Going through a divorce is never easy, but it is often even more difficult when you and your ex have children together. While separation is often the best decision for giving kids a healthy home, it can be complicated to explain this to children in a way that does not add further stress to the situation. Explaining custody can be particularly difficult, but there are ways to do so effectively.
The following tips are a good place to start with talking to your kids about custody arrangements during a divorce. Rather than approaching the topic with negativity, take a positive stance and use the following suggestions to make the discussion a productive one:
Collaborate with your ex
It is important to involve your ex in the discussions you plan on having with your child. While communicating with your ex can be understandably stressful, collaboration is important, especially when it comes to broaching difficult topics like custody with kids. You should ensure that you and your ex have a coherent narrative that makes your kids feel safe and secure despite the impending changes.
Focus on consistency
According to SFGate, more divorced parents in the San Francisco area are opting for nesting rather than living separately. Nesting refers to the practice of sharing a home even after divorce so that kids maintain a stable home. While financial motivations may play a part, this can also provide a consistency that may otherwise be lost in the process of negotiating custody.
As you are talking with your kids, it is important to make sure the conversation is not one-sided. While you should provide them with the information and reassurance they need, you should also seek feedback from them and take their reactions into consideration. Providing kids with options and asking for input can help maintain a sense of balance during the transition.