By Ann Gold Buscho, Ph.D.
The Parent's Guide to Birdnesting:
A Child-Centered Solution to Co-Parenting During Separation and Divorce
Protecting the children during and after divorce is the most important thing. And that's why I wrote the book, The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting: A Child-Centered Solution to Co-Parenting During Separation and Divorce.
Nesting, or “birdnesting,” as it's sometimes known, 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.
How Will Nesting Help Your
Kids and You?
- 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. I will show you how to create a successful nesting arrangement, step by step.
Quote from Ann:
“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.”
Why I Wrote This Book
When my ex-husband and I divorced in the early 1990’s, we nested. Nobody had ever heard of it and we just figured it out, day by day. We kept the conflict away from the kids and put our kids first. We made some mistakes and I learned some powerful lessons. I wrote The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting so that others don’t have to re-invent the wheel. You can nest successfully and this book will guide you every step of the way.
The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting is long overdue. I’m not advocating for divorce. I’m advocating for a good divorce if there’s going to be one. My hope is that this book will help families make the transition to a new family structure in a way that protects kids and is healing for the whole family. The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting will help you create a successful nesting plan for your family.
One of the questions I am asked most frequently is how to talk to your spouse if you want to separate or divorce. It feels frightening and overwhelming, and you want to do it in a way that won't lead to a blow-up. I still remember when I had this talk with my ex, 27 years ago, and how I ran out of the room to throw up as soon as the words were...
How can marital therapy help? What's the therapist's job? What's yours? Marital counseling can help save your relationship or ensure that you are making the right decision if you divorce. Source: Photo by cottonbro from Pexels In my work with divorcing couples, they often tell me, “We went to counseling but it didn’t work.” When I inquire...
Feel stuck in a bad marriage? Can't decide to divorce? Here are the most common reasons. Have you been thinking about divorce for a very long time? Are you caught in a painful loop of indecision. “Should I leave? I don’t know if I can (or should) do it.“ Why is it so hard to leave your marriage when you have been unhappy for years? You have...
About Ann Buscho, Ph.D.
Let me introduce myself:
• I am a licensed psychologist and have worked with children and families in a private practice in Marin County, California for three decades. Now my practice is all things related to divorce, keeping families out of court, co-parenting after divorce, collaborative divorce, helping divorcing parents create parenting plans, and divorce coaching.
• Working with children, I quickly found that many were suffering from their parents’ divorce. They were carrying the symptoms of the trauma of the divorce for the whole family. My mission is to help parents divorce respectfully in order to protect their children.
• Divorce can be traumatic, and my interest in families and trauma led me to co-found a treatment program for emergency responders and their spouses or partners, First Responder Support Network.