The divorce is over, the court ordered custody plan is finally in place and you thought that was the hard part? Now is when the work truly begins. If you have been awarded joint custody for your children, how do you now bring them to a healthy adjustment process to having two homes?
The most important result in this journey is that your kids feel loved and secure wherever they are. In order to accomplish this, there and a variety of factors, obstacles and opportunities that may come into play.
Simplify drop-offs and pick-ups. Try to avoid arriving or dropping off late as this can cause stress between parents and interrupt the child’s schedule. Be flexible when you can, however, because no one is perfect and there will always be a time where you will want the same grace that you extend to your ex. If it’s not a consistent interruption, choose your battles.
Make packing as easy as possible so that it does not become a chore that both parent and child resent. If it becomes a burden, going to your ex’s will already start off on a negative note and will create problems for all involved down the line.
Make sure that your child has his/her own space to go to in each home. They need to understand that this is not ‘Mom’s house’ or Dad’s house’ but ‘their home’! If at all possible they should have their own room, but if not possible, at the very least, their own bed, dresser or closet space and study and/or play area. Make sure that they have a place for their toys, books, clothes etc. They should not feel like a guest or a short term visitor. Making sure that they already have their basic hygiene necessities and clothing in both homes will make them feel at home by not having to pack these items over and over again.
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but it warrants repeating; NEVER badmouth your ex during this transition time or any other time. Drop-offs and pick-ups may force you to be in contact with your ex and although that may be difficult, the last thing you want is for your child to be caught in the middle. Remember it’s your ex, but their ‘mama’ or ‘papa’. Always keep calm and deal with any difficult issues at a later time when the children are not around. You don’t want them to feel torn between the two people they love most in the world.
In summary remember that this is a new adjustment to all involved. You will find that some things work and some things won’t. Keep a vigilant eye on your child during this transition to make sure that they are adjusting well. This will take great effort on both parent’s part but the focus must never be about anything else but what is best for the children.
- Parenting Grown Children After Divorce (aboutthechildrenblog.com)