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Dr. Tom
Dr. Tom, Family Therapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 23
Experience:  Dr. Smith taught graduate level Family Therapy and counsels.
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A friend whom I am very close with and recently filed for divorce,

Customer Question

A friend whom I am very close with and recently filed for divorce, the marriage lasted for less than 18month and divorce not yet final ( separation last April). They have no children together. However, he has an 8 year old with his ex wife whom he shares half resident custody of. To make it more clear in his situation, the child has been going back and forth her parents since 3 and his remarriage was 3 months after his first divorce. I am concerned that he is ASKING his child's PERMISSION to go out and have a social life. In my limited training in child development/physchology i do believe that this is the worse he can do. This puts pressure on the child as the child is older enough to understand the father needs an adult social life. Also, since its a shared custody that the child spends alternate week with the father ( both parent have equal time with the child), private social life can be conducted on the time the child is not with him. I am not suggesting he doesn't have a social life but it is presented to the child as " if you are not ok that I go out with a friend then I won't go. Because my friend who is a single mother wanted me to check with me" the statement is inappropriate. What I can do to help him understand that his social life with other women ( men also) does not need permission from his child and time should be spent wisely while the child is presented at his house. Thanks and I appreciate all this
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Dr. Tom replied 4 years ago.
Children are to ask permission from their parents because that is what parents are there to do, not the other way around. Someone must be the adult in the house and that must be the parent. The problem is not his social life; it is taking responsibility for setting limits and boundaries, providing structure and logical consequences to the behavior of the child. If you can tactfully impart this information and he accepts and implements it, it would help both of them. Your take on the situation is accurate.