AVOID DIRECT INTERACTIONS
If parents cannot meet face-to-face without fighting, avoiding direct interaction can be wise. Parents might do this by staying in the car when dropping the child off or arranging exchanges to align with school or daycare pickup and dropoff.
When parents do not have to talk to each other or share the same space for long, the potential for conflicts to arise reduces dramatically.
SET AND REINFORCE BOUNDARIES
Because custody exchanges can be emotional for parents and children alike, it can be helpful to have clear boundaries.
Some options that parents might consider can include:
- Refraining from entering the other parent’s home
- Keeping goodbyes to a specific time limit
- Establishing rules for topics parents can or should not discuss
- Utilizing supervised exchanges
These measures can help parents and children know what to expect during exchanges and reduce the likelihood of unwelcome conduct.
It is frustrating when a parent is late, misses a pickup or forgets a child’s homework or special blanket. This frustration only adds to the stress parents can already be feeling. And an unprepared parent can also make a child feel anxious as they change environments.
Thus, make sure you prepare for exchanges. Whether you are dropping your child off or picking them up, keep a list of things to have ready.
If you worry about your child’s adjustment to an exchange, consider having a comfort item ready for them or make a plan to do something fun to help them feel better.
Regardless of how parents feel toward each other, it can be in everyone’s best interests to be respectful. This can mean:
- Being on time
- Being where you are supposed to be
- Notifying the other parent of any changes or delays
- Refraining from antagonizing the other person or starting a fight in front of a child
These tips can help parents and children navigate the challenges of custody exchanges more peacefully and without the need for legal interventions.