Focus on the Family

Ex-husband wants to stay close to kids

Q: Now that I’m divorced, how can I stay involved with my kids and have a positive influence on them? Legally, I’m only allowed to have them a few days out of each month and my ex-wife is very strict in her interpretation of the court order. 

Jim: You’re in a tough spot, and my heart goes out to you. So what can you do? 

You might begin by praying the “Serenity Prayer”:

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

The application for you is obvious. You’re determined to have an influence in the lives of your children despite the breakup of your family. That requires courage. It means finding the strength and fortitude to seize and maximize every opportunity that comes your way. Meanwhile, you have no choice but to accept your limitations and make the most of your circumstances. 

When you do have time with your kids, make an intentional effort to put it to the best use. This doesn’t mean that you need to be a “Disneyland Dad.” In fact, it’s best to make your days and hours with them as “normal” (and as upbeat) as possible.

How do you do this?

Here are a few suggestions: Resist the temptation to badmouth your ex-spouse or complain about the “system.” Don’t play the “blame game.” Don’t try to compensate for the pain, loss and confusion of divorce by acting like Superman. All the exciting, expensive and exotic outings in the world can never take the place of a loving dad who is simply there for his children when they need him. So be there, whether that means sitting and talking with them, helping them with their homework or taking them out for ice cream.

Finally, you might find additional help and encouragement by joining a DivorceCare support group. For more information check out their website at www.divorcecare.org. 

** ** ** 

Q: Our adult son is unemployed, living in our basement and drawing heavily on our financial resources. My husband and I can’t agree on the best way to handle this situation, and it’s becoming a real strain on our relationship. What should we do?

Leon Wirth, executive director of Parenting and Youth: Millions of American families have adult children living at home, and the trend continues to grow. Sociologists call them “boomerang kids,” and they have the potential to present challenges in a marriage. Tension often arises when one parent takes a more authoritative approach while the other is more permissive. Before doing anything else, you and your husband need to get on the same page. In fact, marital counseling may represent the first and most important step toward solving these parenting difficulties.

Once you’re able to present a united front, I suggest that you hold a family meeting. Tell your son that he is welcome to remain in your home, but that as an adult he will need to start assuming more responsibility. This includes responsibility for personal expenses, laundry, cleaning, transportation, utilities, groceries and rent.

Your statement that your son is “drawing heavily on your financial resources” leads us to believe that he may be irresponsible with money or assuming too much from your generosity. If you and your husband continue to pick up the slack, your son will learn to expect it and never grow up. The key is balancing love and limits, and this applies to young adult children as well as toddlers and elementary school kids. For help in understanding and applying this principle, feel free to contact our counseling staff at (855) 771-HELP (4357).

** ** ** 

Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program.




More Close Up

A hope sanctuary

CTCA opens doors to support group lounge

From the outside, Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Southeastern in Newnan is ever-expanding, adding to its building that opened in 201 ... Read More


Healthy Living

Elliott retires after 55 years at Piedmont Newnan

Work is something people either like or do not like. After 55 years at Piedmont Newnan Hospital and the former Newnan Hospital, Virginia Ell ... Read More


Radioactive Fallout

Hayward, Wayne may have been victims

Tough movie cowboy John Wayne and Susan Hayward, the Academy Award-winning actress who lived for several years in Carroll County, may have d ... Read More


Senior Living

Coweta centers offer activities

Coweta senior centers both in Newnan and outlying communities offer a variety of activities weekly. Tommy Thompson Senior Center, 29 Hospita ... Read More


Health Happenings

• Free dental exams and cleanings are offered to children in the Newnan community at It’s A Small World Children’s Dentistr ... Read More

Atkins’ workshop takes children around world

With music and movement, the children on the upper floor of the Carnegie Library traveled around the world. Actress, singer and dance instru ... Read More