Discussing custody and the changes it brings is difficult to have with children. As a parent, your natural instinct is to protect them from any harm. Though you may prefer to avoid discussing this topic completely in order to prevent upsetting your child, custody will affect their lives just as much as yours. Your honesty and support may be what helps them adjust to their new reality.
Don’t avoid; be proactive.
Children in the middle of custody disputes often feel confused, overwhelmed and angry. They could lay the blame on themselves or try to do something they think would fix things.
Explaining what custody is and how it works may help assure your child that they did nothing wrong and that both parents still love them. Keep things straightforward and easy to understand, and don’t dive too deep beyond what your child can understand.
Before having this talk, it would be smart to agree with your former spouse on how to approach the topic. Presenting a united front can help make things less confusing for your child. When you find the right opportunity to talk to your child, remember to acknowledge their feelings and allow them to ask questions.
Emphasize what will not change.
Children, just like anyone, are afraid of the unknown. However, stability is essential for children. Now that they will be living between houses, they may be worried about what will happen to them.
Make every effort to reassure your child that you and your ex-spouse will always love and care for them. Inform them that they can count on you to still be there at their games, recitals or other events. Share what specific holidays they can expect you to spend together.
Additionally, it may be beneficial to your child if you and your former spouse agree to maintain similar routines and regulations in both homes.
Put your child’s well-being front and center
Navigating child custody disputes can be a nightmare, but it’s crucial to keep in mind that your child could be struggling, too. Initiating an open conversation may reassure your child that they can trust you. If they have any problems, they know they can come to you for help, which might help them adapt to their new situation more quickly.