Relationship Q&A: Their Father's House Is Nicer
Q. When they return from weekends with their father, my kids complain that our house isn't as nice as his. My husband is losing his patience and he has even talked about leaving. Help!
Patricia Dunn Horn, L.C.P.C., a counselor on the staff of the Catholic Charities in Alton, Illinois, answers:
A. It's quite common for children of divorce to have these "re-entry" problems. Think of it from their point of view: Their lives have been turned upside down, and they're in pain, so they're going to test your love.
Remind your children that every family has different values and priorities, and show them that they are cherished and secure in your home. It's possible that the kids need some transition time when they come back from their dad's, so let them go to their rooms for a little while.
That said, it's essential that your children understand that your home has its own rules and that you and your husband won't be manipulated by their behavior.
Your children's insults about the home he's worked to maintain may be chipping away at your husband's self-esteem. But to make sure that his threats to leave aren't indicative of deeper problems, consider consulting a family therapist.