How Do I Maintain My Relationship With My Kids?
A fear of many parents is they won’t be able to maintain their relationship with their children after separation. The answer is that most parents are able to maintain strong relationships with their children after separation. In fact, some are able to strengthen their relationships with their kids because they are focused solely on their children when they are with them. It can be a challenge but here are some ideas:
- Use Skype. This is a free internet-based video conferencing system. All that’s required is high speed internet access and a webcam (they aren’t expensive) on each computer. It’s almost like being in the same room and is especially good with younger children.
- Use email, texting, Facebook or whatever internet-based system your child may be using. Even a brief text message exchange can make you both feel connected but don’t interfere with your ex spouse’s time with the children.
- Schedule regular telephone calls. They may be brief but they keep you connected.
- Go to your child’s extracurricular activities as much as possible including their hockey practices and games, music recitals, dance lessons and school field trips. Even if you don’t speak to your child during or after the event, it will show him or her that you care and give you something to talk about next time they are in your care.
- Focus on your kids. Keep your own activities to a minimum so you can really pay attention to your kids when they are with you. If you have some chores to do, do them with your kids. Grocery shopping and cooking with kids can be fun and gives them good life lessons.
- As your children get older, their friends will become more important. Invite your kids’ friends to do activities with you and your kids. Bring them on vacations with you or weekend camping trips. If you isolate your children from their friends, they won’t want to keep spending time with you.
- Teenagers are supposed to push back. Don’t smother them. Let them become more independent and responsible. It’s normal and healthy.
- Be the adult. Don’t share with your children your own emotional struggles. Let your children focus on being kids. If you need to speak to someone about your own issues, get your own Divorce Lawyer or Coach.
- Don’t get into arguments with your ex spouse in front of the children. They will resent you even if you are in the right. Either discuss issues with your ex when the kids aren’t around or are asleep, or use email so the kids won’t see or hear it. Some parents exchange a parenting journal when the children are exchanged. It contains important information about the children and is used to dialogue about important parenting issues.
- Spend as much time with your children as possible. If you can avoid the use of babysitters or daycare, do it. If you can’t care for your children for a longer period of time , offer the extra time to your ex spouse to care for them instead of using a babysitter.