Ann Buscho, PhD wrote an important book for those parents separating or divorcing titled The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting. The book is a big help to parents who want birdnesting to be successful for them and their kids. She wrote this book after having attempted birdnesting in the 1990s when she and her then husband were divorcing. She wanted others to avoid their mistakes and not have to reinvent the wheel.
Dr. Buscho asks “What story do you want your kids to share about your divorce when they are grown? The decisions and actions you take now, shape their future narratives. Nesting offers your children the chance to create a story of a healthy and amicable separation or divorce.”
What is Nesting? In Dr. Buscho’s words, Nesting or Birdnesting refers to a transitional or temporary arrangement where parents alternate time in the family home and take turns being “on duty” with their children. Their children stay in the home full time, which gives them more time to adapt to changes in the family. Like birds who rotate in and out caring for the babies while the babies remain safe and secure in their soft, protected nest, parents work together to create a home for their children that is safe, stable, and loving. Parents also use this time to consider the future of their marriage, decide to work on reconciliation, or move toward separation or divorce. It is a healthier way to begin the process of separating or divorcing.
Dr. Buscho goes on to say Nesting provides three important things:
- The continuity of stable routines for your kids
Conflict, especially between parents, damages children the most. Separation is painful and overwhelming for children and nesting makes it easier for them. They stay in one home and their routines don’t change. It gives your kids time to adjust to the changes.
- A break from the tension between you and your spouse
Nesting shields your children from the conflict between you and your partner. You get a respite from the difficulties in your marriage. Nesting also provides you, the parents, time to reorganize and stabilize yourselves.
- Time to develop co-parenting while figuring out your next steps
You can ease into a co-parenting relationship without moving kids back and forth between two homes. You have the time you need to focus on the future of your relationship.
Nesting is the perfect temporary solution to a breakdown in a marriage. It can be a positive step toward reconciliation or divorce if that’s what’s going to happen.
To start, you need a small amount of trust in your spouse. If necessary, you can cultivate that trust. And you have to be able to put your kids’ needs ahead of the conflict. You don’t have to be good buddies, just good parents. Her book will show you how to create a successful nesting arrangement, step by step.
Judith F. Sterling, CDFA, CPA is a divorce financial professional practicing in San Francisco, Marin, Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma Counties. More information in her bio on the “Find A Professional” page.