Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Children and Divorce


My ex husband and I separated 10 months ago.  It has been a fairly calm and amicable divorce.  We have 2 boys ages 6 and 2.  They mostly live with me and dad has them every other weekend. Dad has started dating a woman 2-3 months ago that lives out of town and also has two children ages 2 and 12.  About 2 weeks into their relationship he had her and her 2 children over for dinner.  At that time I wasn't too concerned because I didn't hear or her or her kids again and I assumed it was a friend. There did not seem to be any conversation with our kids about her or who she was.
6 weeks after that dinner meeting my oldest came home from dads one weekend crying because he felt left out at dads.  It turns out she & her 2 kids came to stay the weekend with my ex and our kids.  Her 2 year old slept in a crib in the master bedroom with dad & his girlfriend.  My kids had their own room and the 12 year old girl slept on the couch.  I was not aware of this before it happened and my oldest son was told on the day it was happening that dad "had a friend that was coming to stay the weekend with her 2 kids" I believe this was the ONLY conversation with my children about this new relationship.  It has now been almost 3 weeks since that incident.  My ex and I have discussed it in detail and decided that as of right now she & her kids will not be around our kids until he & I feel the kids are ready and will discuss how & when the reintroduction will take place and at a much slower pace.
This week my ex comes over to tell me that she and her kids are relocating to our city (in 2 months)& they will be staying with him until she can get on her feet.   He only lives in a 2 bedroom house and I am VERY concerned about how the children will react to this new living situation.  He does not seem open to alternate arrangements at this time.  So what are some things I can do or discuss with my children to try to minimize the effect this will have on them in the long run.  
Please remember that he only has them every other weekend and at this time she lives out of town so there will be MINIMAL contact  between her  family and  his between now & moving day.

So to prepare your kids, talk to them and draw pictures and use small figures/dolls to act out scenarios of being with the other kids and making friends with them or being kind to them. This can help them process their feelings now so that when the other kids are with them, they will be as prepared as they can be. Children know about emotions almost as soon as they can talk, so you can talk about feelings like afraid, sad, angry, and guilty. You don't have to go deep, but just help them identify their emotions a little bit.  

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Daniel Keeran


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