Advice for the Non-Custodial Parent
You used to live in the same house with your child, and your activities together developed naturally. Now you see your child for visitation, and everything feels artificial. It can be hard to figure out how to have a normal life with your child when you see each other on a schedule. The first thing to do is just relax! You and your child love each other, and it really doesn’t matter what you actually do as long as you’re spending time together. Although you may experience bumps in the road as your child ages and as situations change, generally speaking, it will get easier.
Advice for the Custodial Parent
You may feel that, in many ways, your hard work is done. You take the time to make sure you have a good relationship with your child, and anything the other parent does or doesn’t do isn’t your problem.
Actually, this really isn’t the case. You need to encourage visitation and your child’s relationship with the other parent to make sure that your child is able to handle it and get the benefits from it.
If you feel your ex-spouse is not the greatest parent, it is even more important that you support and encourage visitation since he or she may not be completely on top of it. Part of your responsibility as a custodial parent is making sure that your child benefits from a continued relationship with his/her other parent.
This article has been edited and excerpted from The Visitation Handbook for the Custodial and Non-Custodial Parent: Your Complete Guide to Parenting Apart by Brette McWhorter Sember. This book is actually two books in one: one side for each separated/divorced parent who must now figure out how to share their children. The two parts address the unique concerns, situations, emotions, and practical problems faced by the custodial and the non-custodial parent. Written by a divorce attorney, this book is filled with practical advice from her own experience with families facing the challenges of shared parenting.