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Expectant Mom Wants Two-Year-Old to Stay Home
Q: My in-laws want to take our two-year-old daughter to their home so they can spend time with her for a week. The last time she visited them, she cried a great deal. She seemed terrified that I was going to leave her. She sees her grandparents at least every couple of months. My husband is concerned that our daughter is not spending enough time with her grandparents. I'm due to give birth to our second child soon and I'm afraid that, if the baby is born while she is away, our daughter will become very jealous when she returns home. I don't want her to think we're trying to replace her. I strongly feel that my husband, daughter, and myself need to function as a family right now. Am I being unreasonable?
A: Now might not be the best time for your daughter to be away from you for a week. A week's stay away from home may be rather difficult for a 2-year-old to handle but, under these conditions, even a great relationship with her grandparents might make her long visit an uneasy one for her. Although she can't articulate her feelings in a sophisticated manner, I'm sure that she's picked up on the heightened emotions in your home as your due date approaches. She may be uneasy about leaving her mom and dad at this time, especially since she had difficulty separating from you on her last visit to her grandparents' house. If you've prepared her for the coming of the baby, she may also not want to be sent away for fear that she might miss out on the big event.
Your family's top priority, as I see it, is to keep you as healthy in every way as possible and to have the strongest sense of family as you come closer to having your second child. Perhaps your parents could speak to your husband about your needs at this time and ask him to put his ideas for granddaughter/grandparent bonding on the back burner for a while.
Now is a time to be close to one another, not to be arguing. Send me a quick note after your healthy baby is born. I'll be keeping a good thought for you.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.