When Daddys M.I.A

Single parents I need your help… How do you deal with your little’uns behavioural changes after their other parent’s visit is over?

I’m not trying to paint the picture that my life is perfect but I have what you’d call a ‘well behaved’ child. Overall, he’s pretty well behaved. For the most part he listens to direction (even if I do have to tell him multiple times sometimes), sleeps/naps when he’s supposed to and is very good at articulating his likes and dislikes which makes it pretty easy to understand his needs. When he does tantrum it’s usually over something so small and trivial; he wants something he shouldn’t have or he doesn’t want to do something, and they usually don’t last too long as he’s at that age where he’s very easily distracted. But recently I’ve noticed that in the days following his dads weekly visits his behaviour seems to change drastically.

Let me set the scene. My sons Dad usually visits him every weekend on either a Saturday or a Sunday because of his work schedule. My son has been asking for his Dad a lot (nothing new there) because he hasn’t actually seen him in two weeks because his Dad was ‘busy’.
Saturday 7th July: I’ve been telling my son that his Daddy is coming later for the most part of the morning and he keeps calling out for him (being the impatient two year old he is). We go to Sainsburys for a quick shop but its soon cut short because my son decided to have his biggest public tantrum yet, attempting to throw a box of chocolates across the store, hitting me and screaming his head off. I go into full discipline mode telling him off and going to sit in the car with him until he has calmed down Later in the day my son, who has been napping for just under two hours, doesn’t fancy waking up until I tell him “Daddy’s here” and he springs up faster than ever. He spots his Dad and smiles from ear to ear and spends the remainder of the day never too far away from his Dad. 
Sunday 8th July: My son wakes up and asks for his Dad because he’s noticed Daddy isn’t there. After I inform him that Daddy has gone home and that he’ll visit next weekend its evident that his mood has been dampened. During breakfast he barely eats and even goes as far as throwing his cereal across the room refusing to eat any more. He cries and screams for about half an hour and I have no choice but to make him sit in his chair until he calms down. Throughout the Dad he asks about his Dad and gets a noticeably frustrated after it sinks in that Daddy isn’t coming. 
Monday 9th July: My son has been mumbling about mangoes, dinosaurs and his Dad in his sleep. He wakes up and seems okay. We have a virtually tantrum free day.

I’ve been noticing a similar behavioural pattern week in week out. They only ever seem to be outbursts that don’t last too long and range from full on tantrums to my boy going a bit glum for a few minutes. I understand that the situation is clearly frustrating him and that he is just trying to deal with his emotions (and doesn’t know how) but I really didn’t think that it would affect him this much at such a young age we’ve always had this setup. He video calls his Dad every few days so it doesn’t seem like they’ve spent so long apart but there isn’t much else we can do as his Dad lives well over an hour away. My boy is becoming more and more conscious of his Dads absence, calling out for him and getting frustrated because he isn’t there. All of the guidance online seems to be geared towards older children with completely absent fathers so I can’t relate. I don’t expect there to be a quick fix and I know it’s just something I’ll have to cope with but hopefully as my son gets older he’ll be able to understand it all a bit better…

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