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Dealing with your child’s separation anxiety as you divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2023 | Divorce

If you have a child who suffers from separation anxiety when they’re not with you and/or your co-parent, you’re likely concerned about how they’ll deal with moving between your and your soon-to-be ex’s home after you begin living separately and sharing custody. 

Even if your child hasn’t had this issue before, parental divorce can cause fear and stress for a child that can lead to separation anxiety when they’re away from one of their parents for even a day or two. 

You can work to minimize it 

That’s why it’s crucial for parents to talk to their child (preferably together) about the parenting time arrangements so they know what to expect. It’s also important for both parents to encourage their child to talk any time they’re feeling anxious or have questions.

Here are some other tips for minimizing your child’s separation anxiety:

  • Develop a schedule as early as possible and stick to it. Let your child have their own calendar of this schedule in both homes (or on their phone or tablet if they’re old enough to have these).
  • Have a routine for transitioning your child between homes, making it as calm and smooth as possible.
  • Keep the marital drama out of these transitions. Don’t use the time to address issues with your co-parent. If parents are angry or agitated, their child will pick up on that.
  • Keep rules and routines as similar as possible in both homes.

All of these things can help your child feel secure that their parents are still a team when it comes to their care even if they aren’t together any longer. 

If your child seems to be having difficulty in the early days being without one parent or the other for more than a night, it may help to try a parenting schedule where they move back and forth more often, if you and your co-parent live close enough that this is possible. If not, you may want to try incorporating scheduled video chats into your parenting plan. With experienced legal guidance, you can work toward an arrangement that will minimize separation anxiety and other issues for your child.