When divorce splits a parent from their child, it can be difficult to maintain a close bond. In addition to spending more time a part, parents and children often feel upset with all of the big changes the divorce causes.
Whether you are in the process of divorcing or have finished it, follow these tips to keep a positive, meaningful relationship with your child.
Keep conversation about the divorce open
It's important not to badmouth your ex or share too many details with your child about the decision to divorce. To ensure that your child is able to trust in their future relationships, both platonic and romantic, it's important to maintain the other parent as a role model for your child.
However, it's okay to say that you are upset that the match didn't work out or that you are unhappy by all of the changes it has caused. Avoid having a meltdown or depending on your child to feel better. But, encourage your child to share how they are feeling so that you can help them work through the transition in a healthy way.
Depending on the custody plan you and your spouse choose and your child's age, you may find that it's not easy to do things with your child spontaneously anymore. In the past, you may have suggested going out to eat for lunch or catching a movie in the evening on the day of.
Now, if your child is not around often and has a job or is involved in a sport, you'll likely have to schedule plans with him or her in order to get some quality time in.
Especially for those with teenagers, your child may resist spending time with you. Or, they may simply have interests that seem more important to them, such as hanging out with their friends or a love interest.
You may feel hurt by this -- especially if the other parent still gets attention. But, just keep trying. Even if your child doesn't respond to your "Good luck" text messages on the day of an exam, they'll be able to trust that you support them.
Conduct your divorce amicably
Another way to maintain a positive, amicable relationship with your child is to treat their other parent with respect and kindness too. Positive co-parenting can help your child respect each of you as well as other authority figures.
If you are considering divorce but are worried about how it may affect your relationship with your child, consult a skilled Family Law attorney to learn more about how to make your divorce as peaceful as possible. An attorney can teach you about your options through mediation and help you make negotiations that are fair and honest.