No Instructions Needed
Sharing custody, weekend visitation, and extended holidays with the non custodial parent and their significant other can present challenges. Things such as transportation, medication, alteration of child’s normal activities are a few things that come to mind.. The custodial parent might add more stress to the transition by issuing orders or instructions on the child’s outfits, bedtime, TV shows, meals, hairstyle, etc. Statements such as “Don’t change her hair!”, “Put him on that outfit”, and or “Don’t take them to see THAT movie.” only serve to undermine the authority of the other parent. That is unfair and unwarranted and serves no one but the ego of the custodial parent. Furthermore, it causes anxiety in the child who is by virtue of the statement has been placed in the middle of a new power struggle.
Realistically speaking, the only instructions that should be issued by the custodial parent to the non-custodial parent and their significant other is….NONE. The non-custodial parent will ask for advice and/or guidance if needed. Otherwise, the instructions will translate into attempts of the custodial parent to control the other parents household and distrust of their ability and commitment to care for the child.
What should the custodial parent do?
- Stop thinking that you are the only parent who loves the child and encourage and enhance the visit by making complimentary remarks in the child’s presence especially a younger child to alleviate anxiety.
- Don’t make disparaging remarks about noncustodial parent’s significant other. If this individual is loving to the child, it can only benefit. Put your jealousy aside.
- Finally don’t make statements such as, “Don’t feed him chicken”, “Don’t change her hair”, ” Don’t let them play with so and so”.
Keep in mind, the child will be with their other parent. They love the child as you do. No instructions are needed.