No custody arrangement is perfect. Somewhere along the way, there will be complications and, while it is certainly viable to make modifications after the divorce finalization, understanding how your custody arrangement may affect your child could help you prepare, adjust and meet their needs.
If your child is old enough to understand the basics of your divorce, chances are they will find themselves at odds with the idea of “fairness” in a custody split. After all, they have their own needs and wants and, as a result of the judge or an agreement’s determination of “what is fair,” they may experience a shift in their psychological perception of the family dynamic. That is, they may focus on ensuring they do their part in keeping a fair dynamic between parents. But what impacts might such an expectation have on a child?
Psychological effects of split parenting
Some psychologists believe that children in a shared custody arrangement feel pressure to adhere to the emotional needs of one of their parents. This may lead to the child experiencing a sense of failure, anxiety and a feeling of emotional exhaustion.
Furthermore, movement from one household to another can create stress. Children wonder whether they will eat, where their clothes or toys are, who will pick them up from school. Other concerns the child may have in living in two households include issues like lunch money, being on time to an extracurricular activity or making friends in a new location.
Of course, this is certainly not the case in every family dynamic. Children can be quite resilient and, with preparation and the right communication between parents, an understanding may develop among everyone involved.