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Tips for Easing Your Child’s Transitions

When the parents of young children divorce, children who transition between parental homes can develop mild, moderate or severe degrees of separation anxiety. While some issues with separation are normal in young children facing dramatic changes in their lives, separation difficulties can prove highly disruptive to both children and their parents.

If your child is struggling with transitions, here are some things you can do to help your child adjust to new situations:

  • Allow adequate hand-off time — A hasty transition can increase a child’s anxiety. Schedule enough time for the drop-off to anticipate the child’s need for reassurance and comfort. Leaving your child while they are upset might exacerbate the anxiety and make the next transition even more difficult.
  • Provide transitional objects — If your child has not already done so, choose a favorite toy or stuffed animal to be the designated escort. Taking along a familiar object can significantly reduce a child’s anxiety when changing homes.
  • Acknowledge feelings — No matter how old your child is or how you think they should be handling your divorce, acknowledge that this is how they feel right now. It’s hard, and they are not likely to be easily talked out of their suffering.
  • Control your emotions — If you have strong feelings about your child going to spend the night or the weekend with your ex, keep those feelings to yourself. Children have a natural desire to take care of their parents, so leaving you in a puddle of tears is not likely to make the transition easier.
  • Resist the urge to give in — The only way to make transitions easier for children is so establish a routine. Things get easier after a while, but not if you don’t insist and persist through the initial rough patch. Understand that you have a court-ordered agreement and you have no choice other than to help your child feel comfortable leaving you for a period of time.
  • Look carefully at the situation — If your child is really distraught over going to your ex, take a closer look at what the problem might be. If you suspect there may be abuse, neglect or any other inappropriate or harmful behavior going on, speak to your attorney about your suspicions immediately.

Your Boca Raton family law attorney can help you create a time-sharing and parenting plan that works for your family.

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