How to Prepare For, Survive and Enjoy Extended Non Custodial Visits

by Carolyn on May 3, 2010

Another postcard from Splitsville

With summer quickly approaching, I can’t help but remember my own extended non custodial visits.  Because of sheer physical distance, I generally had Christmas or spring break with a month in the summer with my non custodial parent, just like so many other children and parents of divorce.  It’s a tricky thing. As exciting and wonderful as it is to see a parent that you don’t usually get to spend time with, there are a lot of complex issues at work. So many in fact, that sometimes this extended visit which is supposed to be enjoyable, sustaining the parent-child relationship through the rest of the year, crumbles.  Ending up as a high stress, upsetting or downright uncomfortable time.  And nobody wants that.

So I thought. I thought about all of my past extended non custodial visits and everything I’ve read from others. I tried to remember what worked, as well as what could have made them easier.  I tried to consider it from all angles, which resulted in the need to break this post down into three separate lists.  One for custodial parents, one for non custodial parents and one children of divorce themselves.

So without further delay, I present:

The Grown Up Child’s Guide to Prepare, Survive and (I daresay) Enjoy an Extended Non Custodial Visit

Tips for Custodial Parents: Including how you can ease your child’s anxiety, why you should help them pack and what you can expect to hear when they return.  Read more HERE.

Tips for Non Custodial Parents: Including how you can prepare to make the visit easier on you, your child and your partner/other children.  As well as advise on how to spend your time and deal with conflict.  Read more HERE.

And finally, Tips for Teen Aged and Adult Children of Divorce: Want to know why your parent is suddenly so short with you or hugging you every time you’re within arm’s reach?  Feel like it’s not fair that you have to be uprooted during your own holiday times?  Is it really your job to make this all go more smoothly?  Read more HERE.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Blend and Stir May 3, 2010 at 11:56 am

Perfect timing. We are less than a month away from our annual extended visitation with my husband’s children. I have two teens, his are now teens – this mix makes for challenging, interesting summers.

Teens can be very mean and disrespectful. Then, at the next moment, fun and engaging. Lots of ups and downs as space adjustments and emotional adjustments are made.

My sister and I used to visit my dad for a month in the summer when we were kids, but there was never a wife and kids to contend with — just the getting to know your dad again (and him realizing you are not longer the cute little kid).

We have been doing the summer switch for several years. It’s different every year as each child gets older, and it’s the same in many ways too.

Thanks for shining a light on some of the other perspectives so we all can try to understand each other a little better.
.-= Blend and Stir´s last blog ..Ouch! =-.


2 Carolyn May 11, 2010 at 12:24 am

Thanks for your comment. I wish you all the best with your extended visits this summer. It certainly does make a difference when the non custodial parent is remarried. It doesn’t make it worse, there’s just more to contend with and more planning to do.


3 Samantha May 3, 2010 at 11:48 pm

This is my first time visiting your blog, and although I’m not a child of a divorce, I still find the topic interesting to read about, and I know families who’ve gone through it with children involved. You have a beautiful writing style, by the way! I’ll be following along from now on, and I look forward to reading more. :)
.-= Samantha´s last blog ..Month One + New Challenges =-.


4 Carolyn May 11, 2010 at 12:25 am

Thanks Samantha!


5 Sassy Chica May 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm

Great post from all points of view….

I am also not from a divorced family,; however I find your blog very interesting and eye opening.

I think you and your blog are FABULOUS!!

Sassy Chica
.-= Sassy Chica´s last blog ..Hello May =-.


6 Carolyn May 11, 2010 at 12:25 am

Thanks Chica!


7 Bookisions May 5, 2010 at 6:07 pm

At my former job, I worked with a lady who was the perfect step-parent. Ok, that is a strong statement, but she always knew when to step up and when to back off. I think she should have written a book on it.
A SITS friend
.-= Bookisions´s last blog ..Book Giveaways =-.


8 Carolyn May 11, 2010 at 12:26 am

She probably should have! So many stepmothers find step family life quite challenging. There are now a few good experts championing their cause, but there’s certainly room for more!


9 Angelia Sims May 6, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Loved these tips! I can see a lot of things I do wrong with Jason’s girls, which? Makes me feel really bad because I KNOW better being I am a child of divorce. This was a great refresher for me so I can be the best for them and really have compassion.

Great post Carolyn!
.-= Angelia Sims´s last blog ..How to Raise a Happy Teen =-.


10 Carolyn May 11, 2010 at 12:28 am

Thanks Angelia, that means a lot to me. It’s funny isn’t it? How when we are parenting, we so often do the very same things we ‘know’ we shouldn’t? I do it too. Hopefully everyone who reads these will find them helpful as well.


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