Childrens’ visits leave us confused…

by Rod Smith

“My stepchildren (9 and 11) are a delight and we have so much fun when they visit. Really, my children (8 and 12) adore them and long for their visits. Then something odd occurs. They go home and become like little strangers to my children and to me. While their mother and I do not see eye-to-eye on everything we do get on reasonably well and most of the small skirmishes are about times and dates and who’s picking up and so forth. When the children are here it is like they don’t have another home, and when they go to their mother it is like we don’t exist. Please comment.”

Keep the conversation going

Keep the conversation going

KATHRYN: How wonderful that the children get on so well. It would serve you well to work out, with biological mom, any unspoken rules in the two different households. The children are probably adapting to what they believe both mothers need. They will always have two homes, thinking otherwise is unrealistic. Consider opening up the conversation by asking questions about their “other home”. This will give them permission to reconcile their two worlds. Healthy functioning parents produce children who are free to be in relationship with others.

Thanks for writing...

Thanks for writing...

ROD: All of your children appear to be coping well with the comings and goings that are the by-product of most blended families. Rejoice. When children live in two homes every loyalty in their fiber is challenged. I expect their appearance of disconnect with you and your children, while hurtful to you and to your children, is a product of confused loyalties. Have ALL the adults to meet face-to-face as often as possible to reduce scheduling issues. While you are not required to be friends, a high degree of cooperation among you will do all the children a great service for their exciting futures.

Two systems....

Two systems....

JEAN: The children are living in one family system and visiting another. It sounds like they are quite relaxed and enjoy your times all together. However, coming back home again would take adjustment. Are they able to ‘talk’ about their thoughts and feelings about this? Are the expectations of continuing the ‘bonding’ process after your visits realistic?

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