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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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I have been separated from my husband for 2 years now. I live

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I have been separated from my husband for 2 years now. I live in the house with my kids and he comes over to see the kids 3 days a week. He has a 2-bdr. apt. but has not prepared it for the kids to stay there. He is in a total state of denial about our divorce and at times is irrationaly and emotionally abusive. We have an addition to our house. Would it be better for the kids to have their father live in the addition where they can see each other every day or have two separate places for kids to go back and forth. My concern is that my ex will never grow up and take responsibility as a parent. He is happy being like a babysitter and just coming over to my house. He doesn't have to think about what they like to eat or do their laundry, etc. I want to do what is best for the kids. They don't want to spend time with him and my 15-year-old daughter says she will never spend the night at his place. My 13-year-old son does not enjoy being with his father. If we have two separate places, are we supposed to force the kids to go to their dads?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Bonnie replied 7 years ago.
If the goal is for ex to grow up and take responsibility, then do not let him stay on addition. It would not help him to resolve his denial about the separation. It would leave him with "a foot on the door". If you placed more of a boundary on his access to your house, the kids would see less of the irrational and abusive behavior and this may improve the father-children relationship.

So 2 houses is best with no admittance to your house. Eventually you are going to want your privacy. The 13 year old should be required to see him 3 times per week as usual but at his house (does not need to be overnight) but for dinner or on weekend. If you give young child a choice it is putting him in middle and may cause him internal conflict. The older daughter should be also encouraged to see him but usually the life of a 15 year old gets complicated and maybe 3 times will be too much. But I would require the at least once weekly.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
What is the best way for me to handle ex's crying about not seeing the kids everyday. I'm killing him and ruining everyone's lives.
Expert:  Bonnie replied 7 years ago.
It might help to get a divorce and stop communication with him (except about important co parenting issues). The limbo stage is not good for anyone. It is not good for the kids to see him this way. No wonder they don't want to be with him. He can still see the kids 3 days per week just without you being involved. It might be you that he wants access to. You may need to put some finality on the situation.
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