source: sean dreilinger
Q. My ex is never on time to pick up the kids. We arrange to meet at McDonald’s or somewhere—then my ex is either way late or he doesn’t show up at all. This is really wrecking my schedule and giving me some anger issues.
A. Your ex is behaving in ways that are childish and irresponsible. While you probably can’t change the values of your ex, you may be able to speed up his maturity and modify his behavior.
Your best approach may be to set and keep some good boundaries. However, before you begin this process, make some firm decisions about what you are willing or not willing to do. Think through all your options: begin with the end in view.
Here’s how it might work: Tell your ex that you and the kids will be at McDonald’s from 7:00 to 7:15. Explain that you are not able to wait for him past 7:15—so if he can’t get there on time, he can’t have the kids this weekend. Just as you do with your own children—say what you mean and mean what you say.
Expect to hear every excuse in the book. Expect him to text you at 7:14 and say that he is running “a little late.” Think through all of these likely scenarios before you establish your boundaries. How flexible are you? How long will you actually wait? Once you have decided your boundaries—keep your boundaries. There are only two likely options if you do so—your ex will mature and start showing up on time, or else your mediator or family court representative will back you up on your clear, fair boundaries.
Dr. David and Lisa Frisbie serve as Executive Directors of The Center for Marriage and Family Studies in Del Mar, California. They are family counselors and authors, specializing in the post-divorce family. Frequent speakers at conferences and seminars, they have traveled to all 50 US states, 9 provinces and 2 territories of Canada, and more than 40 world nations to teach, speak, and train family counselors. Lisa and David are the authors of 19 books and dozens of articles about marriage and family life; their articles are frequently featured in ParentLife and BabyLife magazines.