More threads by gjeansonne

In the last month or so my youngest daughter (4yrs)has not wanted to come to see me for her scheduled visits. I am divorced and my ex wife is remarrying in the next little while and she is pregnant with a child from her new fiance. My duaghters behaviour is very unexpected and unexplained, as she and my oldest daughter(5) were always excited to see me. I have moved in with my girlfriend and her kids(15 and 17) within the last 4 months. I have considered many reasons for this behaviour. One thought is that she is going through some sort of "issue" with my ex wifes new pregnancy. No longer being the baby she is trying to retain her "baby" status as long as she can, there is also the control issue that most young children have, she may be exerting control in the only way she can. by not coming to visit. I have tried asking her on several occasions why she does not want to come, but to no avail. I am looking for some advice on this as to what I should do to get her to open up to me, and/or make her want to spend time with me. It is becoming frustrating for me that I have not been able to spend what little time I have with her, with her.


Hi, gjeansonne and welcome,
From my perspective, I see a lot of major changes happening that your little daughter has no control over and these changes are probably pretty scary for her (and your older daughter too). This includes the new baby on the way, and in particular new step sibling teenagers in the home you now live in. If I were her, I think I'd feel quite intimidated by all that. Maybe one idea would be to spend time together doing activities elsewhere for a while- places she enjoys, is relaxed etc. There are probably a few places like this and possibly even volunteering at her daycare once a week. Whatever you try, I think it's extremely important to be consistent and very predictable for your daughter for the next while. I hope this helps.


A four year old cannot explain their reasons for wanting (or not wanting) something. Their brains can't compute the information, they don't even know the reasons themselves. And they can't convey it verbally anyway. A child that age likes routine, order, and stability. They don't like to be moved around much from place to place. She cannot understand the adults' wish for convenience since it's all about her needs. She probably wants you to come to her.

I think cm has excellent suggestions on ways to see your daughter and 'break the ice,' hopefully eliciting a desire to visit daddy more. I think if you come across as caring, empathic toward her feelings, trying to guess her feelings and seeing if you guess right (she'll tell you), willing to play with her (you may have to go to her), and making your house fun for her, she may be asking to see daddy at his house.

Are the teenage stepchildren male or female? Are they nice to her or do they ignore her?


David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I would second cm's advice: Continue to ask her over to your home but don't react negatively or pressure her if she declines. In the meantime, make sure you spend time taking her places she enjoys and having fun with her. Whatever is worrying her will in time pass if you don't cause her to dig in her heels or become even more anxious by trying to pressure her into spending time in your home.
daughter visiting part2

Everyone who has replied has made excellent comments. I sahould probably fill in a few other points to make the situation more clear. There were in fact several months of visiting to my home prior to moving in with my new girlfriend and her kids(they moved in to my house). Since my divorce I have made it a priority to monitor the behaviour of my children when i have them, and up until this situation there has been nothing out of the ordinary. I spend time talking with my children about the different environments and do not pressure them to feel a certain way about anything that has occurred. My girlfriends kids are teriffic with the way they interact with my own children. After the amalgamation of our families several months had gone by without incident. It has been approximately a month since she has come to my house now and I am starting to worry that this will become routine for her.


I wouldn't worry too much about it, at this point. Just find ways to be with your daughter that don't involve her coming to your home for the time being. Make a date to meet at the zoo (or someplace else she might enjoy), or pick her up and go from there. Pressing her to come home with you will only make her dig in her heels. I think she's trying to exercise some kind of control on a world that changing too quickly for her little sensibilities. Give her an opportunity to work through it all in her own time. She'll work it out. :eek:)

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
You're talking about a 4 year old, remember. The common talk about "ages and stages" in young children isn't just myth. They develop worries, fears, or just resistances at different times, and usually they leave as suddenly as they appear. One of my nephews at about that age suddenlt became afraid of grass one summer -- there had never been any sign of that before at all and there was no traumatic experience with lawns that could explain it. By the time the graqss started coming up the following spring, whatever it was that worried him had been forgotten.
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