Sticky Messy Summer Situations
“She wants you to do what?” The dad said after his son explained his mom wanted him to keep his iPhone with him when they went on vacation.
It seems as though the mom wants to keep in touch with his son when he is at his dad’s all summer. Summer months can become sticky and messy for both sides. And it can become extremely stressful for the child caught in the middle.
- Dad may want his time with his child and he may want it uninterrupted.
- Mom is worried about little things, and she wants to make sure her son is using his inhaler and taking his allergy medicine.
- The kid just wants to have fun and keep everyone happy.
There are a hundred different scenarios we could play out like the one above. Here are a few:
- Recently a single mom who was upset about something that had happened recently with her child contacted me. It seems as though the dad had taken the kids to a water park out-of-state. Mom was okay with the water park, but what she wasn’t okay with was the fact the dad left one of the kids standing alone for half an hour while he went to wait in line to go down the huge water slide. The young elementary age child was left completely alone while the older brother and dad enjoyed the water park. The little girl was petrified someone would kidnap her. The little girl didn’t feel like she could talk to the dad so she came home and told mom.
- Another young dad is concerned about his three preschoolers this summer when they visit their mom. How do you trust someone with your children that you no longer trust as a spouse? You hope and pray your kids will be safe but you wonder every minute they are gone if they are safe. You wonder if they are having a good time. This dad wonders if his little children miss him while they are at their mother’s.
- One summer my son went to live with his dad for the summer. In August when he came back home to live, he told me many days his dad took him to the local water park and left my twelve-year old son standing outside the gate waiting for the park to open an hour later. My son was at the water park for over 9 hours on hot summer days by himself. He said it was boring to be there alone all day. He didn’t want to tell me what was going on at the time because he wanted to live with his dad and didn’t want to disappoint his dad by coming back to our home.
- A single mom in my single parent class is very worried about her kids going to Europe for two weeks with their dad and his girlfriend. They are young kids and they will be going to several countries. She brought her concerns to our group and we are praying intensely for her children’s safety. She has purchased an iPhone and will get it set up so her son can check in with her periodically from overseas. Her children have not been away from her for two weeks. The girlfriend hasn’t exactly been reliable here in the states. Mom has reason to worry.
It doesn’t make any difference if it is the custodial parent, the non-custodial, the dad or the mom – everyone hurts. And yet each parent deserves their time during the summer or on school holidays with their children.
Many children will suffer in silence because they don’t want to disappoint their parent. Like my son and the little girl left standing alone waiting for her dad to return, they will keep silent rather than risk upsetting their parent.
As a person who works with children, think through how you might comfort one of the parents of a child in your group.
How can you comfort the child if the child comes to you?
Pray and be prepared with a couple of scriptures and words of comfort.
As soon as I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me strength. Psalm 138:3
Let your unfailing love comfort me, just as you promised me, your servant Psalm 119:76
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. Proverbs 18:10
“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in robes of righteousness. . .” Isaiah 61:10
For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.
This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on July 12, 2013.