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How to help kids live in harmony between homes

Once completing the divorce process, parents aren’t fully finished dealing with their former spouse. If they share custody, both parties will still need to have open communication to raise their children.

Moving between houses isn’t usually easy on children nor the adults. Split families might encounter a variety of issues, such as favoritism, forgetting items at the other house and the stress of adjusting to a new environment. However, the way that parents behave and cooperate with one another can have a profound effect on how the children deal with this difficult change. Every time you exchange turns with the kids, you have an opportunity to ease the transition.

Moving to the other home can be jarring for children and teens. It may help to coordinate house rules and responsibilities with your former spouse. For example, a child has a strict bedtime at mom’s house, but dad does not enforce any bedtime. As a result, the child feels tired in school while staying with their father, but resents their mother for limiting their freedom. Both parents argue and the child is caught between them. Instead, agree on reasonable rules for both houses to spare the child from this kind of conflict.

How you treat the children will also make them feel safe and loved or add to their stress. Avoid complaining about the other parent, interrogating them about their stay in the other home or giving them the wrong amount of attention. Children will want time to settle in, so give them space if they ask for it. However, be sure to show your affection, too. Show your support at their concerts and sports games. You can also create a routine activity to enjoy together, like playing frisbee or reading books.

Raising children as a divorced parent is a very unique challenge. If you can’t work it out with your ex, feel free to consult your family law attorney for advice.

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