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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question

Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 18131
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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Dear Doctor, I'm a single father and have been a primary

Customer Question

Dear Doctor,
I'm a single father and have been a primary care giver for my 4 year old son ever since his mother and I separated more than 2 years ago. He is generally very found of me and wish to be always be with me. He even does drawings at his preschool of me and him together and tells his preschool teachers that his father (me) is his best friend.
It has been a little under a month that the family court has finalized the orders through which had given me the sole parental responsibilities. And through court orders, I have gained access to speak with my child when he is spending time with his mother. (he visits his mother alternate weekends and one alternate week night).
According to the orders, I can can call him on Friday night as soon as his mother picked him up from preschool and on Sunday night. He generally speaks with me ok on Friday night but usually distracted as he is generally watching ipad at that time. on Sunday nights, he is much more crankier and cries profusely and doesn't speak to me. This is becoming a bit concerning to me to see my son who was so very attached to me is behaving that way. When asked, his mother simply puts it that "he doesn't want to speak to you"
My question is, what is causing him to behave this way all of a sudden that too only while he is at his mother's home? Is it an outcome of his emotional outburst caused by some other reason. I understand that young kids of separated parents go through it and affect them emotionally which comes out in one way or the other. Not sure what he would be going through that I can help with.
Please note, though the separation between his mother and I has been mutual and that his mother didn't want to take him along when we separated and insisted that I take care of him; his grand parents (maternal) didn't approve of this arrangement and because of this, there is ongoing tension between his maternal grand parents and I. We also ended up at court regarding the custody matter which was resolved by the court in favor of my son to continue to live with me. However, I still see a lot of tension at his mother's place as his mother is living at his maternal grandparent's home. Hence I cannot completely rule out a possibility of him being instigated to this behavior.
Please advice.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 9 months ago.

There are several possible causes of fluctuating behavior.

He certainly may be having difficulty in coming to terms with the parental separation, and this is causing volatility in behavior. Since he still s feeling love for both parents, he may be felling anxious on Sunday night about the impending leaving of his mother, even though he is returning to you. It certainly is possible that the grandparents are making comments to try to alter his perception of you.

It is possible that this will improve with time. However, it is reasonable to try to talk to him about what is happening over these weekends. It is better to ask in open-ended questions, as he may agree with specific situations that you incorporate into questions without fully understanding what you mean by the question. You also can try to get an idea of what is happening over these weekends by certain games, such as asking him to draw pictures of what happened while with his mother and grandparents.

If this persists or worsens, it may be necessary to seek an assessment by a Psychologist.

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