Reaching an agreement on child custody is a sine qua non for divorcing parents. While the process of divorce and the resolution of attendant issues can be highly emotional and stressful, sometimes that stress continues even after the divorce is made final. In particular, child custody issues present their own challenges as children work through their feelings about splitting time between parents and parents cope with seeing their children less frequently than they used to.
But there are ways that all parties can make a smoother transition into the reality of a post-divorce family. Fortunately, we live in an age when communication is not only convenient, but instantaneous. For parents who do not often see their children, a phone call or video chat can be an excellent way to keep in touch. Experts recommend calling at a regularly set time because children welcome a routine and everyone can schedule other responsibilities around the call.
Along the lines of routine, experts also suggest that parents lay down some ground rules when the children are staying with them. In addition, parents can create a tradition or common activity that they and their children can engage in, such as a card game, playing catch or watching a movie. In addition to creating a bond between parents and children, these activities provide children with structure.
Lastly, parents should do their best not to get the children caught up in any lingering feelings between them. For example, parents should permit children to bring mementos that remind them of the other parent into their home, regardless of the emotions the parent still harbors towards his or her ex-spouse.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Sharing Custody of My Child: What Do I Do?” Ann Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl and Tish Rabe, June 11, 2012.