child custody agreement where mom keeps the child and child is saying goodbye to dad who already has a suitcase

Child Custody: How to Help Children Adjust to the New Family Dynamics

Whether you have complete or shared custody of the children, you are likely worried about how they will adjust. Children will want to know whose house they will be living in and who else will be there. When there is family separation, being clear with your kids and answering their questions is key. It is important to explain the child custody situation your kids are going into. Here are some ways to make your child’s transition a little easier.

Give Them Time

When going through any big change in life, a child needs time to adjust to the news and then to the change itself. After divorce and child custody trials, it could take months for kids to settle in and feel at home again. Don’t expect them to be fine right away. Give your child an advanced warning of when the change will happen so they may prepare and process. Explain everything in detail for a calmer transition.

Listen to Their Concerns

When the idea of divorce begins to be thrown around, your child will likely have many questions and concerns. Answering these allows for an open dialogue. Give your child a turn to express their feelings that otherwise go unchecked. If your kid is struggling to express how they feel, help them label their emotions. Try phrases like “Are you mad at anyone?”, “How do you feel inside?”, and “Are you scared about anything?”.

Keep Routines the Same

While working through a major change, a child’s routine must be kept as much as possible. Consistency and stability are important for the development and growth of a child. Without them, kids can feel alone or vulnerable. Structure makes children feel safe, which is something they can hold onto in this uncommon time.

Stay Connected

Continuing to co-parent will help your kids transition. The bonds a child makes with each parent are different and important in their own way. Try to find a way both parents can have some custody of the children whenever possible. Make sure during separation in families that your kids understand that they are not being abandoned, left behind, or forgotten. The bond is not broken, even if the family may seem to be.

Give Them Choices

During big life changes, children may feel they have less control than they did before. A way to help them adjust can be to let them make decisions about simple things. These choices may include things like:

  • What color is your new bedroom going to be?
  • Ask them what they want to make for dinner for the first night in our new house?
  • What outfit should we wear to school/work?

Although these choices may seem trivial to an adult, to a child they can feel like you still want to hear them.

Struggling with Divorce and Adjustment?

At the Law Offices of Paul Bowen, we know that family separation after divorce can be difficult, especially when you need a new roof over your child’s head. Give us a call today at (727) 773-1554 to set up an appointment. Learn more about divorcing and how to help your children through it along with you at the Law Offices of Paul Bowen.