June 08, 2010,
L.O. asks from Schwenksville, PA on June 07, 2010
9 Year Old Wants to Live with Her Dad and Stpe-mom--
Hey Momma's, just want to say soory if this is long winded.
My daughter is 9 yrs old. I have 50/50 custody with her dad, we were never married. I am now married and have another daughter that is 1 with my husband. So, my 9 yrs old live wed-sat with me and my husband and sat night - tuesday night with her dad and step-mom, It is a very wonderful relationship that we all have together. We all hang out with each other and get along great! (weird, i know). Her step-mom and i grew up on the same street and have been friends since we were 7.
Anyway, my daughter now says that she wants to live all the time with her dad because it is too confusing going back and forth between the two houses. She says that she loves us, but she thinks that it would be better if she was just at one house .She does not like it that her stuff is spread out between 2 houses and she is upset that she cant remember what house she left things at. that includes her school work too. She is very mature for her age and explained other reasons she wants to leave. I know that she has more freedom over at their house and that she gets to go and do a lot of things,( i partitally blame my self because i am very over protective and paranoid about a lot of things, i.e. going out, being around a lot of people and have been dealing with depression for a while, but i try really hard not to let it effect my kids in anyway,) but I am just heartbroken that she would want to leave me. I know that i am being selfish for wanting her to stay so that I am happy, but I cant help it. now she wants to go to her dads and just come and visit me, my husband and my other daughter. I want her to be happy and if that means that she lives with her dad all the time, then i should let her go, and i will just have to deal with it. I am having a very hard time dealing with it. Does anyone have any suggestions or ways to help me out?
So What Happened?™
Thank you all for all the suggestions and advise. We, meaning me, my husband, her dad and step-mom and her and have a discussion about the situations as soon as school is out for the summer. We do have a custody order, but we really dont follow it . There is no child support involved. We all agreed to split everything equally. I love my daughter and just want her to be at peace and happy and will do whatever to help her achieve this. Thanks again. love and blessing to all
D.P. answers from Pittsburgh on June 08, 2010
I think it's great that you all get along so well.
I've got another twist on the situation.
This child didn't ask to have split parents. She didn't request to live in two houses half the time. Think of it from her perspective. She may feel second fiddle to the child whose father you ARE married to.
Personally, I would let her do it. After the summer, try it for a school year. Then see if she's happy. After all, that's the main concern, right?
R.Y. answers from New York on June 07, 2010
I think weekdays in one place, weekends in the other (with exceptions as needed) makes sense. But whatever you decide to do, maybe you can do a 3 month trial and see how it works out.
P.G. answers from Dallas on June 07, 2010
As a child of divorce, it can be very crazy, but when the adults work well together it makes such a wonderful difference. It totally makes sense that she needs the stability of one location during the school week. Try to do Sunday night through Friday day at Dads, then Friday night through Sunday day with you. It's almost 50/50, but has the stability she needs. Go to all her school functions, etc. Be totally involved in all her activities. Also, summer is coming up, so work together to have a summer schedule that helps her feel like she belongs everywhere.
You are doing a WONDERFUL thing by listening to her and trying to help her. You're not letting her go - you're working with her to make her life more easy to function in.
You need to take care of yourself as well and deal with the issues you mentioned - which you ARE doing. Take care!
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B. answers from Augusta on June 07, 2010
I can agree with all of her reasons. I am the child of divorced parents and I chose to move in with my father where I would be an old child , have all my stuff in one place , being an only child there I was able to avoid the chaos in my moms house with the 4 other kids. It was a lot more peaceful there.
You can go to the every or every other weekend arrangement.
Let her go and support her choice.
She will likely be back and then when she turns into a teenager she'll want to go back b/c she'll be being a teenager and moms and teenager girls clash more than Israel and Palestine.
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R.J. answers from Seattle on June 07, 2010
You might propose a compromise:
I have never seen this except with my BF from gradeschool (possibly because all her parents got along famously, and that's not the norm)... but she had 50/50 custody with her parents split this way from k-12.
During the school year:
M-F with Mom & Papa
F-M with Dad
Her dad would pick her up from school on Fridays and take her to school on Mondays.
M-F with Dad
F-M with Mom & Papa
Then they each got her for a couple of weeks vacation.
Because the school week wasn't split up, and friday's homework was done at the same house it would be turned into on mondays... things weren't lost and all her parents got to stay really involved with both her and her education, and she wasn't going crosseyed and having to constantly make adjustments during the school week and alternating weekends.
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N.S. answers from Chicago on June 07, 2010
I am the stepmom to a almost 9-year old and we did the 50-50 split for a while so I understand your daughter's frustration. It is confusing going back and forth between two houses and my SD loses things all the time between the houses. She'll leave something at our house and miss it at her mom's and vice versa. She also gets upset when she misses out on something with us when it's her mother's weekend and the same when she misses something at her mother's because it's our weekend. We have a great relationship so we always do what we can to assure that she gets the best of both worlds but it IS hard going between two houses!
I don't think you should let your 9-year old make the decision. We would not let my SD choose one house or the other because at that age they will want to go to one house for reasons that shouldn't be reasons. For example, you said her dad is more lenient. That's not a reason to live at one house! Also maybe she wants to be the center of attention at the one house and doesn't like to share the spotlight at your house with her sister. These are issues that she needs to deal with, not run away from.
If I were you I'd work out a better way to keep track of her stuff. Right now we have a backpack that goes back and forth. I also help her by reminding her to remember her phone, her iPod, her asthma spray, etc.
You could also try a schedule where she's at your house a little less but you still get time with her. We do every other weekend (Sat-Sunday) and Mom always gets Mondays no matter what. That way she's a week at our house with a overnight at Mom's, then the next week she has 4 days with Mom. That would give her more time at Dad's (for stability) but you'd still get time with your daughter.
It's important that she spend time with her mother. And it's important that at this time in her life the adult decisions are made by adults, with her input of course. When she gets older and more mature then maybe she can work out a new schedule based on what she wants.
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K.B. answers from Harrisburg on June 07, 2010
I can't imagine how you must be feeling, but I do have to agree with your daughter that one stable home, a main home, is best for her. That was the first thing I thought of when I started reading, why split the child? The fact that she chose her dad is hurtful, but it's not against you, it's for her, and not for him. She's 9, she's beginning puberty. She's bright. She loves you both but if a choice is going to be made someone is going to be hurt. She's also going to choose the home that is going to make her the happiest. She isn't thinking about anything but herself, because she's 9. She's not going to choose a parent who is more strict, and believe me, I'm with you about being more strict, lol! But obviously she's choosing a home she'll have more freedom. She obviously loves both equally but the more freedom she can have at her pre-teen age is better.. for her, lol, so she thinks. She may not get that same freedom if she's there most of the time though. Dad may not have as much guilt, so to speak. Dad may suddenly feel more responsibility and start tightening the reins, especially as she starts to develop physically and Dad starts freaking out, lol.
If you allow this, and this girl MUST remember that this is not HER choice, it's her request. And if things doesn't work out the way she plans, she cannot just jump back to the better option, and go back and forth as she pleases. What does Dad feel about this? Are there other children with Dad? You didn't mention. That may be a factor too. She can have Dad's full attention with no other sibling pulling the parent away, and not having to help with a baby at Dad's.
You can at any time say no, especially if you are legally bound. Talk to Dad first. Really look at all the angles, even in a cynical way as a child would to be sure you have all the bases covered. Have her be honest. She may love her younger sibling, but it's harder on the older child. Make sure you're making the right decision for her and for YOU. Sometimes life doesn't go the way you want and if you say no, she needs to accept it.
You also need to look at the legal aspects of this. Will you have to go to court to change things? Will you suddenly need to start paying child support to Dad? If not now, down the road if things get a bit tighter for them? Once things are legally changed, it'll be a fight to change things again if she's not happy or something else comes up. Really talk it through with everyone. Maybe let her try it at both places over the summer, one month just with you. One month just with him. See how things go.
But she does need to have a base home. You all need to decide which one.
mom to 5 including triplets
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M.C. answers from Washington DC on June 07, 2010
I was also going to suggest the M-F with Dad; F-M with you shift. I wouldn't let her move in 100 percent with him. You'd miss her.
M.M. answers from Washington DC on June 07, 2010
Just by reading your post I too would get confused as to where my stuff was and which day I was to be where. See if you can have her on weekends and holidays. Make sure you are invited to all her school functions. She si soon going ot be in middle school and high school. These years are filled with projects and major tests. ONe house, one bed, one room to go to is probably much better with a very soon to be preteen.
Maybe she can stay at dads every weekend and summers and holidays. Maybe your house. I would go to the judge and get an order first before you make it so then when things go south you can blame the judge.
M.L. answers from Los Angeles on June 07, 2010
I would do as she pleases and just remain very active in her life and go to all her school events etc... Since you all get along so well you will see her often. It would be very hard to split your own week in two places. You and her father have already created the split in her heart - I would make her life as simple as I could for her and consider HER happiness first. And I commend you for keeping such a good relationship with all parties so that she has the best possible situation considering the circumstances. Not everyone is that mature with an ex. Make sure you spend one-on-one time with her every week.