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supporting DH in parenting 2 teen girls

(3 Posts)
sunnydaze01 Wed 16-Nov-16 16:43:18

My DH is feeling distant from his 2 DDs (16 and 14 years old). They spend EOW (Thurs-Mon) so about 40% with us and he felt that it wasn't enough. He talked to ex and the girls about changing to 50/50, but girls decided they liked the current schedule. Which he understands, due to more commitments at school, being close to friends, easy routines at their mum's, etc. Although their mom works full-time and makes a good salary, she is very money conscious and this change would affect child support payments and cost-sharing responsibilities in a big way. So we think that they might be protecting her as well. Also understandable. I told him that they will always know that he wanted to spend more time with them and that they made a choice that was right for them. Both good things.

He is having a hard time accepting that his little girls are growing up and is taking it quite personally. His role used to be "adventure dad" always doing fun activities outdoors with the girls. They loved it...and he was comfortable in that role. Now that they are more interested in screen-time and texting, he doesn't know where he fits into their lives anymore or how to reach them. He texts them in between visits and sometimes gets a one word answer, or nothing at all. I tell him it is totally normal, and he just keep texting. They will appreciate it later in life.

Any advice or tips on how to maintain a close relationship with limited time together as teens grow-up?

HesNotAMessiah Wed 16-Nov-16 22:38:55

Ah yes, the teenage years. Lots of good books to read on the subject but not sure any stretch into the realms of separated parents.

Personal experience is you need to book them for personal time in advance, and keep reminding them they're coming. And find something to do in that time. It doesn't need to be out somewhere, my kids actually enjoyed just having a chat, playing board games etc as long as they could keep up with social media etc at the same time.

But then they weren't complete social media butterflies, they weren't addicted to YouTube for example.

Temper that with offers to host or entertain their social life,friends round, lifts to and from others etc.

And get used to being a host to a stranger in the house! But it's not that bad, they are just growing up.

swingofthings Thu 17-Nov-16 14:00:45

Ha yes the teenage years bis!

I spent so many years waiting for that time when they would be independent, when they would spend even an hour in their bedrooms rather than glued to me asking me a zillion questions, when I would be able to pop to the shop for forgotten milk without having to pile them in the car, tired and grumpy because they didn't want to go!

Then that time came and I enjoyed it for about two weeks until one day, I realised that I hadn't heard from either of them for 3 hours and I felt lonely! It went from 'can't you go and play in your room for an hour so I can have a bit of peace and quiet', to 'what are you doing up there, why don't you come down so we can play a game together'. In both instances, I haven't really got my way!

DD has now another 18 months before she is off to Uni and I probably will hardly see her (she makes it clear she will fly her wings) and I will be looking back and wondering where all the time has gone.

I can imagine that it hits you even harder when you see your children even less regularly, but that's life. Of course, there are the grand-children to look forward to (not too soon!!).

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