|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Daughter Won't See My Soon-to-Be Ex

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

Q: My husband and I are getting ready to go through a divorce. We have two kids, ages three and five. A few weeks ago, my husband signed my daughter out of school and was planning to take both kids to North Carolina. Now my daughter is afraid to go anywhere with him, even church. She won't even visit with him. Should I try to convince her to visit him or just sit back and wait? Up until now, I have tried to talk her into going.

A: I am unsure whether or not you're disturbed by your husband's signing your daughter out of school and "planning to take both kids to North Carolina." Initially, I assumed that he did this without your knowledge or consent and that this was an attempted abduction, something seen all too often in the wake of parents' bitter divorces. But if that were the case, why would you be attempting to convince her to visit him?

If your husband did attempt to take your kids out of state without your knowledge, I would seek strong legal sanctions against him. Parents kidnap their kids more often than strangers do. You would never want to place your kids in that danger. If you and he had agreed to his taking your kids to North Carolina, your daughter's reluctance to visit him is probably tied to her fears about your divorce and about being separated from you. I certainly would not force your children to be alone with him.

Please see a family therapist about handling your divorce in a manner that does not frighten your kids or cause them to feel uncertain about their future and their relationships with both you and your husband. This is a very trying time for all family members and your kids' well-being should be the primary focus of you and your husband throughout the divorce proceedings and the months that follow. Your daughter's fearful behavior is your clue that you need to devote more sensitivity to your kids as they experience this major upheaval in their lives.

More on: Expert Advice

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.

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

highlights

3 Fun Thanksgiving Games for Kids
Looking for some great Thanksgiving games to play with your kids? Print our free Pin the Feathers on the Turkey game, Pin the Hat on the Pilgrim game, and Thanksgiving Parade Bingo game for loads of laughs this Turkey Day!

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

8 Surprising Sources of Caffeine in Kids' Foods
Even low doses of caffeine can have an effect on your child's health. Since the FDA doesn't require caffeine content on food labels, learn about hidden sources of caffeine in kids' diets.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!