Archive for February 8th, 2006

February 8, 2006

Ex husband has introduced my children to his new woman…

by Rod Smith

My husband left me a year ago for another woman. He has introduced my children (12, 14, 15) to her. She stays the night with them at his flat every second weekend like they are one happy family. My children come home very upset. They cannot tell him they do not like this arrangement. He says they have fun with her. I know they are being nice because they are nice children and don’t know how else to treat a grown woman. What can I do?

Rod Replies: Your children are walking the tightrope of divided loyalties. Children should be encouraged to tell their parents the truth about what they see and feel, even if what they see and feel does not please the parent. This is a very difficult situation (for all of you) over and above the inherent difficulties of divorce.

Try not to talk negatively about your ex-husband or his new woman as such talk will only serve to set the children against you. If you are able, pass no comment about his living arrangements. Your children are old enough to draw their own conclusions and make their own assessments about their father and his values.

February 8, 2006

Children and being “fair”

by Rod Smith

To the point of being ridiculous my family went to painstaking lengths to be fair. I recall our seeing our parents measuring soft drinks in a glass, weighing or counting candy, and going through lengthy exercises to make everything fair. Calculating how much money was spent on each child at Christmas was an argument I clearly remember overhearing. Of course we grew up thinking life was supposed to be fair. Don’t you think that we want life to be fair and so we try to create a world within childhood where it at least seems to be fair? Should we not try to be fair to children at least so we do not inflict unnecessary pain in an already painful world? (Content of a discussion)

Rod’s response: No parent intentionally exposes children to the unfairness of life. This would be unnecessarily confusing in a world that is sufficiently confusing. But, the healthy family does not promote fairness as an absolute. In a healthy family, children know that sometimes a person might get the short, or the long, end of the stick. Win or lose, getting more of something or less of something, has nothing to do with love.