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Explaining custody to children sensitively

If you are no longer in a relationship with the other parent of your child, it is likely that you are in a position where you share custody or have a visitation agreement in place. You may not currently be satisfied with the current agreement, but you will have to abide by it -- unless you can show that a change of circumstances has occurred.

It is important that you take the time to consider how your child will be affected by these arrangements. They may at first feel confused or upset about what is happening. Therefore, it is important that you talk to them in an age-appropriate way so that you can address any concerns that they are having. The following are some tips for explaining custody to children sensitively.

Be proactive

It's best to talk to your child about custody before they ask. This way, you can prevent them from silently worrying about the situation and be prepared to have a well-planned discussion -- not a conversation that's handled on the fly.

Present a unified front

Ideally, you should have this talk alongside the other parent. If you are both in the conversation, you'll be able to show that everyone is on the same team and that there is no hostility between the two of you.

Focus on consistency

Try to focus on what will not change more than what will change. Children feel safer when they have certainty and a routine to depend on.

If you have recently separated from the other parent of your child, it is important that you have a strong child custody arrangement that will benefit your child.

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