Divorce can make you feel lonely, uncertain and concerned for what lies ahead, and it more than likely does the same for your child. Though separations and divorces are never easy, there are steps you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can take to minimize animosity and make the transitional period easier on your offspring.
Adjusting to life in two homes is a major change for many kids, and if yours are going through this transition, you may be able to make it easier by:
Maintaining consistency during pickups and drop-offs
Often, child psychologists recommend having whichever parent has been watching the child be the one to transport the child back to the home of the other parent. Having this set in stone from day one minimizes the chances of you and your ex fighting if one of you believes the other is trying to encroach on parenting time.
Giving your child a say in the new surroundings
Most children will be more likely to want to visit a parent in a new home if they have something to look forward to there, such as new furniture, a special toy or what have you. Thus, it makes sense to let your child customize the space at the new home to some degree. However, too many changes all at once can prove overwhelming, so injecting a dose of familiarity into a new space in the form of a beloved quilt or stuffed animal may help minimize associated stress.
Avoiding trying to trump the other parent
Divorces can leave a lot of hurt feelings in their wake, and sometimes these feelings arise from a child opting to live with one parent over the other. Regardless of which role you find yourself in, avoid the temptation of “buying” your child’s affections. Rather than compete with one another, your child needs to see you and your ex stand united, and this starts with avoiding any efforts to one-up one another.
Helping a child adapt to two homes is a process, but there are things you can do to make it easier. For more advice about child custody and related issues, consider getting in touch with an attorney.