Helping Your Child Cope with Custody Arrangements

It is hard for everyone when a divorce is happening. Mothers and fathers may feel negatively toward one another, while children may feel that the divorce is their fault or that they have contributed to it.

One of the things that kids have the hardest time with is splitting up time with their parents. In the past, they've always had access to both parents any time the parents were home. Now, they're going to be with one or the other, which makes it more difficult to talk to the other parent when the children want to.

How can you help your child adjust to the changes that are happening?

The first thing you should do is talk to your child about custody and what it means. In your case, it might mean that your child lives in the same home five days a week and visits mom or dad on the weekend. It might mean spending one week at mom's house and one week at dad's house. Whatever the situation is for you, be clear about it with your child and listen to his or her concerns.

If your child has a problem living with one parent or the other, it's a good idea to talk about it and work out that issue ahead of time. Unhappiness puts a strain on relationships, even between parents and their children.

What else can you do to make the divorce easier on your child?

Remember that anxiety and stress are noticeable. Your child can tell when you're upset or scared. Try to keep arguments out of the home, and be clear about what's happening so that your child isn't worrying about the future. If you can provide a stable idea of what happens next in your custody arrangements, this will help relieve many of a child's fears.