Divorce is often hard on everyone involved, but it can be especially difficult for children. In an effort to provide less disruption for the children, some divorced couples are trying ‘nesting.’ This creative approach to life after divorce involves the divorced parents sharing use of the family home and a studio apartment, taking turns caring for the children who remain consistently in the family home. When it is not a parent’s turn to stay in the family home with the children, he or she stays in the apartment. Essentially, the parents rotate houses instead of the children.
Benefits of nesting
It can be emotional for children to pack up all their things and switch from one parent’s house to another. It can also make them feel like everything is changing at once, especially when it involves moving to a new school and disrupting their support system of friends.
Nesting offers several benefits for children, including allowing them to:
- Stay in the same school.
- Maintain friendships.
- Come to terms with the divorce in a familiar environment.
However, nesting can also be confusing for children who might see it as a sign that their parents might get back together.
Does nesting work?
Most often nesting is used as a short-term solution immediately after a divorce. It can serve to help transition the children from pre-divorce to post-divorce family life, but experts say it can be detrimental for the children if done for too long.
Nesting is not a healthy option for most divorced couples because it is a minefield for the types of conflicts most divorced couples are trying to avoid. Many divorced couples have found that they are better parents when they have their own homes.
However, some divorced parents can navigate nesting’s pitfalls to provide stability for their children. Typically, the parents who can make nesting work are the ones who divorced amicably and are committed to putting their children’s needs before their own.
While nesting can be healthy for some families, it is not always a family’s best option. Ultimately, the effectiveness of nesting is determined by the individual circumstances of each family.