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Lives of Doctor Wives: Survivor Saturdays: Children Suffer Too

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Survivor Saturdays: Children Suffer Too

Recent Survivor Saturday posts have addressed how residency impacts you (the spouse), but I thought it important to mention that children are also impacted.

You may not notice the effect residency has right away, but from my experience children never come out untouched. They are often removed from their friends due to relocation, teased for being the rich kid, and given way too much at an early age. They are also often overlooked as mom tries to do everything, be everywhere, and forget nothing. Children compare themselves to other children and will certainly recognize that their daddy is not around like some other daddies are.

Be sure to talk to your child regularly about daddy's job. A child needs to know that when daddy is gone, daddy is missing the family. Sometimes, creating a "superman" image serves as a way for the child to understand why daddy would choose to be gone from the home and family. Make sure they understand that moving is not a choice, but a necessity, and only in preparation for good things that will benefit them later. This message is important to repeat often.

As children grow older, they may begin to voice their displeasure in the fact that dad is gone. Let them vent, and have monthly family meetings to discuss everyone's priorities. Communication can go a long way in helping your child to understand why dad is always busy. If possible, talk about family priorities and goals and do regular touch-base family meetings to see if everyone is still on the same page. If dad says he's working hard now because he's earning money for a fun family vacation, then that vacation better take place no matter what! If everyone agrees that Friday night pizza is good bonding time, then your daughter shouldn't be allowed to miss it for a new boyfriend. If the family decides to move so dad can have more time at home, he better be there more.

Family meetings may seem like a silly way to keep a family healthy, but it works. These discussions show your child that the family unit is important and that you and your spouse are willing to listen and change when called for. I wish I could tell you that this advice would eliminate all future parenting difficulties, but I'd be lying. Maybe someday I'll have some good advice on what to do when the children begin to rebel. For now, I'm googling the topic in hopes of finding some good advice.

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OpenID joz1234 said...

Kathi-Thanks for providing a small glimpse of what we may face in the future with our kids. I often wonder about things like this. I would love to hear some of the stories that caused you to learn some of these things. Every little bit helps. My oldest is about to start school, and I know as he is around other kids and as they get a little older that he will start noting the difference between his friends and their families and him more.

July 12, 2009 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Kathi Browne said...

I'll have to think about how I can share my experiences without embarrassing my children. It certainly gets tougher, the older they get. I'm actually writing a blog post on my own website that addresses some of this. I'll have to see if I can provide more specific info for this site. Thanks for the suggestion.

July 13, 2009 at 11:17 AM  

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