Q. My Wife and I share a house, but we recently started an arrangement in which we do not have to live together during the divorce process. I just had my first weekend out of the house and after, my 8 year old twins could not say enough about their new friend and how cool he was. My wife had a male friend and his 15-year-old son over all weekend and let the teen teach our boys how to download video games and play with other kids online.
I am horrified. I don’t know if they spent the night at my house but even if they didn’t, we’ve only been separated for two months. Also, I only let the boys play sports games. They’re too young to download and play games unsupervised.
This cannot be right. What do you suggest?
A. Voice your concerns immediately. Perhaps no one advised your wife that this conduct was inappropriate.
Assuming she knows better, if she will not agree to keep the children from third parties, at least until the divorce is final, you should make a motion in court and ask the judge to enter an order prohibiting either of you from having the children spend time with new romantic interests. Be careful of the unrelated third party language because you don’t want to end up in a situation where you can’t invite the neighbors over for a barbecue on your weekend.
The same goes for the video games. Make it clear to your wife and boys that they are only allowed to get new games with you. Brush up on your tech knowledge and put passwords on the devices so further downloading is not permitted. And, of course, delete everything you did not authorize. Make sure they are clear what is OK for a 15-year-old to play is not OK for an 8-year- old.
Be careful not to be too harsh with the kids. You want them to continue to be open with you in sharing what goes on when they are with mom. Kids are savvy and learn quickly that by keeping their mouths shut, they may get away with inappropriate video games and other “treats,” so regularly check their devices for new apps and games. Also impress upon the kids that it is always OK for them to speak freely to mom about what goes on during your time with them and vice versa. In that way you should hear about any more inappropriate situations.
You are still married and sharing a home. The separation is new for your kids, so your outrage is warranted. You are right to call foul.