Shari is 14 now. Her parents split when she was six. The first few years of the divorce arrangement were not too bad. Her dad came by every other Friday evening to pick the kids up and she and her brother would spend the weekend with him. Dad dropped them off before nine on Sunday evening and besides the occasional books and other items left in her dad’s apartment, things were okay. Now that Shari is 14 and is maturing into a young woman there is a growing tension between being with her dad and living her own life.
She loves her dad, but there is a settling reality that the every-other-weekend routine is not going to work forever. Shari is changing. Last year she got a cell phone. This year she was allowed on Facebook and her mom just recently said she could date. Shari had been flirting with Jared at school and was really hoping mom would give in and let her date.
From a calendar perspective she wants to leave her options open, either for Jared or for her growing number of girlfriends. They all hang at Jay Bows on the weekend and she feels put out that she can’t be with her friends. Her mom “guilts” her into going with her dad, while Shari is growing more and more angry about being with him.
Dad (Bill) has his own tension. He has to shutdown his normal life while creating an alternate life every other weekend when the kids come over. He doesn’t want to spend the time with the kids working on his car, mowing his lawn, or the many other daily duties that he needs to take care of. He puts his life on hold for 2-1/2 days until he can drop the kids off on Sunday evening. He loves his kids dearly, but the divorce that he wanted has created a disjointedness in his family relationships as well as his life, neither of which occurred to him prior to.
He also has been dating a lady he met in church and there is a growing tension as he tries to juggle his day-to-day life, his dating life, and his life with the kids. Both dad and Shari are angry, but at a loss as to how they can maintain their relationship. Both are guilt-ridden about the tension they feel regarding the every-other-weekend arrangement as well as fearful about bringing up what is becoming obvious to both of them.
When Bill and Mary first began the divorce talks years ago they were confident their kids would be better off. They set-up the standard secular arrangement of every-other-weekend, as though secular concoctions were on par with the Biblical model for parenting. They now see they both made many mistakes, one of which was their foolishness regarding their long-term plan for engaging their kids and having meaningful time with them.