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Daughter Almost 7, Mom travels weekly, Dad needs help!
RichNCSU posted:
My wife and I have a wonderful (most of the time) daughter who will be 7 in January. Mom's job got moved to a neighboring state a couple of months ago so she leaves Monday morning and comes back home Friday night around bed time.

Our daughter is generally a respectful well behaved child who listens to both of us. Over the past couple of weeks she has been acting out just for the sake of doing it. She lied about going to play at a friend's house (mom texted me she was there) and said she was just wandering around the neighborhood. That same day she wouldn't eat her dinner so I told her she had 20 minutes to clean her plate. She just stared at me and refused to touch her food. As the countdown approached 0 I asked her if she would rather eat or get in trouble. Her response was, "Trouble." I obliged her and took away ipod, TV and visits with her friends for 2 days. She was a little angle for those two days but as soon as her grounding was over she pulled the exact same thing again!

When it does finally click that she's in trouble she shuts down and hides. Either running away to a corner or just dropping her head and letting her hair cover her face. She then refuses to talk.

I've always been the one to handle the day-to-day stuff with our daughter. Things like getting her up and dressed for school, making lunches, giving her baths and putting her in bed at night. Our routine hasn't changed much with Mom gone but it is just the two of us until the weekend. I imagine the bad behavior is due to my wife's "business trips" but don't know how to handle this.

Is this just a budding 7 year old expressing herself in a normal way or is her mother not being around during the week causing the behavior? Any advice from other parents who have been through this would be greatly appreciated!

MrsWhiteCastle responded:
Well, I haven't been through it, but I do have a 6.5 yo daughter.

My guess is she is acting out because her Mom is gone so much. She might not even know why she's acting out, or how to express herself. Were you a little more lenient when her Mom first started the out-of-town job? (I know I probably would have been!) She may be testing to see just how much more she can get away with.

I would sit down and have a talk with her to see how she is feeling. Try to be understanding and let her get her feelings out. I would make it clear, though, that bad behavior is not acceptable, no matter how we feel. And that you are going to stay consistent with consequences.

Does she get to talk with her Mom each night? How much longer is the job situation expected to last?

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