Dear Mom and Dad:

I’m sorry your marriage didn’t work out. I wish it did, and sometimes I secretly, and not so secretly, hope you two will get back together, but I know that usually doesn’t happen. I also know you’re the parents and I’m the kid, so I don’t get to tell you how to raise me or where I’m going to live. But since you asked, I do have a few thoughts. Here goes.

I’m really concerned that things are ‘fair.’ i don’t really know what that means but, if you ask me where I want to live, I will often tell you what you want to hear because I love you and don’t want to hurt your feelings. I’ll do the same with the other parent because I love you both and don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. When pressed I will try to make both of you happy, sometimes at the expense of my own happiness. You should probably not ask me this stuff.

I feel a lot more secure when I think the grown-ups have a handle on things. I’d rather that you guys work this stuff out rather than let some stranger who doesn’t know us that well make the decisions for our family. I know they mean well, the evaluators and the judges, but they don’t live with us. You do.

It makes me really sad to hear either of you talking trash about the other of you. I don’t care whose ‘fault’ this divorce is. As long as you are the two people who raised me and/ or brought me into this world, when you spent my whole life telling me I have mom’s ‘brains’ and dad’s “personality” do you think I can’t figure out that, if you suddenly dislike parts of each other, what that really means is that you dislike those parts of me, too? That may not be what you mean, but that’s what I hear.

I can keep the calendar straight, so I’m not so worried about being confused about when I’m supposed to be where. I do, however, prefer that the rules are at least similar in both houses so I know what I’m allowed to do and what I’m not allowed to do without remembering that it’s ok in one house and not in the other. I’ll probably try to ‘push the envelope’ once in a while, but, if you both have similar rules, and enforce them consistently and similarly, I’ll figure out how to set my own rules for myself when you’re not around in a way that will keep me safe and healthy.

Most importantly, I really need your permission to love the other parent. I know that might sound dumb, but sometimes I feel like I’m betraying one of you if I express anything good about the other of you. I know you don’t really tell me to hate my other parent, but if you remind me once in a while that it’s ok to love the other parent, and even comment about good things the other parent does as a parent once in a while, it would sure take a load off my shoulders.

Well, that’s it for now. I love you guys.

Your Child