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Child custody can be convivial if the right attitude is taken

Non-custodial parents look forward to the summer months almost as much as kids do, because they get to spend that time with their children. Child custody doesn't have to be contentious. Here are some ways to make it easier for your kids to be away from you and with their other parent.

It isn't that we mean to make the transition from one parent to the other hard, but sometimes we lose sight of the goal of putting our children's needs first. One way to do that is to get them emotionally ready for a change. Giving them what they need most, permission to have fun with a step-parent, is a good start.

Putting your child first is important, and making them comfortable with their parent and his new spouse will make their time away better. Sharing your child with an ex-spouse you probably don't like very much is hard, but it isn't your child's problem. Also, if you have a good attitude about it, you enrich your child's life by adding a person who also values them.

Being the parent who has joint custody may not always feel good, but doing the right thing is best for your health and for your child's well-being. Sharing their joy at being able to take a trip with their other parent is the goal. It means saying positive things about their upcoming trip and about your kid's dad and new spouse.

Being genuinely happy that they are looking forward to seeing their mom or dad doesn't mean you have to be super-enthusiastic, just really glad for them.

Letting go during this short time is important. Leave the texting and calling to the child. Sometimes checking in with them is intrusive, and beyond finding out that they are safely at their destination, it is better to stay virtually in the background. If they are used to hearing from you daily, then go ahead and contact them periodically. But hijacking their vacation with your ex-spouse can make them feel like they betrayed you by enjoying their time away.

Sharing child custody can be difficult for adults, but do all you can to make it a breeze for your child.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Balancing Act When the kids vacation with your ex: Don't trip out" Heidi Stevens, Jun. 17, 2014

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Goddard & Malmquist
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