Divorce can be the most difficult ordeal that a family can go through because it changes the structure of the family. People generally want to preserve their relationships with their children after divorce, so why is this so difficult?
One of the reasons is that parents often have to re-define how they will manage parenting time with their children. Here are five things you can do to protect your relationships during your parenting time and ease difficulties for your kids.
- Ease the transitions between households. This could include having specific times and places for dropping the child off to the former spouse when sharing parenting time and custody.
- Do not disrespect your ex to your child. Staying positive when speaking of your former spouse to your child can go a long way to the child's well-being. This positive attitude will help your child so they don't have to feel they need to take sides and play the loyalty game. This will reduce the stress on your child which will make the transition to this new reality of divorce easier.
- Minimize changes for your child. If you always had dinner at a certain time, can you retain that routine? If you always went to a certain restaurant, can you still go there to keep some consistency in your child's life? Keeping familiar activities in your child's life will help them by having things they know and some areas in their life that are not changing.
- Help maintain relationships. If one parent moves, is there a way to support your child in maintaining relationships with friends and relatives?
- Create new traditions. Start something that you always do with your child when they are with you. Perhaps a Friday pizza night or reading together before bedtime or grabbing a bagel together on the weekend or playing catch in the yard. You could ask your child what ideas they have for new traditions. Whatever you decide could be a quality time activity that makes parenting time with you unique and something to look forward to.
What ideas do you have for easing transitions and protecting relationships with children after divorce?