There are many aspects of sharing parental responsibilities that would be stressful for the whole family. Only having one parent present at any given time can be an issue in families with numerous children. It can be hard for everyone to adjust to gaps in their interactions with one another.
To make matters worse, parents frequently end up experiencing conflicts during custody exchanges. Seeing one another can trigger intense emotional reactions, and those conflicts can spill over and affect the children as well.
In some cases, the courts may order supervised exchanges because of the level of conflict between the parents. For most families, however, the parents will simply have to find a way to work with one another regardless of how passionately they disagree with each other. How can parents adjusting to regular custody exchanges minimize the possibility of a conflict?
1. Avoiding verbal arguments
The simplest way to prevent custody exchange from devolving into an argument between parents is to keep the parents from interacting with one another as much as possible. Unless the children are still preschool age, they can exit a vehicle and go into a home or leave one vehicle to enter the other without the parent necessarily assisting in the process.
Even if it is necessary to physically remove a child and strap them into the other vehicle, parents can achieve that without much direct verbal communication. Keeping discussions solely to the needs of the children and in writing as much as possible will reduce the possibility of an argument starting.
2. Taking responsibility for the children’s needs
If one of the children forgets their retainer across town or their hockey equipment at school despite having a tournament that weekend, that logistical failure could quickly spiral into a dispute between the parents. It can be quite difficult to maintain a thorough list of every key item that needs to travel with the children.
As much as possible, it is preferable for the parents to have separate supplies at each home. However, for items that do not have duplicates, like medical equipment, prescription medication and team uniforms, parents should maintain a checklist so that they verify that they have everything they need before they head to a custody exchange with the other parent.
Being careful about in-person communication and proactive about meeting the children’s needs can take a lot of the friction out of custody exchanges.