Don’t talk negatively about the other parent.
Children tend to be natural pleasers and they don’t
want to disappoint you by going over to the other
side. They also may interpret some of the negative
things as things to be afraid of. They may feel fear
and guilt about visiting the other parent. It’s
tough for a child to hear double talk, one minute
you are berating your ex the next to are telling him
that everything is okay and he should feel fine about
2. Don’t let your child think you are lonely
or sad when they go to the other parent. Children
don’t want their parents to be upset and might
react thinking they are saving you some despair.
3. Make sure that at both places the child has his
or her own space. It may be tough to have to spend
time at one parent’s house if the setup is drastically
different. They may need a place to go for quiet time,
and probably don’t like sharing a room or sleeping
space with their parent. Get creative if you have
4. Schedule the switch around a neutral event. For
example, one parent can drop the child off at school,
a birthday party, or some other event. The other parent
can pick them up. That eliminates a lot of the difficulty
of the situation. Kids aren’t looking at both
parents and feeling like they are choosing sides.
5. Do all of the communication with your ex-spouse
yourself. Children should not be relaying messages
about scheduling or child support. Your child may
be trying to avoid having a conversation that should
be held by adults, especially if he knows it’s
not going to be well received.
6. If it’s possible, spend some time together
as a family. Let your child know that just because
your not married anymore doesn’t mean that the
other parent is bad. Go to a restaurant, to a park,
to a movie. Spend some time together so your child
realizes it’s okay to be around the other parent.
Neutralize any loyalty issues by spending time together.
7. Talk to your child. Find a book on the subject
of divorce or split family living. It is bound to
make your child open up and share her feelings at
a more neutral time. The conversation may reveal some
insight on what the issues really are. It could be
as simple as there is no night-light at the other
house, but they are afraid to tell you.
8. Both parents should call the children when they
are away. Reassure them that you haven’t forgot
them and that you are doing fine but looking forward
to their return. Encourage your child to call the
other parent if they want to on their own as well.
9. The parent whom the child refuses to visit must
be actively involved with them while they are there.
It does not help to be working or doing other projects
that make a child feel left out. The parent whom he
refuses to leave, must be careful not to overdo the
activities. It’s not a competition.
10. Be encouraging and understanding. It may take
time before kids have adjusted to living in two households.
Encourage the child to go to the other parent’s
house. Be understanding if your child doesn’t
feel comfortable coming with you. Time, love, encouragement,
and understanding will help.
DK Simoneau is a real-life divorced mother of two.
She is now a devoted authority on living ‘split-family’
more effectively. The noticeable changes in her own
children on transition days motivated her to create
a tool to help facilitate conversation between children
and on-looking adults. Originally an accountant by
profession, her children's love for books has inspired
her to write stories that teach and validate as well
as stimulate an everlasting curiosity in reading.
She lives in Lakewood, Colorado “sometimes”
with her two children. For more information visit