We know that many of you are divorced -- and, unfortunately, some of you deal regularly with "no-show parents."
"But here's the problem: he's very irresponsible. More than half of the time, he doesn't show up when he promised. Then, I'm left with two crying, disappointed kids. When I confront him about this, he just shrugs his shoulders and tells me: 'Something came up.'
"Please tell me: How can I lessen my kids' hurt?"
The best way to handle this situation is to prepare. The next time that he's scheduled to take the kids somewhere, talk to them beforehand about "Plan B." This is your alternative plan if their dad does not show up.
Here's an example of how the script might play out: "Your dad is planning to take you to the movies on Saturday. He told us he would pick you up at 12:30 PM. What is going to be our plan for the day if he does not arrive?"
If your kids are preschool age, it's up to you to have a "Plan B" if the other parent is a no-show.
To minimize disappointment, the "Plan B" should be fun. Avoid offering alternatives like vacuuming the car, an all-afternoon errand run, or getting a head start on homework. Suggest, for example, that you do a few errands and then see the movie later in the afternoon. If your finances are tight, decide together on a fun and low-cost activity like visiting your local museum.
Lastly, do not let "the other parent" have control of the day and everyone's feelings. It's up to you to take charge if past experience has taught you that he may suddenly -- and for no reason -- decide not to show up.
We'd love to know: Have you had challenges with a no-show parent? What strategies have helped your kids cope with the inevitable disappointment?
|Rachel Sarah, a.k.a. "Single Mom Seeking" blogs at SingleMomSeeking.com and co-founded SingleMommyHood.com, the first-ever website to offer "a whole new way to think about life."|