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Recent Letter to the ElderWisdomCircle™

FAMILY: Torn Between My Divorced Parents
Letter #: 383221
Category: Other

Original Letter

I'm not sure where to start with this, so I'll just start by saying that I'm thirteen years old and my parents got a divorce (dads fault) when I was in fourth grade. My dad constantly says that my mom lies and my mom says that my dad lies. They both tell totally different stories about things and I'm never sure who to believe. They also say how I shouldn't have to be involved with all of this, but I am. I kind of have to be considering most of their fights now are about my brother and I. 

We see my dad for two days every weekend. (Btw, my brother is 11.) My dad has been wanting to take us to myrtle beach and my mom wants to take us to Maryland (that's where my family's from.) They both were taking to my brother and I about it but never set a date. This weekend is my dads weekend and just before I went over, my mom told me that we would be leaving to go to Maryland the following Tuesday, two days after I got back from my dads house (I usually go home on Sunday but sometimes stay until Monday.) At the time I was fine with it. Then when my dad came to pick me up he asked if we had any plans that week and I said yes, that's when we're going to Maryland. He got mad and said that that was the week that he had planned on taking us to myrtle beach. (It would be my dad, my brother, me dads girlfriend, and my dads girlfriends daughter, whos eleven, and I. We live with both of them.) He then started talking about how he constantly asked my mom when we were going to Maryland so that he could pick a date for myrtle beach. He said that she didn't respond and that he ended up having to pick a date himself, which happened to be when we were going to Maryland. 

He then told us that we would be leaving early Monday morning and not to tell my mom about it until we were there or else she might call the sheriff to come get us. She hasn't done that before and I honestly couldn't see her doing it. I know that if I won't tell her she will get worried and mad at me. I also know that if I do tell my mom my dad will be very mad at me and I'm honestly scared of him. I won't be able to confront my dad because, A., he's stubborn and won't listen to anyone and B., he'll get mad at me and the only thing I would have done by talking to him about it is make him mad. I'm getting so anxious and worried and I don't know what to do. Please please please give me advice. I don't know what to do. 

Elder Response

     Some parents just don't seem capable of having a divorced relationship without putting the children in the middle of it, Ava. They are wrong to do this, but that is not something that can be fixed all at once. I can only imagine how confusing it must be.

     Do not keep a secret for your dad. It will hurt your relationship with your mother, and it is not fair to you to have to do that. Tell your Dad you cannot keep secrets for him just as he wouldn't want you to keep secrets for her. Tell him It is his battle and you don't want to fight it. Then tell your mom that he wants to take you to Myrtle Beach next week and you don't want to be involved in their discussions.

    Then, go wherever who has you that day says on the day you are with them. If your Dad takes you to Myrtle Beach, go and have fun. If your Mom takes you to Maryland, the same applies. At thirteen, you should go where your parents take you.

    But tell your father and mother at once that they have put you in the middle and it is not fair for them to make you be the one to communicate through them. After you tell your mother and father this, stop worrying about their decisions and let them settle it.

     If it causes you too much emotional grief, you might ask them for counseling to help you sort it out; but I imagine they will hear you and start communicating between themselves. Good luck!

Best Regards,

Tutu-Debbie


    

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