Imagine your child as a little seedling with its fragile roots encased in some soil.   As parents, you are the sturdy and protective plant pots they seek refuge in. But as separated parents, you are now two very different shaped pots.  

 Your child wants to find comfort and nestle into both parents’ pots so they can spread their ‘roots’. To do this they now have to change their shape accordingly, acclimatising to your way of parenting. Then they have to ‘uproot’ and get ready to change shape again to suit the other parents pot while they are spending time with them. There is a lot for them to deal with.  They have to cross the emotional (and sometimes physical) bridge, adjust to always missing one of you, cope with their confused, mixed emotions and try to ‘re-root’ and settle into the other parent’s pot. This constant ‘uprooting’ is enough to make any sensitive seedling child dizzy, weary, grumpy and sad at times. 

Please don’t always assume that your child is not happy when coming back from the other parent. It will take them time to get back in your parental ‘rhythm’ and routine. They may also have to make challenging adjustments to different home environments and ‘house rules’ 

 Children need 2 secure parent ‘pots’ where they belong. Like delicate seedlings, they are very sensitive and don’t like lots of change. Their tender ‘roots’ can easily get disturbed when transplanted – understanding their roots is key.