As you ease into a new lifestyle with your children after divorce, you will likely face a few challenges. Each of your children might react differently to the situation, one becoming more reclusive, and perhaps, another a bit more rebellious. There's no one way to deal with the emotional roller coaster that often accompanies the divorce process. Any major change in life can be difficult. Your children's lives will never be the same, and they may struggle to come to terms with it all.
Some say providing a sense of normalcy and routine as much as possible is one of the best ways to help children rise above their emotional upsets regarding their parents' divorce. The chances of your kids going on to live healthy, active, happy lifestyles are high if you assure them of your support and remind them that your divorce was not their fault. It might also help if you let them continue living in the same house you shared as a family when you were married.
How would that be possible?
Have you ever heard about a co-parenting plan in divorce called bird nesting? It began more than 30 years ago, but has recently experienced resurgence with more and more parents willing to try it. It's definitely not for everyone, so you'll want to thoroughly research the potential pros and cons before making any final decisions. The following information may help you determine if it might be a viable option for your family:
- Basically, bird nesting works by parents agreeing to allow the children to continue living in the family home while they (the parents) take turns living with them.
- Parents, of course, need to have somewhere else to live when it's not their turn to stay with the children. This can be an added expense, which may be a determining factor for some.
- If you're worried about one or more of your children who have trouble transitioning when change occurs, bird nesting may be a good way to go. Not only will your children not have to shuttle back and forth between homes, it won't be as difficult to keep track of backpacks, sports equipment and other school supplies -- that is, no more difficult than it already is!
- Sharing common living space with your former spouse creates an intimacy you must be prepared to experience. In short, if a serious communication breakdown led to your divorce, you may want to consider alternative options since bird nesting requires constant communication and frequent in person meetings between parents.
- It's crucial that children understand the purpose of a bird-nesting plan. Otherwise, they might mistakenly believe your divorce did not really take place or have false hope that you plan to reunite with your former spouse.
A good way to get a feel for the bird-nesting process is to talk to others who have tried it in the past. Don't just discuss it with those whose bird-nesting plans were successful; also speak with people who decided it wasn't the best choice for them and ask them why.
What to do when problems arise
Various obstacles and legal problems can arise in any post-divorce parenting plan, but especially if you're bird nesting. If that happens, you'll want to have a plan of action in mind ahead of time. Many California parents keep contact information on hand for nearby family law attorneys who can step in at a moment's notice to help rectify problematic situations.