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Divorce and Visitation Hassles

Last month you gave advice to parents who had just decided to divorce. How about tips for those of us who have to deal with problems after the divorce? I often encounter stress when my 13-year-old visits her father, my ex-husband. It just seems to be such a hassle. — G.A., McAllen, Texas
Your daughter needs an ongoing relationship with her natural father, so, hassle or not, these visits are important.
Here are some general tips on handling them positively:
* You may need to work harder to detach yourself from painful
memories of your former spouse and let go of old grudges you may be harboring. Instead, remember yourself at 13 so you’ll know how important it is for your daughter to feel important and cared for by both parents. Keep her needs foremost in your mind and heart; it may make visiting days easier.
* Maintain a calm, matter-of-fact approach about the visits.
Resist the temptation to say negative things or to pump your daughter for information about your ex. Try to think of the visit as if it were an overnight with a friend or other relative.
* Do something special for yourself on those days or weekends
that your child spends with her father, something you usually would not do. See friends, shop, go out for dinner, see a play, etc. This way, you’ll anticipate those times instead of dreading them.
* Your daughter should have rules and guidelines in both homes, even if these rules are different. All of you should understand clearly what the rules are in each home and the reasons for them. Support each other by letting your child know you expect whatever behavior is appropriate in each home. Often, agreeing to disagree works well.
* Be sure your daughter knows where you will be at all times and has a phone number to reach you. There may be an emergency, or she may be homesick or worried or may just want to talk to her mom while visiting her dad.
* Don’t let her wait until the last minute to pack for the visit. Have her ready at pickup time. Consider keeping a small tote bag or overnight case ready and packed with the essentials so that she needs only to add a few special items.

Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country.Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country.

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1 thought on “Divorce and Visitation Hassles”

  1. I enjoyed this article! My 16 year old son was 5 when we experienced divorce. I am now in a difficult situation with my son’s friends mother. I am being completely cut-off (alienated)from contact, first from his father and now in a more complicated (week ago) situation after my change from joint custody to sole custody and dads recent death, with this woman, his school and her contacts. It is a long story and quite complicated. I am looking for information on co-parenting with a non-parent who is not honest or willing to co-parent except for court paperwork. Any help would be appreciated

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