Children who are grappling with their parents' divorce are sure to face a broad range of challenges. One common stressor for kids of divorce is the time when they switch from one parent to another with a custody arrangement. Follow these tips to minimize the stress your children face when making the weekly transition to and from your home.
Say Goodbye Before the Transfer
Help your kids pack their bags and say good-bye before your ex arrives for the transfer. This extra time helps you avoid delays and speeds things up for when your ex is there. It also allows you the chance to comfort your children if they are having any anxieties or worries about going to your ex's house. Sometimes kids can get nervous during transfers, especially when it's new to them.
Simplify the Transfer
There is no need for extended meetings for children to go from your care to your ex's care each week. It's not the time to have discussions about the kids. In fact, if you have any friction with your ex, keep the transfer as brief as possible. Less time in your ex's presence is best and helps your child more quickly continue with the day once they are in their other parent's care.
Stay out of your ex's way by keeping it simple. A friendly greeting and wave as you exchange custody for the day will suffice. If conflict feels inevitable every time you see your ex, discuss dropping your children off at your ex's house, agreeing to stay in the car, wave, and watch them until they're safely inside. In turn, your ex may do the same when dropping the kids off at your house.
Consider Getting Duplicate Items
Kids may find the switch back and forth easier if they don't have to lug a lot of things to and from each parent's house. Talk to your ex about getting duplicates of several items that your kids may need. It's easy to get items like toothbrushes for both houses. Also, if your kids wear school uniforms, always keep some extras in both houses. Extra belongings in both houses can prevent a lot of stressful double-checking at transfer times.
Resist All Temptation to Engage in Drama
If your ex is combative and says rude things to you in front of the children, don't engage in a fight during the transfer. No matter how nasty your ex is, fighting back won't solve the problem. Instead, make notes about what was said to discuss the situation with your lawyer and address the issue with your ex later when the kids aren't around to overhear.
Be Flexible About Exchange Times
Be flexible about the transfer when it's not a huge inconvenience. Try not to get upset if your ex is a few minutes late as long as it is not a regular habit that throws off your plans. Also, if your ex arrives a few minutes early and the kids are ready, letting them go early can create a sense of goodwill. In turn, you may inspire your ex to be similarly considerate during future transfers.
Encourage Kids to Enjoy Time with Your Ex
It's common for children to feel guilty about having a good time without one of their parents during a divorce. They may even feel disloyal. Help the kids avoid this by encouraging them to have fun with your ex. You may even discuss enjoyable plans they have with your ex. Reassuring children that you want them to enjoy time with the other parent can be helpful.
You can step in and help your children with a lot of stressors that may come their way during a divorce. As you put the best interests of your kids first, you can best navigate the process of divorce. Contact the Law Office of Richard Eldridge to schedule a consultation to address your concerns about child custody and family law during your divorce.