Friday, June 04, 2010

Visiting Dad

Lately, I've had lots of opinions tossed at me over this one. The kids, especially DD, doesn't want to sleep over at dad's place. A lawyer friend, who does mostly family law and is remarried himself, says that NO kids like to stay over at dad's. There are several reasons for this -- dad doesn't spend as much time or effort making the place feel like home, the kids aren't ready to admit this split is a real, or long term thing, or dad has a new woman and they feel out of place. He says regardless of the reason, you need to force them to go.

Another friend whose h left four years ago refuses to force her son, although it's not really an issue for her since the h lives clear across the country.

Another friend, a single mom who made the decision to leave her h about 6 years ago, tells her children they must go to dad's and that's all there is to it. She needs the time to herself (she doesn't have a boyfriend, she just needs some alone time).

Then I asked my cousin's son, who is 19, and whose parents split 3 years ago. It was the dad's decision (given the stats, I'm assuming his dad was entangled, because 99.9% of the time men leave only when they have a soft spot to land). This really sweet and mature kid told me that 1) friends are essential, not for having someone to talk about "IT" but just to have around and thus take your mind off "IT" b) don't try to force the kids to spill their guts, because it can get too heavy, and c) don't force them to go anywhere they dont want to or aren't ready to yet. He said he was very angry with his dad for about a year, and then realized at the end of the day, this was his dad, and he loved him. But he also tells me he is very close to his mom. (Which means, moms don't worry that you're losing your children because they want to have a R with dad.)

So, on the sage counsel of my 19 year old second cousin, or first cousin once removed, I am not going to push my kids to sleep over at dad's unless they want to.

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