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DK Simoneau often receives questions on how to handle situations.  She addresses readers questions about shared custody, parenting, and split family living situations.  To submit a question, please use the form below.

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August 31, 2007
Transition Days

Dear DK,

How can I make the days my children leave or come back from a couple days with their father easier on them and me it always seems emotionally draining for all of us?

Dear Emotionally Drained,

I do not know what kind of situation your kids are transitioning between.  However, there are some things that can make transition days go a little bit better.  The easiest thing you can do is to establish a routine when they return.  If you have an activity that you all especially like to do, be it go out for pizza, play a board game, play hide and seek, make pancakes, play music and dance, or whatever, do it without fail when they return.  It can really help the kids if they have a "transition activity" that they look forward to, and know will happen each time they return to your house.  Another thing that is really important is not to be too dramatic about them leaving or coming home. If you are acting like you are miserable without them or your life is empty when they are away, they will feel guilty about going, and it can be quite emotional.  It is okay to tell them you love them and will miss them, but leave it without the drama.  The best thing you can do for them is be supportive and act like you are completely okay about them leaving, even if it is tearing you up inside.  It does get easier for everyone if you become supportive and throw in some great routines.  Best of Luck! -dk

August 3, 2007

Dear DK,

I have been raising my grandson for 5 yrs. It is a hard position at my age, the mother takes me to mediation when I don't see eye to eye with her thinking process, I am here to protect him and make sure I speak out for the best interest of his life. I am done with Mediation.  Isn't there something I can do to make sure a judge makes final choices when it comes to the mother wanting him. He was taken away because of her and my son parenting and other issue. I don't want to raise him for the rest of his life, I want him to go back to his mom and dad, but neither see my point of view when it comes to how they are with one another. I am tired but will speak for him he is a little guy. I want to make sure when he does go home that they had done all the programs to assure me, themselves and the courts they are ready to take this childs life more serious they they can theirs...I am so lost, because I know they can do it, however they are not willing to put the work and effort into making this it's back to mediation. 

Dear Frustrated Grandparent,

Obviously being a grandparent can be quite frustrating in these split-family scenarios.  Without knowing the full details of the situation it is hard to completely understand what might be going on.  You say that you don't want to raise him, so that would leave out the option of fighting for guardianship.  If you are not willing to be a guardian, then you will have to sit back and let them raise their son as they see fit.  With that said, I can only suggest that you let the parents and the courts work out the situation however it must be.  What you can do though, is offer your grandson a steady respit when he is away from his parents.  You can be the shelter in the storm.  You can listen to him and be ready with loving open arms.  Kids recognize where they are getting steady loving attention.  It won't be long and he will realize who is playing him as a pawn and who is just providing him a loving environment.  When that time comes you will likely have more influence than you might imagine.--dk


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