Daily Press (Sunday)

Halloween with my ex is no treat

Since you are not ready to trickor-treat together, one parent might have a little more time with your child this week.


Dear Dr. Blackstone:

My ex really gets on my nerves. Halloween’s coming up and I don’t want to spend the evening looking at her face. It’s supposed to be my night with the kids, but she wants them at her house to trick-or-treat and I’m thinking about letting them go just because I don’t want to deal with her. Does that make me a terrible father? What’s good ex-etiquette?

No, it doesn’t make you a terrible father, but it does make you a questionab­le co-parent. And, unfortunat­ely, there are thousands out there who feel exactly the way you do. That means we have a lot of people just dreading the thought of each other with a bunch of kids right in the middle.

If you have been reading this column, you know that I don’t say you have to be buddies with your ex, but you do have to learn to cordially interact with each other if the kids are going back and forth between homes — which it sounds like they are doing from your observatio­n that Halloween is your night with the kids. Many parents forget to put Halloween in the parenting plan. That causes all sorts of grief, so good for you for having a plan for an important day for your kids. Sadly, it sounds like navigating the plan is a problem.

In order to help you “put the kids first,” (Ex-etiquette for Parents rule No. 1) I’d like to remind you of a very important distinctio­n — it’s not “your time” with the kids, nor is it mom’s time with the kids. It’s your child’s time with you.

So, this is how you decide about where the kids should trick-ortreat:

Dear Reader:

Ask yourself, where would the kids rather be? I did not say to ask the kids. That would put them right in the middle of their parents, having to pick one over the other. But you know your children. If you put your self-interests aside, you know the answer. Where will they have the most fun?

Halloween is a night your children trick-ortreat with friends — and their parents — but the real fun is hanging with friends late into the evening on a school night and eating way too much sugar. So, if most of their friends live near you, making them trick-ortreat in another neighborho­od they aren’t used to just because mom and dad can’t get over themselves seems selfish to say the least. If you all can’t go together, pick the neighborho­od you know the children would prefer and let them have their Halloween with the parent who lives in that neighborho­od.

Since you are not ready to trick-or-treat together, one parent might have a little more time with your child this week. Better yet, that may be incentive to take a look at how you and mom are co-parenting. That’s good ex-etiquette.

Dr. Jann Blackstone is the author of “ExEtiquett­e for Parents: Good Behavior After Divorce or Separation.” drjannblac­kstone@gmail. com

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