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Reducing Stress in Visitation Exchanges
(provided by Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC)
As your divorce progresses, you may find that you actually feel better when you have less contact with your ex. If you do not have children together, this is not a difficult objective to obtain. However, if you are a parent then you are probably thrown together with your ex more often than you would like.
Whether contact with the other parent is sad or adversarial, here are a few creative strategies you can implement that will help diminish the repeatedly painful contact.
· If your children are of school age and you live in the same school district, visitation can commence with the children taking the school bus directly to their other home.
· If your children are pre-school age, then day care or nursery school may be an excellent place for visitation transition.
· Try a neutral family member's home as a transitional place. Bring your children there and pick up can commence after you leave.
· Utilize one of the big bookstore chains. Bring the children to the children's department and let them look at some books. Then you settle down in view of them with a frothy cappuccino until their other parent shows up.
· Try not to transfer kids in parking lots. They feel like cargo and there is always the chance for an unhealthy exchange between the two of you.
· Be on time.
· Be reliable. This includes making sure your child has what he/she needs for the visitation time with the other parent.
· Ask your priest, minister or rabbi if you can use your house of worship as a place for a peaceful exchange.
· Don't use the exchange as an opportunity for any divorce dialogue. Exchange only pleasantries. If that's not possible, then silence or no contact is advised.
When you reduce the chance of an adversarial confrontation, you not only help yourself, but you protect your children as well. Research shows that the divorce is not as damaging for children as are the fighting, yelling, screaming, threatening, and general acrimony exhibited by the parents. Your behavior during this challenging time can affect your children throughout their lives. By being prudent now about your behavior, you help insure your child's well being as well as your own.
© Donna F. Ferber, From Ex-Wife To Exceptional Life: A Woman's Journey through Divorce, Purple Lotus Press, LLC, Farmington CT. 2004.
Information provided by:
Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC
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