My wife and I separated 6 months ago and we have 2 sons who live with their mum. I had hoped to be able to see them more or less whenever possible so that the whole thing was flexible and fit in with everyone’s plans. However, my wife insists that contact with my sons should be fixed – the same days/times every week. This means I sometimes can’t see them if they have a party or another event to go to. How can I deal with this?
Dear Concerned Dad
One of the most important things to make lives apart as uncomplicated and secure for children as possible, is the establishment of routine. Children, especially younger ones, thrive on routine; it puts the world into order for them and places secure boundaries between themselves and a world of freedom and responsibility they are not yet ready to encounter.
However, as well as regular days/times, an element of flexibility is reasonable when there’s something special on. In these situations, ask your ex-wife for as much notice as possible and take the opportunity to arrange another date. Also ensure the children are aware of any changes and you and your ex are working together in their best interests. In short, have fixed, regular contact with the understanding and agreement of flexibility.