During a separation, one of the main concerns you will face as parents is deciding where your children will live and the effect the separation will have on them. When a parent moves out, children are often shuffled between two homes and experience major disruptions to their living situations and schedules. This can cause them a lot of additional stress when they are still trying to adjust to this new change in their family.
In The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting: A Child-Centered Solution to Co-Parenting During Separation and Divorce, author Ann Gold Buscho, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, explores an approach called “birdnesting” or “nesting”, which is designed to reduce the stress and disruption to your children during your separation and/or divorce.
What is “birdnesting”?
Birdnesting is, “… a transitional or temporary arrangement where the children stay in the family home and parents take turns living there and being ‘on duty’ with their children.” As parents, since you will take the brunt of the disruption of moving in and out of the home during your agreed upon parenting times, you will also get to experience what going back and forth between two homes will be like for your children once you are no longer nesting.
Benefits of Nesting for Children
The author discusses that nesting can be beneficial for your children because they are able maintain stability by continuing to live in the same home and sleep in their own bed, despite their parents no longer living together. Nesting can also maximize your children’s time with each of you while also helping your children get used to not having both parents in the home.
Benefits of Nesting for Parents
Another benefit discussed is that it allows you time to adjust and become more confident as a single parent. The change of going from shared responsibilities to being solely responsible for all of the chores and duties to maintain the home while tending to the needs of your children can be a lot for even the most hands-on parent. Additionally, if this is a temporary separation, nesting allows you to take a break from the marital conflict while you are both considering the future of your marriage with minimal disruption to your children.
Who is nesting right for?
Nesting is a great option if you are equally willing to share in the parenting of your children and can do what the author refers to as, “good enough communication”, which means being able to convey information and be cooperative. If you think nesting might be a good option for your family, visit the author’s website to learn more.
Further, if you are considering nesting during your divorce, it would be beneficial to have an attorney who will share your desire for collaboration and seek creative solutions that work for your family. Using the collaborative divorce process or divorce mediation enhances your ability to be successful at birdnesting.