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By Margorie Engel, PhD.

It's here - that summer season when families everywhere are supposed to be filled with joyous expectations! You're not? Well, the truth is that many too many custodial and non-custodial parents and stepparents are filled with dread while in the midst of making arrangements for the transfer of their children from one to the other and back again.

Sometimes all you really need are ideas and suggestions from those parents and children who have traveled this road ahead of you.

To help you avoid becoming a travel agent for guilt trips, here are suggestions for a more effective parenting relationship during the summer.

If You Are Parents in the Receiving Home...

Anxiety comes from not knowing what is going to happen. As far ahead as possible, volunteer information about your summer plans.

Provide to the Other Parent and Stepparent:

Provide a Packet of Information to the Children

If You Are Parents in the Departing Home...

With the Other Parent and Stepparent:

With the Children:


Departure Time

When the Children Arrive In the Receiving Home

Helpful Things to Do During Visit

After the adults work out some of the kinks, these children of divorce and remarriage move on to revise Robert Frost's definition:

"Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in"


"Home is a place where, when you want to go there, they want to take you in."

If you're not sure this is true, listen to your children's words. They are "coming home" on Friday and "going back home" the following Sunday. And at each home, they are celebrating reunions.

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