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How parents can make custody transitions less difficult

Custody exchanges can be hard on both parents and children, but there are things parents in Texas can do to make it easier. First, parents need to communicate clearly about the process, including small details such as whether the parents will come in the house or stay in the car. This plan should then be communicated to children in advance and with just as much detail although parents should try to do so in a low-key way.

Giving children simple choices can help them feel they have some control during this time of upheaval. For example, a child might choose which shirt or video game to pack when going to the other parent's house. However, this should not involve choosing between two comfort items. In fact, these important items, such as stuffed animals or a favorite blanket or cereal, should accompany the child.

Parents should talk to children about the upcoming time with the other parent in a positive way. This reassures children that the parent will be fine in their absence. In some cases, it can be helpful for a parent to phone a child while with the other parent, but in other cases, it could raise the child's anxiety. Parents should be sensitive to this and adjust accordingly. Regular goodbye rituals can also help children during the transition time.

Some parents may want to include details about the custody switch in their parenting plan. They can create this plan while negotiating custody and visitation, and it can address any areas of particular concern, such as when a child will meet a significant other. If parents are struggling to communicate, they might also include details about this as well. For example, they might agree they will only communicate using online tools that facilitate communication between divorced parents.

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