Friday, March 16, 2012

How to handle visits in a blended family home

Visitation between parents can be confusing for children at times. Is it time to go to mom’s house or dad’s house?  Kids may get confused, but parents can make this process easier or more difficult for the child who is going from one home to the other. Here are some tips on how to make the experience easier for everyone.

Keep out the negative talk
There is nothing worse than speaking negatively about your ex-spouse in front of the children. You might think that it will help everyone feel better in the long run, but speaking negatively about anyone can cause some major confusion. Your child has been through enough, and he or she should not have to choose sides.

Always speak positively about your ex- spouse to your child. You can be honest too, though. You can say that even though you and the other parent don’t agree on everything, you can agree that you love your children.

Stick to the visitation plan
Visitation plans are put into place for a reason after divorce. While it may be hard at times, you have to stick to your written agreements regarding visitations. Both parents should allow some flexibility in the plan whenever possible. Blended families can become very complicated and it’s important to stay organized throughout this process.

Talk with your child
It’s no secret that your child will be traveling to and from two different homes. Try to make it as easy as possible on the child by expressing the expectations you have with them. Be as positive as you can while you are talking with your child. Also tell them you are proud of them and always keep the lines of communication open. The more open you are with your child, then the more the child will come and talk to you about issues. Always make time to talk to your child, one on one, and check to see how he is doing.

Never use the child to spread a message
It seems easier to tell your child to pass along a message to your ex-spouse, but in reality it’s a very messy process. Communication through the child means that the parents get out of the habit of talking to each other. It puts the child in an awkward position, and it’s something that will weigh heavy on the child. Make it clear that although mom and dad are in two different homes, one thing will never change: your love for them.

Visits take time to get used to
Whatever part of the visitation process you are in, always keep things positive. Remarriage is hard on everyone, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Follow these visitation tips and you can have successful visits with your children.

For more information about blended families and visitation, contact The Blended and Step Family Resource Center.

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