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earthsister
earthsister, Parent
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 141
Experience:  Home Child Care Provider, and mother of 4; two pre-teen boys and twin baby girls.
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A child psychology question - Im in an amicably divorced situation

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A child psychology question - I'm in an amicably divorced situation (or soon to be). We have a 12 year old daughter who is used to us being separated for the past 5 years. I have her 5 out of every 14 days (rotating schedule every 2 weeks) and she wants to live with me. Her mom would overreact to that and take it out on our daughter so I thought I would approach it slowly, and ask for one more day a week with her.
Her mother said no, that having a 'home base' was good for stability for our daughter and that 'shipping her back and forth' wasn't good for her. My research on the web didn't confirm what she said, at least for kids older than 3, but I'm trying to find someone who might have some expert opinion on the matter. Thoughts?

earthsister :

Good morning, I would like to assist with your parenting question today.

Customer:

great!


 

earthsister :

I can understand and relate to the difficulty of divorce, and the question of what kind of living situation is best for the child/children.

earthsister :

What experts in the field would most often say is that what is important is that the child has a relationship with both parents, and that the routine, rules, and schedules of each parents home is as similar as possible in order to facilitate her stability and security, and this I agree with.

earthsister :

The problem that generally arises here is the unwillingness of either parental party to work cohesively to set rules routines and schedules that compliment one another. Do the two of you (parents) communicate pretty well?

Customer:

Yes, we communicate well - it's been fairly amicable.


 

Customer:

I have my daughter Thursdays and every other Friday and weekend.


 

Customer:

But she misses me and wants to live with me. The trouble is, I can't tell my ex that, because she'd flip out and take it out on our daughter (I only say this as it's happened in the past, that she takes things out on our daughter).


 

Customer:

so, I was going to shoot for one extra day a week -


 

Customer:

but she said no, that it's important for children to have one home where they sleep at nights. And I am searching for something, either to prove her or disprove her (because I want what's truly best for our little girl), but haven't found anything by googling :)


 

Customer:

so..here I am.


 

earthsister :

I do understand.

earthsister :

Well, I don't suggest telling her mother that she wants to live with you, as you are correct, she may take it out on your daughter. What I suggest is that you work to make the living arrangement as even as possible. If you can eliminate the idea of you keeping her certain days, like Friday, Satur, Sund, etc, and work to make the living arrangement more balanced, such as she stays with you one week (7 days) an then stays with Mom one week. Or she stays with you 4 days, and then Mom four days, and then repeat in an even way; maybe this would be a good start.

earthsister :

It's important however that the two of you work together to establish the rules and schedules; for example, if she goes to bed at 10pm at Moms, she should also go to bed at 10pm at your home. Same with the rules, if she does chores at your home, she should also do them at Moms.

earthsister :

And the two of you should be united on your decisions; it doesn't help if one parent would allow her to come to there home and do certain things that the other wouldn't. If the two of you can work together to establish these rules and routines, your daughter should be very comfortable in the living arrangement.

earthsister :

Unfortunately, I don't think that your daughter could legally choose what parent she wants to live with, and even if she is allowed to state a preference, this may not be good for the relationship between her and her mother. I suggest that when you talk to your daughter, express to her that her mother loves her, and that you want her to enjoy spending time with her, just as she does with you.

Customer:

Seems like we're on the same page. I guess I just needed some confirmation that I'm not off-base on this. I do wish there was some "expert" opinion out there, that it's okay to sleep over at two different households often.

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