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KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 566
Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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I have a daughter who has just turned 7. I got divorced

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I have a daughter who has just turned 7. I got divorced about 5 years ago, and joint custody was agreed upon where my ex husband was to take her every Thursday, and every second weekend. Just post divorce she would go to creche in the morning, and then spend Monday, Tuesday and every alternative Wednesday with my Mom in the afternoon, and alternative Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays with my ex in-laws in the afternoon. On given days when she was with my ex in-laws my ex was to pick her up and bring her through to my house in the evenings. However he was dropping her off at 20h00 to 20h30 in the evening which was late, and difficult as she was so tired by then. I then negotiated with him that I would leave work early on Tuesdays, spend time with her, and he could then have her to sleep at his place, provided he dropped her off at a decent time the other days. This means that Sun/ Mon night she is with me, Tue with him, Wed with me, Thurs with him, and then alternative weekends. I also interated that he should be reasonable when she is of school going age to change this arrangement. I realise in retropect that this was a very incorrect decision and could kick myself. My ex is of a different culture, and religous belief, and my child is currently exposed to 4 different households with very different rules/ environments. She is currently a very confused and angry/ sad little girl. I have tried to do everything my ex husband's was to avoid conflict and therefore hoped I would save her trauma in parents disagreeing. She is currently not performing in Grade 1 (South Africa). I just booked her in for a scholastic assessment - against my ex husband's wishes this time, and the report details that she is banded as Superior in the IQ assessments used here, but she is performing in line with average, and below average. She also cannot complete a single task, both at home, and at school, and the teacher is also worried, and has reported that she is performing way below her potential, and I am concerned that she may have to be held back to ensure that she gains the basic grounding which is so crucial at this stage of education. I have approached my ex husband to try to alternate 1 week, 1 week between us, therefore giving her more stability in each environment, and thereby not doing him out of time with his daughter. He is dead set against this, and has indicated that I should research the subject of stability. He feels that there is nothing wrong with the current living arrangements. I intuitively feel that it must be so difficult living 1 day with Mom, and the next day with Papa. We are always driving up and down with missing clothes. I also frequently have to buy more clothes where I don't get clothes back, or get half outfits back. The situation is stressful for me, and my daughter often says she is confused and sad. I am prepared to fight this to ensure that our child gets the required stability that would be healthy for her, but do not want to cause undue stress on her through conflicted parents, and also want her to have a relationship with her father. Would really appreciate some advise.
There are many children who do well with the arrangement you have, changing one parent's home for the other's daily or almost daily. It may be that your daughter is more sensitive to this than other children, but her issues may also be caused by something else. Perhaps a mental health assessment could tell you more about what the underlying problem is. Also, if a therapist does feel the frequent back and forth is too much for your daughter, it would give you more information for the court.
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