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Divorced Parents and Family Outings
Q: Is it good for a divorced mom and dad to continue doing "Family outings" with the kids? Is it good to see mom and dad get along, or is it confusing--inhibiting closure and acceptance?
A: The best family situation for kids of divorce is the continuing love and support of two parents. If this love and support is accompanied by the divorced spouses' remaining friends and showing a generosity of spirit towards one another, the child's healthy development at all levels is enhanced exponentially.
It's normal for kids of all ages to wish for their parents to get back together so they can "be a family" once again. Seeing two divorced parents getting along well might cause their kids to believe that their parents may very well get back together again. To guard against kids creating this fantasy, it's wise for both parents to speak to the kids as a couple, reaffirming the fact that although they still might enjoy being together on these family outings, that that does not mean that they will be getting back together as husband and wife. During these discussions, it's very important to emphasize that you will always be your children's loving parents and that you will always work together as a couple to care for them. And that means always, even if you have a boyfriend/girlfriend, remarry or move far away.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.