Some of the most common mistakes that parents make during a custody dispute in Virginia are:
1) Making the child feel like they need to choose between the parents;
2) Blaming or badmouthing the other parent;
3) getting children involved with a new boyfriend/girlfriend too early in the relationship;
4) involving the children in disputes between you and your spouse: and
5) giving your children the appearance that you are not receptive to their concerns or needs.
Children are resilient and can adapt to the changing situation if both parents take the time to make sure that the child’s concerns are being heard and addressed. Even if you have made some mistakes in dealing with your child during a custody dispute, you can easily repair the damage by admitting that you have made the mistakes and taking the time to repair your relationship with the child.
One of the worst things that you can do is to assume that your child will get over the breakdown of their family if they just have enough time. Children often believe that they are at fault when Mom and Dad separate. This can be made even worse if the children believe that they must choose a side and spending time with the other parent is being disloyal to their custodial parent. Both parents must work together to make sure that the child understands that the parents relationship is separate from their relationship with the child. You need to encourage your kids to talk about their feelings, but let it happen naturally. Regardless of who they are living with, let them know you will always be available to listen to them. Be sure that when they talk about the other parent, you allow them to share their feelings and concerns openly. It is easy to let your emotions come out when talking to the child but you have to remember that this is not about you but about making sure that your child is happy.