Ever wondered how to balance your child's need for social interaction with the limited time you get for quality bonding? In this episode we discuss strategies to handle the tricky situation of having your child visit friends during one parent's limited time. We share suggestions on how both parents can navigate this situation while fostering deeper connections, such as getting to know your child's friend group and understanding their activities.
In two weeks we'll begin our next series, in which we cover coparenting and domestic violence. If you would like to participate in our domestic violence series as a guest, please contact us and let us know. We are interested in all perspectives and backgrounds for our conversations.
Thanks for listening! If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about becoming the best coparent you can be, visit coparentacademy.com.
Welcome everybody. Today is our third week of getting back into some Reddit posts, or Reddit renaissance, and in today's episode we're going to be talking about visiting friends during the co-parent's time, and this is something that really starts to come up once a child gets to the pre-teen to early teenage years. It just is something that happens for all kids, but it gets a little bit more complicated when there's two households and there's different amount of parenting time.Speaker 2:
This is very true and it's it's another quite common thing that I hear from kids, I would say 10 or 11 and above. I wasn't surprised at this boy's age, because it really is. We used to think it would be 13, 14, something like that, and that's definitely kind of slowed down.Speaker 1:
Yeah, for sure, and I think also because kids have a lot more connection with games and stuff like that. They're playing games online, talking with each other more, and I think a lot of their athletic teams are traveling more and having more practices and so I think they're just with each other a lot more and it spills over. But let's see what this guy has to say, or the late, and let's see, it's the mom. So the mom says my oldest son is 11 and his friends are starting to want to do things like movie nights and game nights on weekends. Their dad currently has every of the weekend with them, so I guess there's more than one child and lives about 45 minutes away. Dad works on a four on, four off rotating schedule of 12 hour shifts, so he doesn't get to see them consistently, even when he has them on weekends. I'm looking for suggestions on how to approach these requests for my son going forward. He wants to go to his friends for a few hours for movie night and he's really bummed because his whole friend group is getting together for it. This hasn't really been an issue before, so I don't know how to approach it. Their dad and I aren't really on good terms. He tends to not want to cooperate if I suggest any sort of schedule change. What do other parents do as your kids get older and want more freedom on weekends?Speaker 2:
Okay, two things I want to clarify. Did I hear every other weekend or every weekend?Speaker 1:
So every weekend, but not consistently, because it sounds like his four on four off rotating schedule will go into the weekends on occasions.Speaker 2:
Okay, gotcha. So is the child going on those times or he's staying with mom if his dad's working on a weekend? Doesn't say Because sometimes that's a whole separate issue that I hear if the child is supposed to go, even if the parent's not there, and then the child feels like they're missing out on something they really wanted to do either at the other house, or that the other parent would have facilitated them doing with their friends, and they're just at dad's house with step parent or, you know, step siblings or something like that.Speaker 1:
Yeah, and 45 minutes away, so that's a tough one as well. It is, of course, around here. That's not so tough. That could be just sort of standard.Speaker 2:
But 45 minutes away, and to the other yeah.Speaker 1:
Yeah, 45 minutes away in some places could be an iron half drive, right? Oh, she says 45 minutes. I guess it's 45. I'm gonna take that out because that's the one that's stupid. All right, I'm a dummy, okay. So let's see. First off, you're not going to get anywhere in your relationship with your kid by not allowing them to grow mature, individuate and start making some of these other friend groups. It's just going to backfire.Speaker 2:
Right, because that is their what's it again? Developmental stages. That is his main job maturing maturity wise. To start developing that friend group outside of just being at school with them or on a sports team for an hour or something like that. It is a very important right of passage for kids to start spending appropriate individual time with their friends.Speaker 1:
Yeah, I mean, if that were my client, my suggestion to him would be to kind of take it in stride to do what he can. He would probably be much better enjoy the other day or two that he has the kid. If he gives up one of those days, if the child wants to spend time with their friends because the kid's going to be grateful, he's going to have had his fill, he didn't feel like he missed out and he's going to be in a much better mood for the time that you actually do have together. I mean, at this age they get close to spending a lot of time in their room. Anyway, he may be able to make a deal with this kid say hey, look, I get that you want to spend time with your friends, but I want to spend time with you too. Here's the deal I'm going to facilitate you spending time with your friends, even though it's on my time. When you're with me, then we're hanging out together and spending time together doing things, and then that way we're both getting what's good for us and each other. Does that make sense?Speaker 2:
Exactly Two things that are really important. If dad really doesn't have that much time during the week to be with the child at school doing something or at practice of some sport or something to help out, he may not really know much of the child's friend group or anything, and it's really important. I think that's one thing. I see a lot of parents who don't have primary time with the child that they are really missing. They may not realize they're missing is knowing who the child's best friend is or the people that they like to hang out with at recess. I just aren't even paying attention to what those names are. It's very important for the dad. I would say let's just take a weekend that he does have him on a Friday and Saturday night. If it's the old fashioned Friday at six to Sunday at six, then Friday night might be the time that more kids are doing that kind of thing. If that's the case, then okay, you facilitate taking him to something. Maybe you hang out for part of that time with the other parents, or maybe you, because at that age I don't know for sure if they're really leaving them there, but there are a lot of places that you go now where it's kind of like the parents can either leave the kids for 45 minutes to an hour and go do whatever and come back and pick them up, or the parents can participate in another way at the same gym or something you can get to know the parents of the other kids that your kid enjoys. You could take his best friend and the two of them go to Urban Air or whatever. You could get a chance to get to know that one child while he's in your car.Speaker 1:
Exactly, even with my own son and I'm still married, as anyone who listens to us know. I remember taking him to a junior high dance and waiting because it was far enough away it was like 40 minutes. For some reason it was in South South Tulsa, most North Dallas and sitting in the parking lot for an hour and a half because it didn't make sense to drive home and come back. I just sat there on my phone hanging out listening to podcasts. If you do it with a good attitude Right, and your kid recognizes it and actually will appreciate it, right. If you do it with a bad attitude, then you ruin your kid's time and it just makes everything worse. So even if he's just going to take his kid to I mean, hopefully your plan like to meet with the parents and do some other things would be great. But even if that's not possible, there's a lot of value in showing your child that you're very happy to take them to something and wait for them. And then you love them enough to do that.Speaker 2:
Right, it's very important to you, and then you're quite invited to talk about it on the way home.Speaker 1:
Right, Right. And then that's some of the best conversation time is sitting in the car and saying, well, you know how did it go, what did you all do? And just let your kid open up to you. That can be some of the best relationship time that you actually would have all weekend potentially.Speaker 2:
Totally. And then the other thing is really important there that I hear almost every child gripe about is that they are told by that parent that this is my parenting time and you have to be with me. You know you can do the friend stuff when you're with your mother because she's got more time with you. Well, you know, a lot of that is weeknight time when nobody's going anywhere, having any fun, we're just getting ready for the next day at school or work, and so you know, and that parent's really not getting to see them much, or that parent that does have primary time with them may facilitate a lot of the friend time on the weekends that they have them and so they really don't do much, just one on one with the child. And so the other parent frequently does not understand that or may not believe it, but the child will say so. I had to tell my friend I couldn't come to his birthday party or whatever because it was on my dad's time, and then we didn't wind up doing anything together the whole weekend. Yeah, that was laying around watching a football game or something and I was in my room and you know we really didn't interact the entire weekend. And then I don't take very many of those kinds of situations for the kid to build up some serious resentment.Speaker 1:
Yep, and then you re, you've re put you so right at that point. Yeah, and you know this happens a lot too, when one parent moves out of the marital residence where the child has developed a friend group, because usually that marital residence was closer to the school and they've had kids they've grown up with Right, and one parent moves out and often it's a parent moving into a less nice home or an apartment as opposed to a home in the neighborhood and it can be really hard for the parent who's moved out to sort of put their own feelings about it aside, not take it personally and realize that it's completely normal and appropriate for their child to want to do those things Right. What really frustrates me is when the parent who had the luxury of staying in the marital residence and being in that same neighborhood with friends and kids tries to take advantage and say oh well, they don't even want to be at your house, they like to be at my house. So they try to tell the court that and ask for a modification or some sort of advantage in the custody proceeding. That irritates me to know when, as the attorney in the case, or as a guardian at Latin, because it just shows a complete misunderstanding of the developmental needs of the kid, and it also just shows a willingness to take a really unfair advantage over the other parent, based on a circumstance that probably was not one of their choosing.Speaker 2:
And I am shocked when a parent, for example if it were the dad in this situation makes a choice to uproot and move closer to where the child is to better facilitate that back and forth. I mean that is just not feasible financially or any other way in a lot of cases, but once in a while I hear of one of those and it's just way above and beyond.Speaker 1:
Oh for sure Doing that. And right now, with the interest rates the way they are, people are so stuck in their homes and it's driving the rental prices up and it's just it gets even more complicated and it's kind of like I have the same feeling about that, especially now with the difficulty with refinancing or getting into rentals that I had during COVID when parents were taking an advantage of COVID issues. Right, it just is so unfair and I think it's just so small when parents do that, and so you know folks can avoid doing that and focus on what their kid needs. I think that would be a whole lot better.Speaker 2:
Also I thought it was really interesting that mom was willing to give up her weekends, you know, because weekends are special times, like you pointed out. You know like weekends or when there might be a fair or you know you could go to the things that you can't do, like you said, during the week, whether the kids in school or you're working. You know for all we know, maybe mom works on weekends, but if not, she really is taking one for the team there to try to facilitate dad's schedule. So I imagine this post is really made in good faith if she was, by agreement, willing to give up her weekends and she doesn't work the weekends.Speaker 2:
That's why I was clarifying if I heard that right at the beginning, because that is pretty rare for that to happen.Speaker 1:
For sure it's not something that I think a judge would order just because weekends are special and things you can do, things on weekends with kids that you can't do other times.Speaker 2:
Right. But I tell you, especially at 11, kids are very much, even though, yes, they're supposed to be forming these friendships and spending more time doing social thing with friends. But almost any child that would have a parent that would plan something interesting doesn't have to be expensive, just very interesting and are with what the kid is interested in. Right then, something to really do what on one with the kid on the weekend, saying the whole time, just at least set aside a time for there to be something interesting, even just playing a game with the child at home because I know you've talked about doing that with your son and if you had some sort of tournament going on where you were keeping score as to who's the winner and never how many games or something, it's that the child would look forward to having that competition reignited on the weekends there.Speaker 1:
Especially if you let him beat you once in a while.Speaker 2:
Okay, all right. Well, that is it for today's Reddit post. We have one more left. The one for next week is a bit of a darker tone, unfortunately. It's how to move on when your abuser is a co-parent, and we're going to be using this last Reddit post next week as sort of an introduction to a series that we have planned coming up for December, which is dealing with issues of abuse in co-parenting. There's just so much to talk about in that area from so many different angles that we're going to take several episodes to sort of dig into it, and I want to put out our first call for any sort of feedback or suggestions that you have. This topic is one that's really emotional and difficult for folks on all sides, and so, as we're getting ready and putting this series together, please let us know. If there are any specific questions or concepts that you want us to consider. We'd be happy to go over it. If anyone wants to come on to the podcast and have a conversation with us about it, please let us know that as well. We would always welcome a guest, either the person who, unfortunately, was the person who was abused or the person who was the abuser. We would be open to talking with anyone to get your point of view about the situation. All right, thank you, and hope you have a fantastic week.