Navigating the world of child custody is challenging. If you are suffering from any chronic mental health condition, such as depression, you might find that there are times when things get so stressful that you wonder how you are going to make it through it all.
There are two components of child custody that can often prove difficult – living as a single parent and having to communicate with your ex. In order for you to avoid going down the dark hole of depression, you have to make decisions now about how you will arrange your new parenting arrangement.
Take stock of the situation
It is easy to become so focused on your own emotions that you forget about how your children are faring. If you take a look at what's going on, you might find that your kids are doing just fine right now. You and your ex not being in a relationship any longer might not have as profound of an impact on them as it does for you. Focusing on what's best for the children might help you come to terms with viable solutions.
Try to find balance
You and your ex should come up with basic rules that are going to be consistent in both homes. Things like bed time and homework schedules should remain as close to the same as possible, no matter which home the children are in. This helps them to feel secure and might ease the transition from one home to the other. The consequences and rewards might differ slightly from one home to the other, but both parents should enforce the rules.
You and your ex will have to communicate about your children on a regular basis. This must be done in a respectful manner. If you aren't able to speak on the phone, consider using texts, emails or monitored messages. Just remember that emotions don't show through written communications so you have to be vigilant about what you are saying and how it might appear to the other person.
Find ways to lift your spirits
When things do get stressful, you need to have a plan to lift your spirits. You might need to enjoy some time with a close friend when your child is with your ex. In some cases, making an appointment with your mental health professional may be in order to help you get back on track.