Child visitation issues are unfortunately common for parents who have gone through divorce. Sometimes, those visitation issues are directly caused by their children. Younger children may refuse to travel back and forth, while others will want to go with one parent over the other despite a schedule that is already put into place.
Whether your child is resentful and throwing tantrums each time they have to go to the other parent’s home or is homesick each time they’re will one of you, it’s your responsibility as parents to make changes that will help them adapt.
Separation anxiety is a significant source of trauma for children
In many cases, separation anxiety is a source of trauma and distress for children. For children who were used to seeing their mom or dad every day, having to go multiple days without meaningful contact can be difficult.
That’s why parents should make an effort to choose a custody schedule that works for their child. It needs to consider their age and maturity.
For example, if you have a teenager who can drive, your plan may be much more flexible than it would be for a five-year-old child who needs structure. A child who shows great distress when they don’t see a parent for multiple days may not be ready for such long breaks at each home.
Changes to your custody agreement can be made to benefit your child. For instance, if they would benefit from going to the other parent’s home every other day and it’s a feasible option for you, then increasing the visitation time with the other parent may be a good way to reduce separation anxiety. If they cannot go to the other parent’s home due to that parent’s work or other responsibilities, consider adding in more digital visitation or quick visits when the other parent gets off work.
It may take time for your child to adjust to being apart, but there are steps you can take to make this process easier on them. Be present, and listen to their concerns and worries. Both you and your ex-partner should take steps to adapt if and when possible, so they can feel comforted and be in the best custody situation for all involved.