Have you heard of nesting? It’s not just for the birds. Of course, if you haven’t heard this term before, you’ll want to learn more about what it means, how to do it, and whether it might be for you or not. While it can be a good option for the children in some cases, it may not always be practical. So, let’s start to get a better idea of what nesting is and how it all works.
The Basics of Nesting
When a couple with children split up and divorce, they will often have joint custody of the children. This means that the children will have to pick up and head to one parent’s place for a week or two, or on the weekend until they come back to the first parent’s house. This is a lot of going back and forth for the children, which can be difficult for them. They may feel as though they don’t have a permanent home because they are whisked back and forth between the two regularly.
There is also the need for the parents to set up arrangements for picking up and dropping off the kids. The kids are essentially living out of their suitcases and backpacks. Consider all of the other things the kids have going on in their lives including school, extracurricular activities, their friends, etc. It’s hard for them to ever feel really and truly settled when they are going back and forth all of the time.
With nesting, the kids don’t get shuffled from one home to the other. The kids stay in one home, and it’s the parents that take turns in one home where the children live. For many, this will be a radical concept, and it is not something that everyone will be capable of doing.
Ultimately, this can be a good idea, though. The conflict that needs to be resolved is between the parents. The children don’t have anything to do with it, so it doesn’t make sense to uproot them from their normal lives if it can be helped.
How Does It Work?
As mentioned, the concept of nesting is simple, but the details are what truly matter. Nesting can be different for different people based on their situation. Typically, the home the children will stay in will be the one where they have spent most of their lives. The parents will then determine how to trade off time with the kids, where they will go, etc.
The parents might have different rooms in the same house. It’s important to keep in mind that each of the parents will need to have their own space if they are going to be in the house together. They shouldn’t share rooms. Ideally, the house will be large enough to accommodate this, but that may not always be true. One parent might leave for the weekend when the other parent is there and stay with family or friends.
In addition to having separate spaces, it’s important to have separate items in the home, including food, toiletries, etc. Everything should be separated. This helps to ensure that the parents do not have any conflicts over small things.
Parents will need to develop a schedule that will work for them and the kids, and they will have to consider their finances. Nesting can be difficult, and it can be expensive. Keep in mind that nesting doesn’t need to be until the kids are adults. It can last for a few months, a year, or whatever it takes to start to get better adjusted.
Every situation will be different, but the goal will always be the same: provide the kids with a stable location that they can call home. It’s also important to take time to talk with the kids and let them know what’s happening and why it’s happening.
It Doesn’t Work for Everyone
While nesting can be a good solution for some families, it does not work for everyone. In situations where there is a lot of conflict in the separation and divorce, for example, sharing a space would likely cause a lot more problems than it would solve. It would fill the house with tension, which will be even worse for the kids. If it’s a bad divorce, it’s not worth it to attempt nesting.
Even when there is not a lot of conflict, there could still be problems. If one of the parents is not happy with the divorce and thinks that nesting is a way to eventually get the family back together, it could cause a lot of strife in the end. Both of the parents need to be emotionally intelligent enough to realize that this is about keeping the kids stable, not getting back together.
Other times, even though both might understand the need for the divorce, it will be difficult and traumatizing for the family. It’s a big change, and the parents will have to determine whether nesting will be a solution or if it could become a larger problem.
One of the other areas that could cause a problem is with finances. Not everyone has the money for nesting to be feasible. In these cases, it could be advantageous for the parent who has moved out to share their new place with their former spouse on those weekends where they need a place to stay. The ex can stay there, while the other parent returns to the nesting house. This won’t always work depending on living situations, but it could be something to consider.
Consider the Pros and Cons
Before dismissing nesting out of hand, take some time to think about the benefits that it could offer and weigh them against the negatives. Parents should talk with one another about the possibility and see if they might be able to come up with a plan that could work. if it sounds plausible, it may be worth pursuing, at least for a time.