Many Illinois readers may understand how difficult it is cope with divorce. This is especially true if there are child custody issues involved. Younger children fall into the routine of visiting the other parent, but as they get older they often want a larger say in how and when that time happens. As a parent, it's important not to take their preferences personally.
It's important to remember that kids love both parents equally, and when they aren't with the other parents, they worry if he or she is okay. Try not to make them feel bad if they want to spend their time with the other parent because even when you don't say anything, they sense your hostility. Kids can also feel very disorganized because their belongings are spread over two households, so it's important to understand when it makes them angry.
It's okay for the parent who is on their own for a weekend to feel sorry for him or herself, but don't do it for long. Channel the energy into projects or find something fun to do that can't be done with kids in tow. Kids need reassurance, and it's important to remind them that no matter what, they have two parents who love them very much and that they are fully welcome at either home. Finally, don't take a child's preference for a longer weekend out on the ex-spouse. It's not his or her fault, it's just a by-product of divorce.
Child custody issues often complicate divorce. Visitation schedules may be a convenient way of keeping track of who gets the kids when. A divorce attorney may be able to step in and help create agreements that benefit everyone in the family. Sometimes it's easier to negotiate with an outside party, and in the end, everyone wants the agreement that works in the best interests of the children.
Source: Huffington Post, "Divorce Advice: Don't Be Hurt When Your Kids Choose Dad", Jackie Pilossoph, September 12, 2013