Living among households is difficult for children of divorce. Just the very act of initiating a divorce can drive a wedge in the parent-child relationship, and that wedge can grow as the child spends more time away from his or her custodial parent.
Whether your child now lives a few blocks or a few states away, there are ways to preserve a parent-child relationship after divorce.
Today's technology makes communicating across long distances a breeze. Programs like Skype and Apple's FaceTime can put you and your child face to face through your cell phone, tablet, or computer. Skype is free and works on all major platforms and operating systems while FaceTime is available standard on most new Apple devices.
Technology isn't the only way to connect with your child long distance. Most children today are not used to getting the regular postal mail, so getting a postcard or letter in the mail from their parent will be a special surprise.
Make Visits Special But Not Extravagant
If you have specified visitation dates with your child, make sure those times are blocked off well in advance from any non-critical events that would take time away from your child. During visits, make them all about spending time together as parent and child, but not all about extravagance.
Not every trip to your house has to be theme parks, shopping for toys, and junk food. Focus more on making simple memories like walks in the park, trips to museums, and other special places where you can connect.
If you set a precedent that visits to your house will always be extravagant trips and presents, you may be unintentionally sabotaging the other parent's relationship with your child.
The best thing you can do for your child is to provide a stable environment with similar schedules, chores, and rules between households. Successful co-parenting means agreeing on both discipline and entertainment options at both homes.
Start a Shared Hobby or Interest
Find a common ground with your child in the form of a hobby or interest. Find things that you can both easily do on your own time but are more fun to do when you're together, like collecting seashells at the beach. Try to make your common hobby a focus of your visits, so your child has something exciting but simple to anticipate between visits.
If you have older children who are interested in a regular TV series, make a tradition of getting together for each week's show and record episodes when they're away so you can continue to watch them together.
Staying Connected With Your Child Begins with the Child Custody Agreement
Maintaining a relationship with your child is easier when you have a well-written parenting plan and child custody agreement in place. The Law Offices of Molly B. Kenny are here to help Washington parents establish the rules and guidelines for raising children after a divorce. Contact us online or call us at 425-460-0550 for help with your child custody agreement.