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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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November 1, 2009
Three-year-old having accidents after divorce...

Hi, I am going through a divorce. I have a three year old and a five year old. My ex and I have been seperated for a little over a year. My three year old isn't acting right and lately keeps haveing accidents. How can I help him through it? J

Hi J.  I certainly would recommend getting my book, We're Having A Tuesday.  It provides a nice opening for kids to talk about their situation and what might be bothering them.  It isn't like 3 year olds necessarily know, but the story may stimulate some conversation.  Other than that I would highly suggest keeping as much of his routine the same from day to day as possible.  It is a little bit like having an infant or toddler go through separation anxiety.  But the more you do things the same, the more likely it is he will begin to undertand that this is how it is going to be.  My kids were 1 and 3 at the time of my divorce.  They are now 11 and 13, and completely well adjusted kids.  Just keep the routine as much as possible, and let them know how much you love them.  There are lots of good blog entries and articles on my website.  I suggest you check them out.  Hope it all works out for

November 1, 2009
Being the other "parent" in the middle

I am the girlfriend of a man who still isn't divorced but hasn't lived with his wife in a year and a half. He and I live together for the last 4 months and since she finally let us see the kids we have the kids 4 days a week. The kids are 3 and 1.5 years old. HIm and her do NOT get along at all. they can't have a conversation with out the two of them hanging up on one another. So I tend to be the one in the middle figuring out a compromise which really doesn't bother me because I dislike the two of them talking because she has issues with him and tries to manipulate him into doing things her way or no way. She continuously tells us when she is mad that we won't get the kids the following week but always within 24hrs she is calling and asking when I will be coming to get the kids. yes I am the one who drives the 75 miles to pick the kids up. Recently the 1.5 year old has taken to calling me mom which is fine by both the boyfriend and I but I am sure she would freak if she heard him so we continually redirect him to call me by my name as the 3 year old usually does this sometimes she will call me mom as well... When the kids are here I am their primary care giver and as their father is working 2 of those days and their mother works when she has the kids. At times I feel as though she really doesn't spend any time with her kids and I think that is part of the reason they have taken to calling me mom. I don't know my main thing for writing this is to get some insight. She wants him to come to birthday parties she is having for the kids, Christmas at her families and so on... She never lets us have anything and I realize that it will be this way until the divorce happens which will be soon we almost have the money for a lawyer and we are 95% sure we will end up with full custody of the children as she is unfit to care for them full time (Put the 3 year old in a car without a car seat to travel 75 miles home with her but put the 1.5 year old in a car seat?!) After the divorce is finalized he and will be able to get married like we plan and will be able to start living our lives under our own control instead of having to abide by her rules. I just would like some insight on whether or not it is going to be detrimental to the children if we do not attend their birthday parties and christmas but instead have one for them with us and his side of the family?  Thank you for the insight! Lost in the middle...

Dear Lost in the middle:  I think you will benefit by not thinking about "her", but instead what is best for the children.  If you can all get along as adults for a couple of hours I think it is great to set that example for the kids, and yes going to co-birthday parties and such is a great idea.  If you cannot, then of course, stay away.  But I highly recommend that you figure out how to act like adults for a few hours.


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