Advice for getting through a divorce – My kids are taking advantage of the divorce by using the “I’ll go live with Dad” tactic

Debbie Martinez

My kids are taking advantage of the divorce by using the “I’ll go live with Dad” tactic to get what they want. How do I stop this?

You cannot be held hostage by the fear of losing your kids to living at dad’s house nor can you give in to the feeling of guilt from the divorce to give them everything they want. Ask yourself: If I were still married, would my answer to their request be any different? If the answer is yes, take some time to figure out why that is. Is it because you feel guilty trying to win them over, being their friend instead of their parent or the fear of them moving to dad’s? None of the above is a good enough reason to deviate from your rules. The best thing you can do for your child is keep your home life consistent and that includes the rules. Do not allow yourself to be held hostage by the fear of anything. Let your children know that just because of the divorce the way you parent has not changed and the rules are the rules. You are sorry they feel that way, but nothing has changed. Don’t let them see that glaze of panic in your eye when they mention moving or they will have you forever. Take a deep breath and realize they are just testing you to see what their new boundaries are. Don’t fail the test!

Now that I’m divorced, I can’t afford the vacations my kids are used to. However, my ex-husband can and I feel like I’m missing out on memories with my kids.

Memories aren’t just built during vacations. Try not to get caught up in that mentality; plan special times at home or locally. Start a tradition that you didn’t have when you were married. Your divorce is not a competition. You might be surprised that some of their most special memories are you reading them a book, tucking them in at night, Taco Night on Thursday or the special notes you leave them in the morning on their mirror. Put your energy into being creative instead of being jealous.

I have bouts of sadness when I see “families” at restaurants, events, etc. I always thought that would be me. It’s been five years; I thought this would be over by now.

Well, my friend, it’s over when you say it’s over. Yep, you’re the one in control. Yes, you wanted that life, but there is another plan for you. Start dreaming of your new life. Quit rereading the old story, write the new one! The old adage is worth repeating: Count your blessings.

My ex hurt me in so many different ways that I find myself always daydreaming about ways to get even with him. I know this isn’t healthy, but I just can’t get past it.

Don’t waste time daydreaming of getting even, visualize ways to get ahead. In the words of a very wise man, “And that’s all I have to say about that.” — Forrest Gump

Note To Self: My attitude will move me forward or move me backward; I choose forward.

Debbie’s Library: Power Thoughts by Louise Hay; Attitude of Gratitude by M.J. Ryan; The Power of Attitude by Mac Anderson

Debbie Martinez is a Certified Divorce Life Coach. She has given workshops on divorce and women’s issues and has offices in South Miami. For more information, call 305-984-5121 or go to

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