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Separated Siblings

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: With my wife gone, I have one of the kids and she has the other. How will this affect their stability as they grow older and mature? The older one is a girl who lives with her mom, and I keep my one-year-old son. They tend to see each other often, but I am not sure how much is enough. Please help!

A: I am assuming you and your wife have divorced and are attempting to maintain a sense of family as best you can. This is far more than most couples in your situation attempt and you both should be commended for your loving efforts.

At present and as they mature, your unconditional love for them will guide you as parents. Your kids can be as secure and happy as any other children as long as you and your ex can maintain a shared sense of parenting values and make the children's self-worth your top priority. You may want to enlist the services of a talented family therapist to help you lay out a blueprint for successful parenting and sibling relationships. The frequency of your kids spending time with each other should be governed by your own comfortability and, as they grow older, their own feelings about how much time they'd like to spend with one another. You are honoring your commitment as caring parents in the best way you know how under less than ideal circumstances. Keep your "eyes on the prize", your kids.

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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.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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