Adjusting to your new arrangements can be hard for everyone after a divorce. Yet it may be the hardest of all for your child. They are the ones who need to travel between homes. They are the ones who did not have any say in your decision to separate.
Here are three things you can do as parents to try to help your child adapt:
- Agree on rules: If you and your ex have an amicable relationship, try to work with them to develop ground rules that apply across both households. Not everything needs to be identical, but differences over things such as bedtimes or freedom to go out on school nights could confuse your child or allow them to play you off against each other.
- Retain some traditions: Try to keep some of the same routines as you had before your divorce. By doing this, your child begins to feel more emotionally secure.
- Talk to each other: Two heads are better than one. You might notice some things your co-parent does not and vice versa. Or your child might speak to one of you about things they do not share with the other parent.
How easy it will be to implement these strategies depends on how well you and your ex can communicate. The more problematic your divorce, the harder it may be.
What if your spouse is making it harder for your child to adapt?
It is easy to feel the other parent is doing things wrong. They may feel the same about you. Tolerance and patience are key here. If, however, you believe your co-parent is purposefully trying to make things difficult by contradicting you whenever possible or ignoring the rules you agreed to, it may be time to investigate your legal options to modify custody for the sake of your child.