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My husbands deployed, and my daughter can't stand it!
My husband recently deployed and my 2 1/2 year old is so upset. She was doing amazing with potty training, now acts like she doesn't care, and is constantly having accidents, shes having more sleeping problems, and completely acts out! Before I would tell her one time to do something and she would listen, now I have to tell her over and over and over, and sometimes she doesn't even listen at all. It hurts me so bad because I know its because her daddys gone. When shes in trouble all she does is cry and says "I want my daddy back" or "I miss my daddy!", she talks to him almost daily on the phone, and see's him on webcam. We do creative activities together, like fingerpainting a shirt, or "write him a letter", color him pictures, or I let her pick out a few things she thinks he would like for his care packages. I'm all out of ideas and I feel like I'm going to lose my mind. What can I do to make my little girl happy again!?
Maybe plan an activity day for when her daddy is home; it is just the two of them for a couple of hours. Have her count down the days on the calendar if you know when he will be back next.
You're not alone, and neither is your daughter - there are plenty of people in the same exact boat. (I was one of them for the first year of my son's life - and lucky, too, my son was too young to ask about Daddy!) Because you use the term "deployed" I'm assuming your husband is in one of the armed services, yes? Most of the services have fantastic support groups for spouses left behind. I cannot urge you enough to get in touch with these groups as soon as you can, if you're not already. Find out who the other mothers are, and get a playgroup going. The kids can play with other kids in the same boat ("My daddy's gone" "Mine too"), and you can have some time to talk to other mothers going through the same issues, trade advice on how to deal with the specific issues to your situation, and get/give the support YOU need as well. It sounds like you've got all the right ideas for keeping your little one busy and active. Having a setback with milestones (such as the toilet training) is completely normal for kids under stress or going through life changes - and certainly, her daddy being away is one big life change! Be firm, don't scold, stick to the routine as much as possible, and go through whatever process worked the first time again. Once she is reassured that YOU aren't going away either, she'll settle back in. *hugs* I know it's hard. You can do it. I promise it'll be okay.
One thing you can also do is try to explain to her why her dad's gone. Saying he's deployed isn't something alot of kids can understand. My mom use to say "daddy's gone because he had to go fight off the bad guys so you and I can be safe, just like a super hero" and when I acted out she would always say "would daddy's want you to act this way?" or "you're hurting daddy's feelings acting like this... I thought you were daddy's big girl, big girls don't behave like this"... I was such a daddy's girl that I would straighten up real quick. Hope this helps.
I am in a similar situation. My husband is deployed right now and I am home with our 6 yr old and 2 yr old. My daughter misses daddy a bunch and acts out like crazy in public to the point that I am just burned out and feel like a bad mom. I am trying to take it a day at a time and be understanding but sometimes it is hard. I try to remind myself that she misses him just as much as I do.We made a daddy calendar with all the days and every day we make an X. My friend gives her kids a skittle a day for every day daddy is gone. She has a jar on the counter and every morning 3 more magically appear and she says they are from Daddy for being good the day before. Good luck and I hope you figure something out.