Does your child’s behavior change before and/or after visiting their other parent?
Children in shared custody go through a settling in time. Some may be quiet or subdued, others may be overactive and attention seeking. Allow them time to adjust. You may also find your child’s behavior changes prior to a visit; some withdraw emotionally before making the transition back to the other parent’s house. These behaviors are typical symptoms of the emotions children go through as they cope with having to say good-bye to one parent and settle into life with their other parent.
Have a routine in place to smooth the transition between homes. A change over routine helps children feel secure by providing clear guidance on when, where and how things will happen; they know what to anticipate. On the other hand, lack of structure during visits can leave a child feeling awkward and uncertain because they don’t know what’s expected of them.
Give children age appropriate duties or responsibilities, not so much to help you out but to help them feel a sense of belonging and significance. Allocate time for a family activity and time for them to spend alone with their biological parent. Organize a meal together where you can discuss what you’ve done and what will happen during their next visit.
You don’t need to be rigid in your schedule but have a structure in place to avoid guilt driven ‘Disneyland parenting’.
For help with your children’s behavior or answers to questions regarding blended families please contact us at the Center for Family Unity at 619-884-0601