It’s that time of year again for many divorced parents across California and elsewhere. Now that summer is here, you are preparing to send your children to their other parents’ home for an extended visitation. Whether you are looking forward to the break or dreading such a long time without your kids, chances are you might have an adjustment period once they return.
Extended visitations during the summer are common in most custody arrangements when one parent has primary custody. Throughout the year, your ex might have every weekend or every other weekend with the kids. The longer visit is meant to help your children bond and have a stronger relationship with the parent they do not see as often. While you might see the logic in this arrangement, it can also be a pain if you and your ex do not see eye to eye in the way you teach and discipline your children. As a result, you might suffer through a few weeks of defiant, unruly behavior after they return from the other parent's home.
This is certainly a challenge, but not one that is impossible to overcome. If you find yourself pulling your hair out after the kids come home, the following tips might help:
- Be consistent with your schedule and rules when the kids are home, which reinforces your authority.
- Inform your children that it is OK for their other parent to have different rules, but they must respect your rules.
- It can help to discuss parenting concerns with the other parent, but try to be civil and let small disagreements go.
- Avoid feeling bad and getting lax on your routines too much, but understand that it is acceptable to bend the rules a bit now and then and to forgive yourself if you feel overwhelmed or impatient.
Joint parenting can be challenging whether you have a 50/50 arrangement or if you have the children most of the time. Consistency, patience and understanding may help the kids adjust faster to the normal routine after they come home from a longer visit.