So I read on one of the linked blogs (look to the right) that when the kids are finally ready to re-engage in a relationship with an alienated parent, it can be a bit of a sticky situation.
I’ve been thinking about this a bit — not because this is imminent for me, but because I want to be ready for it. And maybe this can effect my approach to communicating with the kids today as well.
I had dinner with a friend the other night and she mentioned that her dad and mom divorced when she was a teenager and that she was very upset at her father for a while afterward. She said that he’d call and she’d basically ignore him and make faces to others in the room when he called like he bugged her. She didn’t like him calling at the time and wasn’t very encouraging to him during that time. I don’t think she was alienated from him, though, but it sounded like a difficult time for both. The good news is that she said he kept calling and never talked about the “situation” or her “rudeness to him” but just talked about her life and his life.
That hit me a bit. I was thinking that we’d have to “have the talk” about what we’ve gone through over the last few months in the first meeting. I guess that is not really the smart way to do it.
So my new approach is to email about what’s going on, text about my life and theirs and not mention the awkwardness, etc. And I think that’s the plan for the first chat face to face as well. Just engage them on what’s going on — there’s a lot to catch up on that should provide fodder for the many, many conversations without every having to be awkward or “dealing with all the crap” until they are ready. I think that’s the key in this first meeting — just to let them dictate when they want to talk through the deeper, more important stuff.
If there are guys out there that have gone through this, I would love their input as well!