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Unexpected invite to daughter was not appropriate

| Monday, Oct. 19, 2009

Question: My ex started dating someone recently. Without any warning, he introduced her to my daughter in front of my house. The next weekend, they all spent the day together. When my daughter came back to me she was very excited because Elena had invited her and a friend to the Miley Cyrus concert. My daughter is 9 and has never been to a concert. I asked my ex if he was going. He said no, so I asked for his girlfriend's last name and contact information. He said no and said he thought I was out of line. Was I?

Answer: Listen up, because we are saying this in unison, "No, you were not out of line!" Actually, we think he was out of line for giving you no warning he was going to introduce your daughter to his new girlfriend and then extending the invitation to a concert without discussing it with you first. Granted, it probably was a gesture of good will, but since she hasn't met you, it takes on the look of bribery and creates a feeling of "sides," not cooperation.

It's common practice for parents to get contact information from adults who take their children to special activities. If it were either of us, we would want to meet anyone who took our child in a car alone. We would want to have their cell number as a contact in case of emergency, and make sure they had our number as well. We would check to see where they were going, what time they will be back, if they needed extra money for food, etc. It would be another story if dad was going -- but he's not.

If this woman is going to be a permanent fixture, we suggest Dad set up a meeting so you can meet her -- or at least talk to her on the phone -- as soon as possible. It can be short and sweet, but necessary if he's not going with them to the concert. If he decides to go, then he can put this off for another day, though not too far in the future.

This is not your parents' breakup. Life is just not the same for kids -- and parents -- whose kids are going back and forth between homes. Sometimes you have to extend that branch of peace before you are officially ready -- always in the best interest of the kids.

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