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Managing the Emotional Trials of Visitation

Part of your post-divorce life is learning how to share custody with your former spouse. While it’s difficult to watch your children drive away with your ex, you need to learn how to rationalize, accept, and proactively manage your visitation blues.

Your Feelings Are Normal

Sometimes “out of sight” does not mean “out of mind.” It’s normal to feel a little lost when your children are spending time with your ex. In the past, they have always been within easy reach; now, however, checking on them frequently may infringe on your ex’s visitation time. There is no “right” way to react to this transition. It’s important to be patient with yourself and accept your emotions. If you’re having trouble adjusting, it’s okay to talk to friends or people who have experienced similar adjustment periods. If necessary, you can also talk to a professional therapist who can help you rationalize your experiences and give you helpful adjustment tips.

If you’re having trouble adjusting to the visitation schedule, follow these tips:

  1. Remind yourself that this is important to your children
  2. Enjoy or discover activities that can distract you from any negative feelings
  3. Support your children by calling or texting them before bed
  4. Don’t let your children know you’re sad or lonely
  5. Stay positive when discussing your ex’s visitation time with your children
  6. Don’t argue in front of your children
  7. Mark the visitation schedule on a calendar as a reminder
  8. Make sure your children know that it’s okay to miss their other parent
  9. Pack an overnight surprise package with a cheerful note for your children

You Don’t Need to Feel Guilty

On the other hand, you also don’t need to feel guilty for needing “me time.” Caring for your children is a full-time job. When you’re carefully managing their needs, you may not have time to truly process your own post-divorce emotions. At the same time, you also aren’t a bad parent if you get upset because your children enjoy spending time with your ex. It’s healthy to acknowledge these feelings because then you can learn how to process them in a positive and proactive manner.

Handling Your Anger

Even the most amicable co-parents argue about certain issues. No matter how angry or depressed you feel, it’s important to keep these emotions away from your children. You can unload any gripes you have with your friends, family members, or therapist. You can even throw a pillow at the wall if it helps to vent your anger. But continuing to fight with your ex or letting your children witness your frustration can only make the situation worse. With practice, you can learn how to compartmentalize your feelings and keep them away from your children and your ex.

Visitation Schedule Unfair? Seek Legal Representation

If you’re in the process of determining a parenting plan or need to modify an existing court order, contact the West Des Moines visitation lawyers at The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw. By evaluating your personal circumstances and unique family dynamics, we can help you develop a parenting plan that truly reflects your needs while being fair to your ex.

Call The Law Offices of Mark R. Hinshaw at (515) 200-7571 to schedule a free consultation.

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