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Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

Posted by ashley1979 (My Page) on
Wed, Jul 27, 11 at 10:45

I just want to throw this out there because I've been thinking about this a lot since yesterday.

Kids should be able to spend time alone with their parents separately, even in intact families.

I'll even go further than that and say that kids really benefit from spending time alone with their parents without the presence of siblings.

Each person is a unique individual and should be able to form their own separate relationships with each individual person in their family.

That is one thing my parents did right with my brother, sister and me. My dad would take me by myself to get ice cream. It was only an hour or so, but it helped build the very healthy we have today as adults. I didn't have as much alone-time with my mom as a child, but as a yound adult, we both got a job at the sakme place for about a year. We would ride together to and from work and take breaks together. I loved that time with her without my siblings always competing for her attention.

My neices, on the other hand, spend every moment of their lives together. Their father thinks it's unfair for the 12 year old to do anything the 8 year old can't. I bred this really dysfunctional competitive relationship between them that shouldn't have to exist. The older one should naturally be able to do things the younger one can't do yet. They fight for their parents' attention all day every day and try to outdo the other. It's really sad.

Anyway, just my 2-cents :-)


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

"Kids should be able to spend time alone with their parents separately, even in intact families.

I'll even go further than that and say that kids really benefit from spending time alone with their parents without the presence of siblings."

Agree totally!

My parents did that right, as well. In fact, starting when I was about 12, and my brother 8, every summer we would take a family vacation. We would ALSO take two other trips---one my brother and dad would go on, the other me and my mom. It was great and I have many special memories. I know my brother does, too. Obviously, that's really expensive but the same can be done on a smaller scale. DH and I cannot afford to do anything like THAT but we do separate things with the kids.

DH and SS will go see a "guy" movie or go bowling or some other activity they both enjoy. On Sundays that SS is not with us, DD and DH often run errands together, will get ice cream or go out to lunch, that kind of stuff. She loves it, he loves it.

I spend a lot of time alone with DD just because of the nature of DH's work/hours, etc. I spend time (not as much, obviously) alone with SS, too. Next week, for example, DD will be in day camp and SS has summer school in the mornings. I know I will be taking SS to the pool and other stuff in the afternoons before we have to get DD from camp.

I think it's really important and healthy. As you said, Ashley, children are unique individuals and no relationship between two people is ever the same. Parents love their children equally but in different ways, and those differences should be fostered.


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

Ashley, I agree with you 100%. In the case of your nieces, has the father ever considered that the older girl had four years of her parents attention all to herself, and the younger girl is getting none? And of course a twelve year old should get to do things that an eight year old cannot! The eight year old should get to do those things when she is twelve! (I remember when I was a kid and my older brother, being taller, could go on the "bigger kid" rides at the amusement park. I tried to convince my parents that it "wasn't fair" and that bro should have to wait until I was old/tall enough to go as well. Strangely I do not recall any feeling on my part that I should wait to ride until younger sibs could ride with me when I was tall enough, LOL!)

Even if parents think that they are trying to give equal attention to all kids at the same time it can backfire. I know a family where one of the kids was much quieter than the others, so the parents would always make such an effort to include that child, and draw child into conversations while other kids were chattering away, etc. Sounds good, right? Except now they are all young adults, and when parents are not around Former Quiet Child talks as much as anyone else - until the parents are on the scene. All the sudden everything changes, FQC stops talking unless and until parents try to draw FQC in conversation ("FQC, what do you think about that?"). It's not much fun to watch in action as it this point it no longer comes across so much as including FQC as it does catering to FQC. I have to wonder if that situation would have been avoided if more parental time would have been spent alone with FQC instead of all the kids together.


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

Honestly, as a kid I do not remember "spending time" with either of my parents the way kids expect it today. When I was a kid, my parents were there & sometimes we'd sit & watch TV as a family or my siblings would be off playing or elsewhere so I was alone with one or both parents. I never much thought about it... I never felt "deprived" the way my SD feels most of the time. She can spend the entire day with DH while he is working in the yard or on a car, etc. but then start bawling at bedtime that he didn't "spend time" with her. He spent the whole day with her but she only counts it if they are doing something fun where SHE is the center of attention.. like playing catch or a board game. She doesn't even count it if they sit & watch a movie together, just the two of them. I find it very weird.

As an adult, I have my own relationship with my parents. I am much closer with my dad but even today, my younger sister has a rivalry with me over who has a closer relationship with him. It's very weird to me that she cares so much about it. When my parents divorced; she went to live with him, I stayed with mom... so she feels he is more hers than mine? I don't get it. Just a few weeks ago when he was having surgery, she snapped at me that I don't know him like she does because I've only been in his life the past few years since moving back to the area. I don't feel that's true since I've built & maintained the relationship with him that I want over the years by visiting him, having conversations, and now working side by side with him every day now. I have had a relationship with him for 42 years and it's always going to be different than my siblings relationship with him, just as my relationship with each of my three kids is different from each other.

I believe each person is an individual & some may have a need for more one on one time than another but you cannot do much about a child's perception of that time. My SD feels slighted no matter what... My sister feels the need for exclusiveness... I believe we just live our life, share it with the ones we love & build our relationships as best we can. And of course kids of divorce (and even in intact families) will benefit from special attention, but it won't guarantee the child will not feel slighted or grow up with resentments anyway.


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

would your brother listen to you if you show him some research? there is a research that kids need time alone.

My cousin has triplets and they made a rule early on that their children will have alone time with each parent and grandparent, they actually have a schedule ensuring that this is happening on a regular basis.

I think growing up we did not have a separation as others describe. when we got older than yes my brother and my dad did sport things together and I do separate things with my mom. But as kids i don't think we did. I am relatively close with my mom but not like DD and I are, as a child i rarely spent time with just my mother while I spent a lot of time just with DD (obvious being divorced) and my ex spent a lot of time just with DD (he has other kids now but they are much younger than DD). It appears that she has different relationship with us than we had with our parents.

good point ashley. i think your brother might be like my dad thinking that it is unfair to separate kids


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

My DH and I have good friends with three kids---nine year old twins (boy and girl) and an eight year old DD. I know that once a week in their house, usually on a Fri or Sat night, is "date night" for ONE child with BOTH parents. The other two kids stay with a sitter and the parents take that one child out for something special: dinner, a movie, shopping, ice cream, whatever.
And it rotates. So every three weeks, each child gets the chance to have alone time with both mom AND dad.

I've always found that pretty cool.


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

"I never felt "deprived" the way my SD feels most of the time. She can spend the entire day with DH while he is working in the yard or on a car, etc. but then start bawling at bedtime that he didn't "spend time" with her. He spent the whole day with her but she only counts it if they are doing something fun where SHE is the center of attention.. like playing catch or a board game. She doesn't even count it if they sit & watch a movie together, just the two of them. I find it very weird."

My dd is similar. I spend SO MUCH TIME with her. But still, not enough. It will never be enough!!! But she's an only child and I'm an only child, and so is DH, so it's a little different.


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

love, that's how my cousin is with their 3 kids, I think it is a very thoughtful parenting

ima, good point about doing stuff versus just being there. My parents always DID stuff with us, like athletic activities, trips, hands on stuff. my exDH parents the same way, he always DOES things with kids, my brother also always busy actually doing stuff. I was never as much into actually doing stuff with DD, I often was just there or we just sat and talked or we both read books or watched a movie or each did our own thing and then discussed etc I don't know if DD was deprived. Maybe.

It is so true silvers, never enough, now when DD is adult and does not live anywhere near me I regret not spending more time (although I did spend a lot of time) with her, I sometimes chose something else to do rather than spending time, and I do wish i could go back and change it...Those of you with minor kids do spend as much time as reasonably possible, can't get that time back :(


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silvers

I reread your post silvers and maybe I misunderstood, i thought you feel you don't spend enough time (even if you really do). maybe you meant she feels you don't spend enough. My DD complained (and still sometimes does) that i do not listen and do not express enough interest even if i sat there for an hour and had a conversation about HER. But then I know for sure I had the same complaints about my parents


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

There were just two of us (sister and I) as kids growing up in my parents home. I don't think it were so much a planned thing, but yeah, both sister and I got tons of one on one. We got it with parents and grandparents and extended family. I truly treasure the times I had as a child growing up. Sister and I are like best friends, never jealous of each other, never felt one got more of anything than the other (going doing and/or attention).

I learned things from both of my parents and grandparents and was just as happy spending time with one as with the other. All had their own things they liked to do and all taught me things (how to do acitvities, skills ect) yet also how to handle different things in different ways too. I feel like they all shared with us girls the best of themselves and how to put it all together and go on to be the person I wanted to be and to do the best I can.

When my own kids came along I paced them out. I didn't want baby after baby and not time to spend individual with each...but even with the kids paced out husband and I have been able to pull them all together with a strong sense of family and bonds. Teachers during parent/teacher discussions have always expressed suprise at how well I know my children. I think it is partly due to always making time for the one on one. Always respecting them as individuals.


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

Sometimes it's hard for Dd to understand she had me for 6 1/2 years ALONE before ds came along ... And a few of those years literally it was one on one. Lol no daddy.
It is hard to get one on one time with DS because I feel like I have to do everything for Dd.
But now that she goes to her dad's I am spending much more time with DS alone.

Dd's therapist made a point to tell Bd she needed one on one daddy time without any one else. Dd and I go shopping together, we go swimming, we read together, play games. Even my Dh and dd have special time together. Usually he takes her up for a slurpee at the gas station. It's only for a little bit but it means the world to her. We talk a lot while driving since the commutes are very long. We get a lot of 'talk' time in the car.


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

It is very important...but hard in a joint custody arrangement, because 50% of the time I have both kids (girl 13 son 10), and 50% of the time I have neither. When they were younger and i could not leave one of them alone (like I can with my daughter now), it was real tough to get that 1-on-1 time. Now that I can leave her alone, my son and I do so much together, just me and him...take the boat out fishing, play golf, snowboarding, building stuff....I love it and he loves it, it really does strengthen those father-son bonds.

I would find the time to do the same with my daughter by dropping my son off at one of his friends once in a while, but unfortunately since she turned about 12, she'd rather stick needles in her eyes than be seen anywhere in public with me, and has pretty much stopped doing things we used to do (snowboarding, tennis...). Her only interests are "social" these days. It bums me out, because so many girls grow up without a strong father presence in their lives, and here I am wanting to do stuff with her....and she just keeps pushing me away :(

Oh well, all I can do is keep trying....


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

"...since she turned about 12, she'd rather stick needles in her eyes than be seen anywhere in public with me, and has pretty much stopped doing things we used to do (snowboarding, tennis...)"

LOL! I remember being that age. You might be able to convince her to do stuff with you if no one will see her with you. If I remember, the "drop me off down the street so no one sees you" phase doesn't last too long anyway.


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

"drop me off down the street so no one sees you"

Yep, that's how it goes. Teenage girls are one of God's most f*$%ked up creations for sure. I bet he would like a "do-over" on that one.


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

Oh come on, mkroopy, just keep the bonds going if for now only when nobody can 'see' you LOL. She's going to look back on the great father she had growing up as a child one of these days and she's going to know the old guy really really loves her even when she was a butthead.

You might ry letting her invite one of her best buddies along occassionaly. While it's not exactly one on one, it's still well spent time with your daughter. The day will come too when she is old enough for a boyfriend and you can pretty well rest assured that the bohfriend will think the guy willing to take them doing all the boating, fishing, blah blah is pretty cool.

I never bought a boyfriend home that did not suddenly discover all the cool stuff my father did (hunting, fishing, workshop, gunsmith ect ect) and I'd find myself once again hunting during season if I wanted to see my boyfriend on those weekends, fishing, refilling shells in the workshop blah blah. I have a hunch it won't be very long before your daughter appreciates all the skills and fun things you've taught her to enjoy and do. I don't shoot animals, but I loved wildlife photography while my father and my boyfriend (now husband) sat under a tree waiting for Bambi to come along.

Give her time, she's just at that stage. She likely does not want to be seen with her mother either unless Mom's getting her hair done or clothes shopping (Mom, could you just give me your credit card and drop me off?)


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

Mkroopy - your sentiment of your relationship with your daughter is very similar to that of my DH. She wants basically nothing to do with him, but he's such a good dad and tries his hardest to make her happy.

Honestly, I think BM has convinced her that they don't need men around which is really sad.


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

ashley I think it is different than your situation, mkroopy has his kids 50% of the time. I think he meant she just does not want to do activities with him or her mother (which is typical teenage stuff), maybe I misunderstood


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

Yeah, my only chance is when I let her bring a friend along. Two weeks ago I took the day off and took her and a friend to Great Adventure (a Six Flags park in NJ)...we all had a great time, it was probably the first "thing" I've done with her in a year, even though it was 95+ degrees and I wanted to melt..the heat kept the crowds down, though...didnt wait more than 10 minutes for any of the coasters...lol!

I guess given the option of doing things with her bringing a friend along, vs. not doing anything....I'll take the first option. Hopefully some day the "my parents are the most embarrassing idiots on the planet" thing will pass...


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

mkroopy, strangely, I don't remember my friend's parents being embarrassing - just my own, so the friend thing sounds like a good option.

Mkroopy's DD: My Dad is SO embarrassing! I'm humiliated to be seen with him! Oh my God, did you see the way that he put ketchup on his french fries!? I wanted to die!

DD's Friend: I think your Dad is kind of cool. He let us go on the coasters over and over. Now my Dad would have made us sit down in the shade and wait twenty minutes between coaster rides so we didn't overdo it! It's so awful! He treats me like I was still a child!

MKroopy's DD: Hmmmmm..... Maybe.

LOL LOL!


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

Yep...very true. I had one of my daughter's friends tell her about a year ago (while in the car with us) "you're dad's cool, he's funny, he has a Harley, he takes you places....I wish my dad was like that, all he does is work and read"

It had ZERO impact on her...she still thought I was the biggest doofus in town....someday she will get how awesome I am! :o)


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

"someday she will get how awesome I am! :o)"

That made me laugh! I think all kids think their parent is a doofus at some point.


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

it takes time for them to realize we are not that bad LOL some of my DD's friends parents were really kind of nuts (some were really something else), only after she grew up she realized that she was lucky i was not that crazy LOL


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RE: Kids Spending Time Alone With Parents

I wanted to do that with my grand kids only in a little different situation, one at a time. The first parent I asked said, "no that will leave the other one home crying". You don't really get to know them as individuals when their siblings come together. They play together and we don't have a one on one with any of them.


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