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Daughter acts ok at my house but acts out at mothers and grandparents

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    James Dimeglio

    I’m the father of a 4-year old girl. Her Mother and I are divorced and she has another husband and several other children. The issue is when she is with me her behavior seems to be ok, other than what I would think to be normal 3-4 year old behavior. Bad behavior every once in a while and outbursts. I nip it when it happens and try to talk with her about what is bothering her and or tell her to use her words. When he’s with them she goes to the potty pretty well but when she’s with me I have to majorly direct her to use the potty or she will never do so. She had problems sleeping in her room and I had to put her bed in my bedroom when it’s her bedtime I go to bed at the same time but we sleep In separate beds. When she goes back to her mothers her behavior changes to bad and acts out at school and her grandparent’s house. We will be taking her to the therapist in the next week but we already took her to the doctor to discuss the issues.Her doctor said that it’s pretty normal behavior but it’s very sad and she’s such a great loving little girl until the transition from me to her mom. Any ideas, suggestions, or anything to put me at ease or not at ease. I’m just trying to help her be a better person. Thanks.


    Maybe she feel neglected when she is with her mom. You wrote how your ex has children with her new husband, so maybe your daughter is not okay with that. Taking her to the therapist is fine, but maybe you should talk to her. To see if she can tell you what is bothering her when she is not with you. Also, her behavior tells me that you are a great father with her obviously and she enjoys being with you. You should talk to your ex, to see how she behaves with other children, maybe here lies the problem. Keep us posted.


    Children can be so sensitive. She maybe does not feel in place while at her moms place. Maybe the place is crowded. When she is in your place you treat her differently. She is alone. Maybe she likes it that way. Now tat the environment is different. With the many other children her mother has. She might be feeling out of place. If she acts well with you. Then her mother should be the one treating her bad. Or if not. Then she just prefers your company more. That is why she acts well with you. It might be a message she is sending to you guys. That she wants to spend more time with you than the mother. If she could be schooling from your place. She just wants attention that she is not getting from her mother. Otherwise I hope the psychiatrist can help.


    Maybe you should be staying with her instead. To me it feels like she is not comfortable at her mothers place. That is why she behaves different. If she is not giving you any problems then take her in. Maybe in the other side she does not get the attention you give her. Sometimes you have to note that children tend to want attention. Like they should feel they are the only children. This is why there is a lot of sibling rivalry when they are young. But when they grow they leave that aside. So she feels she is not getting that attention at her mothers place. Since there are other kids too. So her mother has to balance the attention. But in your case it is different. When she is with you she gets undivided attention. And she likes it that way. So just stay with her till she outgrows that behavior. When she does she can return back to her mothers place.


    Hello there dear friend. How are you doing? I hope that things are fine at your end. I believe everything has an explanation. A rational explanation to be exact. In your case I guess the explanation is very simple. Thing about it this way… When and why do you get angry? Start from yourself, it’s usually when things don’t go the way you want them to. Like for example at work or at the gym or wherever, doesn’t matter. You start screaming get mad and your behaviour changes a little right? Well no that much because you’re a grown up, you understand stuff. So you manage your anger and go on with your day. In your daughters case she is young. When she is at her mommies, the other children sometimes don’t listen to her… Mommy is busy and sometimes forgets about her. So this is probably just her being angry. This is just my opinion though. Nothing professional lays behind this. God bless you!


    It’s not easy being a teen. There are so many changes that can easily throw a young person off balance. Changes in the way she looks. The way she feels about herself. Changes in her peer relationships. Changes in her relationship with you, her mom. From your description, your daughter is having a hard time navigating safely. Like all teens, she craves peer approval. The craving is so strong I call it Peer Approval Addiction, that is, the willingness to do whatever it takes to fit in. Including stuff that can present real danger to her. What you want is for your daughter to develop the good judgment to make healthy choices when she’s on her own. That’s the goal of all parents. But there may be something going on with your daughter that is telling her it’s OK to push beyond the typical teen testing of limits. I believe you and your daughter would benefit from a conversation with a family therapist.


    Around the age of 4 to 6, all children develop a sense of self and self-efficacy. From the perspective of the parents, children that were easy to direct before now become contrary. At the same time a child that age cannot express her frustrations well without resorting to tears or. If the frustration is bad, a tantrum. Around the age of 6 or 7, children develop the ability to understand and care about another person’s wishes and needs. Then the “unwarranted” and extreme outbursts stop. All of this is a process and not something that happens overnight, so of course your child’s behavior will slowly get “better” in the coming months. So, first of all don’t expect your child to be able to suppress her frustration and discuss her wants with you like an adult would. The tantrum is okay, it is her way of saying: I really don’t want this. Just as you expect other people to accept that you don’t agree with them. Accept that your child does not agree with you. She just cannot express it in a civilized manner. Second, following from your understanding that your child’s behavior is totally normal and in tune with her current developmental abilities. There is no need to get upset about your child’s emotional outburst. Distance yourself from it. It is not you, who is frustrated and gets upset, but your child. Just as you would be expected to deal with an adult saying that he does not like what you want of him and feels sad or angered. You must be able to accept that your child is of a different opinion.

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