"How do I tell my kids I'm going for sole custody?"
By Deesha Philyaw on July 03, 2009
A co-parenting dad writes:
"After two-and-a-half years of attempting to co-parent with a uncooperative ex who refuses to communicate with me, who doesn't attend to our children's emotional and physical well-being nor to their educational needs, and who persists in dragging our kids into the middle of our conflict--I have filed to modify our custody arrangement from joint custody (50-50) to sole physical custody. What is the best way to talk to my kids, age 10 and 12, about this?"
For an answer, we turned to Indiana-based licensed mental health counselor/therapist and parenting coordinator, Brooke Randolph:
Dad may need to tell the kids that he's concerned about their safety and peace of mind and would like them to have the consistency of living with him. It is definitely wise to reassure that he is not trying to keep them from their mother and to explain all the ways they will still have contact (visits, phone calls, email) and any special provisions (if they are allowed to call mom any time when only allowed to call friends before 9pm for example). He should let them know that as the parent he thought this was the best thing for them so he has already discussed it with his attorney (letting them know there is no option), but he should ask how they feel about the situation or their opinion; be an open parent. It would also be helpful to explain the court process as much as possible to the kids so they know what to expect and who all the people involved are.
Learn more about parenting coordination and about Brooke Randolph's professional services here.