Dealing With Kids' Emotions From A Back-And-Forth Visitation Schedule
If you have recently gone through a divorce, you may be in a situation where joint custody has been granted. This can be a great resolution for parents, but can be confusing and stressful on children. It is important to acknowledge how much your children's lives have been affected by visitation schedules. Here are three ways you can help your child work through their emotions from the back-and-forth they face getting used to a new visitation schedule.
1. Get Your Kids Counseling
While you may have undergone attorney-recommended family therapy or other types of counseling leading up to and during your divorce, your kids might need to continue one-on-one therapy. They might benefit from having an external professional to talk with about their experiences around acclimating to two households. If you can find your children a counselor, they might benefit from a trusted adult that can be there to hear what they are going through. Your children won't feel as if they need to confide in one parent over the other.
2. Talk With Them if You are the 'Bad Guy'
If you may have left your spouse or ultimately might have been the cause of your divorce, you might come off as the 'bad guy'. Your children may have a misperception of you that's been voiced by their other parent that you might have to work through. While you shouldn't try to put kids against your ex-spouse, it is important to reiterate that your divorce was between you and your ex and isn't related to your relationship with your kids. Be as open as you can and let your kids ask questions about what to expect moving forward, and basic questions around your divorce.
3. Transition Days and Readjustment Periods
Give your kids space when they return to your home after being with your ex. Transition days can be jarring for your kids, so don't come off too strong when you finally do see your kids. They might need a little bit of downtime to readjust and assimilate back into your home. Let your children have a little quiet time in their rooms and they can come to you when they are ready to see you and get back into the swing of things.
You might be relieved that your divorce proceedings are completed and that a visitation schedule has been mapped out with your divorce attorneys that works for everyone. Don't forget that a new schedule and lifestyle adjustment is just beginning for your kids. Try to be sensitive to their specific situation and do what you can to make transitions easier and their back-and-forth between parents less stressful.