DEAR AMY: My 9-year-old daughter sleeps with me because she's scared in her room. If I want to read in bed or simply don't want her to sleep with me, I will make her sleep in her bed, and she does it. Her dad and I are divorced, and there are no other men in my life, so I feel it's OK. My ex-husband thinks I'm babying her and causing her to be dependent on me. What's your opinion?Single Mom
DEAR MOM: Your daughter is able to sleep by herself when she is at her dad's house and when you ask her to, so you should cop to babying her and enjoying this togetherness.
Your ex has a point -- that establishing consistent routines between households will be good for your daughter. However, when it comes to parenting, no one thing works well all the time; good parenting is circumstantial. You and your ex should be supportive and respectful of one another's styles.
Is she "dependent" on you? I assume so. A 9-year-old should depend on both of her parents, though she will look to you and her father for different things.
When my daughter was at that age and I was a single parent, I limited the co-sleeping to Saturday nights. This might work for you.
DEAR AMY: Many years ago, I left my first marriage. At the time, I tried to explain myself to each of my children and to my former wife. Given our histories, she and I had a difficult time communicating. This situation was then made impossible when I decided to annul our marriage in order to retain my Catholic faith. While an "administrative" requirement of the church, it deeply wounded at least one of my children -- and her mother. Despite many amends and taking full responsibility for my actions, my former wife remains bitter and unwilling to have any contact with me. I worry about the effect on our children who remain close to her -- and we're both getting older. Any thoughts would be most welcome.Sad Dad
DEAR SAD: Do all you can to forge a relationship with your children. Attempt to see them, tolerate the awkwardness and try to build on experiences together. Their mother should not further poison your relationship by putting their loyalty on the line.
To make amends, you need to actually "make up for" or undo a wrong in order to make it right. You cannot undo an annulment the way you can undo a marriage. And so you must apologize, acknowledge the hurt and ask for forgiveness.
The people in your family also have a responsibility not to live in their bitterness and not to punish you for an action you have acknowledged, apologized for and cannot undo.