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Mom Dating During Divorce

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

Q: My parents are getting a divorce. My mom started dating a few weeks after my dad moved out of the house. I don't think that's fair because they had an agreement. What do you think?

A: I can read the anger, hurt, and sadness in between the lines of your letter. You think it was wrong of your mom to date someone just a couple of weeks after your dad moved out of your house because you state that they had an agreement. If that agreement was one where they both agreed not to date until the divorce was final, then your mom did not keep her promise. If that's the case, she was indeed wrong to break her word in this way.

You must be going through a lot of pain, confusion, anger, and fear because of your parents' divorce. Divorcing couples often don't treat each other with respect and consideration. They also might not behave as admirably as they might like. It's also hard for kids in the middle of a divorce not to choose sides sometimes. For instance, you might see your mom as the "bad guy" right now.

Hopefully, your parents have sat down with you and explained why they are divorcing, what will happen to you as a family, and how this will impact you. I also hope that they will try to put themselves in your shoes and give you the love, honor, and respect that you deserve. Don't be afraid to reach out to family members, friends, and maybe a school counselor that you respect for some understanding and support. It's not smart or healthy to try to tough this out in silence and to pretend that you're doing just fine. Write back if you'd like.

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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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