A divorce or parental break-up can be very hard on the children in a family. Shared custody arrangements are usually the preferred outcome in this difficult situation. Maintaining relationships with both parents can benefit the children.
Unfortunately, shared custody can also be difficult on the kids because of the frequent moves between houses and the potential for conflict between parents. How can you make shared custody easier for your kids?
Don’t let the kids see your disagreements
If you have an issue with your ex bringing your kids back late or their refusal to enforce bedtime, that is something you want to address directly with them and not with the children. It’s important that the children neither feel like you have put them in the middle of your disagreements nor like every custody exchange is a fight waiting to happen.
Try to keep things consistent
It can be hard to live in two different households. You and your ex can make this process easier for your children by agreeing on certain rules and routines in your parenting plan. It is easier for your children to meet your expectations and follow the household rules when they are the same in both homes.
Support your child with their expression of emotions
Your children may still struggle with intense emotions because of your divorce even if you try to shield them from it. Giving them age-appropriate support to deal with their feelings can help.
Therapy or support groups may be necessary for some children. Others may want to express their feelings using art or music. Encouraging your child to do that and giving them a safe space to do so will make it easier for them to process their feelings.
Being a supportive parent when learning to manage shared custody will help your kids adjust to your new family circumstances.