February 11, 2010,
V.A. asks from San Bernardino, CA on February 09, 2010
My Five Year Old Wants to Live with Her Dad
My daughter Laila recently decided she wanted to go live with her dad. This is something totally new from her. She wont talk to me about why she is feeling like that, and when she does she says she doesnt want to hurt my feelings. I tell her that she hurts my feelings by not telling me but that doesnt help. I have talked to her dad about it and he wants her to go live with him but I dont think I can handle her being away from me and only seeeing her on weekends. I am very confused and have no idea how to handle the situation. If you have any suggestions or advice please let me know it will be greatly appreciated.
A.V. answers from Los Angeles on February 11, 2010
I TOTALLY agree with everything Bzzymom responded. And, at the end of the day, a 5 year old doesn't get to make these decisions. My heartfelt wishes to you. :-)
H.B. answers from Portland on February 09, 2010
My daughter told me she loved her dad more than me yesterday . . . she was home with me all day and I make her clean up after herself, eat her peas, etc., etc. Dad is usually more fun, so I am not bothered by it.
5 year olds should not be able to make these kinds of decisions because they can and will decide to live with whoever is more "fun" or "less strict". If you allow it now, be prepared for the back and forth until she turns 18.
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M.B. answers from Los Angeles on February 10, 2010
I think a 5 year old is to young to make that decision.
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W.R. answers from Los Angeles on February 10, 2010
A close friend of mine was divorced several years ago when her children were 12, 9, and 6. At first they went to their dad's from Thurs. to Sun. every other week. When the oldest was 13 he asked if they could spend one week at each house. When they started that schedule, the kids reported they were much happier. It was easier for them to feel they had a real home when it was a whole week. Each family is different, you have to figure out what works for you.
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C.S. answers from Las Vegas on February 09, 2010
Well if Laila moves in with Dad, I say you move in too. I would be heartbroken too.
K.K. answers from Los Angeles on February 10, 2010
My herart goes out to you. This is so hard on you. I would ask her questions and try to discover why she wants to go live with him. I had primary custody and three times my daughter talked about wanting to go live with her father. The first time she was around 4 and in counseling and the counselor asked iif she would miss me if she went to live with her dad. She said no. I thought my heart would break. Then he asked why not. She said, cause Mommy would go with me. One other time she wanted to be at Dad's where it was fun with no chores. She also wanted to live with her aunt for the same reason after being there for a week on vacation. The last time she was asking to spend extra time with her Dad and was talking about living with him. With enough questioning, I finally found out that it was because he was mainly ignoring her when she was there. She figured if she spent more time there, she would be there if he wanted to spend time with her. So sad.
I tried to make her heard, and she lived with me, still does while she goes to the community college. One other thing that helped was the court related mediatin. They talked to me, they talked to her father, and the talked to her privately. We did it to set up the original visitation schedule and went back to make some changes. It really helped.
Best of luck to all of you.
T.A. answers from Los Angeles on February 10, 2010
I can already see mine will not be a popular answer... however I am a child of divorced parents and feel I can offer a different perspective. They split when I was 3, and it was always the courts deciding where I should be and when - oh and my father, who had the better lawyer and was a bigger bully.
My parents thought they needed to do "what was best" for me. Because a child can't possibly have valid feelings and make a wise decision, right? WRONG. It took me a lot of years as an adult to recover from the damage their "joint custody" arrangement caused in my life. My father is no longer part of my life.
What is wrong with trying it out for a week? And if she is happier that way, let her stay there. I think it would be completely revolutionary if they let the kids decide where they live and when. Divorce is difficult enough for a child - they didn't have a say in having their family ripped in two, and now they don't have a say in where they live?
Please, be the bigger person and let your daughter go to Dad's. Put your feelings aside and show her that you really hear her and care for her. At the very least, give it a trial run.
L.L. answers from Orlando on February 10, 2010
I agree that 5 years old is way too young to make her own decisions about that. My daughter is 7 and she is still way too young in my opinion. Her dad nad I have been divorced since she was 2. I will totally feel the same way as you if / when the day ever comes when she wants to live with him. But, for now, no way she is too young. I also feel like esp having a young daughter it is important for them to live with their mother unless she is of course a bad mom or unfit in some way.
K.Y. answers from Los Angeles on February 10, 2010
Why not get the help of a child psychologist or therapist, someone who is a neutral party who can help her to talk about those needs without worrying about hurting your feelings? If the child therapist is able to pull out from her why this seems like a good idea to her, that may give you more information about how to proceed. It seems like the most important thing is to figure out the 'why' before proceeding to the solution.