[P]arenting styles change from parent to parent. This is never more evident than dealing with divorced parents. As your kids grow older, you make find resistance and awkwardness in the hours leading up to and coming back from a transition from Mommy’s house to Daddy’s house.
What is Re-Entry and How Do You Deal with It?
In blended and divorced families this transition time for kids is called “re-entry.” Re-entry is a period of time needed for a child to adjust to their other family’s house. Kids may be quiet, act up, act out, or need a few hours to adjust to their new surroundings. Now for you, the parent, nothing has changed. However imagine what it was like as a kid to visit grandma’s house for an overnight. Those first few hours required an adjustment. This example is the regular feelings your children deal with after every transition from house to house.
I have learned, as my daughter has gotten older, to make “re-entry” days as calm and as free from change as possible. I also don’t ask ANY questions about her weekends on the day she returns. When I was sharing this experience with a case worker, he made a suggestion I will never forget. He said…
[tweet “After an exchange make kids change their clothes.”]
That statement has been the best co-parenting advise I have ever received. This profoundly simple task is one that has a huge psychological affect on children. Something magically happens when kids change out of Mom’s clothes and into Dad’s. It helps in the transition process. It is such an effective, I share it with all blended families I talk with. When you kids return from the other house, immediate have your kids change out of their clothes.
This is also a perfect way to keep track of clothes from house to house. We now have the clothes washed and folded and put back into an exchange bag. That bag come out about 30 minutes before my daughter changes clothes to go back to visit her Mom.
What are the Benefits of Changing Clothes After an Exchange?
There have been a few times we stopped this important routine. In doing so, my daughter would exhibit attitude, rudeness, misbehavior, and back talk. I then said, “You haven’t changed your clothes, have you?” A quick trip to her room and she would emerge a different girl all together.
I cannot completely explain it, but give it a try. It has made a huge difference in helping my daughter go from house to house.
What techniques have you use to help your children transition from house to house?
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