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Mom feels she’s giving children away

Dear Annie: After 18 years of marriage, my husband and I divorced three years ago. My daughter has always been a Daddy’s girl and resents me for divorcing her father. We never see eye to eye on anything.

“Keisha” is now 13 years old and lives with her father. Her 11-year-old brother recently told me he wants to live with Dad, too. My son has not been happy living here because he’s often by himself. My ex still lives in our old house where the children grew up, and they still have friends next door.

I understand why my kids prefer to live in the old neighborhood, and I want to do what’s best for them. Their dad is a good provider and a loving father, and I believe having a male influence would be especially beneficial for my son. But I don’t want my family and friends to think of me as a bad person for “giving my children away.” And I don’t know whether I can handle seeing my children every other weekend. What do you think I should do? – At a Loss

Dear At a Loss: While it is more common for mothers to have primary custody of children, there is no particular reason it has to be that way, especially since your ex-husband still lives in the family home.

It takes a certain degree of courage on your part to give your children this opportunity to spend more time with a loving father in a familiar environment near their friends and school, and that’s what you should tell anyone who questions you. Your kids are old enough to be included in the decision process so they understand why you are agreeing to this. And try to arrange some one-on-one time with each of them, especially Keisha, who will benefit from having her mother close by as she grows up.

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