Help Your Child Transition From House To House
Children do not always like change. The concept of going back and forth between houses can be frustrating and stressful at first. Do what you can to make this transition easy for your child. Talk about the visit in a positive manner, and remind your child about a transition a couple of days before it happens. “Are you excited about seeing your dad this weekend?” Help your child pack a little in advance, and tell your former spouse about important information before you drop off the child (he hasn’t been feeling well lately, he needs to do a book report this weekend, he hasn’t been sleeping well, etc.). The only conversation that should happen when you drop off the child is “Have a great time!”
Drop Off – Don’t Pick Up
Ideally, you should always drop off your child at the other parent’s house. Neither of you should pick up the child after a visit. This seems silly and potentially inconvenient, but it sends a better message to the child. If you pick up your child from your former spouse’s house, that may be perceived as you taking the child away. This isn’t the case, of course, but that’s how your child may see it. If you always drop your child off at the end of a visit, the transitions will feel much more natural.
Spend Time With Your Child After A Transition
When your child gets home, ask him or her about the visit. Don’t approach this from a gossip perspective (“What did your father have you doing this time?”). Take a genuine interest in what went on in your child’s life while he or she was away. Spend some quality time together reading a book, watching a movie, doing homework, or something else along those lines and ask your former spouse to do the same.
What To Do When Your Child Doesn’t Want To Leave…
There may be days when your child refuses to go over to your former spouse’s house. This may have nothing to do with your previous partner, so try not to jump to conclusions. Get to the root of the problem – ask your child why he or she doesn’t want to go over there. Stay calm, and promote the positive reasons for the visit. Talk to your ex in the meantime and see if he or she knows why your child is refusing to leave. Work together to come up with the best solution for your child.
For more information about co-parenting after divorce, contact Perspectives Of Troy Counseling Centers in Michigan to work with a family counselor near you.