My son acts out when he comes home from his dads: Advice?

But… ever since he’s started going over there (the dad has a Gf and her two kids living there as well as the paternal grandmother), our child comes home and cries and whines about every single thing. Especially if he doesn’t get his way. I’ve tried talking to the dad about it, but he ignores those messages. The girlfriend made some posts about me last month saying I shouldn’t judge someone until I get to know them. But it’s been over a year, and shes never tried to speak to me or have anything to do with me. She doesn’t even go to the drop-offs or picks ups. The dad and I and my husband tried to organize a co-parenting spring break vacation, and the girlfriend knocked that down and said it would be too awkward. Idk what I’m supposed to do about the whining every 5 minutes. I’ve accepted the fact that the girlfriend is immature and can’t be an adult about the situation, so I need some advice on the whining. I’m assuming the other children in that household act this way because he didn’t act like this before he started going over there. Please someone help me before I lose my mind.


If she not felt comfortable doing this then shes not the one for this family…kick her out neways lol


She’s got insecurity issues. How old is your son?

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The girlfriend has no obligation to meet you. You’re coparenting with your ex, not her. Don’t blame the gf for your sons whining either. He’s a child, trying to adjust living to two households, having two sets of rules etc… Get him in counseling. He needs someone to talk to about all of this and I have a feeling you just talk negative about his other family.


When my cousin had her 3rd baby her oldest daughter started to have “accidents” on herself, have more of an attitude, and just do things that she knew would get her in trouble. When her mom started to try and date again she started acting out again. When the baby got sick she would act out again. She did this to get attention. Your son’s dad probably interacts with his girlfriend’s children more when they act out so your son is going to do what he knows will get him attention. They probably don’t show him enough attention. :confused:

You know what they say when you assume. Seriously change makes kids grumpy and act up even good change in routine mine. And sorry no way I would spend spring break with my x and their spouse even if I did like them. Yes it would be awkward and she has no place at pick up and drop offs that is for your ex your child and you. ex’s girlfriend does not have to be your friend or get to know you. She needs to be nice and caring to your child and participate in a loving home environment for him.


You can’t control what’s happening at the other house. Explain you have different rules an expectations than dad’s house and do not DO NOT let him get his way when he whines at home. Eventually he will adapt to the difference in rules and behavior.

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Not the same situation…but my son is really whiny when he comes home from school or his mamaws. I just chalk it up to him having to be good for so long…he has to let off some steam when he comes home.

That would be awkward to go a vacation like that

I would absolutely speak to her and let her know that she is being counterproductive to it. I would include him in the messages as well. I would also tell them both that this whining crap will be coming to an end. It is annoying and honestly, setting him up to be in trouble with you.

As far as what to do about him, he would get ignored until he used his words without the whining. After this much time, you dont even have to tell him why you are ignoring him. And everyone needs to ignore him. No matter who he goes to. It may take a few visits for him to get it, but he will.

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Kids whine, especially when no one listens! Get your kid in therapy. Dad May be able to better take feed back from a therapist

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Parents don’t seem to understand how hard it is on the kids. So confusing and overwhelming. Try to put yourself in there shoes


He probably whines when he goes over there also. The back and forth continuous changes are tough on little ones. You can only control what is going on ta your house and need to continue as normal. Discipline and reward as if nothing has changed while he was away.

You need to set ground rules between both houses. Sit down with your kiddos dad and set it together. You dont have to include the gf when doing it, but it does set a standard if you do. I co-parent myself and when my daughter started going over to her fathers that was the first thing I did. Also sit down with the kiddo and let him know that it’s not at all ok the way he acts.

Okay, I’m going to come at this from a different point of view as others commenting. Your child is adjusting to two different households. Behavior changes are definitely common. He is maybe coming back to his safe place to see how you will react to his behavior, good, bad, or indifferent. As far as that is concerned, keep your rules in place as they have been from the start. He will come to realize that it won’t work in your house, just because it might work there. Now as far as the girlfriend. For now, even though it’s been a year, she is still not “permanent”. So no need for her to be involved. However, I would politely ask her to quit making posts about you, if they are sincerely about you. Don’t talk about her to your son or to anyone when your son is within hearing distance. This will affect him. If she becomes permanent, then yes, you should definitely meet her and if you all can agree to coparent then that’s good. On the other hand, she is actually living there with her two kids, so I would probably insist on meeting her. Even if you have to go out of your way. Be the better person. Counseling might not be a bad idea either. Oh and spending spring break together might be a little much for anyone. Again, it depends on the relationship between the coparents, couples. Good luck.


My daughter does this when she comes home from her great grandmas. They have 3 gonna be 5 kids in that home alone. Oldest is like 10. Not including my daughter. She does the same crap. Constantly cries and throws herself on the floor when she cant get her way. When shes not over there, she doesnt act like that. Like at all. I’m also clueless on what to do.

Hold your ground, be consistent and even tho you think the root is with the other household dont put that information on your son , always stay positive abt his other home and stick to your rules and family plan . Kids will try to test the limits and power, let them know by strong guidance and love that you are in charge and they will relax and trust .

well I would ignore the whining. but unless you and dad are on the same page about rules, parenting and so on that behavior will continue

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The girlfriend is just a girlfriend so she really doesn’t have to go to drop off/pick up. Maybe she doesn’t go because she feels that’s between you and the dad. And insread of waiting for her to reach lo ut to you, why not reach out to her? It is your kid that’s around her so it should be you reaching out to her so you can get to k ow the other woman helping take care of your kid. As far as the co-parenting vacation, it’s grest in theory but I wouldn’t want to go on vacation with my kids other set of family either.

My nephew was like that when he would come back home from my moms to his house. It was because at my moms his grandpa let him do whatever he wanted and would always get his way. He knew that didn’t fly at home with his mom. Maybe he gets to do whatever he wants at dads but knows you don’t play that at home.

It doesnt necessarily mean that “the other kids wine so now he does too”. It could be that the rules are different, the routine is different, the schedule is different. The parenting is different in each home…and it’s hard on kids. Doesnt mean that the other kids whine, or that they allow bad behaviour, or that they allow him to do whatever he wants. He is going from one home (with a set of rules), to another (which have different rules). It happens if she doesnt know u that well…I can understand her not wanting to do a co-parenting vacation. I would feel awkward too. She doesnt go to the srop offs and pick up probably out of respect , since that’s between you and him, and she also has 2 other kids at home so she probably doesnt wanna drag them there as well.
Talk to ur kid about his behaviour and how it wont fly in your home. You dont know if he acts out once he gets to dads…you have no idea what happens at dads house. Your not there. Never assume. It’s hard for kids…going back and forth to different homes. What happens there…whatever…what happens in your home is really all you can control.


Try taking ur son to see a counselor or tell ur son you Love him,and that you will be there for him when he’s ready to talk somtime’s when parent’s are separated or get divorced and have girlfriend or boy friend it make’s the children up set and angry because they feel Like they pushed a side and are hurting because they want both parent’s to reassure them that they still Love him very much and what he need’s is ur support because his hurting now so be supportive and Let him know that no matter what you will alway’s be there for him and Let cool off ,he will talk to you when he’s ready he need’s time to adjust to this situation it will be ok just don’t push to hard give him time

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My kids are always fussy when they come home from someone else’s house. I think it’s just because they have to adjust from being away to being back home. I give my kids until the next day before I start really enforcing any discipline on bad behavior just because otherwise I spend the rest of my day of them coming home dealing with tantrums and nonstop time out. Kids just need time. They’re switch environments, just like how we act different at work than we do at home.

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She isn’t getting involved in your and your ex’s pissing contest here and she is immature? I applaud her for staying out of it and she is right, you need to reach out to her and get to know her without an preconceptions. As for your son, there might be two different parenting styles or he may be playing both sides for this right here. Quit rushing to blame the ex and his gf and actually sit down and get to the bottom of this situation like an adult.

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Ok my daughter used to do this when she went to her dads and would come home yeah not here you ain’t they learn quickly what they can n can’t do at each house hold your ground n don’t let him do it correct him (I’m sure you do) my daughter got to the point that she kept doing it n doing it so finally I looked at her and told her you May get away with whatever you want with your dad (he does and she’s smart she knows how to play him) but you are not gonna do that here this is your last warning whine n cry again about me saying no Or because you want this or that an you will get a spanking till you learn that’s not acceptable here she never did it again


Keep your rules in place and as long as he isn’t harming himself or others, ignore the whining. Negative attention is still attention so he’s getting what he wants either way. Praise his good behavior. Lay the praise on thick for a while.

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I think if you’re gently consistent with your house rules, and try to offer extra you & him time, it can be stressful for the adults involved- so keep in mind ur lil one is learning to cope with fewer skills. Love & understanding :slight_smile:

Handle your business underneath your roof, before speculating elsewhere. Think about how hard it is for any child having to adjust and learning to understand his parents are divorced or living separate lives. I was divorced, single mom with 3 kids for many years. I only worried how and what I needed to do everyday so my kids would least affected as possible.

I’m gonna talk to the biodad tmrw about counseling. Yall were so helpful with all the different points of views. I appreciate it all.

My son used to do this and demand I get him something to eat or drink and expected me to jump to it and I just told him when he acted like that that I didn’t know if that behavior was acceptable at his dad’s but he knows it’s not accepted here and that he needed to quit whining and demanding things and after I told him that a couple of times he quit doing it at my house and I also had a convo with his dad’s gf (she does most of the talking) about it

We are all in this together :heart: my X has been with his girlfriend , now wife for almost 4 years and she is a lot like you explained. If it’s been a year of them together she probably won’t change. Just keep what your doing with their father and co-parenting together. It’s never easy but it can be done.
She’ll bash you when she can and maybe try to start making her own rules. You and “dad” did this together so have faith, you can finish raising your child together :heart: best of luck, you can do it :heart:

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Don’t let him go over there anymore. That’s the only thing I can think of. It sounds like he has a really good male role model in your husband. If his biological dad really wants to see him he can go to your house. But it sounds like dad’s new gf is trying to create some sort of toxic relationship and none of you need that

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My son did same thing still comes back mad not a damn thing i can do but correct behaviour. Diffrent homes diffrent rules my son also tries playing us against one another

It’s actually normal for kids to miss behave after visits. Adjustment can be hard.

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At our house we have rules and structure. We have bedtimes because of school, have to do homework. All the not fun stuff. They would act out when they got back from their dads. Especially at the beginning. It’s been several years and it has gotten better. Every now and then they come home grumpy but it’s mainly because they are tired. I think they act out because it’s a new situation and takes time to adjust.


Need to set up a sit down w both sides…therefore, u can maybe see how the other kids are acting for one (if they are by chance whiney and/or misbehaving), but mainly to get on the same page w the parenting. He prob is more laxy daxy and u set structure and rules (for example). U all g2get on the same page or else that’s exactly how its g2be…it’ll get to the point where he starts favoring 1 parent over the other n not any 1 of u deserve that

My step-son only sees his mom sporadically. But when she comes around he starts whining and being a little victim all the time. Drives me up a wall. But I think it’s a combination of things. He misses his mom and it hurts him that she shows up so rarely. She is a massive victim and a whiner too so he models the behavior he sees. And the fact that his schedule gets thrown off is hard on him. I just try to keep up beat and chill about the whining. After he has whined a few times I will tell him he is allowed one more complaint for the day and that he should save it for something good. And if he keeps it up I have him chill out in his room for a few to think about how he wants his day to go.

He’s copying behavior that works there and/or acting out to test your home boundaries are intact. Talk to him about it. We went to the grocery store out of town on our way home for a few items to help transition from dad’s house to home, and it allowed us time to get back into the swing of our household faster. They’d whine and fuss and beg and get scolded, I’d cave and allow a treat cereal or something and by check out we were back on task going over events, homework to prepare for that week.

Honestly I think that’s super common when a kid comes back from visiting another parent. It’s a tough transition. I wouldn’t put it too much on them doing anything wrong per se unless you have some other reason to think that.

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Maybe create & post a list of house rules at each place (they can be different @ each house, but should apply to all kids there except maybe later bedtimes & homework rules for older kids), plus the consequence(s) for not following 1x, 2x, 3x.

Also make a list of chores/good behavior for which the child gets rewarded. That way no one has to be the “bad guy,” you just point to the rule, read it, and follow the consequence.

This way the child learns what is & isn’t allowed, that it’s absolute and unchanging, giving a measure of stability and consistency, and they know what to expect as a consequence.

Lavish love & attention on little guy as he is hurting, exhausted, and trying to read other people and adjust all the time. Take him to run & play & blow off steam as often as possible. Maybe go to the park or for a walk (take flashlights after dark), run up & down the sidewalk, do calisthenics (good for you too) when he first comes back to you to create a transitional time with little talking.

Stop including dad. This has nothing to do with him. Let your son know that shit stops at the door and won’t be tolerated. Kids are smart and manipulative. Teach him now that those antics may work for dad, but not for you.

He may act like that because he get nothing over their. It may not be the other kids act like that. They may just favor those kids and leave him with nothing so when he come back to you hes starved for attention. I’m not saying spoil him but maybe give in on minor stuff, buy that small toy he asked for. Let him watch tv with you a little longer stuff like that. Hope tha helps!! Good luck!!

If there is other kids over there they maybe bullying him or he isn’t getting recognized over there. They may treat him badly and he may figure that whining and such is the only way to be heard. Counseling really does help

How old is your child? Mine used to behave horribly and cry and whine after being at their dad’s. After trying everything else, we finally attended counseling. Come to find out, they were just extremely frustrated with the entire situation and felt like nobody listened to them or understood their feelings. Maybe this is what’s going on with your child. Frustrated or confused and not really sure how to express our explain it.

You cannot control what happens at his father’s house. You can however, stop the whining at your house. Do not cave to it. Most children spend their time in several different homes while they are growing up. The rules are different in each home. Each Grandma’s rules are different. Daycare has different rules. School has different rules. Teach your child to be selfreliant and resilient, by explaining this to him. Then tell him, now that he is five, you believe he is old enough and smart enough to help you make new rules for your home. Let him have input and let him come up with consequences if those new rules are broken. Just make sure that there are not to many rules and you get to pick a few of the rules also. Work it like, if you do this, I will do that, and if I do this, you will do that. Be very clear on these rules.
As my children grew older, I changed the rules to reflect their age and maturity.
Be wise.
I have raised five honest, hardworking, selfreliant, children. Who are now doing the same for my grandbabies.


Stand your ground with your child with clear boundaries. But also remember your child is going threw alot and needs understanding and compation. Your child is confused. While maintaining your rules expkain to your child that things are obviously different at your childs dads house but your child still needs to respect your rules.
In the long run structure will over come flat out whiny spoiling. Good luck

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Get counseling for your son there is more to this maybe he is being ignored over there

First off it’s been a year and you haven’t met the woman whos been around your child ? My child wouldn’t of even started going over there till I met her. Far as I’m concerned you really don’t even know her. Secondly just set down some ground rules make it clear that whatever he does at his dads he can’t do it when he’s with you my mom is having this problem with my Brother he’s autistic and his dad gets annoyed with him and just lets him do whatever and he comes home trying to take over like he does there


My step daughter (I’ve help raise since she was 3) does this when she sees her mom and she gets mean with her brothers we’ve had to get her counseling it’s the only thing that’s helped

This is my life!! My daughter is the same way when she comes home, it’s like going backwards every other weekend.


My daughter did this whenever she came back from her dad’s when she was around 6, she would misbehave, not do as I asked, throw tantrums but was ok a day or 2 after… So I asked her dad wtf is was all about and if he could shed any light on why she always acted like that. He couldn’t, all he could say was that she behaved for him.
I got so sick of it happening for months on end that I told him I was stopping contact til he bucked up his ideas and stopped doing whatever the hell he was doing whilst she was in his care.
He was also living with someone too so I didn’t know if that was having an affect.
He contacted his solicitor, I contacted mine and we worked things out over 3mths. My daughter got a break from him and whatever was going on and quite frankly it was the best thing I did cos things are great now.
So my advice is ask the dad what’s going on, tell his bird to butt out and say if things don’t improve you’ll be stopping contact for a bit to see if your sons behaviour changes. Because if it does then you’ll know its because of his dad and the environment he has to stay in when there x


I have this problem with my ex. My sons dad just lets our kid get away with anything & everything. So when he comes home I have to start all over again. So I quit letting him go over there. We don’t have a parenting plan. He doesn’t help parent. And he hasn’t really tried to see his son :woman_shrugging:t3:

Also, since we don’t have a parenting plan my kids not around ANYONE I haven’t met and got to know first. My kids father has a history of serious drug abuse and hanging out with the wrong crowd. I don’t take any chances.

But your situation seems different. Talk to your kids dad. Tell him how you feel. And that SOMETHING needs to change.

You literally haven’t made it an issue that you don’t know her. Make the meet up happen. He’s acting out because he doesn’t know how to say hey mom why do those other kids get to see my daddy all of the time while I don’t? How come I have to go to different places? He doesn’t have emotional regulation and it’s your job to teach him. Honey why are you upset? Idk mom! Is it because you’re tired? No! Is it because you miss daddy? He stops and thinks about it no… are you sure? I think it would help you to talk about what you’re feeling so maybe I can help you and we can get to the bottom of it. Cries more. Honey. You don’t know what’s wrong right? Crying is an inappropriate response to being confused. An appropriate emotional response to confusion is taking a moment to figure it out. Because you’re whining I’m thinking maybe something is bothering you… YOU are the one who has to help him process his emotions. And if you don’t know how to he won’t either. Speaking from my own experience


I’m so glad someone asked something similar because I’m in the same boat😩. My 11 year old acts out horribly every time he goes by his Dad and comes back home. Ughhhhhh😭

I was once told it might be a cry for attention. Maybe the child is not getting the attention from parents that’s needed. If the child is a custom to just daddy and them then it changes to a full household it could be that one on one time is needed. I have 2 daughters that arent mine and 1 that is. My daughter does to her dads where it is just her and her dad then comes to me with a house full. Sometimes it can just be overwhelming for a child that now has to share time with others

I honestly feel like ground rules should be set and explained to the child, making sure he knows what’s what and how he’s expected to act.

It could also be because of the switching houses so often, I did that when I was a kid.

The children should not be made to feel guilt over their parents choice for a divorce. Questions should not be asked from either parent as to what is happening in the other household. Children feel the obligation to answer questions and yet feel guilt afterward. If a parent is concerned about their child’s well being its time to reopen dialog with the other parent.


Sounds to me like your little one might feel like hes getting left out or ignored at dads, so when he gets home to mama he asks for additional attention in some negative ways.
That or his routine is being altered and hes not getting enough sleep so hes a sleep deprived monster lol.
Idk if this helps, wish I had more to offer.

Well I don’t know who this is but sorry to say but my kids are all grown up and have kids of their own so you got the wrong person to be complaining to and putting me out there as a bad mom or mother okay get your people straight please and a post on there also that you ate at a huge mistake because you just slandered me

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I put my 4 yr old in her room every time she becomes over reactive… she will come out a few minutes later and apologize… It has worked wonders for her and me… I also let her know there is nothing wrong with being emotional or overreacting and help her work through what is going on…

Sometimes kids act out with mom because you are their safe adult they can trust. Sounds counterintuitive, not sure if that’s what’s going on, but it’s a possibility.