[I]n a previous post, “A Father’s Quest to Find His Kidnapped Daughter,” I shared a tiny about the struggle some custodial parents both male and female deal with regarding exchanges. Being the custodial parent, requires you to put your personal feelings aside and take the high road in situations you would not normally agree too.
Some of us walk a fine line between the insane and crazy in order to be the better parent. I could tell you hundreds of stories of extreme situations that have occurred at my exchanges. Instead I want to focus on encouraging relationships without your baggage and feelings. Can you look past your anger, judgement and personal hurts, to help your kids see their other parent?
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This Halloween story happened six years ago and I received plenty of criticize from friends and family at the time. If this situation were to repeat today, I am not sure I would still make the same decision. Nevertheless, I believe the primary characteristic of a good custodial parent is to walk the grey line to encourage the relationship of your kids with your Ex.
Extreme Custodial Parenting from Diary Entry October 31st, 2008
Non-custodial mom has made some bad choices in life, very behind on child support, and has currently moved away without giving me an address. Our daughter has gone from seeing her mother every Thursday and several weekends a month, to now barely seeing or hearing from her at all.
I took some initiative, and sent an email to mom offering to buy two plane tickets, fly our daughter to her city, rent a car, all for the purpose of encouraging her to visit our daughter over the Halloween weekend. I was to put myself up in a hotel, do some writing, and then fly home with our daughter on Sunday. All I wanted in return was: her new address, and $158 for our daughter’s plane ticket. I was willing to cover everything else.
It’s Halloween, I just picked up my daughter from school and I have neither an address nor a check from mom in the mailbox. What should I do? What would you do?
A Leap of Faith, Extreme Custodial Parenting
Mom leads a very different life, has very little morals, and her parenting style lacks everything. She has left her husband and is having an affair with a new guy in a new city. Nevertheless, for my daughter’s sake, I decide to go even though our trip exhibited lots of unknowns. Co-parenting relationships are very, very hard.
However, you must put personal feelings aside and do what is “in the best interest of your children,” even if it cost you time, money and sometimes sanity. I called mom’s husband, even though they have been separated for two months, he gave me an address on where she had moved. Now at least we had a destination to aim for. Dress in our Halloween costumes, we flew through security and sat in the Admiral’s Club. Here we had sodas and waited for our flight.
I left my daughter on her mother’s door step, always having that sinking feeling, “Will they be here on Sunday when I return?” I checked into a nice hotel, I bought last second on Priceline, and went to my room to pray. “This is so hard Lord, am I doing the right thing?”
Thankfully Sunday afternoon came and when I returned our daughter was still there. This story could have ended badly and you hear stories of such all the time. Again, I am NOT necessarily suggesting this was a good idea in all situations and I would probably not do this again.
My point today is this. If you want to be the primary custodial parent, it requires you to be overly accommodating and to sometimes make decision outside of your comfort zone. Keeping the relationship between your kids and the Ex is hard work. Some argue it’s not “your job to accommodate.” I beg to differ. Being the custodial parent always requires taking the high road. Could you do this?
Would you do this? Tell me about your extreme exchange situation? Where do you draw the line between accommodating and just letting it go? Do you agree with what I did? Why or why not?