Shared custody can be difficult for children if there is no consistency. This consistency includes house rules at mom’s house and dad’s house, as well as regular times they can count on visiting and talking with mom and dad. Of course, it’s understandable that there may be resentments between both parents after a divorce or break up. But that should not stop parents from working together to provide the best and most nurturing environment for their child to be raised in.
In terms of consistency, one piece of advice is to make the most out of telephone calls and Skype, but to make sure to have a set schedule in terms of calls times. This means picking a day and time, like Thursdays at 5 p.m., and sticking with calling that time every single week. Also, make sure the time and length of time is something that works for everyone’s schedule. This means to keep in mind that teenagers may not even get home until 6 p.m. — and may only want to chat for a few minutes — and small children get tired and cranky rather early in the evening.
When it comes to visiting time, when a child spends the weekend with mom or dad, there is no reason that child should have to pack things like a toothbrush or pajamas. Instead, there should be a set of these items kept at both parents’ homes.
And, speaking of parents’ homes, children can benefit from having a picture of their dad in their bedroom at mom’s house and vice versa. This can really help a child to know that both parents are accepted in their lives.
Lastly, never underestimate the power of sending a card or balloons to just let a child know that their mom or dad is thinking of them, even if everyone is no longer together every single day.
Source: Huffington Post, “Sharing Custody of My Child: What Do I Do,” Anne Blumenthal Jacobs, Patricia Ryan Lampl and Tish Rabe, June 11, 2012