After a divorce, there are often stresses in a child’s life which an adult may overlook. One of the chief stresses can be the transition from your home to your ex-spouse’s home, whatever the time interval (every few days, weekends, several weeks). This is a constant disruption to a child’s life, and a persistent reminder of the family breakup. So how to best assist your children during these moves?

We can split these transitions into two broad areas: When your child is dropped off, and when your child is picked up. You and your ex should agree upon these basic guidelines to help your child adjust to the changes.

As we see played out in TV and movie dramas over and over, parents may have a difficult time in letting go at the appointed hour. But remember this is about the child, not the parents. So ease this time by adhering to the schedule, departing and delivering your child on time as agreed. Remind your child a day or two before the move so they have time to prepare and be ready for the change. Help them pack, including a favorite toy or game, outfit, or other items that are familiar and comforting. Do not wait until the last minute and rush packing, but be ready well in advance. If at all possibile, drop off your child, rather than having your spouse pick them up, so that you avoid the risk of disrupting some special moment or connection.

When your child comes back from your spouse, again, it’s better that your spouse drop the child off rather than you go to pick the child up. This way your child gets to complete their time with their other parent without interruption. Ask your child what they want to do: spend some intimate time with you doing some favorite activity like reading, cooking or playing; run out to play with friends they’ve missed; or settle into being home with the TV and pets. Give them time and space if they need it, but stay nearby and attentive. Remember that children like routine and patterns, which give them a sense of safety and wellbeing, so establish a “return routine” such as game playing, visiting the playground, or serving a favorite dinner which your child can help prepare.

Watch for signs of stress and anxiety. Some children will adjust to these changes better than others (with much depending on how the parents act and react), so if your child shows any distress or anxious behavior, consider with your ex the benefits of counseling for your child.

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DISCLAIMER
The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. The use of this Blog does not create an attorney/client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Barry R. Lewis. If you are considering divorce or if you are involved in any legal matter, you should hire an attorney.

Massachusetts Divorce and Family Law
Attorney Barry R. Lewis — Divorce Law Specialist
Locations Throughout Eastern & Central Massachusetts :: 508-879-3262