The child who fails to launch during joint custody likely needs both a push and a pull. In many cases, one won’t work without the other.

The push comes from behind in the form of the parent’s reassurance that it’s okay to be apart and, in particularly that she—the parent—will be fine. Offering these words insincerely will only exacerbate the problem. This child reads his parent’s emotions like Braille.

Sign up for our newsletter today and get exclusive coParenting content.

During joint custody, how can you make your child feel more safe and welcomed, as they travel between homes? The pull must come from his next anchor. Someone or someplace safe and familiar and welcoming. The more safe and familiar— structured—the more effective the pull.

And transitional objects will help along the way. These are things that make the absent parent’s security portable and present for the child as well as things that make the absent child’s security immediate for the parent. It helps to have similar objects or toys at both homes, where the child stays and sleeps.


About Benjamin D. Garber, Ph.D

Dr. Ben Garber is a psychologist, expert consultant to family law matters, author and internationally acclaimed speaker.

He has published hundreds of popular press and dozens of peer-reviewed articles about child and family development and divorce. His six books include "Holding Tight/Letting Go: Raising Healthy Kids in Times of Terror and Technology" and "Developmental Psychology for Family Law Professionals."

To purchase Garber's Book, "Holding Tight, Letting Go," visit this link: