As readers of this blog know, we focus on divorce issues. This includes child custody issues. Indeed, in a recent blog post, we discussed how to juggle child custody during the holiday season.
In this post, we will focus on how New York parents can make their individual homes still feel like home for their children.
Torn between two places
During a divorce, if the parents have not chosen to nest, the child will shuttle back-and-forth between two unfamiliar homes. And, while both should feel like home, the unfortunate consequence of losing the family home is that neither new residence truly feels like home.
Experts agree that a child’s home is their foundation. They assume their home is stable and will remain stable.
Divorce can crack this foundation and affect their foundational belief system. This can cause them to question everything, like can their parents’ divorce them.
Accordingly, it is vital that both parents endeavor to make both places feel like home to ensure your child does not feel in constant flux without a home. Their physical space represents their emotional space.
Preparation and honesty
First, prepare your children through an honest discussion on what will occur. Let your kids ask questions and reinforce that the entire process is about the parents, not the kids. Nothing will change with the parental relationship.
Parents even find sharing children’s books about families with two homes can help normalize the process.
Try to stay in the same city and school district as the family home. This can help the children maintain their friend circle, grades, academics and social activities, etc.
The less the children must deal with during the divorce, the better. In fact many parents find that staying in the same city can help make the transition easier.
Their own space
Finally, give them ownership of their new homes. Involve them in selection process and decorating. Make sure you create their own space.
Even if it is not an entire room, even their own corner can go a long way toward giving them a personal stake in their new home. Bringing loved items from the family home into both spaces can also help with the transition.