In divorce, when a child has two involved parents, that child develops a life that of his or her own that doesn’t involve both parents. Each parent must learn to tolerate the loss of knowing everything that is going on for their child.
It is so hard to realize that your child has a life that you don’t know about. But that’s what happens when there is a divorce and your child has a good relationship with each parent. In most divorce situations, regardless of the parenting plan, children usually spend some, maybe alternating weekends with the other parent. If the plan involves joint custody, it is always every other weekend. If there is visitation, that generally occurs over the weekend as well. So when your child returns home after the weekend and tells you about the adventures he or she had with dad’s family, or mom’s family, you can easily feel left out. The fact is, you are! If there is a modicum of trust between the parents, this helps, as the feelings of not knowing can be strong and anxieties can creep in. If parents have a good relationship, they can share stories, photos etc of their time with their children. It is most important not to grill the kids on “what did you do with mommy (or daddy) on Sunday? Who were you with? ” etc. That just makes children anxious and puts them in the middle. Chances are they will end up saying very little and feeling unsafe and uncomfortable.
One of the really hard things to deal with in divorce, is to let go of your old life and create a new one. Divorce involves loss. But there are also opportunities to do new things and to do things differently. Attitude is most important. It is helpful to concentrate on the positive aspects and enjoy your children when they are with you. It is also an opportunity for you to have time for yourself and develop new aspects of your life to enjoy time for new friends and new activities. Accepting the situation and moving on is the key.