like "maltreatment given by misguided and immature father", this would be a very healthy step for your daughter.

Best wishes to you and yours,
Marybeth G.

In reply to an earlier post on May 18, 2008 1:36:32 AM PDT
Shoot....I raised two very productive and successful sons and they both had their security items. One had a blankie and the other a pillow. They will leave them behind when its time. Do not force your child to be giving things up that give them comfort before they are ready. We want well adjusted and loving people in this world. Who cares what others think? They are not the ones who are important, your children are! As for all the rest of this I am lost. Children survive divorce, even if some make mistakes in fact I doubt any of us can say we are perfect. Show them honesty and love and the rest will work itself out. I myself have had a nightmare of a life and my sons think more of me for it. I wish you and your family the best of everything. Its hard to find happiness in such a selfish world today. Find that needle in a haystack!!

Sincerely,
An experienced divorced Mom

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2008 9:50:14 PM PDT
S. A. says:
I'm a behavior therapist and would say that there is no reason to take it away as a punisher. A 6 year old child dividing her time between two homes needs to get a good night of rest and that blanket helps her to do that. You could find arguments for either side but this seems to be a difference in parenting styles. Perhaps the father does not know how to deal with the daughter when she is exhibiting an inappropriate behavior and so he uses the blanket as the strongest reinforcer to motivate her to behave. However, in the long run, all it will do is make the child more disobedient. She will learn to cope without the blanket thus no longer need it and it will lose its power. The father will be left with no other way to motivate her.
This is a delicate situation. Providing examples of how you in your home are able to get the child to behave or transition well could be a solution to your problem. But I cannot emphasize enough the delicacy of the situation. You have to be tricky with the way it is posed. If you come across as attacking his parenting style and choices (i.e. the blanket) then he will be less likely to share what happens in his house. Above all else you want open lines of communication. He is probably feeling insecure about his parenting. He needs to be given some positive reinforcement-praise for the things he is doing right, then he will be able to come to you for guidance.
Maybe it would be best to keep the blanket at her mother's home and she can have a special item that is her security item for dad's house. That could help ease some of the tension.
I commend your bravery for reaching out for information. It is really tough for children in divorces and also hard for the parents trying to make it as painless as possible for the children. Being the future step-father is really hard because she is only 6 so you are a role-model/father figure whether you want it or not. Be supportive of your fiancee but let her handle the communications with the ex. It takes a long time for the bitterness and strong feelings in a divorce to fade so in the meantime keep your fiancee relaxed and keep up the happy/safe/loving home and all will work out.

In reply to an earlier post on May 20, 2008 11:23:37 PM PDT
Margo says:
No I don't believe it is right, She is using it for her comfort then having a control person take it away is more than cruel. I had a security blanket for a long time and it was and still does seem like a form of protection from the outside world. Its the childs form of control. What I did with my boys, was cut the blankie into fours,each two weeks the blankie was smaller but as long as he had a piece of it, it was ok,,{always having a copy on hand} and that was a more gentle way to break the bond. Now he is 19 and I have a small piece of that blankie that will be sewn into a quilt for him. And blankie or not he is a wonderful responsible guy!
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Discussion in:  Parenting forum
Participants:  19
Total posts:  34
Initial post:  May 10, 2008
Latest post:  Jun 1, 2008

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