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Dr. Rossi
Dr. Rossi, Licensed Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 4627
Experience:  Certified Hypnotherapist, Parenting Book Author, 13+ years of experience.
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I have a friend who has a 2 year old daughter. Her boyfriend

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I have a friend who has a 2 year old daughter. Her boyfriend and her split up before the baby was born. The boyfriend was there for the birth and then did not see the baby for another 4 months. After that, his visits were sporadic. When the baby turned 1, he was supposed to start visiting every month but he ended up missing visits here and there. When she became closer to 2, his visits started getting a little more consisent. However, there are issues that came up. The mother and father do not have a good relationship. They hardly speak because he has been dragging her to court for one reason or another. Anyhow, my friend is trying to make the visits as easy for the baby as possible. The baby on the other hand does not understand who he is. He insists on speaking Icelandic to her even though she does not know the language. There have been times where he just swept her up and left the house with her screaming. he even forgot her shoes. When he returns her, her behavior is very uncharacteristic. She throws things and hits things which is very unlike her. The father won't stop his behavior. He refuses to let her get accilmated to him as he feels they already have a bond. The baby is in the middle of potty training and she doesn't feel comfortable telling anyone but her mother or her mothers immediate family when she has to go. When he took her, she soiled her clothing and got a rash .Since the father is not changing his behavior, is there anything my friend can do to help her daughter through this? Can the father be considered bad for her by coming around?

Good Afternoon,


Your friend would have to be very firm with him in regard to the needs of the child. If he does not have a whole lot of experience with children and is not able to ensure that there is not a whole lot of disruption in the girls routine, then your friend may suggest that if he takes her, the visits are shorter. She can have him extend the length gradually.


As far as him being bad, it is more an issue of how experienced he is being a father and dealing with a toddler. If there are any parenting classes, he may benefit from taking some. The little girl would still need to have a father. Even though right now she's somewhat confused about him and his role in her life, there will come a time when she would know who he is and may want to have a relationship with him. It is a better idea for her to become familiar with him as a father figure starting now (especially if he seems to want to be involved in her life)

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you. That's the frustrating issue about this. He doesn't have any experience with children. He has no idea how to take care of a little girl. He refuses to ask questions of the mother or anyone else and he thinks he knows best just because he is her father. Under his care, he allows her to do things that are dangerous for her such as allowing her to play with his pill bottles that she pulled out of his suit case. When someone mentioned something to him, he says she is fine. There was an instance where he brought her back from his care dehydrated. When her behavior changes around him and she does things she normally doesn't do like throw rocks at people, he just laughs. When someone tells her this is not nice he says she can do this.

He sound not only inexperienced but proud and not wanting to hear other's input. If she has grandparents (his own parents) perhaps your friend may mention to them some of her concerns (especially if he brings the little girl to their home)


It is not shameful to take a parenting class (he of course has to be willing to do it) If your friend believes that he may agree if she goes with him, then she can offer to do so. Have her also write a list of what things he would have to do when his daughter is visiting (not a long list but the basics and for her to write down the girls habits; ex: how she likes to eat, when she usually takes a nap, what activities she enjoys, movies etc.)


Your friend must stress out to him that little children do well with routines and when they know what to expect. She can let him see that it would be helpful not only to their daughter but to him as well. If he refuses to go to a parenting class, your friend may try to find a good DVD for him to watch (perhaps before he picks her up at his next turn. If she is flexible, she can have him watch it in her home while she is getting the girl;s belongings)