5 Ways To Ease Kids’ Divorce Transition Between Homes

5 Ways To Ease Kids’ Divorce Transition Between Homes

By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC

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Parenting plans and contact schedules are an important part of divorce proceedings. They help create a semblance of routine in this new chapter of family life for divorcing parents.

I am a strong believer in co-parenting whenever possible to serve the best interest of your children. But not all couples can work together with civility and harmony. So sometimes parallel parenting becomes the plan, meaning you both parent the children but with minimum communication between one another.

Keep in mind that your kids pick up on the emotional energy around their parents and life after divorce is smoother and easier for them when their parents behave maturely and responsibly.  

However you work out your shared parenting plan, it’s the day-to-day challenges of post-divorce life that puts all co-parents to the test.

Here are 5 important ways to ease the process for everyone involved, children and parents alike.

  1. Be patient with one another. Starting any new schedule in life is never easy. Chances are the between-home transitions will present a number of challenges for you as you adapt to the many responsibilities involved. At the same time, think about the challenges for your children who never signed on for this. Be especially empathic with them if they express frustration, anger and resentment at first. Listen to them; respect their right to voice their feelings. Also allow your children time to adjust to the “new” home after each transition. In time these changes will become just another “routine.” Remember, your ex is adjusting to these changes just as you are. Be tolerant of one another. You’re all in the same boat so to speak.

  2. Be prepared with all information in advance. Never argue or have disagreements over drop-off and pick-up details or parenting issues in front of your children. Have a calendar app or use one of the convenient online scheduling programs available so you and the kids can see at a glance when transitions will occur. Establish a system for creating and confirming schedule data — and use it. Know the answers before leaving home. Keep drop offs quick, simple and pleasant for the kids.Create a brief goodbye routine and send them on their way with a hug and a smile. If there are issues to discuss, talk to your ex when you’re both alone at another time.

  3. Be as consistent as you can be. Consistency helps your children   adjust more easily. Maintaining the same rules about bedtime, chores, homework and discipline makes life simpler for your children. When that’s an issue you can’t agree upon, keep in mind the more you change living habits from home to home the more confusing, frustrating and difficult it can be for your children. Don’t be resistant just to annoy your child’s other parent. It hurts the kids far more than your ex and the negative consequences can be long lasting. Make agreements whenever you can and agree to disagree fairly so both parents feel they’re in the game.

  1. Be pleasant and positive. Some children feel guilty about staying at the other parent’s house. They fear you’ll feel lonely or abandoned. It’s important to give your children permission to enjoy themselves and their time with Dad or Mom. Tell them you have much to do and will appreciate some “alone” time. Remind them you will also miss them and look forward to their return. In advance, talk to them about the fun they will have and how much their other parent wants to see them, as well. Let them know both Mom and Dad love them and deserve time with them. Never say disrespectful things about your ex before the visit or ask them to spy on Mom or Dad on your behalf. Let your children enjoy just being kids!

  2. Be cooperative, flexible and understanding. Allow your children to feel free to contact their other parent — and let that parent contact them when necessary. Never create the feeling that their Mom or Dad is the enemy who can’t invade on YOUR time with the kids. Be respectful when you do check in with them – and allow the same courtesy to your ex. That is what co-parentingis all about. Sometimes plans change. Bend over backwards to accommodate your ex and more than likely they will do the same for you. This models behavior you want your children to learn anyway. Why not take the high road and be the parent you want your children to admire and emulate?

Remember, your children are watching you and learning from you. If you keep these 5 points in mind, you will be on your way to creating and living the child-centered divorce you want for your children. You have the power to make one of the most challenging post-divorce realities – sharing time with your children – a smooth and successful experience. You will all benefit from the effort you make to do it right from the very beginning.

Have doubts, problems, questions and fears? Reach out to a divorce coach, therapist, or support group for the answers you need. Don’t sit in silence and stew. You’re not alone. There’s lots of help available locally and online. So why not start today?

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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, Founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love!

For her free ebook on Post-Divorce Parenting: Success Strategies for Getting It Right, her Coaching services and other valuable resources on divorce and parenting issues, go to: www.childcentereddivorce.com.




Co-Parenting Success Is Based On A Healthy Mind-Set After Divorce

Co-Parenting Success Is Based On A Healthy Mind-Set After Divorce

By Rosalind Sedacca, CDC

Getting divorced and preparing for the responsibilities of co-parenting ahead? This facet of life after divorce can be enormously complex and challenging for several good reasons:

  • Both parents are bringing the raw emotions resulting from the divorce into a new stage in their lives.
  • Mom and Dad are also bringing previous baggage from the marriage – ongoing conflicts, serious disputes, differing styles of communication, unresolved issues and continual frustrations — into the mix as they negotiate a co-parenting plan.
  • Both parents are vying for the respect and love of the children – and are easily tempted to slant their parenting decisions in the direction that wins them popularity with the kids.
  • Anger and resentment resulting from the divorce settlement can impact and influence levels of cooperation in the years to come.
  • Parents may disagree about major issues ahead that weren’t part of the parenting dynamic in the past including: visits and sleepovers with friends, scheduling after-school activities, handling curfews, new behavior problems, consequences for smoking, drinking and drug use, dating parameters, using the car and scheduling vacation time.
  • Parents may not share values and visions for the children as they grow and may also not agree on the plan of action required to honor those values.

When these differing dynamics appear parents might find themselves struggling to find ways of coping. So keep this in mind: Agreement on how to co-parent effectively in the present and the future is not a one-time discussion. It takes on-going communication, both verbal and written as well as regular meetings via phone, email, online scheduling tools or in person. And it takes a commitment to make co-parenting work – because you both want and need it to!

The consequences, when it doesn’t work, can be considerable. Your children are very likely to exploit any lack of parental agreement or unity, pitting Mom and Dad against one another while they eagerly take advantage of the situation. This is a danger sign that can result in significant family turmoil fueled by behavior problems that neither parent can handle. See the headlines across all forms of media as examples of co-parenting done wrong.

When Mom and Dad are on the same page, so to speak, they can parent as a team regardless of how far apart they live. These parents agree about behavioral rules, misbehavior consequences, routine schedules and shared intentions regarding their children. They discuss topics of disagreement and find solutions they can both live with – or agree to disagree and not make those differences an area of contention.

If curfew in Mom’s house is 9:00 pm and it’s 10:00 pm in Dad’s house, that can still work if both parents respect the differences and let the children know it’s all okay. When differing curfews becomes an issue of major contention, that’s when the kids can get hurt – caught between battling parental egos. Children are confused and often feel guilty in battling parent situations, which rarely lead to any good within the family structure.

Keep in mind that when you’re more open and receptive to your co-parent, you are more likely to get what you really want in the end. Good listening skills, flexibility and the commitment to do what’s best on behalf of your children are part of a smart co-parenting mindset. Remember too that co-parenting will be a life-long process for the both of you. Why not do it in a way that will garner your children’s respect and appreciation? They will thank you when they are grown adults.

If you need help with one challenge or any array of co-parenting issues, engage my help through personal coaching or check out the many online coaching tools and programs I offer. They will all support you in making better decisions on behalf of your children and your long-term co-parenting success.

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Rosalind Sedacca, CDC is the founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network, a Divorce & Co-Parenting Coach and author of the acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids About the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide To Preparing Your Children — With Love!To get her free ebook, coaching services, expert interviews, programs, e-courses and other valuable resources on divorce and co-parenting, visit: http://www.childcentereddivorce.com

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