Divorced families—when your kids go travelling with the ex

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See you soon... and have fun!
See you soon… and have fun!

I’ve just signed new passport forms for my kids. I think it’s my older son’s third passport, my younger son’s second.

They’re off to Japan and Austria next month with their dad. I’m jealous. I want to go too. I love travelling with them.

There is also a little part of me that finds it tough letting go. I won’t be there to protect them. It’s one of the downsides of divorce. As much as I love my ex-husband (yes, I’m lucky—we have that kind of friendship) he’s waaaaaaaaaaay more laid back than me about some things.

For example… In Tokyo I’d prefer my sons to only eat food grown in the south. Seriously. I don’t want my kids glowing in the dark. Whereas the ex-hubster has the restaurants he likes and will visit them, even if they source their food from the Fukashima market.

Also, my ex thinks it’s okay that our 14-year-old son goes clubbing with his 16-year-old friends in Vienna. I’d prefer that my son plays with Lego until he’s 30, but he’s tall and handsome and thinks he knows everything, and he’ll work his father’s rather relaxed parenting style to his advantage while they’re away.

Ultimately though, I wave my boys off knowing they are with a father who loves them and wants to share the world with them. And that’s a gift. It doesn’t matter that he does things differently, or that I’m not there. In fact, that makes the experience even more worthwhile.

Here are a few things that are important to remember in divorced families, when one parent wants to travel with the kids:

–       Letting your children go is never going to be easy, but it’s healthy.

–       It can be difficult to see your kids in a new family situation where you have no say in what happens… but it’s important to get over it, move on and make your own exciting choices.

–       Accept that the other parent gets to make choices without you.

–       As long as your children aren’t in any danger when they are with the other parent, then you actually have no say in what they do. I don’t interfere in my ex-husband’s time with the kids. It’s none of my business. They are his children as much as they’re mine, and he also has their best interests at heart.

–       Your children are not your property, nor are they a weapon used to control your ex. If your ex likes to travel, then encourage him/her to share that with your kids.

–       Remember, this is about the kids, not you. Don’t let them know if you’re unhappy with them being away. Don’t ask questions like, “Do you miss me?” while the kids are away. This puts your children in an awful situation. Instead try … “I miss you loads but am so thrilled you’re having fun.”

–       Embrace the opportunity for alone time. Seriously! What parent wouldn’t enjoy alone time, while their kids are out having their own wonderful adventures?

–       Be grateful. If your ex is offering wonderful travel opportunities to your children, then what a gift that is.

Travel is the greatest education a child can have…It broadens the mind and the heart. Why would any parent stand in the way of that? I can’t wait for my kids to go travelling next month. Will I worry? Sure, I’m a mum… but there would be more to worry about if I stood in their way of experiencing this wonderful opportunity with their father.