My clients are always telling me how hard it is to deal with the day leading up to the transition of their children to the other parent’s home, and the first day back. Children are often moody, acting out, angry, and difficult during these days. This issue can be harder on step-parents, too. Too often, the parent blames the other parent for having a home that is dissimilar to their own, thinking that the problem is that the ex isn’t doing things the way he or she is “supposed” to. Unfortunately, this is an issue that happens to nearly all children, in one form or another, and is simply a fact of life for divorcing parents and dual households. It doesn’t mean that either household is wrong, it’s just different.
And by the way, this does not mean that there aren’t circumstances where the other parent’s living situation is toxic and inappropriate. Any kind of abuse or neglect needs to be reported immediately.
But in the absence of abuse or neglect, parents need to understand that their children are adjusting the best that they can, just as the parents are. Being children, they do not have the coping skills that adults have, and need to be helped and supported through the transition. Here are some ways to help both yourself and your family through these tough times.