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I just wanted to share some ideas and hopefully read your ideas on feelings that our kids experience.

My x and I have been divorced for 4 years and apart a year before that. He is a very involved dad and we have a pretty good relationship. The kids are with him about 1/2 the time - it just depends.

I think it's important for our kids to be able to express all of their feelings regarding the divorce. They have permission at my house to miss their dad. Or be mad about the whole situation. Right now my ds is having a hard time being away from his dad. He will come home and initially he's upset about being here - he cries or gets mad. He takes some time in his room and then we connect - this is hugging or wrestling... He talks about how he misses his dad when he's with me and misses me when he's with his dad.

The kids have pictures of their dad in their rooms. When they are missing him they usually draw him a picture.

They are little - 6 and 4, so they don't always initiate phone contact, so I suggest it while they're here. "Do you want to call your dad?" or sometimes I'll call him and give them the phone. To me this sends the message that it's ok to call dad while they are here.

When they are upset, I acknowledge their feelings. I know that my ds' feelings of missing his dad don't have anything to do with me. It doesn't mean he loves me less or whatever.

When they say, "I miss you mom when I'm with dad" - I say I miss you, too. I believe it's important to be honest, but not overboard. They need to be free to visit their dad without worrying that mommy is sad or missing them terribly (which of course I am).

I would never say to my son that it hurts my feelings when he tells me that he wants to be over at his dads house. Because it has nothing to do with me. He can love and miss us both at the same time.

They should not be bogged down by our feelings. They have enough complex feelings that they are trying to manage.

Now, I will say that they are expected to find constructive ways to deal with their feelings. It's a work in progress.

How do you deal with all of this?
 

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I know that my boys often express feelings like this too. They will tell me that they miss me when they are at dad's. Sometimes they bring up that they want us all to live together. Sometimes they ask if we can all do things together as a family. It is hard.

I do what you have explained. I honor their feelings, encourage them to communicate with their dad, phone him for them, etc. I tell them that it's okay to miss me, that it just means we'll appreciate each other all the more when we come back together.

We also do, very rarely, do things all together as a family. It is rare and doesn't happen often, but there are sometimes when we can all eat together, hang out or go to an event together. I think that helps a bit.

It's hardest on my oldest and he often tells me that he wishes we could live together and he wishes we could 'not fight'. I tell him that I wish it could have been like that too, but the reality is that it just is never going to happen that way.

I do try to help them focus on the moment and be happy with whomever they are with at the time. I tell them that it's okay to miss someone and still enjoy or do things away from them. I try to let them know that dad is only a quick phone call away....and sometimes just a short drive away.

You might also ask your children what they think would help make it easier? Do they have some ideas about what they could do that would help them miss the other person less?

I find it comes in waves. Sometimes my ex and I can make a bit more of an effort for awhile because it's short lived and then the kids are fine and are on to something else again.

Good luck. I know it's a tricky part of sharing parenting in two different households.
 
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