Shared custody arrangements can create a lot of emotional strain on everyone in the family. Adults have to implement new schedule and adjust to only having their children a fraction of the time. They also need to frequently interact with a former partner, which can be emotionally draining. Many people find shared custody arrangements to be incredibly stressful and have a hard time maintaining peace within their family and/or within themselves as a result.
Thankfully, there are some tactics people can employ that may help reduce the stress involved in a shared custody arrangement.
Embracing proactive but calm communication
Communication between parents can lead to conflict and stress for many reasons. Parents may get off-topic and begin berating each other for issues from their marriage instead of talking about current issues. They might interject their personal opinions into conversations that should simply address scheduling changes.
On the other hand, they might intentionally withhold information so that the children’s other parent doesn’t know about their medical or educational circumstances. Using co-parenting apps and other forms of written communication to share openly about the children while keeping the focus solely on the kids can go a long way toward reducing someone’s stress levels.
Reframing the relationship
Obviously, interacting with a failed romantic partner is a stressful experience. Communicating with someone who is devoted to the children in the family, however, does not need to be. Instead of looking at the other parents as an ex, which may provoke an adversarial approach, those who share custody after a Virginia divorce may benefit from adjusting their perspectives. Thinking of the other parent as a loving adult who provides support for the children instead of a romantic partner who disappointed someone can drastically shift the dynamics of the interactions between the adults.
Finding common ground through the children
Parents who have divorced or separated may find it difficult to see and talk to one another regularly. Each change in the other parent’s life can be a reminder of the family’s history, which can be very painful. If co-parents start centering their children in all communications and looking for goals that they can seek to achieve as a family unit, such as helping a child train for soccer camp or plan for a Boy Scout Eagle project, they may find that it is less stressful to communicate with one another because they now share goals and priorities.
As a final note, those sharing custody often need a healthy outlet for their frustrations, such as a therapist or a creative hobby, so that they don’t let their emotions take control and dictate their behavior. Seeking to reduce the stress generated by shared custody arrangements can help the whole family adjust when a household’s situation evolves.