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Archive for the ‘Kids Hate Divorce’ Category

When my stepson Jack was four, and I first spent time with him, I was a big hit. 

 “I want you to be my dad, like”  he told me. 

I told him that he already had a dad who loved him very much, but I was his step-dad.  Still, I basked in the glow of that “I want you to be my dad.”

When he was five, the shuttling between two houses began to bother him.  Jack asked his mom and I why we couldn’t all live together in one big house: me, Rachel, Rachel’s ex-husband, Rachel’s ex-husband’s girlfriend, and the kids – Jack, Michael, and Alani. It seemed like a fine solution to him.

He’s six now.  Last week he told his mom, out of my earshot, that he wished she and his dad weren’t divorced. 

That’s the thing about kids who are little when their parents split.  The parents get divorced once, and move on (ideally).  The kid, though, has to get divorced again and again, grappling with the separation at each developmental stage. 

When he was little, Jack was more attached to his mom than his dad, and it made sense for him to cast his lot with his mom and I.  But as he becomes a boy, his relationship with his dad is deepening.  Last week, after Rachel picked him up from his dad, Jack spent the first half hour at our home singing an improv song that went something like this: 

 “I miss my DAD, I miss my dad so MUCH. I miss my DAD, I miss my dad so MUCH!” 

The lyrics were repetitious and the melody uninspired, but it was heartfelt. In a sense, Jack is now experiencing the effect of the divorce for the first time.

But modern divorced parents have a therapeutic tool they didn’t have in the olden days of divorce: the cell phone.  Our policy is immediate cell phone access to any parent upon request.  The absent parent can tell bedtime stories and get immediate notification of the loss of front tooth.  It’s not The Parent Trap, but it’s something.

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