Separation and divorce is difficult for everyone in a family, but especially for the children. Even in homes where there was already some discord, it is still hard. When parents separate and start living in separate homes, the children don’t want to pick sides—and they shouldn’t have to.
Extended Overnights Continue Routines Children Developed With Their Fathers
In some divorcing families, one spouse may try to keep children from seeing the other parent for even short-term visits like overnights. Unfortunately, in most cases, keeping children away from one parent is more harmful to the children. Doing so usually serves only a vengeful purpose and harms children over the long-term.
While both fathers and mothers can feel this way, often its fathers who aren’t allowed to spend overnight time with their own children. Yet, most fathers would love their children to spend overnight-time with them and are happy to make the appropriate sleeping, living and studying accommodations to make overnights work for everyone involved.
Here are some reasons why children will benefit by spending some extended overnight time with their fathers:
- It helps the children live their lives as normally as possible. They are used to having daily contact with their father and keeping that routine is less disruptive for them. Children need time to slowly adapt to the new idea that their parents are no longer going to live together. Allowing them to have extended time with their father puts their needs first.
- Fathers are able to help with child-care duties more easily if the children are closer. From a practical standpoint, it helps both parents to continue to share in raising the children. Parenting is difficult when both parents are doing it together, let alone when one tries to do everything alone.
- If you come up with a schedule that puts the children’s schedules first, then they are more willing to go along with it. Your kids should be able to continue their activities, see their friends and be without stress at school. If dad was the one who picked them up on Wednesdays after sports practice, keep that schedule and perhaps consider overnights on these evenings.
- Letting the children celebrate holidays with both parents is important. Try to emphasize the good fortune they have by spending time with both of you, rather than that the family traditions and routines will never be the same. The important thing is that they have time with both parents. In some extended families, Christmas Eve celebrations are more important than Christmas Day meals. In a situation like this, it is easier to split a holiday so that the children can spend a holiday evening with one parent and the next evening with the other.
Children in Divorcing Families Should Not Be Put in the Middle
Studies show that children who are allowed to spend extended time with both parents during and after a divorce are better adjusted and work through the situation in a healthier way. If you would like to discuss your divorce and custody options, contact an experienced family law attorney for answers.