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Home Alone; and Divorced In-Laws

Apr 21, 1997

I was wondering if there is a minimum age for leaving children at home? I cannot find anything on the law in my state.
Worried Mom

DEAR Worried Mom:
I believe that this type of law is set on the state level -- so you'll have to check with your local state and city. More to the point perhaps, is whether you really feel that it's good to leave your child home alone. You haven't mentioned an age, but if the child is young enough for you to be worried about the legal aspects, that might be a signal that the child is really too young. I'd recommend that you find a good baby-sitter, for your child's sake, and your peace of mind.

After my wife and I were married for one year her mother and father went through a divorce. It was particularly unpleasant as her father is/was a pastor. Since the divorce my wife has had very bitter feelings towards her father. He did not do a lot with her when she was growing up because he was always busy with the church. He wants to have a relationship with her now, but she does not even want to talk with him. She is extremely close to her mother. Her mother did not ask for the divorce, but he did. I have been caught in the middle of the in-laws and my wife several times. My father-in-law will call me or talk to me about how my wife is doing.

I am concerned about several different things; the impact that this could have on our marriage, how this will affect my wife, and I really don't know how to help my wife through this time. I would do anything in the world. I have suggested that she needs to sit down and talk with her father, but she says she has nothing to talk to him about.

Any suggestions on books or groups that could help a Married man going through the divorce of his in-laws???

On the HeartThread Resource Guide Links page, at "", you can find a list of some resources. Among them are the Options Institute, and Retrouvaille. There are undoubtedly more groups out there, but these two seem very good.

I recommend that you focus on establishing a strong bond of heart with your wife as your first priority. Instead of taking sides with the father-in-law or mother-in-law, anchor yourself firmly on the side of your wife. By supporting her, and letting her know that you are on her side, you'll have a chance to help her heal her wounds. It would be tragic if her parents' divorce impacted your marriage. She may feel very defensive about her attitude toward her father. You wouldn't want her to transfer that feeling toward you.

Ultimately, the right thing for her to do is to extend to her father, and try to re-establish a relationship of love. Even though she may have resentment toward her father, her own attitude should be one of forgiveness and reconciliation. She may not approve of her father's actions, but we're all finally left with the inescapable conclusion that if we don't love the other person, it's our own heart that is deficient. This doesn't mean that she has to validate his actions -- simply that she'll adopt an unselfish, parental attitude of love toward him. A parental attitude of love is an initiating type of love, that reaches out and says, "Even though you may have problems, I'm going to love you anyway." Who doesn't have problems? If we're worthy of being loved, certainly the other person is too.

With you as her ally and friend, she'll have the strength to change -- someday. Focus on loving your wife, and being her support -- you'll gain strength as well.

Peter Falkenberg Brown is passionate about writing, publishing, public speaking and film. He hopes that someday he can live up to his favorite motto: “Expressing God’s kind and compassionate love in all directions, every second of every day, creates an infinitely expanding sphere of heart.”

~ Deus est auctor amoris et decoris. ~

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Peter Falkenberg Brown
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