After a divorce, it is common for parents to worry about how their children will grow accustomed to the custody arrangement and the concept of dividing time between two homes. There are many articles discussing this topic, including some of our own blog posts.
However, parents have to grow accustomed to this arrangement too. It is always important to consider the children first in these situations, but parents’ emotions – and struggles – frequently get overlooked. Here are a few things parents in these situations should consider.
Loss is a common fear
Most divorcing parents in North Carolina share the fear of losing any time with their children. This fear persists even if parents establish a shared parenting agreement and divide the time as equally as possible. Dividing time with the children is not easy, but it does not mean that parents lose their children – or their children’s love – and it is possible to work through this fear.
New book meant for parents highlights this issue
A California mother recently published a book specifically addressing this topic. It is a children’s book meant for adults. Titled, “Your Kid is Coming Back: A Feel-Good Reminder for Parents with Shared Custody,” it emphasizes two points:
- It is okay to show you are sad “in the moment” about your child leaving and to discuss these difficult emotions in an age-appropriate manner
- However, it is critical to reaffirm that this arrangement is what is best for the whole family
Parents often focus on guiding their children through this stressful time. However, they should make sure they address their own feelings regarding this new arrangement as well.
How can parents make this adjustment easier?
Adjusting to this new structure will be different for every parent. Time is often the biggest factor in helping people to adapt to a new situation until it begins to feel normal. Even so, there are a few other steps parents can take, including:
- Allowing yourself to feel these emotions, but remembering they are temporary
- Taking advantage of resources, such as this book, professional counseling or connections with family and friends
- As we discussed in a previous blog post, preparing for the time when the kids are with the other parent
Throughout the divorce, parents prepare for the next chapter of their lives. Yet, it is not easy to prepare for how you will deal with the emotional aftershocks of a divorce. It will take time, and perhaps some literature, but families can make it through to the new normal.