Question: Dear Luise: My husband was transferred to where his parents live (in another country) 2 years ago. My daughter was 2 1/2 and I was 5 months pregnant. Last year his father passed away and my daughter 3 at the time was very close to him. This was not only a big emotional impact on the family but my daughter would cry every night and question why he was sick and can not come back. After 2 years my husband was transferred again. I stayed with my mother-in-law. My daughter slept with her grandmother and I slept in another room with my son. My husband would come every weekend too visit us. We have now moved back to were we initially were living. My daughter cries at least once a week and says she is very sad because she misses her grandmother and wants to move back with her. My husband and I have spoken with her and we have put her in extracurricular activities to keep her busy but she still continues to cry and tell me she does not like were we are living (corp. housing) and she does not feel happy. We try to console her and tell her we will be moving back to our house were she was very happy. In Oct. we will be going to visit my mother-in-law for 3 days and she thinks we are going over there and not coming back home. I don’t know what to do. If you can give me some advise on what to do or what to say I would appreciate it. A.
Answer: Dear A.: There’s a fine line between listening to our children and getting what’s going on with them and offering comfort, which is hugely supportive…and teaching them that they don’t have to learn to adjust and accommodate, which is destructive. It sounds like you are handling this very well and I know it isn’t easy.
Why does she think you will be staying there? I can get that she wishes you were but thinking that way is setting you all up for a major crisis when it’s time to leave.
It sounds like your daughter is not interested in reality. We all have wishes but/and they are often unmet. It’s one of life’s lessons. She needs to learn that. Let her know that you are definitely going for a short visit and that how she behaves when it is time to leave will have a lot to do regarding if and when you go again. I
On the other side of the coin, could your mother in law come to where you are? I know that’s something you probably have looked into and have decided against for one reason or another. I just wanted to put it out there. She probably misses your daughter as much as your daughter misses her. Blessings, Luise