Divorce is a hard process for everyone involved. When a couple with children divorce, its hard on both parents as well as the children. However, there are things both parents can do, or avoid doing, to reduce the stress divorce often causes children. When it comes to handling transportation of the children, the following tips can make it easier on all parties involved.
- The parent who is currently spending time with the children is responsible for transporting them to the other parent. In doing so, the driving parent has the ability to arrive in a timely fashion and say his or her goodbyes in the car. Unless the child is of very tender years, the parent doing the driving can simply remain in the car. The other parent can wait at his or her front door. The children can have their private and meaningful goodbyes in the car and, likewise, they can be emotionally free upon entering their other home. There is very little opportunity for unpleasant conversation, remarks, or dirty looks. No one is caught in the middle of anything; even a door slam has little meaning or effect, and is therefore unlikely to occur.
Another major benefit to this method is the wonderful subliminal message that comes with it. By taking your children to be with their other parent, to a certain extent, you are expressing approval of that relationship and are taking some responsibility for maintaining it. The driving parent also has the responsibility to make sure everything that needs to be done prior to departure is completed in a timely fashion. Remember, when you are in the driver’s seat, you control the process.
Even when you’re running late, the parent who is waiting to receive the children is far better off waiting in the comfort of their own home than on your porch feeling belittled.
- Share transportation duties for extracurricular activities in a similar fashion. If there is a game or practice that falls on “your” scheduled time with the children, take them to the event. In addition to teaching punctuality, this shows your children that you consider their activities to be important.
- Use the time in the car to talk with your children and follow up on any topics you’ve been discussing at home.
- Remind your children they can use the transportation time for reading, homework, or working on a continuing project or hobby.
- Consider playing educational CDs or MP3.
- Depending on the traffic and the age of your children, use the time as simple quiet time. Even children sometimes need, and welcome, some time to stare out the window and think or simply “zone out.”
- Don’t leave all the driving to one parent.
- Don’t object to providing transportation if, and when, it is for the benefit of your child.
- Don’t deny any parental access because of transportation disputes.
- Don’t intentionally pull up onto the lawn of the other parent and do burnouts.
- Don’t drink and drive.
The list above can be found in the Taylor Law & Mediation’s Divorce and separation survival guide for parents. To request a PDF copy of the entire guide, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.