Night Owls


My ex and I have been separated for over a year and have three kids, ages 8, 11 and 13. When they come home to me they’re exhausted and tell me how late they’re allowed to stay up at their dad’s. He doesn’t bother to get up and put them to bed so they just hang out till they crash. How can I get my ex to put them to bed at a decent time?


First, you cannot take what your kids say as 100% fact. Even honest adolescents stretch and bend the truth to their benefit at times. They’ve likely picked up on your (negative) reaction to them staying up late, so now may instinctually sway the blame more on their dad than on themselves. While you may have equal say in large matters of health, education, and religion, you cannot control the daily activities in his home. What they eat, when they eat, TV time and bedtime are all out of your hands when your kids are out of your house. Start by providing your ex with information free from personal commentary; a true sign someone has enough rest is that they wake up naturally. If they need to be woken out of a deep sleep up every morning they can benefit from more shuteye. Follow up by requesting that your ex take note of how your kids wake up. And then, as far as your ex, that’s it. Finish with your kids. Tell them why sleep is vital and the signs that indicate that they need more z’s. Encourage them to be proactive about their health and to go to bed when they should, even when no one is forcing them. And then, as far as your kids, that’s it. Kids are kids and kids like to stay up late. Do what you can when they’re with you and hope for the best.


My Ex Won’t Go Away!


My ex is so annoying, we split custody and she emails me often about our kids. I keep telling her that my time with the kids is my time and to stay out of it. But she keeps emailing me. Help!

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