Yesterday, I wrote about What to do when your kids don’t want to go, and focused on the times when the reason falls to bad behavior on the part of one (or the other) parent.
I loved the feed back I got from parents who reminded me that sometimes, it’s just hard to go, hard to leave, hard to deal with new houses and routines. Especially the littlest ones and the newest separations. So I thought I would pull a couple of suggestions from the comments and post them here to continue the conversation:
Donna suggested that separation anxiety is another real reason kids don’t want to go. While she and her husband have a healthy post-breakup relationship, her three year old has trouble with the transitions from one house to the next. The great news is, the little one has a great time once she’s there! My son was/is never good at transitioning from one thing to the next, so I spend a lot of time setting up the change, giving him reminders and countdowns and building in time for resistance so I’m not so frustrated and running late.
Fred over at Full Custody Dad has a great solution to those difficult times when his daughter has to go to her mom’s: within half an hour of transition time, he helps his daughter dress in ‘mommy clothes’, a ritual that helps her settle into what’s coming next. Also, he had this to add: “I always say, your mother loves you very much and this is the time allocated to see her. As a custodial parent, it is your job to encourage positive exchanges and encourage relationship with the other side.”
And the fabulous L.A. Single Mama
reminded me that sometimes, it’s just hard and the kids are just too little to deal. A transitional object–a book, a lovey–can go a long way towards making it all easier.