Handovers are Hard
If you are feeling awkward or upset at the prospect of facing your ex, then handovers can be very difficult.
You may have to use all your powers of self control to stay calm.
Sometimes though, you may find that it's impossible to hide your feelings about each other, and these emotions show through. You may not think that your children are affected - after all, it's not them you're angry with. But children are very sensitive to bad atmospheres and it disturbs them. Try to make the handovers as pleasant as possible, not as a favour to your ex, but because it will help your children. Some handover etiquette:
- Be polite and courteous.
- Be on time - let the other parent know asap if you are delayed.
- Make sure the children have everything they need.
- Avoid having difficult conversations in front of the children.
- Never argue in front of the children - if you can't agree to this, consider alternative ways of managing the handovers so that the children are protected.
Remember that the children will be listening and watching you like hawks.
Dealing with change over time
Transitions are difficult for everyone, especially in the early days. You may hate the feeling of loneliness you have after you've said goodbye to the children.
In time you will value these periods free of parenting duties as well as the times when you have the children. Try to be upbeat when the children leave, to show them that you're ok. In the meantime, having something planned for when the children leave helps.
Children have their own feelings to cope with at changeover time and they will certainly worry if they think mum or dad is sad when they leave them. They also need a time to settle down, adjust to being in a different home and get used to mum or dad not being there. Transitions are sad reminders to children that their mum and dad aren't together anymore. This is why it's quite common for young children to come home from a w/e with the other parent in a bad mood. It's usually the parent with day to day care who bears the brunt of the bad behaviour and they may feel it's not fair that they have to deal with this alone. They may even wonder if spending time with the other parent is the cause of the bad behaviour. It's usually, however, the child's way of expressing their sadness. Understanding this can help you manage your child's behaviour as well as your expectations.
Follow this link for further information on children in the middle after separation