From the Coparenting Coach's Desk

PARENT-CHILD CONTACT WHEN CHILD IS IN OTHER HOME

Parents of 2-home children are sometimes anxious about the lack of contact with a child when that child is in the care of the other parent.

Note that it is the parent who is anxious here, not necessarily the child!

If you find yourself anxious about your child when your child is with your coparent, stop and ask yourself some questions before reaching out to your child:

1 When was the last time you were with your child?

2 Has more time passed since you were with your child than has ever passed in the life of the child without contact with you?

3 Has your child ever been with a grandparent or other trusted caretaker longer than the child has been with the other coparent in this particular instance?

4 How long will it be before you are with your child again?

5 Is the amount of time you have to wait to be with your child again longer than the child has ever gone without seeing you?

6 Is your child verbal? Can your child say "I miss mommy/daddy?" Can your child say "Can I call mommy/daddy?" If so, let them.

7 Is your child capable of self-control?

8 Is your child capable of self-soothing?

9 Is your child capable of getting his or her needs met by an adult?

Most of the time, the anxiety problem is in the parent not in the child. If the parent gives into their own anxiety and acts out as if the child is incapable of waiting and delaying gratification, then the child certainly may learn to be anxious and insecure.

And it's often the parent who is modeling his or her own inability to wait, to delay gratification.

Life requires all of us to bear the discomfort of uncertainty or longing from time to time. It is ordinary and part of the human condition. It is not extraordinary, or traumatic, or horrible.

Check yourself, mom and dad. If you are anxious, admit it and deal with it. Don't make it your child's issue!