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Handling children's wishes to be with their other parent

When parents separate and their children divide their time between two homes, it's only natural for them to miss the parent they aren't with. It can be heartbreaking for a parent to hear their children cry or lash out, saying that they want to see or even live with their other parent.

It can be difficult not to take such expressions personally. However, it's essential to remain calm, listen to your children and have empathy for their emotions. Talk to them about what they're feeling when they're ready to do so.

Kids express a desire to be with their other parent for a variety of reasons. Sometimes what they want isn't so much their mom and dad, but the lifestyle they have at that parent's home. All kids know how to push parents' buttons. Children of divorce learn how to play one parent against another if those parents don't form a united front.

However, sometimes, kids miss certain activities that they're used to doing with a parent. This is where communication between parents can be helpful. Is your child asking to watch his dad play hockey every Sunday night or go hiking with her mom every Saturday? If there are easy trade-offs in custody and visitation time that can be made, talk with your co-parent about doing that.

If you make changes in your parenting plan after divorce for the happiness and well-being of your children, it's best to document those. Otherwise, confusion and conflict can arise. No parenting plan is going to be perfect at the beginning. You can expect to amend it as your kids grow up and their needs change. Your Florida family law attorney can help you with these changes.

Source: Our Family Wizard, "How to Respond When Your Child Wants Their Other Parent," accessed Aug. 15, 2017

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