Spending time with your child is important after divorce and child custody arrangements, because it reinforces the idea that they are still loved. Talking to a child about divorce is an initial step, and prepares them for the changes to come. Making up your own routines now is a good way to create a feeling of belonging and acceptance for the new family structure. In the difficult aftermath of a divorce and child custody arrangements, parents are often tempted to relax the rules of the house because the child has been through so much. However, a familiar routine, even one of regular bedtimes and school morning routines, can be comforting to a child in a new and upsetting situation, and it is best to stick to it firmly.
Once child custody arrangements have been made, parents will need to work together to ensure that their divorce does not damage their child. Co-parenting a child from separate sides of a divorce requires a commitment from both partners that they will continue to do what is best for the child, and deal with their own issues independently. When a child is already dealing with the fact of shuttling between two houses and two adults who are no longer married, a few child custody guidelines can help.
Children In A Divorce: Child Custody Guidelines
- Don’t use children as messengers to each other. Whether communication is difficult, angry or resentful, children bearing messages find it upsetting to be in a situation like this. They feel forced to take sides or show loyalty and will be left hurt and confused.
- When children stay over, try to follow familiar routines as much as possible. Trying to win favor by letting them stay up late or do anything they are not allowed otherwise is a petty trick and can be damaging in the long run.
- Children are naturally curious and will ask questions long after divorce and custody papers have been signed. Answering questions patiently and with sensitivity both to the child and to the other parent is the right way to handle this situation. Blaming the other parent or calling names will make the child feel torn between the two.
- Many parents find it almost impossible to pump children for answers about the other parent: how they are managing, what their friends are saying, whether they have any new special friends. No matter how old the child is, this can lead to guilt, torn loyalties, and lying to save one parent’s feelings and to avoid further fighting.
Parents And Child Custody Arrangements
Dealing with issues that arise in divorce and child custody can be difficult, especially when a divorce has not been amicable. Parents of children in a divorce, however, must be ready to make the commitment to co-parenting as respectful and sensitive adults, for the sake of the child. Creating a schedule and child custody guidelines may seem childish and immature to both parents, but can often help smooth out areas of discord. Some child custody advice:
- Make clear demarcations on topics like religion, education, financial factors, holidays or festivals, etc. When it comes to these issues, both parents should have a responsibility and a commitment, and adhere to it.
- While parenting styles and discipline methods may differ, divorced parents should avoid a drastic change to reduce the damaging impact on the child. Child custody guidelines between parents can make lives easier for all involved.
- Treating the other parent with respect and consideration makes things smoother for both parents and children. Informing the other parent in advance about not being able to fulfill child custody arrangements, such as being there for a school event or taking the child for a holiday, gives time to prepare the child for the disappointment and make other arrangements.
- Using the child as a means to collect payments of alimony or child support, to hurt or make the other parent feel guilty are hugely damaging to a child’s self esteem and sense of belonging.
- Resolve to discuss all issues about payments, financial decisions and custody issues when alone.
With healthy communication, sensitivity, and showing respect for the other partner at least when it comes to co-parenting, co-parenting will become easier with time. Remember that it is difficult for you to be a good parent if you are emotionally or physically weak. Taking time out for yourself, exercising and taking care of your own health, and if necessary talking to professionals can help you deal with issues that arise with a divorce.
- Child Custody – Family Law Free Advice