The new trend of “nesting” or “bird nesting” is a transitional, or temporary, arrangement where the children stay in the family home while the parents rotate on- and off-duty by agreement on a prearranged schedule.
In addition to the schedule, a nesting plan will include agreements about the care of the house, finances, communication, parenting, and dating. The period of nesting might be short term, many months, or longer. It helps parents establish a secure foundation of support for their children.
Nesting during divorce stabilizes the family during the tumultuous time of separation or divorce. Parents also learn and develop important new skills that they will need in their roles as co-parents and while “solo parenting”.
When parents are considering separation or divorce, their biggest worry is most often about the children. Today’s parents are increasingly determined to protect their kids from the potential damage that a high-conflict divorce may cause.
The best parents are willing to set aside their own anger, sadness, fear or guilt in order to make a “safe nest” for their children. Fortunately, there is an alternative to the old-school “broken home”. New approaches such as “conscious uncoupling” and collaborative divorce give us hope that divorce can be respectful and keep the welfare of the family in focus.
In my work as a psychologist and divorce coach, nesting during divorce has helped many of my clients navigate the tumultuous process. I continue to promote the advantages of nesting since my own nesting experience in 1994, when no one had heard of nesting yet.
Nesting during divorce or separation can give you time to figure out the future of your relationship. You may decide to reconcile after respite from the conflict in the marriage. You may move ahead with the divorce, making decisions that will have a lasting impact on you and your family. Nesting allows you to pace this process in a way that keeps you and your children stable.
First, you need to decide whether nesting makes sense for you and your family. If you think that it is, there are important steps to create a safe and secure home – or nest – for your children, thereby preserving a secure sense of family while you figure out your next steps.
Nesting is not a cookie-cutter approach. You’ll need to create a nesting agreement unique to your situation. Your agreement should reduce the conflict between you and your spouse. It should also reduce the stress for the children. Nesting sets the stage for a cooperative and reasonable divorce process, avoiding court. It also prepares everyone for a new “family under two roofs”.
It can be hard to move in and out of the family home, and nesting parents experience first-hand what their children may experience when they later live in their parents’ two homes.
Do you believe nesting is a good option for you and your family? If so, I recommend that you meet with someone who can coach you through the steps of creating a nesting plan. The plan will address your living arrangement options, schedule, finances, and parenting. It should also address predictable issues such as when nesting will end, and what to do when one of you enters a new relationship.
The pain of a failed nesting plan can disappoint and hurt the kids and the family. That is why it is so important that you consider carefully whether nesting during divorce is appropriate for your situation.