My child seems anxious since his dad and I divorced: Advice?

I have been separated and divorced for about a year and a half now. I’m asking if any other moms have experienced their child/children being more anxious and misbehaved for mom after a divorce? And what did you do? I was my child’s main caretaker before divorce, but now it’s 50/50 custody. My little guy is 3, and he is just so anxious when it comes to bedtime, wants me in there, takes forever to fall asleep, etc. which never used to be a problem before divorce. Dad and new wife say little guy falls asleep easily, takes naps, and sleeps in at their house. Dad also kept the house he’s known his first two years, I’m the new place. People say “well kids sleep where they’re most comfortable” and it makes me sad that my place makes him anxious, or is it me? Was there anything that helped, or did you just ride it out until kids finally adjusted?


Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. My child seems anxious since his dad and I divorced: Advice?

I feeling like this is something I would post. My ex and I separated 2 years ago next month and believe me it has not been easy. Primarily because my ex is a lunatic. I’m not sure I can give you any advice because I’m still trying to get my daughter through it. But good luck momma :heart:

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It could actually be the opposite…my 3yr old doesn’t see her legal dad often but when she does she is perfectly behaved, sleeps no issue etc, but at home I have to sit with her until she’s asleep, she will be attached and screaming for a cuddle, we have tantrums galore and her psych said that it’s because we are her safe place. It’s not that she feel better at the other side, it’s more that she isn’t secure that if she needs something, her needs would be met. At home she knows that mummy is there when she needs her and will still love her regardless. I personally think that 3 is too young to do 50/50 because they just settle in and calm and then they are shifted back to the other… it could be worth trying weekends or every other weekend at one house or the other for a yr or 2 until he’s a bit older to understand more xx

Could totally be the divorce but wanted to add that it’s totally normal for their sleep to turn to crap at 3. My little dudes sleep turned to craaaaap a few months before he turned 3 and also totally normal for them to sleep better for other people (my boy gives his dad v little trouble while it takes me hours to get him to sleep) to him YOU are home so he’s more comfortable with you therefore more likely to show his true emotions ect

I honestly would recommend a child therapist , the child also went thru something as well.

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Had the same issue with my kids and it turned out my oldest just ended up on my split sleep schedule. I didn’t realize at that age he had already grew out of naps because most kids still need them at that age. Soon as I stopped giving him naps he would go to sleep but he would either split sleep like I do or there’s some nights he don’t sleep at all and rather be up with me. I’ve been on that weird sleep schedule since elementary and my mom couldn’t break me of it. But my daughter also stopped naps at 2 or she would not sleep til 11 or 12 at night also.

She now skips naps and we make up stories about what we are both going to dream about and she passes out to a Lil movie.

My suggestion is adjust nap time to be shorter or non existent

Sounds pretty normal to me. Just do your best supporting him and meeting his requests :heart:

A survey was published a few years ago saying that Divorce doesn’t effect children. I don’t take pare in Surveys as they aren’t done correctly.

Ok…I have gone through this as well. The police were involved in the removal of his dad though. He is little and does not have the capacity to understand what has happened from an adult point of view. His world as he knew it had been turned upside down and tossed all about. Mom and dad went separate ways, there is someone new in dad’s house which used to be his and he is bounced between two houses. For a 3 yr old…that is a lot. Top it off he has a lot of big feelings he just can’t put into words or fully comprehend either. My son was older than yours though when this happened. What I did and do may or may not work for you. I kept the house fortunately, but on the flip side everywhere we looked there were old memories. You have a fresh slate. It’s still new and not what he has known. Maybe allow him to pick out some things he would like to decorate his room with. Maybe even the house itself. I know he’s 3 , but saying “Is there anything you see you would like to decorate OUR house/ YOUR room with?” Basically instead of this is just where mom and I live…this is my home too. Have him make some art that you both can proudly hang up or set around the house. I paint and gave my son some small dollar tree canvases and let him go to town. We both now have our artwork displayed all over the walls and on shelves. I let him pick where he wanted his displayed. I still do. Have special nights where you both sit in PJs with some pizza and popcorn and watch a special movie. Have a night you two bake something together. Just special nights to make special memories in your still new home. Remember that a child will act out and such where they feel safe. My ex swears my son acts perfect when he is over there with him…but he can be woooooo when he is here which is most of the time. Dad rarely is ever able to get him. With that said…I can tell you my son feels very safe with me and is very open and honest with me too. His school counselor and assistant principal is amazed actually. With that being said…this is what I have learned from my 8 yr old son: He at this point, and also remembering the fights and abuse I went through, understands dad and I can’t be together. That we will never be a couple. Plus I have someone else now and my son sees him as a second dad. He loves him and wants us to stay together as a family. What he finds hard to understand is that dad and I can’t at least live in the same house. He literally asked why me, him, my boyfriend and his dad can’t share the same home. This is just something that is beyond his understanding. In his mind we should just not fight, get along and all live in the same house. He’s 8 sooooo. Another time he came to me and said that he loves me, but he was very mad at me for making his dad leave and because of that, he never sees his dad. His dad is a diagnosed narcissist with sociopathic tendencies…so his dad will go a month or even up to 3 months not seeing him and point his finger my way. Ive had to have some hard conversations with my son due to my ex and his mind games. One day my son was mad and blaming me for not seeing his dad yet again. He came to me to talk about it. So I asked why his dad was not getting him. He said because he doesn’t have a car or a ride. I said ok…why isn’t he playing online Xbox games with you at least…he said he was leaving to go stay at a friend’s house for a couple of nights. Said ah…I see…so he isn’t able to get you and he is going to be gone at a friend’s for the weekend. Suddenly my son went Huh…wait…I saw all sorts of emotions go through his mind at that moment. Then he looked at me and said…forget him. How about me and you plan a special movie and video game weekend. I was like you got it! I’ll order pizza right now. Honestly, this is the best you can do. Listen, don’t take anything personal, offer a safe space, be an understanding ear and do your best. Maybe also look into therapy for both of you. This could offer you support and maybe give you some ideas on how to handle things and would be an outlet for him as well as a way to help him cope too.

3 years since my kids dad and I split. My son is so anxious he won’t even sleep in his own room/bed. Our compromise was he sleeps on a mattress in my room. Otherwise he’d just wake up and sneak into my bed.

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It’s all new for him. You and your ex didn’t just go through the divorce, your son did too. It doesn’t have the same meaning for him as it does for the two of you, but he’s experiencing his entire life and everything that he knows as changing. He’s most likely more comfortable at Dads because that’s the house he’s always known. My daughter was about 3 when her father and I split up. We moved to a new place to get away from him and it was a huge adjustment for her. She went through separation anxiety and some acting out. It will get better. Just reassure him and remind him that mom isn’t going anywhere. It may also help if you let him “decorate” his room. Him decorating it may help ease him.

kids react when their home life changes cuz they don’t know how else to let out whatever they’re feeling or thinking… maybe y’all need to your child together & see if something needs to change all together…

He needs time to adjust to the new place

My oldest was really hard on me. He doesn’t fear me and I didn’t discipline him tough at all - everyone said to spank so the kids fear you but I’m not that type of mom because of my childhood traumas! but I had to stick to my guns with my tone of voice and my words. Just ride it out till he adjusts I have two kids my youngest sleeps with me he feels saver with me. But laying with your child till he falls asleep will help hardest part of being a single mom is the kids do test your patience more but least your 50/50 with the ex!

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I would be questioning wether or not the father is just saying he falls asleep at mine to make you feel bad.

Communicate with your son, ask him what is wrong. There might be something going on.

I’d talk to him . Ask him if anything is or has happened . Let him know you’re his safe place and will always be safe with you . My sons went through this , I let them crawl in with me and they transitioned back into their beds within a few months . Their father and his ex girlfriend were always fighting and up all hours of the night when they had my kids . I put a stop completely to it . Then he went to jail .