Impending difficult child visit.....what should I do?


Well-Known Member
So since late last year I have been actively detaching from difficult child. Basically I have left it all up to her and when and if she needs me she could call. I would occasionally send a generic text but nothing specific or demanding. Sometimes she would reply sometimes she wouldn’t. I was fine with that. About a month ago she called in tears having issues with insomnia, anger, depression, and the boyfriend who she is living with. I talked her down off the ledge, made her some appointments, and left it in her hands. She did most of the stuff and the stuff she didn’t do I told her the contact information if she wanted to reschedule. I basically gave her the lift off and expected her to complete the launch. LOL

Since then things have been pretty friendly. No arguments and no fighting and even better no expectations.

husband and I were talking the other day and decided that we really would like to see her this summer. She had mentioned previously she would like to come out and see the area and visit some of the attractions. So she is due to arrive mid April and I am wavering between excitement and dread. I don’t want to get too excited that she is coming and then her get here and difficult child the whole thing up! I don’t want to assume she is excited to come and will be happy to see us even though she seems to be. At the same time I don’t want to expect the worst and dread the whole thing for the next month.

Any advice on what to expect? How do I approach and handle the situation? Maybe some examples of what happened with your difficult child’s coming back to visit?


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Staff member
I would say keep your expectations low and your schedule busy. Perhaps ask her what she would like to do and let her know that you would like to accommodate her wishes but you are only going to do that if her behavior is respectful and she is descent to the three of you. How long is she staying for?

Remember difficult child's usually manage to mess up family events so you may want to have an alternative plan. She could hold it together for the week or so, but if she doesn't,and there is that chance, let her know in advance that should she begin acting out and behaving badly that the plan is that she will then be left home while the 3 of you go to the movies or dinner or wherever, I am not a believer in rewarding bad behavior no matter what the circumstances.

If it were me I would have ground rules set up immediately with consequences built in. And back up plans for the rest of you at the ready if she behaves badly. Once I got all of that clear in my own head, I would relax and try to enjoy the visit with her because the ground rules and alternative plans are now in place. You can talk to husband and your other daughter and the 3 of you might come up with a plan for how it is going to be. A plan which protects you, your husband and your other daughter and doesn't allow your difficult child to hold you hostage with her behavior. I would be prepared for anything with a plan and then let go and enjoy.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.


Well-Known Member
Mine's coming next Wednesday and staying for 2 nights.
I'm keeping my expectations as low as possible, but, at the same time, I can't wait to see him.
I'm trying to keep it out of my mind until then.
I think you have to keep hope alive dstc. If I give up hope completely I'm not sure what happens next.
I agree with RE that you have to set firm boundaries and get them agreed. I've already posted about my plans and I'm feeling in control about the visit and sure that I'm not going to tolerate any sh**.
Good luck!

Scent of Cedar *

Well-Known Member
I agree that preparation is key. It will help if you know how you are going to deal with a crisis in advance. Believe for the best, anticipate her visit with real joy ~ how good it is going to be to see her again, however it comes out!

But try to have a go to plan ready for areas where you think trouble might erupt. I would research
last-minute airfares too, just in case. Spirit Air has reasonable fares at short notice.

If we are prepared, we are more relaxed.

and the boyfriend who she is living with

Are you prepared for how you will answer, if difficult child asks to come home?

Since then things have been pretty friendly. No arguments and no fighting and even better no expectations.

That is the feeling tone you want to keep going back to during the visit. How did you get to this easier place with your child? Those are the behaviors and styles of thinking you need to keep in mind throughout the visit. Half the battle for us is maintaining an awareness of our family patterns of communication. Where have those patterns created problems in the past? Choose ahead of time how you would like to see things go during the course of this visit, and identify behaviors or phrases you might employ to calm the waters and keep everything open and warm.

Forgive yourself now, forgive yourself already, if this visit does not go well. There will be another time. You love her. She loves you. Each of you loves the other enough that you are willing to try. That is huge, really. It may not be enough to get you through the visit? But this willingness to try is a great start, and I am happy for you.

It will be helpful, I think, for you to post index cards with quotations that you find helpful in restoring inner balance, or in remembering how much you love her, or in the value of family ~ whatever appeals to you, whatever means something to you. I do this just for everyday, but especially if there is something important coming up. My kids "spy" on me that way. They know I do this, they know it helps me remember my best self, my highest intention. We have had some incredible conversations around the quotes I have posted on my refrigerator.

In them is my sincerity of intention, I want to be, how I want to love them.

So much of what happens to all of us, whether in the day to day world or in the private worlds of our families, has to do with fear of disapproval or rejection of who we ARE. It really does help me to remember how I want to love them and even, how I want to love and be perceived by myself, for myself and in my own heart.

I am way happy for you!