My concern is my son was incarcerated 2 months ago and his daughter’s mom has been telling her that he is sick and that is why she hasn’t seen him. Well, about 3 weeks ago she decided to take her to jail for a visit and has since gone the last 2 weeks. Now daycare is saying they think she is depressed – she won’t eat or nap and cries for her mom a lot.
I think it has something to do with seeing her dad but daycare is suggesting that possibly I or my family is saying things to our granddaughter to make her fear that her mom might leave her. This is absolutely not the case and we would never do something like that. Do you have any suggestions on how to help her with this transition of seeing her dad once a week in jail? We are not close to the mom and only see our granddaughter once a week, but we are concerned.
No one has to say anything to her for her to be afraid her mother will leave her. After all dad is essentially gone to her right now. In a child’s mind they are not able to figure out where dad is when he is not with her. She is experiencing something similar to the death of her father with him being away. All young children who lose a parent to divorce, death, or any kind of separation react by being clingy and needy. They fear the loss of the remaining parent.
She needs extra patience and attention right now. Telling her not to feel that way won’t help. The daycare needs to realize she needs extra TLC and she will get past this too. If you are still concerned a trip to a qualified play therapist could help her. Play therapy helps children who cannot vocalize their feelings deal with them.
M Kay Keller