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Handovers are Hard

Tags: handovers, self-control, emotions, transition, changeover time, frustration, handovers are hard, dealing with change over time, difficult transitions
Content Types: Children In the Middle
Categories: After Separation

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

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  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    So anyway, I hope it's getting easier for you...

    Wed 3, Oct 2012 at 9:41am
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    You're not on your own. My sister is in a very similar situation (she has an only child too) and she gets really upset about being split up from her daughter, partly because she never wanted the relationship to end in the first place so each time her daughter goes to her Dad's she's reminded of that pain. She tries not to show it as her daughter already takes a lot of responsibility for an 8 year old, but he really gets to her sometimes and things really go downhill (hence looking on here). But I also have a good friend who ended a relationship and his ex didn't want him to see their daughter. She said that he didn't know what he was doing as she'd taken care of that side while they were together and generally made him feel like a crap dad (he's not) so he was really defensive (a bit like your ex sounds) and never wanted to tell her what he did with the kids etc because however good it was she'd always find fault. He felt like he was being punished for letting her take the role of main carer while they were together, though this was a financial decision they made jointly and he loves being with his kids. Anyway, they've been separated for about 2 years now and his ex has started seeing someone else. When that happened, apparently the guy pointed out my friend wasn't a bad dad and it was like she saw things differently. Maybe she was also glad to have some time to herself and this new relationship, but the result was she seemed willing to trust him a bit more and he felt able to tell her all the stuff he was doing. That was about 5 months ago, I can't believe the difference in their kids, seeing them so much more relaxed when Mum comes up in conversation. It's really helped my sister too, seeing it from my friend's side and knowing that it can get easier

    Wed 3, Oct 2012 at 9:40am
  • User-anonymous louisey Flag

    I would really like to hear from anyone who is in my position with this one. I have been on my own with my daughter since she was born. Then when she was 16mths old her father took me to court and he got contact every other weekend, No questions asked.He lives 80 miles away from us and the court decided it would be fine for her to got his far away from me. He knew nothing about her or her needs. i was devastated. He has new been taking her for 6 months or so and still has the opinion that he knows all there is to know and if he doesn't, he will find out for himself. I have no idea how things are when she is away from me although, as far as he is concerned she is perfect! (i know different!) It's hard work!!! His attitude doesn't help me build up the trust I need to have in him. Anyway, I am really struggling to cope when my daughter is away from me. It's like my heart is being broken over and over again and I am not coping with this separation. I am trying to stay strong so that my daughter doesn't know how much i'm missing her but it's so hard. I have raised her on my own and we have a massive bond. Does anyone else feel this pain? Can we have a chat? I really would like to hear about you as I feel totally alone with my feelings. No one seems to want to talk about the impact it all has on mummys like me.

    Tue 7, Aug 2012 at 3:25pm
  • User-anonymous Anonymous Flag

    I agree with this. My 9 yr old was impossible when he came back from his dads when he first stated staying overnight. 6 months on it's better - still a bit moody but i know to leave him alone for a bit and he gradually comes round.

    Thu 24, Nov 2011 at 7:58pm