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toddler anxiety

my son is almost 4. His father left when he was 7 months old, but has had visiation and an active role in his life.  My son panics frequently when it is time for him to go with his dad.  He will either throw a tantrum, cry and whine, or have an anxiety attack, he also gags as though he is geting sick.  Before he could verbalize his not wanting to go, he would do things such as stiffen his body so his father could get him in his vechicle.  IT gets so bad at times he fights going to preschool, hypervenalates (sp?), red face, tears streaming, and fighting to get out of his fathers grip.  I cant take watching this anymore. I thought he just need to adjust, but it has been three and a half years, and it is becoming more dramatic now that he can verbalize his wishes.  He constantly says "no daddy, I want mom".  He says it at bedtime, when the phone rings, when we ge in the car, or when its time to leave school. It breaks my heart.  His father says that once he gets on the road or once he is settled in his home he is fine, but I hear "no daddy" atleast once a day, while trying to make is father aware this is just not a "exchange" problem, but still trying to not hurt his feelings, I don't think he wants to face how big this problem really is.  He will hide under the table if he sees his father is there to pick him up from school or he will have a panic attack.  there are just so many things my son has done to red flag me that this is a serious issue for him. I have made a daily calendar to show him what his day looks like each day, the teacher works with me and reinforces and helps encourage, I happily have him find things to take to daddys to share with daddy, I encourage him to let daddy hold him when I am present (he will not want anything to do with him if i am near), we make pictures, and crafts for daddy, I just don't know what else to do and what could be causing this.  It has gone on for so long so it obviously isn't an adjustment to a change, there really hasn't been any since he was seven months old.  What is this? and what can I do to help my son?
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535822 tn?1443976780
Have you asked his Dad for input on why this behavior is happening,when he goes to his Dads house is he there long is it a weekend visit? who else is there when he visits could it be the enviroment or dynamics at his house, perhaps check out a few facts there must be a reason why your son is so upset.
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Avatar universal
thank you for your response, I can't tell you how hard it is to deal with this and watch your son not want to go with his father.   he has wed, fri and every other sat with his dad. Yes we have discussed many possiblilities such as correcting, potty time differences, attention that he is given in each home, age appropriatness, routines in each home, every topic you can imagine.  His father IS a good dad.  He trys very hard to be understanding of this but I know it hurts him when our son just doesnt want to go. And my heart breaks for not being able to find a solution. His father loves him just as much as I do, anybody can see that. His eyes light up the minute he sees our son.  I dont think for a minute that he is doing anything wrong intentionally. And I just dont know what else to do.  The refusual to go can vary on when it happens.  It could be the night before at bedtime, when the phone rings, when we get in the car (even though we may not be going there), when he picks him up from school, if we both attend a function together for him like at school, etc.. There is no particular day it happens but I usually deal with this atleast twice a week whether he is suppose to be with me or his dad.  I cant tell you how hard it is for not only me, our son, but his dad too, when he has to go and he doesn't want to. Nothing you say makes it better, only when I leave is when his father says he calms down and is fine.  I am just so concerned, because it really is an anxiety attack.  And his little heart is racing so fast.  It goes from zero to sixty. It can't be good for his health.  Just recently I suggested that my ex's girlfriend be present and be a "femine buffer" thinking maybe he needs more of a female touch.  And Wed he sprawled out on the floor at school and said "see mom". Today his father wasn't even present, and he was crawling up my shoulder,turning his back to her, and shaking his head no and refused to go in their home.  They say he is fine after he goes in or they get on the road.  I just don't know what to think. Any thoughts please?????????    
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