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Divorce is never easy. When children are involved, it's worse. You want the transition to go smoothly for your kids, but even when you have the best intentions, problems can arise. This is particularly true when it comes to visitation schedules. If you're having a hard time getting your ex to commit to a visitation schedule, remember how this is affecting your kids. Here are four steps you can take to help your kids through visitation troubles.
Avoid Showing Frustration in Front of Your Kids
Each time your ex misses a scheduled visit, your frustration level increases. Unfortunately, showing that frustration in front of your kids can undermine their self-esteem and interfere with the relationship they have with their other parent. It's okay for you to get frustrated when your spouse is a no-show. It's even okay for you to get angry. However, it's important that you not exhibit those feelings in front of your kids. Take your feelings outside or into your room. Once you've cooled down, go back out with your kids and explain the situation.
Let Your Kids Express Their Feelings
If your kids are old enough to understand what's going on, encourage them to communicate their feelings constructively. Allow your kids to sit down with their other parent and explain how they feel when visits are missed. If you're concerned that your ex won't take the communication well, arrange to have your children sit with a counselor—or mediator—for the conversation. This will ensure that the conversation maintains a relaxed and comfortable tone.
Always Have a Back-Up Plan
If your kids are left feeling miserable each time your ex misses a visit, have a back-up plan arranged. For instance, arrange to take your kids to the park when your ex doesn't show up. This will help your kids know that even when the other parent misses a visit, you're still there to pick up the slack.
Be Willing to Negotiate
When it comes to visitation schedules, flexibility is important. If the current schedule isn't working for the other parent, be willing to negotiate changes. They may have a work conflict that needs to be accommodated. By being flexible, you might be able to adjust the schedule so that your kids don't miss out on visits.Not only will this allow your child to spend time with their other parent, but it will also benefit you should the need ever arise for you to rearrange the schedule.
Divorce is tough on kids, especially when it comes to visitation. If your kids are paying the price of missed visits, use the tips provided here to relieve some of their distress. If problems continue, talk to your divorce attorney about amending the visitation orders. Visit sites such as http://madisonlf.com to find divorce lawyers in your area.