Saturday, February 2, 2013

Separation Anxiety II

The Switching Hour: Kids of Divorce Say Good-bye Again
This was the book that I thought was going to help me with my separation anxiety during all of Esther's switches back and forth between my home and her dad's home. As it turns out, it is a reminder of all the ways the "shared custody lifestyle" affect kids with divorced parents. The author reminds parents about the anxieties of kids before the switch, during the switch, and just in general-- having a two-part life. She talks a little bit about the ways those anxieties manifest themselves in the kids' behavior, but she's not really talking about toddlers like Esther. For Esther, I know what it is: a hard time saying good-bye the first day back at school, a hard time saying good-night the first couple nights back with me. Her eating is still pretty good, and she still mostly sleeps through the night.

The author also includes some worst-case scenarios which increase my likelihood of not sleeping through the night: suicidal kids and abusive co-parents. Fortunately, I'm not actually worried about any of that right now.

While a lot of the book is guilt-inducing and depressing-- am I ruining my daughter's life here?-- I know that re-reading it every now and again as Esther grows up will be good for me. The reminders of what not to do: don't bug your kid about what the other parent is up to, don't ask your kid to play messenger between parents, don't talk bad about the other parent, etc., are wise. While my most rational self does a good job with these, it can be pretty easy for irrationality to step in with such emotional stuff as my ex and my baby.

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