But when she referred to their father as someone who was dating, the children were quick to insist that she was wrong."Daddy told us he won't date until we're in college," they declared."She's just a friend."Tears followed some time later, when the father asked his sons for "permission" to allow Joanne move in with him. C., author of Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way.
Given the power to vote on the relationship, the children cast "no" ballots and told their dad that, per his earlier declaration, Joanne couldn't move in until after they went away to school. Neuman is creator of a divorce therapy program for children mandated for use in family courts by many states.The story illustrates the confusion and anxiety children often feel when parents, eager for some measure of happiness and success in a new relationship, struggle over how much distance to place between their children and a newly developing romance."Seeing a parent date is an odd scenario for kids," says M. "It sometimes hammers home the message that our parents are never going to get back together."The power of the reunion fantasy is not to be underestimated, says Neuman, observing that some childrencling to the belief that their parents will get back together even after one parent has remarried.Today, we live in a new era of divorce and remarriage, and many children don’t get to choose which parent to live with.Even when they do choose, they may find their parents’ attention to be divided and not necessarily focused on them.Neuman recalls, "This 13-year-old kid once said to me, 'I feel, now that my parents are separated, that Idon't exist.'"While most children don't articulate their feelings so strongly -- in fact, most shrug or say "okay"if asked how they're coping with a parental split -- therapists who work with children of divorce agreethat divorce makes kids question who they are, where they came from, and where their lives are headed.
That's not an argument for or against divorce, for or against dating.Even when they are not facing a court battle, if parents are hostile to each other when attempting to co-parent, children may perceive that as some fault of theirs.But at some point, the dust settles and the child finally begins to become accustomed to a different life with Mom or Dad or some combination. For many parents, however, the single life is not their ideal. remembers the conversation she had with her two sons following one of their regular visits with herex-husband.Both boys were brimming with news about Daddy's new friend, Joanne.They are dealing with their own issues of loss, betrayal, adjustment, trust- just to name a few.