While I haven’t gone through a divorce, I have a few friends that have and my own parents got a divorce when I was young. Once you get divorced, kids may not understand why they can’t be with mom AND dad all the time. You’ll have to explain what child custody means after your divorce and here’s a few tips to do it the right way!
Sit Down With Both Parents
You may be tempted to talk to your child by yourself but make sure to sit down with your child and your ex. It is important for them to hear it from both of you. Pick a neutral place to talk it out if you don’t want to do it in your current home or new home. Remain calm and make sure not to fight with your ex-partner in front of them. Let your child know how much both parents love them and that you’ll always be there for them – no matter which parent they are with at the time.
Explain The Schedule
When you sit down with your child, explain the custody schedule with them. Let them know which days they will be with each parent. Tell them where they will be for upcoming holidays, who will be bringing them to sports practices, etc. When going through a divorce and their whole life changing, they need certainty so make sure to answer all the questions they have about their new schedule.
Let Them Know You’re There For Them
Your child may be gaining a new house or even two new houses. Let your child know that both places are their home. Let them have their personal items and keepsakes at both places so they don’t ever feel like one place is more home than the other. When talking to your child about the new custody agreement, let them know they belong at both places. Let them know they are welcome at any time and that they can talk to the other parent at any time. Just because they are with mom, it doesn’t mean they can’t call or FaceTime dad.
Let Your Child Feel Heard
After you explain how custody will work to your child, let them feel heard. Ask them questions, let them ask you questions. It’s important that they feel heard and are able to share their feelings with you during this life transition.
I know that this can be a tough conversation for you, your ex-partner and your child but with the tips above, you can make the conversation a little bit easier.